Vettel: Alonso’s 2012 gives hope for title chances

2014 Australian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel says Fernando Alonso’s performance in 2012 gives him cause to believe his title chances aren’t over before the new championship has begun.

Alonso’s Ferrari was well off the pace at the beginning of 2012 yet he went into the final race of the season in contention to win the championship.

Vettel, whose Red Bull has been beset by problems during pre-season testing this year, said that gives him hope he will be in the running for the title again this year.

Asked whether he was pessimistic about his title chances Vettel said: “No I think that’s not fair to say because it’s a long year.”

“I think our pre-season testing, our preparation hasn’t been ideal, we know we’re not in the best position for this race. But I think it’s a different story when we talk about the championship. It’s a long way to go.

“I think two years back Fernando was on the grid with 1.5 seconds to pole position and he was very close to beat us for the title at the very last race. So anything can happen, that’s why this race is important, just as any other one.”

However Vettel admitted “there’s a lot of things we need to solve” with the RB10.

“Unfortunately we can’t solve them overnight – we’d love to but we can’t, so we really have to go step-by-step, together with Daniel, just try to be as precise as we can, trying to give the engineers the best feedback possible about the whole power unit so that we move forward on that. But also talking about the car because at this stage it’s a bit unknown where we are.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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41 comments on “Vettel: Alonso’s 2012 gives hope for title chances”

  1. “Look at Alonso in 2012” – this will be a common saying among every team/driver who struggles a lot in winter testing for many years to come.

    Button did last year, Vettel this year.

    1. I guess they could look at that season for motivation, but I doubt either of those drivers could pull off what Fernando pulled off in 2012.

      1. Alonso lost a significant lead and the title by a few points. Any driver could do that.

        1. If I remember correctly ALO had some great help, with drivers crashing into him from behind taking him out on the first lap at two races. So, sure with certain help it is fully possible.

          1. Spa he was a passenger, Japan he hit Kimi.

          2. why does everyone keep suggesting that it was Kimi’s fault? Every footage shows/suggest that it was Alonso’s mistake in judgement.

          3. Alonso did to Kimi a far less blatant and less severe version of what Grosjean did to Hamilton at Spa. He moved across on a straight. That’s was Alonso’s big mistake that year.

          4. Grosjean was on the inside of the turn trying to go to the outside yo make the optimal line of the corner. Alonso was in the middle of the track trying to squeeze Kimi off the optimal of the corner. The difference is where the two cars started when the incidents took place. If the first corner went left for Grosjean then the would have only took out Hamilton. If the first corner went left for Alonso then he may have taken out lots of cars. It is a very rookie mistake to make for either driver.

        2. Alonso lost a significant lead and the title by a few points. Any driver could do that.

          No driver could pull of a 40 points lead with a car slower than Red Bull, McLaren, and maybe even Mercedes. :)

          1. @kingshark A driver that didn’t crash with Raikonnen in Japan, that had passed him in Abu Dhabi having a faster car like Ferrari did, that didn’t got outqualified by a mediocre Massa and that had a better race in Brazil would have.

            Alonso did great in 2012, but he wasn’t perfect, and it’s time we stop acting like he was.

            And in no way, shape or form was the Mercedes faster.

          2. They could if they took advantage of the other drivers tripping over themselves and one another.

          3. @Constantine
            I meant Lotus, not Mercedes.

  2. I think they stand a better chance than that and I also I think the new cars should suit Vettel so perhaps this will be the season that will truly prove Vettel’s mettle, even if Vettel is already known to be used to fight reliability rather than pace, it’s always better that way but also always possible.

  3. I don’t think his chances to emulate Alonso are that great, the Ferrari had aerodynamic issues only, but Red Bull’s problems are much deeper (not just performance but also reliability) and it’s not only them, Renault has to improve as well.

    If they’re only 1-1.5 seconds off the pace and finish in the points then maybe but if its 2-3 secs and retire with less than half a race, nearly impossible I think.

    1. @mantresx I’m not sure that we know whether or not they have performance issues at all, given that reliability was the major issue in testing. Their slow testing times may well be caused fully by the fact that (a) they couldn’t run the cars near full power because of reliability and (b) they never got far enough through their testing schedule to properly run fast laps. It may be that once the reliability issues are solved they have a car which is the class of the field once again.

      1. But the car isn’t likely going to be instantly fast as soon as they get reliable. They’ve missed a lot of time to work on setups so there’s much they have to learn yet about their car and how it treats the tires depending on different setups. Others have much to learn in this regard too, but they are already a few chapters ahead of RBR who IMHO can’t possibly know much about the tires right now. They’ve barely been able to corner at very high speeds to generate much heat into them and push them to see what kind of temps the tires like or don’t like.

  4. What made Alonso’s 2012 title charge possible was reliability. In the first half of the season Alonso gained 65 points on Vettel and 87 points on Hamilton due to mechanical failures and other misfortune from Sebastian and Lewis. And reliability is the one thing Red Bull has even worse problems with than speed.

    1. Alonso lost 150 points due to the misfortune of not having a McLaren or a Red Bull.

      1. @mashiat

        Yeah, Chilton should have won last year but he was unfortunate enough to be driving a Marussia.

        That’s just not how it works.

        1. I’m pretty sure in a car that was as dominant as the Red Bull RB9, Chilton wouldn’t have been champion. And Btw, it was a joke on my part.

      2. That is not misfortune. Its about the choices he and ferrari had made (he could have been in that red bull, had he taken up their offer a couple of years back).

        But I agree with @mnmracer that the parallel goes amiss because Ferrari was always there to profit from (especially) McLaren messing up, and to some extent profit from Red Bull issues as well, something very unlikely to happen this year for Red Bull

        1. Interestingly Newly was hired to get Alonso to join Red Bull. So we all could be talking about how 6 WDC Alonso struggling to defend his title. Ahh, If Buts and Maybes’.

      3. I take it you’re smart enough to know that’s not the point. The point is that there is no comparison considering the circumstances that lead to it.

      4. @mashiat That’s not misfortune. He was offered a seat at Red Bull, but chose not to accept. He had a seat at McLaren, but he lost it because he couldn’t deal with not being trated as a number 1.

    2. @mantresx

      Where did those 87 and 65 points came from? I don’t remember the 2012 season very well, it would be great if you could be more specific :-)

  5. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
    13th March 2014, 8:02

    At least the F2012 could complete a lap :-)

  6. If Vettel does pull off an Alonso-2012 performance, I think that will definitely seal his place as one of the legends of the sport.

    Sadly, I think the Red Bull is more than just 1.5 seconds off the fastest car and Vettel has never in the past managed a peak like Alonso managed in 2012. Hell, even Alonso couldn’t reach the same levels in 2013 as he reached in 2012.

    1. Vettel 2013 was a peak similar to Alonso in 2012. Maybe even higher.

  7. That 2012 performance was a pleasure to watch and follow. Who ever does it again, it’s gonna be a lot of fun. Vettel is one of them who can pull off such thing, whether the circumstances will come along or not, remain to be seen. But as mentioned, reliability is not on his side, as it looks for now.

  8. Alonso was fantastic in the first half of 2012.
    In the second half, he was good or very good. But Vettel was better.

    1. the redbull was better u should say

  9. And here is where my theory of Renault´s problems being rubish comes in. I think this whole thing is just being scripted a la WWF. Now it seems they want herr Vettel to have an ALO-2012 season… and just because ALO finished second and received more respect than he did when he won that WDC! I am going to barf if this turns out to be the case and I will never ever watch F1 again.
    Don´t hate, these are just theories of mine.

    1. Multi 21. Nope. Vettel can’t follow a script. We can’t hate you Karter22. Your a fanatic and your probably right.

    2. No one’s hating you, but that doesn’t make your “theories” any less irrational.

  10. “…So anything can happen, that’s why this race is important, just as any other one.”

    A cheeky dig at Abu Double?

  11. Honest talk from a 4 time WDC.

  12. I think two years back Fernando was on the grid with 1.5 seconds to pole position and he was very close to beat us for the title at the very last race.

    1.5 seconds isn’t always as special as you think. In 2010 Alonso, Button and Hamilton were often 1.5 seconds behind in qualifying, but it didn’t stop them getting close. The trouble is if Mercedes’ race advantage ends up being similar to their qualifying advantage- Red Bull didn’t quite have that. I also expect Red Bull to have worse reliability than Mercedes, which is the opposite of how Alonso in 2012 and the rest in 2010 kept up.

  13. I think he should look at his own 2012 for a better reference. He had some misfortune at the start of the season, and the Red Bull was not on the best form yet. But at the second part the team brought the car back up front, and he did some brilliant performances to win the title, even after some very bad luck. It was a masterful recovery mid-season, he and the team should aim to repeat that.

  14. I think he’s forgetting that he never has been, and never will be even vaugely approaching the calibre of driver Alonso is.

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