Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Alonso has no regrets over career moves

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Fernando Alonso says he doesn’t regret his career moves despite having gone four years without a grand prix victory.

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Comment of the day

Are Liberty Media about to make their first big mistake by planning to expand the F1 calendar further?

So the teams don’t seem to want more races, Comments from the drivers that I have seen indicate they don’t want more races, The results of the recent global fan survey shows that most fans don’t want more races… But we’re getting more races anyway.

What happened to the new owners listening to what fans and teams wanted?

I know from my side that going to 25 or more races would result only in me no longer watching every race as I simply don’t have time to dedicate so many weekends anymore and if I miss one I’m going to be less likely to watch the next as I don’t like watching things out of order, I find that ruins the flow of the season for me.
PeterRogers

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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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  • 60 comments on “Alonso has no regrets over career moves”

    1. Re COTD, I well understand the writers dislike of watching an incomplete series as I can only watch half the races live and more than once have forgotten/not-bothered to watch the so-called highlights. However, being able to watch 25 races p.a. would suit me perfectly well as I am retired and live alone, whether it would suit the team personnel and drivers is, of course, another matter, I think it could work if the calendar was rationalised and the extra races were in Europe and/or N. America, by keeping the distances between races short it might even be possible for personnel to spend more time at home with family and still do an extra 5 races per season.

    2. I can’t imagine traveling to another country every other weekend 25 times a year. If you have a family that’s brutal. Maybe the teams could rotate personnel, but of course that’s an added expense.

      1. Yup, I believe Sauber won’t be staying in F1 more many years if nothing is done to help them, let alone if something like this is done to HINDER teams like them :\

    3. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
      4th June 2017, 2:33

      Alonso insists he can still win a third F1 championship

      Well, he would, wouldn’t he?

      1. He definitely can win at least one more F1 WDC if he gets a competitive car. Nigel Mansell was 39 when he won his only F1 crown and Prost won his 4th and last WDC when he was 38 years old. Alonso has not yet turned 36.

        Alonso’s best chance is if he gets a Ferrari or Mercedes seat for 2018. The former is a higher probabliity if ( as I think will happen) Raikkonen leaves at the end of this season. But if Vettel wins the 2017 WDC and looks like staying at Maranello, Merc might be interested in giving him Bottas’ seat.

        1. Merc might be interested in giving him Bottas’ seat.

          Or Lewis’ seat. Going by Lewis’ current motivational levels and focus on Formula 1, Fernando looks like a much more attractive option.

        2. Mansell and Prost started their F1 career at 26 and 24 respectively, while Alonso started his at 19. Age is not the only factor in the declining of an athlete’s performance over time, the length of their career at the highest level is another. The accumulation of both physical and mental fatigue over the years inevitably affects an athlete’s ability to recuperate, which in turn will have an impact on their performance over the length of a season.

          Though like with everything else the effect varies from individual to individual, so the only reliable way to know how 36 year old Alonso would cope under the demands of a year-long title fight is to put him in that situation.

          1. Age is not the only factor in the declining of an athlete’s performance over time, the length of their career at the highest level is another. The accumulation of both physical and mental fatigue over the years inevitably affects an athlete’s ability to recuperate, which in turn will have an impact on their performance over the length of a season.

            Though like with everything else the effect varies from individual to individual, so the only reliable way to know how 36 year old Alonso would cope under the demands of a year-long title fight is to put him in that situation.

            Agreed, and I think you have answered your own misgivings there. The cumulative fatigue varies from one individual to another but case of Alonso, I think that he is still a long way from fatigue. To me Alonso comes across as a mentally tougher and more determined character than either Hamilton or Vettel and he will not let the setbacks at McLaren disillusion him or doubt his own ability. His creditable performance at Indy 500 is a superb example; I think what Alonso wanted was to really do well in the race, which he certainly did. Of course, victory would have been the icing on the cake but his highly competitive performance in a more experienced and very good field indicates that Alonso has still very much “got it”. More than anything else, it will tell Alonso that he still has it, which is what he was looking for in that Indy adventure. That is why I think that the statement that he made about being able to win another F1 WDC is that of a man with a big boost of an already good confidence and the F1 bosses will not be slow to take due notice. I am sure that the top teams will be ready to offer him a seat in 2018.

            By comparison, drivers like Raikkonen and Massa are examples where setbacks have resulted in loss of confidence and hence loss of performance. Despite his outward ‘coolness’ I always felt that Raikkonen was psychologically vulnerable to failure, which shows. In Massa’s case it might have been that accident he had; he is now a shadow of the driver that he was in the earlier part of his career.

            1. Agreed @loup-garou. Indy proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that is it not Alonso, its the car. I think we’ll see a newly invigorated Alonso this weekend although that might not shine through so well in the McHonda.

        3. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
          4th June 2017, 12:33

          He definitely can win at least one more F1 WDC if he gets a competitive car.

          I’m inclined to agree with you, @loup-garou. Still, upon reading that headline, I just couldn’t resist the urge to quote Mandy Rice-Davies.

          1. The other thing I felt after the Indy 500 was that Alonso’s milk trick after his interview was a bit more than a minor hilarity. He was sending out a subliminal message to all concerned that he was still very much a potential winner with the right sort of equipment. The Indy performance was certainly a major psychological victory.

            I fully expect to see him in either a Ferrari or Mercedes in 2018. And IMO, if he wins the WDC, he will retire as the champion and perhaps consider his next move – maybe Le Mans.

      2. Anything could happen. A disinterested Lewis might drop out at Mercedes or a failure to finish strong Ferrari might lose Vettel.

        One thing’s for sure, he isn’t going to win it with a Honda engine in the back of his car.

        1. That is certain. Honda wont be anywhere fast until 2021, or whenever new engine regs come.

      3. Well, he could, couldn’t he?

    4. He should have some regrets, considering his choices led to a bang-average driver like Vettel having twice the championships of the guy who bested Schumacher.

      1. nelson piquet
        4th June 2017, 9:13

        so hamilton is below average?

      2. One of the stupidest things people do in general is being petty towards their rivals. If they are less than impressive, you are also less than impressive for merely beating them. Bad-mouthing them really does you no favours.

      3. And guy who bested Schumacher in same car 3 years in a row, must be way better then aswell. Logic is flawed here.

        Alonso clearly is awesome but Schumacher level?

        Hamilton and Vettel are about on Schumacher level totaling 90+ wins and 7 championships.

        Alonso needs to win triple crown to go down in history as one of the greatests.

      4. It’s hard to believe that people are still trotting this this preposterous “Its the car, not the driver” line with respect to Vettel. It never looked true at the time, and after three years of Mercedes reminding us of what a genuinely dominant car looks like, it seems downright malicious and spiteful.

    5. I’d say one door closed opened others for Alonso. If he had stayed with Ferrari he would’ve never done Indy500 last week, a race he had every chance of winning at that time. Then I highly doubt Alonso would’ve done much better in 2015 than Vettel, 2016 Ferrari was a terrible car and all that time Mercedes was still dominating the field. So it would’ve taken him an additional three years at Ferrari to be in the fight now, and nothing guarantees they would’ve built this car with Alonso behind the wheel.

      That being said I do think he deserves a third title and if he retires tomorrow regardless of stats I’ll always remember him as one of the best racecar drivers to have driven F1 cars to this point.

      1. AntoineDeParis (@antoine-de-paris)
        4th June 2017, 9:26

        “nothing guarantees they would’ve built this car with Alonso behind the wheel. ”

        It raises valid question: can you build championship winning (exceptional) car around Fernando? What’s his input?
        He’s quick in any machinery, he’s always very, very good. He doesn’t need to adapt- he said it himself. That means Fernando is not sensitive, which in a sport of tens and thousands of a second may be crucial.

        Vettel is said to be very sensitive, which means his input is much more valuable for engineers and designers. His input can be exceptional.

        That being said I think 2010 and 2012 Ferrari cars were capable of winning championship.

        1. @antoine-de-paris
          “He’s quick in any machinery, he’s always very, very good. He doesn’t need to adapt- he said it himself. That means Fernando is not sensitive, which in a sport of tens and thousands of a second may be crucial.
          Vettel is said to be very sensitive, which means his input is much more valuable for engineers and designers. His input can be exceptional.”

          Your conclusions are illogical and seem contradictory to reality.
          Also, you’re use of the word ‘sensitivity’ is inappropriate and misleading.

          Vettel (being “sensitive”) can only drive well when the car suits his particular needs. He has a narrow window of comfort. So, if there are e.g. 10 parametres in the car that you could work on to make the car faster, Vettel can only address a few of them, say 6, and the others won’t be developed because as twitching them throws him off – regardless of the actual effect on the speed of the car – Vettel won’t give you adequate feedback.

          Alonso, on the other hand, is able to squeeze out everything from the car, because working on each of the 10 parametres he will be able to respond to in an adequate manner, therefore giving the mechanics more options on improvements to work on.

          Alonso’s words “He doesn’t need to adapt – he said it himself” just mean he is super adaptable to a point where there isn’t a transitional period, because he responds to the changes in the car right away.

          Let me make a gross oversaturated example of this.
          Fact: We know racing cars have stiff suspensions because the higher car stability makes them go faster through corners etc.
          Premise: Vettel prefers soft suspension and is not able to adapt to stiff suspension. Ergo, he is “sensitive” to changes in the hardness of the suspension
          1. Both Alonso and Vettel are given a car with soft suspension. Both are fast.
          2. The suspension on their cars has been made much more stiff.
          Result:
          Alonso – is much faster right away (immediately indicating to the mechanics what the impact of the changes are), because such a car is simply much quicker. He gives feedback to the mechanics as to how much more stiffer the suspension should be adjusted to reach the optimum.
          Vettel – is slower, because he doesn’t feel “right” in a stiff car. No further work on the suspension stiffeness can be done. Car’s potential is not fully explored.

          You see? This is simple.
          If you are more adaptable to the changes in the car, then the mechanics are given more ways to make the car faster.

          1. @damon

            “Your conclusions are illogical and seem contradictory to reality.
            Also, you’re use of the word ‘sensitivity’ is inappropriate and misleading”

            Well my friend, once again wall of text and most of it – nonsensical. Just look at your own comments since this year’s cars reveals- most of them, pure joke. One miss after another, you seem to have no clue at all.

            Seb’s sensitivity? There you go- Horner: “He’s tremendously sensitive to certain aspects of the set-up…”
            When Vettel hits the sweet spot- he’s exceptional, his remarks can be priceless. Do you understand it?

            Mr. Logic, a question for you:
            When Alonso is always at max- which way to go?

            1. Fukobayashi (@)
              4th June 2017, 17:54

              @antoine-de-paris you are completely missing the point. If a driver is fast across all setup types then the team will choose WHICH setup route was fastest overall, NOT just which one Mr Soft Suspension was fastest at. A little thing called a stopwatch allows them to measure this without guessing.

              @damon actually explained it really well and you just dismissed the analogy so i’m guessing you just don’t get it.

          2. @damon

            but your own example of the stiff suspension could be used as a negative on Alonso.

            There are many attributes that make a specific car faster. Let’s say on a particular car, making it stiffer is actually the wrong way to go developmentally.

            Alonso gets in the stiffer car, goes fast and the engineers think “ah, we’re going in the right direction” when in fact, they are not.

            Vettel is the stiffer car says, these other areas are now suffering. Engineers get feedback that enhances the overall balance and harmony of the design of that specific.

            Essentially, the issue is, we can’t prove a negative. The only thing these arguments do is serve to reinforce one side of the argument of “who is better, Alonso or Vettel”.

            To take it into a less charged argument, let’s look at the difference between Hamilton and Bottas. Already in 2 races, Bottas had the better of Hamilton (Russia, Monaco). Is it because he’s better? Is it because Hamilton can’t adapt? It could be that Hamilton is used to have a Mercedes on absolute rails the past 3 years, so when it’s more temperamental, he’s having trouble getting a read on it – trying to get it to where it was before. Bottas, coming from a Williams, is in a much better car and his experience in a lesser car is helping him. Similar to RIC and VET in 2014 in the Red Bull. Easier for RIC to adapt to the car “as is” rather than stepping down from a “what was” for VET.

            The truth is, Vettel and Alonso (and Hamilton) are all exceptional drivers, and in the same way no one thinks less of Stirling Moss for never winning a WDC, or Senna for having only 3 to Prost’s 4 and Schumacher’s 7. Alonso’s legacy is not going to be diminished by having fewer championships than Vettel or Hamilton.

            1. @uan But when a stiffer car is quicker, Vettel can’t drive it, meaning the mechanics have to basically settle for a slower car, while Alonso can be faster. Works both ways.

          3. Yet histoty shows every car developed by Alonso’s feedback and lead tends to be uncompettitive. But in same breath Vettel is now in second team that tends to be gaining dominant form.

            1. @jureo Renault 2005 & 2006, McLaren 2007 and Ferrari 2010. What are you on about? Should I remind you of Vettel’s own uncompetitive RB10, SF15-T and 2016 car

        2. @antoine-de-paris, Raikkonen is also said to be extremely sensitive to his car, yet it seems to have had both positive and negative effects – at times, Lotus found that, if anything, Kimi’s sensitivity to the car hindered their development rather than helped as he would sometimes refuse to test parts out because he didn’t like the feel of them.

          I’m also curious as to why you think that the 2012 Ferrari had championship winning potential. During the winter testing period, somebody at the team leaked some of the set up sheets from the car that showed that the car was, frankly, pretty terrible (particularly at the front end, where the revised suspension geometry was causing havoc with the tyre temperatures and wear profiles).

          1. @anon
            You’re right but I think Kimi’s case is a little more complicated and let’s leave it like that for now.

            “I’m also curious as to why youseason think that the 2012 Ferrari had championship winning potential”
            Very strong race pace and reliability. The car was actually fighting for championship, no? And yes I know, Fernando was driving beautifully that season. :)

            1. @offdutyrockstar

              Don’t forget it started with @xtwl interesting comment:

              “nothing guarantees they would’ve built this car with Alonso behind the wheel”
              I’m not here to decide who’s better driver. The question is:
              Is it possible to build and develope exceptional car around Alonso with his driving style?
              He seems to always be in sweet spot, which means his sweet spot may be diffuse. Not able to reach ultimate car-driver symbiosis.

              Maybe it’s pure coincidence, that in his 3rd year in Ferrari, Vettel is at one with his car. And t

        3. There’s no real evidence for that statement. Red Bull as a team have always developed well, and that has been true even after Vettel left, showing it wasn’t necessarily him that caused it. I seem to remember Alonso helping develop winning cars in 2005, 2006 and 2007, while Ferrari’s development in 2010 was also pretty remarkable given how far behind they appeared. Ferrari’s struggles to develop afterwards wasn’t down to him. They couldn’t really develop i. 2015 and 2016 as well let’s not forget. I’m not saying that Alonso is a great development driver, but he is not a bad one, while Vettel cannot be regarded as a “great” one.

          1. @mashiat
            F10 built around Alonso and SF-15T around Vettel? It was too late for that.

            In 2013 Mark Hughes had interesting analisys of top drivers styles. About Vettel:
            “How much the impetus has come from Adrian Newey and the Red Bull vehicle dynamicists and how much from Vettel isn’t clear, but it isn’t important. It’s almost certainly been an organic development, a direction to follow that has allowed the driver to take full advantage of his strengths and perhaps leading the engineers in a direction they wouldn’t have otherwise thought to go. Why, after all, would you ordinarily want to introduce roll-oversteer into a car?”
            This is more or less what I’m thinking about.

            1. @antoine-de-paris I was talking about the development of those respective cars, which the present drivers did have an impact on. Hughes’ statement doesn’t mean that Vettel is necessarily a good development driver, just that he knows what he wants, and Red Bull as a team lead by their design guru could actually design a car that was exceptional based on Vettel’s needs. Ferrari were incompetent with that. They couldn’t build a car that suited Alonso (forget that, they couldn’t even make a car with more downforce than a Williams in 2012).

    6. More fans watch more football matches live.
      I’m more concerned about the paywall and other restrictions.

      And if you are concerned about out of sequence the you either see F1 too much as your favourite drama series or you are even a bigger fan/nut than I am ;)

      1. Maybe it’s the recap that spoils the viewing of the race missed or already knowing the result, a bit like watching football highlights.

    7. GtisBetter (@)
      4th June 2017, 8:15

      I saw guitterez drive last evening and I don’t think he impressed anyone to give him an Indy 500 Seat.

      1. @passingisoverrated Worth considering that this weekend is the 1st time he’s ever driven an Indycar (Hasn’t had time to do any testing) & that the Belle-Isle circuit is probably not the most ideal circuit to have your 1st Indycar drive on.

        1. GtisBetter (@)
          4th June 2017, 13:36

          True, but you also have to consider that he has driven open wheelers for some time now and that in FE your only get these kind of bumpy street circuits. While i don’t expect him to be top 10, he should at least be in the lap of the leader.

          1. Most new comers are not competitive immediately even with proper pre-season preparation. Rossi and Chilton were on the bottom side of the grid when they started.

    8. 2006: Tuned mass damper
      2007: Blocking teammate in pitlane during qualifying to get pole in Hungary
      2007: Threatens team boss Ron Dennis to reveal evidence of McLaren spying on Ferrari if not being given number 1 status in the team
      2009: Singapore crashgate
      2010: Fernando is faster than you
      2012: Ferrari broke the seal on Massa’s gearbox to maximise Fernando’s grid position
      I believe in Karma!

        1. Don’t post objective information, people don’t like that sor of thing

          1. There’s lots of stuff published about Hungary 07, and I’m not trying to open up that whole can of worms. One of the things being ignored here is that FA blocked LH because earlier LH had refused to follow a team order to let FA by, in qualifying. So LH started it.

            I think if you believe in karma then all drivers have something coming to them. Maybe that’s what happened to LH last year.

            Your second point about 07 Hungary also shades the facts. FA never asked for number one treatment at
            Mac, only equal treatment after suspecting LH was being favoured.

            1. Hm somehow my second paragraph ended up in the middle, meant to be my last paragraph.

            2. FA never asked for number one treatment? Hahahaha.

            3. @edmarques Show us where FA asked for number one treatment at Mac.

            4. I felt for FA that season….
              … had it not been the penalty, as a result of the pit lane fracas, could have been title no 3 that year.

          2. @johnmilk: Thanks for your advice :)

      1. @magnusy Now go do one for Michael Schumacher. Or Ayrton Senna. I guess you would call their “fates” karma would you based on this logic.

        1. @mashiat: For Michael Schumacher (the best F1 champion in my opinion), maybe you are a recent F1 follower so you can’t recall his engine blowing while leading the 2006 Japanese GP (his first engine failure since the 2000 French GP) allowing Alonso to inherit the lead and to win the race eventually leading to failure of Michael to claim his 8th championship (at that time I felt it is a sort of pay back for 1994 incident).

          1. @magnusy I do remember. But perhaps you forgot Alonso’s engine failure in Monza of that year. If you were to add the points to Alonso for Monza and Schumacer to Japan (whilst deducting 2 from Alonso’s total), you still get the same championship result. In fact, Alonso was unluckier that season, as let’s not forget his team’s pitstop error costing him a definite win in Hungary of that year. So no, Schumacher didn’t deserve a 8th title in 2006.

      2. Alonso fans will no like this hahaha

    9. Sviatoslav (@)
      4th June 2017, 8:53

      Vettel will win this year because Lewis is a loser and isn’t able to work with the car. I’m curious what Alonso will say?

      1. nelson piquet
        4th June 2017, 9:16

        but ferrari grid penalties tho

      2. FreddyVictor
        4th June 2017, 14:18

        I think it’s finely balanced
        It’s early days and could even possibly end up elsewhere to VET/HAM

        so glad it’s not a 1 team championship (again!) this year ….

    10. Lucas (@datguylucas)
      4th June 2017, 10:18

      The picture says it all! Nice one Keith

    11. Hahahahaha this Alonso guy. He sure is fast. Possibly one of the best. But not very honest now, is he?

    12. I think we could have Hamilton and Vettel at Ferrari, and Alonso and Bottas at Merc, either 2018 or 2019.

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