Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Shanghai International Circuit, 2015

Alonso not surprised by Ferrari turnaround

2015 Spanish Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Shanghai International Circuit, 2015Fernando Alonso says he is not surprised by Ferrari’s strong start to the season despite having left the team at the end of last year.

Alonso, who is yet to score a point having returned to McLaren this year, said the gains Ferrari made over the winter have been flattered by other front-running teams failing to make progress.

The two-times champion said he was “not so surprised” that Ferrari had been the closest threat to Mercedes so far.

“We had a tough year 2014 but we were third and fourth in the championship until five races to go. Now I think they are second and fourth.

“So they made a step forward, a little step forward, and in performance it looks more because I think also Williams, Red Bull a little bit under performing right now.

“It’s interesting and it’s good for the championship to have not only Mercedes domination and hopefully they can keep improving even more.”

Despite McLaren’s troubled start to 2015 with new engine supplier Honda, Alonso believes they “have the potential to fight with the top teams in future”.

“I think the car has the potential to perform at the top level,” he said.

“Obviously we have a very complex package with the power unit and the philosophy of the car.

“With the new entries recently, with Peter Prodromou and other staff in the team which changed a little bit the mentality and philosophy of designing the car so I think at this time we are right now putting all the pieces together and have a good package hopefully in the future, even if we have to sacrifice some months now.”

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Keith Collantine
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37 comments on “Alonso not surprised by Ferrari turnaround”

  1. Fernando Alonso says he is not surprised by Ferrari’s strong start to the season despite having left the team at the end of last year.

    I love the man but yeah right…

    He left for one reason, he did not expect them to win anything and saw his chances of winning higher at McLaren.

    1. I think it’s a bit presumptuous to say so knowingly that is the one reason he left. His first quoted paragraph raises a very good point.

      1. @skipgamer actually his first quoted paragraph has me puzzled immensely.

        We had a tough year 2014 but we were third and fourth in the championship until five races to go. Now I think they are second and fourth.

        I don’t think he was ever third in the championship – after the Singapore GP (with five races to go) Alonso was fourth and Raikkonen wasn’t even in the top 10 as far as I know.

        The haven’t made “a little step forward”, they’ve made a huge step forward. And Williams isn’t underperforming in relation to last year – it’s Ferrari that makes it look that way.

        Red Bull though, they have dropped down the order.

    2. Contrary to you, I’m no alonso lover. But he’s saying he’s not surprised they got a strong start considering the other top contenders got a poor start. He’s also said before that as long as Ferrari doesn’t beat Mercedes he made the right choice. He’s betting McLaren has a bigger chance in the long run. If he is right only time will tell. I think it is way too early to say for sure.

      1. Ferrari have close on Mercedes as well as the teams who’ve had a poor start, which is really only Red Bull. Williams have stood still and McLaren were always going to be out of contention at this stage realistically.

    3. @PorscheF1, I think that there is more to Alonso leaving than purely Alonso believing that Ferrari would not turn themselves around so quickly.

      Relations between Alonso and the senior management at Ferrari had already been cool for some time before he made the decision to leave, and working in an environment where most people would be unwilling to co-operate with you would be somewhat difficult.
      It’s been suggested this was in part because Marchionne seems to have seen Alonso as being too closely aligned with Domenicali and Montezemolo, and therefore not fitting the new corporate image of Ferrari that he wanted to project.

      When Motorsport magazine reported on the negotiations, they claimed that Ferrari repeated the same tactics with Alonso that they did with Surtees – which was to pick a team manager (Dragoni then and Mattiacci now) with the sole purpose of deliberately provoking that driver into leaving in order to hire a more pliable driver. Make of that what you will, but at the very least it suggests that there may have been additional competing reasons for Alonso to leave.

      1. I have never heard of this thing with Surtees, I will look into it! But it makes a lot of sense. It fills some gaps. Because you feel like not only Ferrari wanted Alonso to go, but also Alonso himself wanted to go. Though both say the other was the problem and they didn’t want to continue the relationship, their statements are not totally in opposition. There are some things fitting but also some problems with the narrative. I always felt like the whole point of Mattiacci was to really get rid of people. Then even get rid of Mattiacci by blaming him for getting rid of people. Now that you say there is a precedence, it may not be a story I have come up with. Interesting.

    4. Lots of people talk about Nando wanting to leave Ferrari. Surely a significant factor prompting Nando wanting to leave Ferrari was the fact that Ferrari no longer wanted him? ie he was pushed out just as much as he wanted to leave.

      The fact that Ferrari had already engaged with Seb sometime in the middle of 2014 proved Nando was right… add the rejection to the actual gap in performance… and leaving was the only option. McLaren was his best bet in a top team, even if they are early in their car development.

  2. If he is not surprised he made one of the worst driver moves in history.

  3. It’s really surprising to see so many people shocked by the resurgence of Ferrari!With all the money and pedigree they’ve got it would have rather been more shocking if they DIDN’T come back this year isn’t it?Unless people really thought Williams or Red bull were gonna mount the challenge this year lol!With the change in regulations only a full works team was going to challenge Merc for the win and Alonso knows that perfectly;Red bull might be the de facto Renault team but they don’t have an automotive pedigree like McLaren so I think he made the right choice…Next year it will be Marc,Ferrari and McLaren Honda fighting it out with Red bull and Williams picking up the crumbs!Wish he stayed with Ferrari but given that he needed change he went to the right place

  4. Nando is only wrong if Ferrari actually catch up. At this point in time they haven’t, and McLaren-Honda haven’t failed either.

    We saw how strong and how important Alonso’s mind-management is, in 2007, so I don’t begrudge him this now. I just hope Honda is going to start performing; and if little old Ferrari can do it surely Honda should be able to, plus a bit.

    1. and if little old Ferrari can do it surely Honda should be able to, plus a bit.

      Why plus a bit though? Ferrari has had more succes in the past and they have a far bigger budget. Not to mention a lot more experience with the new engines.

      1. Ferrari team have a big budget for an F1 team, but the engine department is only some fraction of that. Honda is a vastly bigger organisation and Arai has been talking about a change of culture which has probably been the big problem. So who knows, but let’s see. I’m not counting Alonso’s career over just yet.

  5. I for one think he made the right move. Fernando needed a new challenge as did Lewis when he left Mclaren and Seb when he left Redbull.
    He knew what he was getting into and the only reason it seems a bad move is because the same people who hyped the Mclaren-Honda reunion before the car turned a wheel are the same people castigating him now.
    Despite what many people may want you to believe the car is making progress

    1. I think Vettel made the right move.

      Just my opinion though.

      1. Yeh, staying in a team as number two driver aint a good career move so ofc. Vettel made the right choice.

        1. *Staying in a declining team with horrendous reliability that he won the championship for.

        2. Yeh rite, that team had never won a single race in F1 before Vettel joined them and now they haven’t won a single F1 race since he left them.

          1. Webber and Ricciardo both won races whilst Vettel was there yeah?

          2. @tonybananas I think Denis 68 was talking about Vettel’s stint at Torro Rosso

          3. My mistake, read his comment again. He indeed is talking about RBR, but he is trying to say that since Vettel left the team i.e. in these 4 races of 2015, RBR have not won any race…as they did not win before he arrived at RBR. He is not implying that Webber and Ricciardo did not win…

          4. Senna or Fangio would not have won a race for RBR in 2015 so it’s a meaningless statement

  6. Simon (@weeniebeenie)
    7th May 2015, 17:23

    I think some people are not really following what he means. Just because he isn’t surprised it HAS happened, doesn’t necessarily mean he thought it WOULD happen. There is a difference. It’s possible to not be surprised at something happening whilst also doubting it will happen.

    I don’t think Rosberg will win the title this season but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did, for example.

  7. What Alonso is saying makes sense, I guess he was expecting Ferrari would be closer to Mercedes this year, and they are, but given how Williams and Red Bull failed to improve that much (if they improved at all), it makes Ferrari’s progress seem even more impressive.

    Of course what remains to be seen is how closer they can get to Mercedes and if they can get more wins. There is little doubt in my mind though that Alonso, despite what he says, would rather drive a Ferrari this year. And his comments that he went to McLaren to have a chance for another title might be good for PR, but there is close to nothing to suggest that McLaren is more probable to challenge for a championship than Ferrari in the next few years, especially if you compare titles and runner’s up since 2000.

  8. Well, I for one am not surprised that Alonso dismiss everything except he own mirror. According to the Samurai, Ferrari made “a little step forward” because other teams are “a bit underperforming”.
    Just…. wow

  9. I am not so sure about Honda? They failed to deliver before in F1, and they spent a fortune to boot! So as someone mentioned earlier ‘time will tell’.
    However one has to ask whether Fernando jumped or was pushed
    concerning Ferrari? Maybe years from now Alonso will have it all in his autobiography, warts and all.

    1. Imho, he was pushed, when luca was ousted he lost a staunch supporter and found himself on the out, only to be replaced by his most favourite driver, one seb v😊

      its also funny how his sentiments echo Lucas statements re Ferrari.

    2. I think a lot of the criticism has been unfair. Ok, I’m a McLaren fan, and proudly wear my team’s kit when I go to my one race a year (Melbourne). But Honda make great engines, and are the biggest engine manufacturer in the world. Everything from 2-stroke outboards to F1 v6-Turbos. They were just not that good at building the chassis and running a team. Except when it was Honda development and design that created the championship winning Brawn. Honda is already doing far better than Renault. They haven’t even turned the engines up. Besides, I recall a certain engine partnership in the late ’80s early ’90s that did alright…. McLaren and Honda will be fine. They just need time. McLaren made a huge mistake in 2012 by ditching the fastest car on the grid to redevelop from scratch, and got a bad one in ’13, costing the top managers their jobs. They also made the Honda deal, so in ’14 Mercedes were not helping McLaren at all, leaving them to do what they could with a brand new type of engine and no assistance. That was crippling. Now in ’15 they just need to find their rhythm and iron out their problems. You can tell already there is dormant potential in both the PU and the chassis. I just find it ironic that McLaren is now with Honda because Mercedes ditched them to have their own team by buying Brawn, which was Honda. F1, you crazy little thing.

  10. Mercedes will win the championship with ease again this year not Ferrari meaning that Alonso’s move is still a good one because he wasn’t gonna overturn a 0.700 sec deficit even if he was at Ferrari for me he’s better of at McLaren Honda .

  11. Did anyone really expected that Alonso will say he IS surprised from Ferrari resurgence this year? If he would have said so, he would have looked like a fool who made a wrong decision. Ofcourse he will say he isnt surprised and despite having an idea of what Ferrari had for this year, he chose Mclaren-Honda.

    The man made a decision, let him stick to it. Why constantly asking about “surprise factor” or does he regret his decision etc etc.
    I don’t know why that reporter was naive enough to ask such question.

    Another silly question was when another reporter asked all drivers to define themselves in 3 words. Really!! Where is this journalism going towards?

    1. @mjf1fan I agree with those comments.

      Alonso’s already said that finishing 2nd in his 6th year with Ferrari wasnt going to be good enough. Funny how its good enough for Vettel now that he’s there.

      1. The age factor comes into play. Vettel have lot more time left in his career than Alonso, so even 2nd place in Championship is good enough for him, considering where Ferrari were last year and even Vettel himself. For him, its like a new chapter in his life, so he is happy taking it the easy way, but im sure if opportunity arises, he will be there to grab it. @tomcat173

      2. Funny how its good enough for Vettel now that he’s there.

        @tomcat173

        After winning 4 WDCs by the tender age of 26, and with plenty of years left in the sport, Vettel can be happy and relaxed with a couple of seasons playing underdog.

        Alonso has been playing underdog for the last 6 or 7 seasons, so, he much rather finally get a shot with a championship winning car.

        Ferrari was at best going to finish #2 this season, and Alonso left because he felt that Ferrari would always be fighting for #2 for many more seasons to come. He felt they just didn’t have what it takes to be a #1 team anytime soon.

        With Mclaren it was a risk – a do or die move. So, it was basically weighing up a team that would give him race wins but never a WDC, or a team that might fail miserably or just land him a WDC by some stroke of genius.

        Up until Ferrari actually jumps Mercedes, we shouldn’t really comment on this subject. For all you know Alonso could be spot on with his prediction. Mclaren was always a risk, and currently it doesn’t look like it’s paying off.

        Hindsight always has 20/20 vision. Unfortunately, none of us have it. All we can do is criticise post events

  12. He says mostly the same things Montezemolo said. Actually the only difference is how his departure from the team went down.

  13. I don’t understand all this speculation whether Alonso knew or not about Ferrari’s performance lift. To me it’s clear that Alonso bringing his 0,6 sec advantage would now be leading the championship by a fair margin.

    After all, he is the most complete driver on the grid.

    1. I hope you are being sarcastic in your response regarding the advantage Alonso brings to the car. But if you are not, then we should all reconsider our opinion regarding Button. That bloke has outqualified Alonso twice in the races they have competed in together, which would imply that if Alonso is bringing his usual 6 tenths to car, Button is bringing more than him. And we all know Button isnt known for his qualifying speed.

      So the myth ” alonso bring 6 tenths or whatever to car” is bursted by Button.

  14. The thing is simple, he wanted more money and Ferrari didnt gave him. Ferrari contact Vettel and fired him. He went to the place where more money could get. Now he is excusing himself one time more that he went to McLaren to win races and be the best in the world and bla bla bla, his usual trash-talking. If u want to think in other reasons why he make the move, u are being cheated, the truth was only money and because Ferrari got tired of him and contact Vettel.
    This guy is so egocentric he thinks its the smartest, he knew all that Ferrari will be challenging Mercedes, that McLaren will be the last, that they will challenge top cars in future (like he said to spanish press), that bla bla bla. Trash-talking, he is not the smartest, and is far from that. And he doesnt know who to develop a car and make it a winning car. He demonstrated in Ferrari and all this years what he lacks, lacks of lot of things i wont repeat again. So he can promote himself to the new Einstein, the new Senna, the new Ali, and the new pioner in all he wants, but, he is trash. Thats why he is so hated in Spain.

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