Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Alonso, Rosberg and Ferrari criticise qualifying plan

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: The plan to introduce a new ‘elimination’ qualifying system this year may be reconsidered following criticism from Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne.

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Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost believes the team can get a podium finish this year. Here’s an assessment of their chances:

I guess it’s possible, but it’s going to take some luck and/or mixed conditions to do so. Also they are going to have to do it within the first six races or so since they are stuck with last year’s power unit, while the other teams will be developing (or receiving) their engines throughout the season.

We will know more after the second test, but it’s hard to believe any car other than a Mercedes or Ferrari will be on the podium this year.

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Keith Collantine
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  • 39 comments on “Alonso, Rosberg and Ferrari criticise qualifying plan”

    1. I have a feeling this new qualifying format won’t end up happening. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of support for it from the teams, and there are logistical problems around timing systems etc which would make it very hard to implement in any decent sort of way. Nobody seems to think there’s much of a problem with the current format anyway so the justification is very flimsy – Bernie thinks it’ll mix up the grid a bit. Maybe for those at the back, but I can’t see any reason why teams like Mercedes would ever find themselves close to being eliminated. If anything it’ll further penalise those down the grid.

      I’m not saying you couldn’t improve qualifying, but this doesn’t seem like a good solution at all.

      1. It seems to me that Bernie does not want this system, and now several teams/drivers have mentioned their dislike so it might end up in the scrapheap of “agreed” but never realized changes in F1 @mazdachris

        1. @bascb That’s a heck of an over-full dustbin isn’t it.

          I’m trying to follow Ecclestone’s reasoning for acting the way he has over the past couple of years. There has always been this perception (perhaps flatteeringly so) that Ecclestone is this sort of Machiavellian puppet master, whose every word is calculated to elicit a carefully controlled response. I can understand it when he talks about, for instance, Monza not necessarily being that important. Because clearly he wants them to cough up, and the best way to do that is by making it clear that their position isn’t guaranteed. I understand that.

          But this constant badmouthing of the sport, what’s the story there? He’s the commercial rights holder; logically he should be championing the sport and trying to drum up interest. So why would he go around saying things which any person with half a brain would see as hugely damaging to the perception of the sport? The only thing I can think, and this is a real leap of tinfoil-hattery, is that he wants CVC to pull out so that he can broker a deal with a new owner. In that case, it makes sense that he describes it as a bad product, because it’ll make CVC more likely to want to cut and run, and could potentially drive the sale price down for the new owners, who have already said they would want to keep him on.

          So is that it, is the whole thing an elaborate ploy to retain control under new owners while netting a nice little packet in the process? That’s the sort of manipulation Darth Sidious would be proud of.

          1. He has the goal of never quite getting any sale through, because it would risk his position and then he is targetting to make sure that no further car manufacturers join because they might team up with the likes of Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari and form one formidable foe in the struggle for control and money @mazdachris.

          2. Yes, more on the lines of latter half of @bascb‘s reply. Joe saward captures/explains it exceptionally well here: https://joesaward.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/rational-irrationality-in-f1/

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        2nd March 2016, 17:18

        I guess it will happen – @mazdachris, @bascb – from Melbourne!
        It was good as it was, and still don’t understand why it needs to be changed to this musical chairs elimination.
        The good is that they limit it to Q1 and Q2
        The bad part is that we will now have 7 cars eliminated in each Q1 and Q2 (I would have kept it at 6 each as per the current sporting regulations).

    2. Interesting to see Magnussen give a realistic view of the Renault and where they are at instead of claiming they are going for a 5th in the championship or even podiums etc.

      1. @bascb I appreciate that more than having big dreams of which all know they are unrealistic.

        1. exactly @xtwl, great to finally see a realistic answer to where a team is at.

          1. @bascb Looking at you Alonso and Button!

            1. Alonso and STR on the podium soon :-)

    3. ColdFly F1 (@)
      2nd March 2016, 8:56

      “I’ve closed my ears () to have a conversation”

      1. makes you wonder how he does sign language, what with his hands covering his ears, eh

      2. RaceProUK (@)
        2nd March 2016, 16:24


    4. Nice to see some effort being being made by COTA promoters to see that F1 continues to race at the venue. It would be such a shame to loose the track seeing how beautiful the track is and how good (apart from 2015) the races have been.

      On a different topic, the title of that article regarding Alonso’s claim seems to be ‘Merceses proposed an exchange of Hamilton for me to Ferrari’.

      If such a deal was indeed initiated by Mercedes in the middle of 2014, then I find it quite interesting and strange they wanted to dump Hamilton after the guy had only completed one season with them. What could have prompted such?

      1. The translation is not entirely correct. I haven’t heard the audio, but there is not such a claim in the transcription. The journalist asks “Was there an offer to make an exchange Hamilton-Alonso?” and Alonso answers “Yes, there was such an offer. But Ferrari didn’t want to accept it at the time, we were in the middle of negotiating renewing my contract until 2019, in the end Ferrari’s offer didn’t convince me and I left to McLaren Honda. I don’t know if Hamilton knew (about the whole thing)”. So it’s not clear whether it was Mercedes or Alonso who triggered the offer.

        To be fair, I can’t see why would Mercedes want to change Hamilton for anyone else. He’s clearly one of the bests. Actually, as per Alonso’s words in the interview “The best one is the winner, and right now it’s Hamilton, the winner and the favourite”. He also points to RedBull drivers for the future.

        1. “The best one is the winner, and right now it’s Hamilton, the winner and the favourite”. – Quite an honest statement from Fernando Alonso.

          I guess he is right.
          Great car and team or not:
          MS was the best driver of them all for the entire 7 years he won the championship.
          FA was simply untouchable from 2005 -2006.
          Kimi was the best of the rest for 07
          While SV swept the titles 4 years in a row and broke records at the same time.
          And today, one can’t fault Hamilton for being the best of the rest and doing what he can with the equipment he’s been given.

      2. I’d take almost everything that Alonso says with a giant pinch of salt, he is extremely calculating in his comments, remembering at the time in 2014 he was saying “Just wait, it will all become clear.” Now we know that really wasn’t the case, He tried to get in at Mercedes, which failed, it was already over at Ferrari so his only option was to go to Mclaren, he tried to play it as the great ambition but in reality he was outplayed by the market. When the move to Mercedes wasn’t going to happen, he couldn’t back track and stay at Ferrari because Vettel was already in at that point so he was left with leaving the sport of taking a gamble with Mclaren. He choose to take the gamble, as of yet it hasn’t paid off, apart from financially, although his bonuses would be 0 for last season.

        1. I think you might be right on the assessment that his failure to secure a seat at Mercedes coupled with the inderstandably advanced Ferrari negotiations with Vettel and the subsequent closure of the back-track/return door for Alonso at Ferrari may have led him to take the plunge into the unknown ie a return to a tested and untrusted Mclaren with an unknown Honda partnership in a very modern Formula One era.

        2. In al fairness @woodyd91, and I take the opportunity to help @keithcollantine in the translation, the article says that the offer came from mercedes (Alonso’s words) to swap Hamilton for him. I don’t see a reason to trade the current world champion but everything is possible in F1

          Obviously Alonso doesn’t chase teams, teams chase Alonso cough cough

          1. The fact Alonso was contacted was probably a formality.

            Mercedes were in contract negotiations with Hamilton so they were right to see what was on the market incase an agreement couldn’t be reached. Someone (likely Flav or Bernie) tipped them off that Alonso was disgruntled with Ferrari so they said “Hey, Fernando, Lewis might not be here next year, you interested?”

            1. Toto mentioned Alonso didn’t he @optimaximal, when Lewis was playing hardball over his contract terms – which turned out to be deleting the dangerous sports clause (possibly among other things). So I suspect there was a bit of manoeuvring and now Fernando’s memory is a touch rose-tinted.

              As for Tata’s ‘best of the rest’ gambit… lol. If there’s ONE driver you’d want to maintain interest in a dominant car it’s the one they’ve got.

      3. Possible solution to the Hamilton/Rosberg Spa spat?

        1. Yep I was thinking that @alianora-la-canta. Then I thought about how Fernando would have reacted to Monaco and Spa!!

          1. Not well, I tend to agree with you there. But it would have been a different sort of “not well”, and perhaps that was attractive. Though I also like sumedh’s theory (a couple of comments below this one).

        2. That could be a reason but if indeed Mercedes made such a proposal over that incident, one has to wonder how such brilliant minds at Mercedes would rather choose to cut and run as against managing two men employed by the company to work for them.

        3. Either that, or Mercedes tried to use Alonso to reduce Hamilton’s contract demands. In mid-2014, when Vettel was getting a thrashing at the hands of Daniel Ricciardo, the only driver that could threaten Lewis was Alonso. So, Mercedes had to entertain Alonso a little to get Hamilton to lower his demands. I do not believe for a second that Mercedes didn’t want Lewis. But they definitely wanted him at a slightly cheaper rate if possible. And such an offer is bound to get Flavio excited, which probably explains why he and Alonso tried to play hardball with Ferrari (http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/f1/ferrari-in-2014/).

          But in the end, Alonso and Flavio were played by both the teams (Rather unfairly, in my opinion). One just dangled a non-existent carrot in front of him while the other had an insurance in the form of Vettel leaving Alonso nowhere to go.

      4. But the race in COTA is the best race in 2015

        1. Yes the race was good but the entire weekend was a mess.

          I guess I should have written it better.

    5. ColdFly F1 (@)
      2nd March 2016, 10:12

      From the FA radio interview: “Nunca. Nunca. Nunca he pensado ni en retirarme ni en tomarme un año sabático.”
      something like “never ever did I think of either retiring or taking a sabatical”

    6. I read the Alonso interview on another website and I found his comments on the current cars far more interesting. Especially his claim that they used to do laps waving to the crowd faster than they are doing now.

      Here is an excerpt from the interview…..

      The two-time world champion added that the current cars continue to be too easy on the drivers as well as too slow on the track.
      “They are not demanding,” Alonso added.
      “I remember the tests with the old cars: you couldn’t sleep at night because you were so tired, because the neck hurt, because you felt dizzy when you laid down.
      “Now you only need to look at the times: 1:26 at Barcelona, when we used to do 1:16. When we did laps waving at the people we nearly did 1:24s or 1:25s, and now are lapping in 1:26s, so it’s not very demanding.”

      1. @velocityboy
        No surprise really. Alonso is saying these stuff regularly since 2014. I also heard his team-mate Button saying similar things today. Webber said in his book how tough it was for Ricciardo to get through his first proper tests in an F1 car. I also remember how Alguersuari was struggling when he made his mid-season debut. Now it is no big deal, all the rookies are on the pace immediately. Watching the on-boards give me the same opinion, they all appear to be cruising all the time.

      2. @velocityboy

        I remember the tests with the old cars: you couldn’t sleep at night because you were so tired, because the neck hurt, because you felt dizzy when you laid down.

        Surely that’s more because the level of fitness in the sport is also at a much more professional level these days? They always post photos to social media of that neck training the drivers do – *that* is why their necks don’t hurt anymore. They spend countless hours training and preparing themselves for each race etc.

        1. @optimaximal
          Why would you dispute what a driver is saying about the challenge of driving today’s cars? Surely he knows the level of fitness he had then and now.

        2. You are saying as if they weren’t doing that till last few years. Everyone is saying F1 is less demanding these days because of slower speeds through the corners. That’s a pretty obvious thing.

        3. Yeah sure, they just realized they need to develop their neck muscles…..recently.

      3. To be fair, his “glory days” lap times didn’t have the chicane at the Europcar curve introduced for 2007. That is about six seconds of lap time right there.

        Furthermore, the pre-2007 Europcar curve and the pre-2004 La Caixa curve were much higher speed curves that generated a longer sustained lateral g forces on a driver’s neck. Alonso likely has many more test laps burned into his mind(and neck) under those configurations from before 2007 than after, considering testing changes since 2008.

        I believe him that the car is easier to drive(particularly with full slick tires and bigger front wings since 2009), but the cars are NOT ten seconds slower. Want to go faster per lap? Design a better MGU for that Honda powertrain!

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