Alonso: 2014 campaign “probably my best season”

2014 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso says he’s been driving at his best in 2014 despite not having won a race this year in Ferrari’s under-performing F14 T.

“It’s been difficult and challenging,” said Alonso, “but probably my best season because I had a tough challenge this year, including having a world champion on the other side of the garage and I was performing at my best.”

Alonso’s best result of the season so far came at the Hungaroring, where he finished second. “Hungary was the best moment,” he said, “leading the race until two laps from the end and finishing second.”

“The worst moment was Japan, with the terrible feeling because of Jules [Bianchi’s] accident and then in the race I did only three corners before retiring.”

Alonso discounted the possibility that the anticipated wet weekend ahead could give Ferrari a chance to take their first win this year.

“Even with the rain, we don’t have the possibility to win,” he said. “After only getting two podiums this season, we cannot expect a few drops of rain to allow us to win.”

“Unfortunately, we are not at that level, however it’s true there are more opportunities when it’s wet, but it’s also a risk, as you can gain positions or lose everything.”

Speculation has linked Alonso to moves to McLaren, Lotus and even a new Audi Formula One team, but he said there is no “deadline to decide” his future.

“This week McLaren is saying something, last week Lopez of Lotus said we were talking, which is true, but it’s for a project outside Formula One. Everyday there’s a rumour and today I read that I have bought Marussia for one dollar. It’s absolutely not true.”

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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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62 comments on “Alonso: 2014 campaign “probably my best season””

  1. He says that every year. Probably just to remind people that it’s Ferrari’s fault he’s not winning.

    He’s got a point, in fairness.

    1. Fernando does seem to have quite a bit of pride. Personally, I don’t think he himself needs to remind anyone of just how good he is. His driving does the talking for him. He should leave the talking up to sad losers like me. :P

    2. @hairs Sloppy Spa though, and other couple races too.

      1. @peartree
        I can’t really remember any bad races from him this season other than Belgium. However, his drive in Hungary was so immense and phenomenal that he was almost overdue a bad race to even things out.

        Shame his car broke down in Japan though. He’s usually mighty in the wet and I think he could’ve got a podium.

      2. Spa might have seemed sloppy, but it was mainly due to a problem with his ERS (I forget which), that affected him in two ways. The more obvious disadvantage was his 5-second-penalty caused by his engineers, who tried to fix the problem on the grid while the rest of the field began the formation lap.
        During the race itself, he struggled with reduced energy harvesting (as the problem wasn’t fixed), which in turn hurt his acceleration and consequently his ability to overtake cars that were otherwise well within his reach.
        The only sloppy bit was (imo) his collision with Vettel at the start of the last lap, when he had obviously become frustrated with being stuck behind Magnussen. Had that not happened, there wouldn’t have been anything to blame on him in the entire race.

        I don’t necessarily agree with his view, but it is true that you have to look hard to find the slightest mistake he might have made during the season. He is a class of his own when it comes to making no errors at all while pushing hard.

    3. And every year that is true :) Where would Ferrari be this year without Alonso? After Force India? He is outperforming Raikkonen even more that he was doing it to Massa. Ferrari is really struggling this year and only thing that is keeping them in the camera eye is Alonso.

  2. Would Alonso really go to Lotus after this season?

    I also don’t think this is his best season. I think his performance in 2012 was far more special. Well for those who read ‘Mark Webber’s dreamteam’, I can only agree he still remains the best all round single seater driver on the grid.

    1. Lewis and him are easily and by far the best drivers on the grid. They’re on an entirely different level from the rest. I wish they could have had a better relationship at McLaren back in 2007, at least for a few more years.

      1. SennaNmbr1 (@)
        6th November 2014, 17:40

        Lewis for me is an odd one. There’s Alonso, who is the best. Then there’s the likes of Rosberg, Kimi who are very good but not in Alonso’s league. Lewis fits between those two IMO.

        Bottas is one to watch though. his Q3 lap in Russia was the best qualifying lap I’ve seen all year.

        1. Ricciardo, anyone?

        2. Kimi’s dropped down a few levels in the past years for me. I loved him in Mclaren, he won in 2007 but the following year was immediately usurped by Massa. He had that great win in Melbourne in 2013, was consistent all that year but to be great I think you need consistency.

      2. @reiter For a Lewis fan it is impossible to admit Alonso is better. A standard reply to my kind of comments is, ‘yes, Alonso and Lewis’. I’m telling you no, Alonso, not Alonso AND Lewis. And don’t get me started on Why Vettel is at least equal if not better than Lewis.

        1. Meh, I think you are wrong, but I respect your opinion so lets leave it there.

        2. @xtwl And what makes your assertion that Alonso is so much better than Lewis any more credible that others’ belief that things are pretty equal between them? Lewis was a match for Alonso in his rookie year (yes, Alonso wasn’t used to the Bridgestones and nor was he that happy in the team, but surely that was offset by Lewis’ inexperience), and is a much better driver nowadays. We’ll never get a definitive answer on how they measure up to each other now, unless they wind up in the same team again, but I would estimate that they’re about even, and without doubt the best two drivers in the field at the moment, with perhaps Alonso just edging it.
          As for Vettel being the equal/better of Hamilton, we just don’t know, but the evidence suggests not. Hamilton has only been beaten once by a team mate, and the was during a torrid season of his (and, crucially, one where it was mistakes that cost him, not a lack of pace), whereas Vettel has been quite resoundingly beaten by Danny Ric and seems just inherently unable to keep up with him. I’d be interested to hear why it is you think he’s better, though? I don’t personally see how one could come to that conclusion.

          1. @heisenberg
            “As for Vettel being the equal/better of Hamilton, we just don’t know, but the evidence suggests not.”

            4 championships, 40+ poles, 35+ wins, 20+ more podium finishes, …

            “Hamilton has only been beaten once by a team mate, and the was during a torrid season of his (and, crucially, one where it was mistakes that cost him, not a lack of pace)”

            Same for this season with Vettel combined with horrid reliability but for Kimi is it’s perfectly fine to struggle…

            Everytime I go into these kind of discussions about Ham vs. Vet you always, and I really mean always, get the idea the Hamilton fan is just not objective on the matter. You already don’t like Vettel to begin with. How in hell is then ever possible to convince you Vettel is at least Hamilton his equal. Set aside all you think about his personality, or what he did in Malaysia for example. Look at the grip he had on F1 since 2009. Look how he mastered the regulations as Mercedes do now. Look how he won 9 races in a row, a feat never been done before.

            All the typical hate you want to carry against Vettel is easily transferrable to this season to Hamilton. Best car, average teammate (10-4 wins says it all), no real threat for the title, so for me those points don’t make any sense. In the end the championship is always won by the best car and then by one of two who drove it. And 2012 or 2010 weren’t even easy for Vettel, they were much more harder for him than ’14 is for Hamilton.

            Hamilton has been beaten by Button once, so Vettel has been beaten by Ricciardo once whilst a whole new set of regulations came in place which took away a huge part of the car which he mastered like none else. Nobody can have a perfect season after perfect season (except Alonso apparently).

            If a guy makes a four championship streak and you still don’t regard him better or equal over the entire skillset a F1 driver needs than one who will only become a two times champion for all the reasons you despise Vettel…

          2. @xtwl And a car that was for four years the best on the grid. Yes, his achievements during that period were extremely impressive, and he is definitely one of the best drivers on the grid, but given the general advantage he had it in no way conclusively makes him the better of Hamilton, just as Hamilton’s results this season in comparison to Vettel’s don’t prove he’s superior. We’ll never know until they find themselves in the same team.

            “Same for this season with Vettel combined with horrid reliability but for Kimi is it’s perfectly fine to struggle…”

            Why mention Kimi? I haven’t said anything about his struggles, and nor would I say it’s OK for him to struggle. He’s looked, by far, the least impressive World Champ this year, but then I’ve never been overly impressed with Kimi in recent years.

            “Everytime I go into these kind of discussions about Ham vs. Vet you always, and I really mean always, get the idea the Hamilton fan is just not objective on the matter. You already don’t like Vettel to begin with.”

            First of all, please don’t try to just dismiss my arguments by saying I’m not being objective, or that I don’t like Vettel. I do, actually. Yes, I got bored of his dominance in 2011 and 2013, because I don’t really support him, but I certainly don’t have anything against him. And unlike some, I don’t hold Malaysia 2013 against him (he demonstrated the sort of racer’s instinct that I admire in that instantce), so don’t make baseless assumptions that I do, simply to discredit my belief that he isn’t a better driver than Hamilton (how dare I disagree with someone whose opinion on the matter is clearly more informed than my own, right?).

            “All the typical hate you want to carry against Vettel is easily transferrable to this season to Hamilton.”

            Sorry, but did you bother to actually read my comment, or did you just assume what it would consist of. I never posted any “hate”, and nor did I discredit his success during his title-winning years, I simply stated that, IN MY OPINION (which I’m perfectly entitled to, is no less credible than yours or just a product of blind fanatacism), he is NOT quite on Hamilton’s level. By all means, disagree, but neither of us can be sure, so quit asserting your opinion on the matter like it’s a fact that everyone who disagrees with is blinkered to.

          3. @heisenberg I was talking in general not specifically about you but I agree I got carried away a little near the end. I didn’t want to present my opinion as a fact but what I wrote is still how I experience most discussions about the topic.

            It mainly was this sentence; “As for Vettel being the equal/better of Hamilton, we just don’t know, but the evidence suggests not.” bothered me as he clearly has the stats to prove it.

            Then there is always ‘he had the best car’, in ’12 for example he did not. In ’10 he wasn’t leading the championship going into the last round either. Why do we regard Schumacher, Senna, Prost, Clark, Fangio as the greatest while they did exactly the same in the best car but it is impossible to say it about Vettel. Why does Vettel ‘should go to another team’ to prove how good he is? So he can do the same Hamilton did and hop into a more dominant car and then because he is Vettel get boo’ed for doing it?

            My frustration, if you like, is not so much an opinion about who is the best of the two, because you are right it still stays an opinion, but the ease with which often people throw away Vettel like he doesn’t even belong among the top drivers.

            So “I’d be interested to hear why it is you think he’s better, though? I don’t personally see how one could come to that conclusion.” this kind of triggered me into the response I gave. Because for me there are plenty of reasons why Vettel is better/equal to Hamilton.

          4. @xtwl Well, that’s understandable, as I came across a bit strong there. But your earlier comment basically dismissing Hamilton’s talent in comparison to Alonso’s kind of bothered me in much the same way. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree!

            In ’12 he didn’t have the fastest car, no (that honour just about belongs to the McLaren), but probably had the the best overall package. It was generally faster than the bullet-proof reliable Ferrari and on quite a few occasions faster than the unreliable McLaren. In 2010, he definitely had the fastest car, and him not leading the championship until Abu Dhabi had little to do with how fast the car was, and more to do with unreliability mostly in the first half of the season, and mistakes in the latter half. So, I don’t think it’s inaccurate to say he had generally the best car over those four years.

            I’m not sure why he’s not held in quite as high regard as the other names you’ve mentioned. As I’ve said, I consider him one of the best, but definitely not THE best. I don’t think he’s had particularly strong competition in the same car, apart from in 2010 (where Webber’s experience levelled the playing field against Vettel’s then somewhat untempered talents), and this year, where he’s being beaten quite convincingly.

            I don’t agree that he had to move teams to prove himself (a 4X Champion having to prove himself is sort of ludicrous), so I’m with you on that one. In fact, I’m a little bit disappointed that he has, as I’d have liked to see him come back next year and reassert himself against Ric.

        3. Ham has won in whatever car he’s developed over the season. Vettel has been sorely exposed this year. His biggest achievement to date remains his Toro Rosso win at Monza in my opinion. And that WAS very impressive.

      3. There are new kids on the block.Notably RICCIARDO “THE NOSE” DANIEL.he is the real deal and with Alonso he ,they are the 2 that on a Sunday you should never discount on winning if there is a window or an opportunity.these 2 are the only ones.the others Hamilton needs many factors to win,car,wife,dog,jet etc.Rosberg?car and sky must be bright.button car must be right and day to0 etc etc but with Ricciardo and Alonso everyday good car bad car they will deliver the goods.And to be honest I do not like either one of them but they are sooo efficient.

    2. @xtw The strange thing about Alonso is that the word people most commonly describe him with, complete, isn’t really the case. He is extremely peaky in qualifying, either unbeatable or profoundly poor, but that never seems to matter because come the chequered flag you can guarantee he has scored every last point the car is capable of and having scraped every last once of performance from it. Because F1 is rightfully all about the race he is the perfect racing driver, a points vacuum, and unquestionably the best of his generation; I dearly hope he is remembered as thus. If we could rewind to the start of the 2014 season and replace Rosberg with Alonso, would Alonso cruise to the title, or would Hamilton’s better qualy pace give him a crucial advantage? Put it this way, if Nico finds Lewis difficult to keep behind in a race, he is fortunate he is not paired with Alonso.

      1. @countrygent For me there is no doubt whoever you put next to Alonso in the 2014 merc, he would not be champion at the end of the season. Who are we to say Alonso doesn’t have the qualy speed either. He has beaten Kimi with ease and Massa also didn’t really outqualified him that often. Both aren’t of the slowest on the grid.

        1. Alonso failed to beat a rookie in 2007, so this is not a foregone conclusion.

          1. Alonso has developed a lot more since then though.

          2. That has to be the most basic argument trotted out against Alonso and doesn’t take into account the extreme external factors present in 2007 or how much Alonso has developed as a driver in the last seven seasons. In other words it’s utter rubbish!

          3. @strontium As has Lewis Hamilton.

          4. @heisenberg I know, and agree, but my point was that not beating a rookie 7 years ago is not an accurate representation of how good Alonso is now.

          5. Yes, and in 2007 Raikkonen was champion. How time flies!

        2. @xtwl I can’t disagree with such a profound appraisal of the only racing driver that consistently leaves me open-mouthed, astounded. I think he is perhaps more prone to mistakes in qualy trim than Hamilton or Vettel, he for instance could have qualified P3 at Singapore had he put his best sectors together, but as you say, he still tends to humiliate his formerly well-regarded teammates in qualifying!

      2. Alonso seems to set his car up more for the race rather than qualifying. Which means he usually loses some places in qualifying, but he can make up those places during the race.

    3. With a lobotomy, sure he’ll go to Lotus or anywhere.

  3. Better than 2012? The screensaver on my PC is still a slow-mo replay of Alonso’s onboard camera as he overtook Grosjean around the outside of T2 at Valencia: that was more than two years ago! Oops, don’t tell FOM…

    1. I think 2012 was his best yet. He was unbelievable. He really deserved the title.

      1. Alonso got robbed of that title in 2012 in the last race :(

    2. PC? C’mon, it’s 2014!

      1. @melthom It is Windows 8.1! I’m too damn old for all these tablet and MacBook things; I know how to use a PC so I use a PC!

  4. Basic bs he spits out after each year at Ferrari. Yes, we know it’s not your fault you didn’t win WDC/WCC with them, enough with the repetition.

  5. How can you say “it’s my best year” every year? I’m sure he said so in 2010-11-12… annoying at least

    1. @lello4ever Well, it really does make sense doesn’t it? You can’t say ’16 is his best year as it hasn’t happend yet…

  6. Lewisham Milton
    6th November 2014, 18:05

    Of course it isn’t true – he paid $1.50.
    It’s a shame the entry list this week didn’t name the drivers and put an end to the silly-season silliness.

  7. Wow. No wonder Ferrari let him go away.

  8. Well, Alonso certainly does not need a PR training course! I guess Jonathan Noble recently said that Hulkenberg should take a leap out of Alonso’s book when it goes about self-promotion. That is not to say that Alonso is not one of the best drivers ever.

    As for the 2014 season, it probably does not like Alonso’s best season ever. On the other hand, there are so many things that we cannot know and I guess that a lot of F1 drivers either get angry or laugh when they read all the ratings and top 10s.

  9. I still maintain he’s by far the best driver in F1 today and he’s been on his own level for quite a while. He deserves more then 2 championships and I’m hoping he wins one before retiring.

    1. No one “deserves” a championship expect the driver with the most points at the end of a season. As for winning another championship, I am afraid that train has long left the station.

  10. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    6th November 2014, 19:42

    No, 2012 was.

    1. Exactly this

    2. Well in 2012 Ferrari at least made some improvements after few first races. This year it looks more like they’re going backwards.

      1. No Ferrari made no improvement, Alo won races at start they fell back in 2012.

  11. Im not his biggest fan, but i respect his qualities hugely. Somehow we should all be happy Ferrari isn’t the unbeatable force this year, because Alonso surely would have one EVERY race if that were the case. I hope wherever he goes, he will have a tough teammate next year.

  12. He said that because he is leaving Ferrari BUT his best year was 2012. But he still is THE BEST.

  13. Remember he is reportedly on the cusp of signing for another team (if he hasn’t done already, though even then the details could still be being ironed out). Not a bad time to be claiming you’re at the best level you’ve ever been at. Who of us would go into job interview saying we were at our best two years ago?

  14. Isn’t it Fernando himself downplaying the Ferrari every year, complaining how is was 1s slow, but was running P3 in quali for 5 years in a row now? He was nowhere in de Renault in 08-09, which wasn;t that bad of a car, just down on power.

    Yes Fernando has great racepace and tactics, but maybe it takes a complaining, perfectionist like Vettel to develop a fast car.

  15. If u think Alonso is the best driver, then u believed the lie. The say that a lie repeated 1000 times doesnt become the truth. Alonso is not the best driver, and he is not on the top drivers league. He is a good driver, but he always had lot of favours and a weak driver as teammate. Always his teammates with lot of disadvantages in team politics… When Hamilton was a debutant, he outclassed a 2 times world champion easily. On the first half of the year they were on equal results, but when the rookie got more experience with a f1 car, he make Alonso look like a mediocre driver and he lost his head. He couldnt accept that and run like a rat from a sunk boat. He become saying lot of trash things to save his reputation in f1. Then he buyed his seat and Ferrari and fired Raikkonen because he feared him. May be u should review his history and take a close look of his teammates. Why he kicked Kovalainen, Why he kicked Raikkonen, why he kicked trulli, why he chose piquet, why he chose villeneuve, why he chose grosjean, why he chose massa, why he mantained massa even if he wasnt getting any podium with ferrari? They repeated like cheap propaganda that he is the best driver, the best driver that lose an easy world championship in 2010 because of his pathetic ability to overtake cars and 2012 (with the help of all f1 politics) he sent the championships to trash with big mistakes in the decisive races. May be that lie has transform into the “truth” with the cheap propaganda. Its curious that he become the best driver with Ferrari… The best driver with the best car cannot win championships… Why he is the best? A driver that hasnt won a championship since his ultra dominant renault cars… He is the best driver, because Ferrari is the most popular team and the best at attracting attention, propaganda style he become the best. And ofc is clearly overrated. He is on the Rosberg, Webber, Button league, talent but not top league.

    1. Very difficult to understand this comment given the way it is written, but I’ll try my best.

      “If u think Alonso is the best driver, then u believed the lie.”
      I’m pretty sure we are all entitled to our own opinions about who is the best, so I don’t see what lie you are talking about.

      “he always had a weak driver as teammate”
      Kimi is not a weak driver by any standards. He won a championship, has had a race win in every season he has competed in since 2003, bar this one, and did a solid job for Lotus. Don’t forget this time last year everybody was saying what a close battle it will be between them, as Kimi was regarded as a good driver, and you yourself said he ‘kicked Raikkonen’ because he feared him as he is a good driver. The results now put into perspective just how good Alonso is.

      It’s the same with Massa. Massa was on roughly the same level as Kimi when they were teammates, and Alonso came in and destroyed Massa like he is doing with Kimi now, and Massa’s performances at Williams prove that Massa is not a bad driver. He may not be one of the best, but he is not horrendous.

      As for Hamilton and Alonso, they finished the year with equal points, not just the middle of the year, and, although I don’t know too much about what happened within McLaren in 2007, I think it had a lot more to do with Ron Dennis than Hamilton, so he left and rejoined Renault which is perfectly fine. Of course he may have had to do things to keep his reputation intact. Every driver has to do that, and don’t forget that this was 7 years ago, and Alonso has developed hugely since then into a much better and more mature driver.

      “2012 he sent the championships to trash with big mistakes in the decisive races”
      Sorry, what? He did absolutely everything possible to even get into a challenging position, never mind get that close at the end. Which big mistakes? That is a ridiculous claim.

      “Its curious that he become the best driver with Ferrari… The best driver with the best car”
      Er..? The best car?

      1. Excerpt from Maurice Hamilton’s recent interview with Jacques Villenueve:

        u did drive for Renault for three races at the end of 2004 before a couple of seasons with Sauber. How do those experiences stack up?

        JV: I had signed for Sauber for 2005 but persuaded them that going with Renault for three races would be a good experience, particularly as they were running Michelin and I was able to help persuade Michelin go to Sauber [who were on Bridgestone] for 2005 while, at the same time, learning about the tyre.

        It also allowed me to work with Fernando [Alonso], which was a very good experience. My engineer was Alan Permane and this, to me, was like working back in the day. In the space of three races, it was a new car; we changed everything. They gave me so much freedom and the fact that they believed what I was saying was a nice aspect.

        The way that group of people worked was amazing. I found Fernando to be a fantastic team-mate; super helpful. Even the times when I was ahead were not an issue.

        MH: If you got to know Fernando that well, you must have watched his move to McLaren with interest in 2007?

        JV: At McLaren, he got a bit of what I got when Jenson was brought into BAR. It was like they said to Fernando: “Lewis is our future; you’re just the world champion, so shut up.” Basically, they were using Alonso to build up Lewis; that’s what he didn’t like. So, he decided to bring the team down – and he was right.

        You don’t need to push the new guy that early; he’ll be right in three years. Just wait and let your world champion do what he has to do. I think that’s where McLaren were wrong. Fernando did the only thing he could do.

        1. fascinating

        2. Perfect.

      2. Alonso underperformed almost whole last quarter of the 2012 season and didn’t deserve to win the title. In Suzuka, he reduced his 29 point championship lead to 4 ponts just because he tried arrogantly to force Kimi off the track at the start of the race and had a puncture that led to his retirement. Alonso really knows how to lose big advantage in points in short period of time.

        1. “Alonso underperformed almost whole last quarter of the 2012 season and didn’t deserve to win the title.”
          That’s definitely not the impression I had. He drove very well, pulling 100% out of his car, and kept a very cool head in that time.

          “he tried arrogantly to force Kimi off the track at the start of the race”
          It wasn’t an arrogant attempt at anything. It was a simple bit of unfortunate contact – not unusual at Suzuka’s first corner – which could have easily happened to anybody.

  16. Where ever Alonso ends up for next year will define his career and his legacy. If the car isn’t good then he will be the guy who had all the talent, but others are more successful in terms of race wins and the like. Because at the end of the day he can’t be the best forever. The new guys like Bottas and Riccardo will challenge him, not to mention Hamilton and Vettel.

  17. I think Lewis was the best driver in 2012, he was virtually perfect, and if you tot up the points he lost to non-driving issues it’s enough to have made him wdc. Generally I don’t see an objective basis for separating him and Nando though. I’d put Hamilton in ‘my car’, but they both race with fantastic intensity. Alonso has had a great year against Kimi, but with an understeery car, as he had in 2005/6, which has flattered him I think.

    Now they both have 32 wins, and hopefully are about to be both 2x wdc. Very apt IMO.

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