Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Suzuka, 2015

Suzuka wasn’t first radio outburst – Alonso

2015 Japanese Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso admitted his radio outburst about Honda’s engines during the Japanese Grand Prix was not his first this year.

Alonso complained on the radio he was “caught on the straight like a GP2 [car]” during the race. “This is embarrassing, very embarrassing,” he added.

Asked about the radio messages during today’s FIA press conference in Sochi Alonso said he had made similar comments earlier in the season which Formula One Management had not broadcast.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Suzuka, 2015
“If you hear all the radio you’ll be even more surprised”
“I’m happy that it was only broadcast in Suzuka,” he said, “because if you hear all the races, all the radio messages – from me or from Jenson or from whatever – you will be even more surprised.”

The McLaren driver repeated his belief that radio messages between drivers and their teams should not be broadcast.

“We’ve been all season very positive about the team and about the car,” he said. “We faced some difficult times, some tough times, all the team. What you talk on the radio should remain private because you are talking with your team not publicly.”

“I think publicly, as I said, we’ve been very, very positive all the time and sometimes it’s normal and understandable, talking to the team, the level of frustration, the level of commitment that I have racing and Jenson has racing as well.”

“When you are battling and you cannot hold anyone behind and you are losing positions it’s normal. But as I said this is a very unique sport that we have a microphone in our helmet and it goes live on television. Imagine in NBA or football players or something like that what we can found. But this is normal and as I said it’s just talking to the team, understandable the frustration in the car.”

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Suzuka, 2015
Alonso rejected claims he might leave McLaren early
Alonso revealed he had made his views about Honda’s engine programme clear in a meetings with their executives before the race.

“The most important thing about the Suzuka weekend was on Wednesday when I visited Sakura factory and I saw the engine programme for next year,” he explained. “We had very long meetings, we went through all the difficulties that we are facing right now, all the possible solutions we want for next year.”

“So that was the most important part of the weekend and the message that I think were important in the weekend those were very, very clear. Much more clear than on Sunday.”

Last week Alonso took to Twitter to reject speculation he might leave McLaren early. Asked today if he will remain with the team in 2016 he replied: “and ’17…”

2015 Japanese Grand Prix

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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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37 comments on “Suzuka wasn’t first radio outburst – Alonso”

  1. That was funny.

    I bet it helped that the drivers were in the meetings in Japan. It’s weird but true how much difference something like that makes.

  2. Alonso was also meant to be with McLaren in 2008 and 2009. And as @girts said on Twitter, he was also meant to end his career with Ferrari. So I’m not going to read too much into his comments about staying at McLaren for 2016 and 2017.

    1. Maybe we can believe it as soon as he shouts it out over team radio @craig-o, because he made it perfectly clear that outside of the car we get the “media face” saying only the right things, but for his real opinion we apparently have to listen to these “private” radio messages.

      I doubt even he himself believes that though

    2. It is actually quite interesting to review F1 Fanatic articles that contain Alonso’s comments on Ferrari during his final two years there. Here are some that I found:

      10th April 2013: “Asked during a fans Q&A session if he would finish his career with the team Alonso said: “Yes, that’s what I’m going to do.””

      5th September 2013: “I still have three-and-a-half more years with Ferrari which I intend to respect and hopefully to increase a little bit and, as I say, try to finish my career with the best team in the world, which is Ferrari.”

      3rd September 2014: “It’s a year now that I’ve been saying I want to stay at Ferrari and extend my contract. That’s my wish, I repeat it every two weeks, at the end of every race.”

      18th September 2014: “It’s sad when these [Vettel] rumours are created in Italy […] It’s a shame as it’s not helping Ferrari […] it’s not clear to me what is the purpose of these rumours coming from Italy.”

      1. So if the implication here is that FA perhaps says one thing and then does another, let’s not forget this is just year one for him at McHonda and give him the benefit of the doubt for appreciating that. He knew the move had it’s risks but had had it at Ferrari. If they’re still this ’embarrassing’ after 16, and then again in 17 with it’s changes, and FA still says he’ll stay the course, then perhaps I won’t believe him. For now I believe he will be at Mac for 2 more years at least. Besides, he’ll likely not be able to go back to Ferrari any time soon, and LH is at Merc for the foreseeable future and I doubt they would take on FA alongside him, so where would he go? He may not just want to stay at McHonda…he may have to…or retire.

  3. It seems to be clear from Alonso’s point of view that he thinks the McLaren chassis is great, and it’s entirely Honda’s that is at fault for their struggles this year.

    1. It’s not just the engine though. Quite often it’s McLaren’s inability to properly put the car together too. Like when he was pushing his car back to the garage in Spain after a battery connector had come loose.

      But yes, when the car is actually running the chassis doesn’t seem that bad.

      1. Well, that could actually be an engine (as the whole PU package) design problem.

        Connectors that are both safe, keep good conduction and can’t be shaken loose are actually not easy to design at all, especially at those currents. Even more so if you also need it to be easy to know if it is properly seated.

    2. I doubt we can say much of the chassis as it is not really tested much so far.

      We don’t know how the chassis behaves in dirty air (as the engine is too slow to follow other cars). We don’t know how the chassis behaves in high speed corners (as the engine is too slow to take the high speed corners at high speed).

      In my opinion, the flaws (or strengths) of the chassis are being hidden by the engine currently.

  4. FIA should either broadcast all radio messages or none at all

    1. Broadcasting all would be impractical & a large chunk of the radio messages aren’t really worth broadcasting anyway.

      The stuff thats played on the world-feed tends to be bits of the most relevant, most interesting or more amusing bits with extended clips & a lot more stuff in general played out on the pit lane channel.

    2. @egorov I would say that either FOM should broadcast all the messages or FIA should ban team radio altogether, as @andae23 has suggested. I think that making team radio private is the last thing F1 needs at the moment as it would only make our sport less entertaining and less comprehensible to fans.

      1. @girts That’s been a while! Still agree with that though, silencing radio is much worse than either broadcasting everything or banning team radio imo.

    3. Then the race would just be none stop radio but probably better then Croft commentary on Sky.

      Why should radio be silent from the public it is the public that want to hear it and if there was no public interest there would be no F1? It’s impractical to broadcast all radio messages live but maybe all conversations should be available after the race or are they already?

    4. @egorov And people would complain about hearing radio transmissions instead of the race….. (OK you’re probably thinking radio on-demand streaming but there’s no way Bernie’s going to let that take place :)

      1. Just leave it as it is. Broadcasting the highlights is great, if you dont broadcast any of the radio messages then there wont be any more: “Fernando is faster than you”, “Leave me alone i know what i am doing”, etc.

  5. Looks like Alonso is feeling Vandoorne’s breathing on his neck.

  6. So I guess this is Alonso saying he was sorry for his outburst. Ah well.

    He makes a good point though and so does Button in the article Keith refers to above. Still I hope we keep access to most messages because it’s interesting to hear/read them.

    I’d like it much better if people weren’t so overly PC all the time. you don’t have to drag someone through the mud like Red Bull does, but Alonso should be able to explain that he’s doing his best and is up against it because the machine doesn’t perform like others.

    Although he also should realize that unless he drives a dominating car, it will always happen that faster cars end up behind him after pitstops and will then be able to easily overtake him. No reason to always cry about it to the team. Just be happy that you were ahead of them for a while :)

    1. Stoked the fire a bit though?

      He of course will not even slightly insinuate he might not see out his contract as he could be proven to have constructively aided in getting fired, cannot help but feel he is starting his 2007 and more recently Ferrari antics. Massa said Alonso 1st mooted leaving Ferrari in 2011 or 2012, he will not see it out in my opinion he is from the Red Bull school of loyalty.

  7. If any driver would say these things outside of being caught saying naughty things over team radio, maybe the FIA or FOM would take the call seriously.

  8. In other words pretty normal and understandable heat of the moment type stuff that FOM can’t resist airing for the ratings and the controversy and conversation it brings. Part of F1 and the way it promotes itself.

    I believe FA will be with Mac through 2017 because this is only year one and I think we all knew there were just as good odds they’d struggle in this their first year together with Honda with this new complex pu, rather than simply shoot their way to the top immediately, even though some predicted that or expected it.

    Just as FA rightly said all along that unless Ferrari were going to win Seb or Kimi a WDC this year then it wasn’t a mistake to leave them, also did anybody really think McHonda was going to beat Merc this year? So FA chocks this season up to year one of the learning curve (just likely wasn’t expecting it to still be embarrassing at this stage of the season) and they look forward to next year being way better. And 17 perhaps being a zeroing of the scales again.

    1. The spin on Alonso’s comments saying if Ferrari do not win this year he made the right decision is equalled only by McLarens PR department. It’s a bit like saying if I do not win the race I would rather come 15th rather than 3rd. All he has done is gone to a team even further away from challenging Merc and what might have taken him a few more years at Ferrari to achieve may take 5 years at McLaren at which point he will most likely have retired. He had no choice but to take the only seat available to him after he flirted with Merc and Red Bull and did not get into either so Ferrari did not want him anymore. Talking like this is effectively painting something brown gold, Fernando it is still the brown stuff.

      1. Ferrari did not want him anymore

        Could you please substantiate this a little bit more? I have not seen this explained anywhere. Do you mean that it was Ferrari who terminated the contract? Can you point to any public declaration by Ferrari? Or do you have some inside knowledge?

        1. Caught red handed. No inside knowledge. Sorry. I will clarify my statement as a personal opinion on my reading of the situation. Alonso had been pulled up for comments about the team and historically Ferrari do not take kindly to this, firing Prost when at the time the only comparable driver was Senna.

          Also 12 months ago I could not believe he thought McLaren was a better option after Honda’s last appalling effort with V8’s knowin these V6 ‘s are much harder to get right coupled with McLarens poor form at designing cars and not winning a constructors title for 17 years at the time he signed. The facts pointed to McLaren being a very bad choice so it must have been his 3rd choice after trying Merc and Redbull thinking at worse he would stick with Ferrari only to be forced into going to McLaren. There were rumours a week or so ago although they may well not be true he had been sniffing round RedBull again.

  9. Is Alonso maneuvering for a possible third Mercedes seat?

    Neale said in a recent press conference he wouldn’t want to keep a driver who didn’t want to be there which everyone took to mean Button, but as that turned out not to be the case maybe he really meant Alonso?

  10. Hahaha!
    At least Nando was VERY politically correct during his outbursts – I recall Prost back 1991 famous quote about Ferrari 643: “a truck would be easier to drive than this car”/
    O tempora, o moris!

  11. Funny how this whole brouhaha is still going on. The concept is fairly simple, team radio may be broadcast publicly. Things said in actual private situations (not over the radio) with the team will not be broadcast over team radio in a race. Don’t say anything over team radio if you do not wish for the public to hear it.

    An understandable exception would be a rather uncontrollable response like an expletive if someone crashes into you or makes a very dangerous move. Sometimes expletives can pop out as an immediate reaction, like a reflex. Deciding to throw in the phrase “GP2” would not seem to qualify as a reflexive reaction. On a straight where competitors have been passing you all race at will this would be more of a cumulative, building, frustrating experience, not a pure reflex exclamation. Unless of course one simply cannot control themselves, but that seems doubtful in this case.

    And, no, team radio should not be made private. If it were, one can imagine the wild conspiracy theories abounding of what “they” could be saying on team radio!

    1. Team radio doesn’t capture any reflex, since it presumably requires the conscious action of pressing the radio button before anything is transmitted. Reflex expletives presumably remain private within the drive’s helmet!

      1. Good point @jerseyf1 – although sometimes drivers do cut loose even after the reflex. Probably a good thing if we don’t hear the original outburst.

  12. I am with Alonso, for certain comments – where it is at moments of
    “High Emotions” it should not be broadcast. we are talking basic human “psychology”. Alonso in the past week has said he will see out his contract in 2016 AND 2017, he is commited to McLaren-Honda. and in every respect he is perfectly entitled and should be free to vent his frustrastions when things are not going good… that is very HUMAN – what else should he do??? close in his emotions and disable himself as a human being???? Latin people are good at showing their emotions. nothing wrong with it – others should learn from this to get over their difficulties in life.

  13. Honestly, now that I’ve got some time to think about it, I think Fernando Alonso’s reaction/behaviour towards the team is embarrassing. I guess I am not alone in this.

    I mean, yes he is a very talented driver and for sure he had to work hard/drive in the best way he could to attain his status as one of the world’s best racercar drivers.

    But come on mr. Alonso, you get paid a hefty wage, get the privilige to drive in a top class racing league and drive for a team that has the capability to deliver (but true, has to find its way again). There are so many racecar drivers that would love to be in the seat you are.

    And yeah, I know you want to win races, be in a competitive car and so on, but that doesn’t have to happen overnight. These are testing times, meant to seperate persevering world class heroes from good racecar drivers. I bet you’d want to be that hero.

    Just stop embarrassing yourself and Team McLaren with your outbursts. I mean, once, okay, but bragging about it that you’ve done it multiple times?! Man, you’re acting like a spoiled teenage child! Stop whining.

    Grow up Fernando, give more constructive feedback to your team colleagues, try to be the wily old fox again. Try to enjoy yourself in Formula One, even in the hard times. You might wanna talk to Romain Grosjean about how he handled it…

    It would be such a loss for F1 to lose you, because you were unhappy.

    So good luck mister, I know you can do this!

    P.S. Wouldn’t it be great Fernando, even the thought of it only, to come from the back of the field and rise to the front together with the team one day.

    1. +1
      Well said.

  14. Alonso needs to get out of the Mclaren contract now. ASAP. Trouble is there is nowhere else to go which is a shame. F1 is poorer without Alonso fighting at the front.

    1. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend – Sounds like the same thing folks were saying this time last year about his Ferrari contract.

  15. Imagine in NBA or football players or something like that what we can found.

    The NBA does put microphones on select players and coaches from time to time, but it’s not a constant as with F1, and the broadcast directors certainly work to avoid airing impolite language. By and large it’s a useless gimmick, because they wait until a timeout to air a “package” of clips, mostly of players uttering inanity or just encouraging their teammates.

    @robbie is spot on: this is just part of the way F1 markets itself.

  16. Far from making the messages private, I think F1 should step up its interaction with the fans and open a radio message channel whereby fans have a choice as to which team and or driver they listen to. I would be happy to pay a few quid extra as we already do for some services to listen in on my favourite team. Quite a few sports are going this way, so come on F1 go for it.

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