Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Nurburgring, 2007

Alonso says his last potential title-winning car was in 2007

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In the round-up: Fernando Alonso says the last time he had a car capable of competing with the championship-winning team was during his first spell at McLaren in 2007, before he joined Ferrari.

What they say

Alonso was asked whether, having spent the last four seasons in a car which wasn’t capable of winning the championship, he was willing to accept that for another year.

I think it has been up and down. I think the last possibility of the last championship car we had was 2007. The rest has been always quite far off from the performance of the top, winning team that season. So I’ve been years after that moment. I don’t think that is a problem.

I think the biggest thing for me is to think the direction that Formula 1 goes. I don’t think too much how competitive we will be next year, it’s impossible to predict, it’s just about the sport.

You see again today there are two Mercedes, two Ferraris, two Red Bulls, two Force Indias and two Renaults in Q3. It’s a constructors’ world championship, it’s not a drivers’ world championship. So it’s nothing that I need to decide.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Should Italy copy Germany’s race-share arrangement?

Someone mentioned in the comments a couple of days ago Monza and Imola sharing the Italian Grand Prix, and I think that could be a good way to alleviate this situation. It seems to work for the Nurburgring and Hockenheim at least (I seem to remember Hockenheim complaining about having to shoulder the burden alone after Nurburgring reneged).

This is speaking as someone who loves Monza, if having the event biennially is the price to pay for the financial stability then it’s better than seeing it gone completely. Obviously fixing the circuit contracts generally so independent entities can afford it would be preferable, but I’m not sure Liberty are prepared to take that much of a hit.
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  • 85 comments on “Alonso says his last potential title-winning car was in 2007”

    1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
      10th June 2018, 0:46

      Harsh but fair from Alonso. Maybe the 2010 Ferrari was championship material, but that’s the only car that would come close to that title

      1. Don’t agree. 2010 was solid but McLaren was stronger on quick tracks and RB in slow tracks. 2013 before the tyre changes.
        Monza is the opposite of Monaco, it gives the championship variety in track layout, I wish we would have more variety, an oval would be great for a change.

        1. In principle I agree with the idea of adding variety, but I don’t think adding an oval in F1 makes sense. Teams would have to develop completely different aero packages for it because they would need to for the speed – and if they weren’t allowed to it would basically turn into NASCAR style plate racing with too much downforce and drag. This would cost a lot of money for what would be one or two events at most. The engines also would have to be different because the current engines aren’t designed for the kind of constant high RPM running they would experience on an oval. Then, there’s the safety aspect. F1 cars are not designed for ovals from a safety perspective, so either additional safety systems would have to be added just for that event (more money for an oval specific car) or for the whole championship (meaning more weight, something the current cars don’t need). Then you consider the issues with speed, one of the reasons CART started to fall apart as a series was because drivers were blacking out on the high banked oval at Texas with the insane amount of G forces the cars were producing.

          Then there are other issues like the drivers not being experienced in oval racing (obviously oval rookies race in Indycar but remember the Indy 500, usually the first big speedway race rookies encounter, has 2 weeks of practice before the race and a special rookie induction program) and the fact that oval racing runs to quite different rules than road racing from a racecraft perspective. Spotters would also be required, something the teams do not normally have and use so it’s just another new and unusual thing for one or maybe two events.

          All these problems are problems that could be solved but I just don’t think it makes sense at all for F1 to do it.

    2. Well his actions in Hungary killed those chances.

      1. Silly games are never worth playing, same as Schumacher at Monaco 06′ it never works out well.

        1. @natlmm Or Rosberg in Austria in ’16.

          1. That’s right! I forgot about that one, he should’ve just taken the pain of the overtake but instead it ended up much worse – as it always does.

      2. You could also argue that this was precipitated by Hamilton disobeying team orders…just saying.

        1. @nick101 Hamilton was a rookie and played him like a fiddle and beat him in the standings. Alonso SHOULD have kept his cool, but noooo he took things too far and Hamilton ran him off and won the title the next year.

          1. The only reason he “played” anything is because he was a British driver in a British team, and an overrated one at that. When Button joined he outscored Hamilton over 3 years. When he was partnered with Rosberg it was Hamilton crying like a baby whenever things went wrong. This guy hasn’t played anything.

            1. In races Button and Hamilton finished, guess who was ahead in 66% of them. Hamilton had a lot of reliability and other issues in those years, Button didn’t.

              Overrated? 4 x WDC, 64 wins, 74 poles, OK then.

            2. @Honkhonk there is no 3 year cumulative scoring. Jenson jokes try that and it fails every time. Jenson went 5 straight years winless after Hamilton left McLaren. Alonso is doing the same. Next

            3. Same old nonsense. Hamilton beqt Button 2 to 1 over 3 seasons they spent together at McLaren. Hamilton won more races and out qualified Button at McLaren.

            4. Button outscored Hamilton. Sick of hearing that. Hamilton smashed Button. He was better than him in over 70% of the qualifying sessions, better than him in over 65% of the races they completed. He also beat him in 2 of their 3 seasons together. Button was lucky his thrashing somehow got disguised in to something a little mellower. If you honestly believe Button and Rosberg were better or an even match for Hamilton, you’ve clearly not got an aptitude for this sport.

            5. Button was lucky his thrashing somehow got disguised in to something a little mellower.

              @todfod +1 Thanks for the needed dose of perspective!

            6. @todfod Exactly, Button wasn’t too bad, but not on the level of Hamilton.

      3. The team made no attempt to move him from the pit at Hungary. Watch the video.

        1. They forgot to bring in the hissy fit Alonso crane to move him out of the way

          1. yet was Lewis saying ‘dont ever f@cking do that to me again’ over the radio. He also threatened to leave after Monaco Alonso asked to ‘be nice’ to. Now who was the hissy fit crane really for? Also explains why 4 years ago Dennis said Lewis played a part in every fall out.
            The following year Lewis had no one but himself to blame in his poor patches.

            1. @Big Joe Maybe he did threaten to leave after Monaco, presumably because he was told to back off from trying to pass Alonso. If so, so what? It’s the right attitude for someone who wants to win championships rather than be a number 2 driver. If you’re right, McLaren then had the chance to show him the door presumably. Should they have done? Maybe Alonso thought so. Supposedly he asked to be let past by Hamilton in the later US race. We all saw what good submitting did for Massa at Ferrari. So each driver sets out their limits and the teams respond accordingly. I don’t think McLaren were wrong to tell Alonso to get on with beating Hamilton on track on merit. They – or Dennis – were wrong to make the later races so personalized, ‘racing against Alonso’, which ultimately led to some poor decisions, especially China, and the loss of the WDC. You’d have to ask Alonso whether he had some written or verbal assurance on signing that he would be the number one driver. If so, that would have been an issue for him and McLaren, not Hamilton, who I’m guessing was told was on an equal par.

            2. PS. You’re right about the Hungary qualification incident, the team, or Alonso’s half of the garage, were involved. Hence why McLaren got penalized as a team for ruining Hamilton’s run.

    3. Yep! Hasn’t had a championship winning car since 07′ almost got the job done in 10′ and 12′ on shear driving talent, should have been champion in 2012 but for Grosjean the Kamikaze in Spa and that would have been the first time a driver had won the championship not driving the best car since Schumacher in 95′ Hill and Coulthard were rubbish that year but had the best car. Shows the lack of competition in F1 if you’re not driving the best car you’re totally wasting your time as you have almost no shot at the championship, and I doubt things will change much.

      1. @natlmm
        +1

      2. There have been numerous occasions where the driver winning the wdc was not driving for the team who won the wcc. It can be argued that in some cases this is due to having a dud as a teammate but not always. Raikkonen in 07, Hamilton in 08 come to mind.

        1. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
          10th June 2018, 3:22

          McLaren was disqualified from constructor standing on 2007 due to Spygate and the title was won by Ferrari.

          1. who spied though?

        2. 07′ Mclaren did win the constructors champion but for spy gate, 07′ and 08′ are almost an anomaly in F1 history the Mclaren were Ferrari were so evenly matched Massa, Lewis, Kimi and Fernando all deserved to be champion in those 2 years.

          1. Since McLaren’s self sabotage of 2010 and 2012, they have never been the same. Underscores what a master stroke of genius it was for Hamilton to leave that dying dog at THE perfect time.

            1. Hardly call it a master stroke it was pretty obvious Mclaren was dying and going the way of Williams, Mercedes pulled out and went their own way Vodafone sponsorship was ending, I don’t remember the guys name but their was this deluded columnist that use to write over at PlanetF1 that was basically in love with Hamilton and was heart broken at him leaving predicting “HE WILL BE BACK! Please come back to us Lewis”. I’m happy Lewis left, Lewis and Jenson at Mclaren it became the de facto ‘British’ team and that’s all the media use to cover, I so got sick of Ted ‘I’m down here a Mclaren’ Kravitz also.

      3. Don’t agree, 2012 wasn’t his to win, not to mention that in spite of Romaindurer alonso lost it in Suzuka as well. 08 mclaren wasn’t the best car, Ferrari blew it.

        1. I didn’t say it was his to win now did it? he deserved it more than Vettel and came very close driving better in the lesser car. Suzuka was more or a racing incident so I don’t really count that one but Spa was totally out of his control. Mclaren and Ferrari both had their good and bad days in ’08 Ferrari looked the better mainly due to having 2 top drivers, Kovalainen made Mclaren look bad.

          1. He didn’t “deserve” anything more than the person that beat him.

            1. Could you be more pedantic? Someone has a agenda now don’t they?

            2. Maybe you do, if second deserves first more than actual first ;)

      4. natlmm, bit harsh to blame Grosjean as the sole reason for Alonso not winning in 2012 when you could also argue that the collision between Alonso and Raikkonen in Japan that forced Alonso out of the race also cost him the title that year.

      5. Schumacher almost lost the title in the best car in 94. The 95 cars were close, using the same engines too.

        Alonso only had the best car for half the season in 2006 and in 2005 the McLaren was the quickest car.

        Alonso, Hamilton and Button were the last drivers to win the title in a non ‘dominant’ cars. 2006, 2008, 2009. Schumacher’s Ferrari’s were dominant.

        1. Yeah 06′ was pretty even between Renault and Ferrari. 05′ the Mclaren was indeed the quickest car (and extremely beautiful) but reliability is KING!

        2. The 2005 Mclaren was also very unreliable, much like their 2012 effort, and Red Bull in 2010.

          Red Bull weren’t “dominant” in 2010 or 2012, nor were Schumacher’s title winning Ferraris of 2000 and 2003.

          1. Red Bull were dominant in 2010 and 2012. In 2010, bar Monza and Spa they were the quickest car on every circuit. In 2012, Vettel wasn’t performing well for the 1st half of the season, but Mark was right up there fighting for the championship. However, I agree that the Ferrari of 2000 and 2003 weren’t dominant. They were the best car on the grid, but it wasn’t dominating every circuit like Red Bull was in 2010.

            1. @todfod
              They weren’t the quickest in terms of race pace in several other races like China, Canada or Germany either and again, reliability played its part in several races where they were fastest. Without that, Red Bull would have been pretty dominant. Indeed Seb and Mark made errors, like the Mclaren and Ferrari drivers did.

              Webber’s biggest margin over Vettel in 2012 was 16 points after winning Silverstone (putting him 13 off Alonso). That was the race after an alternator failure cost Vettel a likely win. Mark only took 4 podiums in the entirety of 2012, two in each half of the season, so he wasn’t really “up there fighting” if Seb was supposedly poor.

        3. Big joe, can’t believe what you said avout 94, schumacher was banned or excluded from FOUR out of 16 rounds, even then scored 1 more point than hill.

          Benetton was also inferior after the starting races, hill is a nobody and could keep up with schumacher in the last races of the season.

    4. Alonso gained 77 points on Vettel through reliability in Bahrain, Australia and Korea in 2010. The F10 was more than capable of winning the championship. Alonso just made too many mistakes in the first half of the season.

      1. @kingshark

        ‘more than capable of winning the championship’

        That’s laughable. What about Massa, his Ferrari couldnt compete with either McLaren let alone the two Red Bulls. He finished exactly where he should have, 6th in a team with the 5th and 6th best cars. Alonso finishing 2nd was amazing.

        1. I’m afraid Massa simply wasn’t a very good yardstick that year, at least not in comparison to either Red Bull or Mclaren driver. And don’t tell me the Ferrari was only 2 points better than Rosberg’s Mercedes. Now that would be laughable.

        2. You can’t take the driver that finishes lower in the standings as a measurement for the car’s potential, that’s not how it works. Unless you agree with the statement that RB never had the strongest car, look where Webber finished

          1. you can usually compare the performances of the number 2 drivers to get a good idea where the teams are.Funnily enough just like people have done this season with Bottas and Raikonen.

            1. No, the potential of the car is shown by the driver finishing ahead, no driver can take more than 100% of a car, that’s just non-sense

    5. “Without a German race I struggle to see it as a real world championship.”

      inb4 Austria should be the leader of Germanic ex-HRE instead of most of Prussia.

    6. Rich Energy drinks, while possibly an exciting brand of some reality, hardly seems a very credible entity to fund this purchase from a perspective here in North America. Red Bull was in F1 for at least 10 years before they bought a team. Perhaps, there is more to it. What seems more likely is Diageo behind the whole deal as a way to push Mallya out and regain control of their ownership and monies owed to them by him. A fascinating outcome, guaranteed.

    7. Not 2007, but 2010 was definitely a car capable of winning championship. Of course, that is only because the red bull drivers made too many mistakes. But given that they did and my belief that Alonso’s machinery was better than Hamilton’s that year and hence, 2010 was definitely a title winning car.

    8. Alonso could win in 2010, but made a lot of mistakes. Crash in Spa, Monaco practice, false start in China, stupid penalty and 0 points in England. He got two lucky win in Bahrein and Korea, and got Massa’s win in Germany there team cheating Massa with engine modes, he turned down his engine and then he was told Alonso faster than you.

      1. @thunder1115

        Alonso made mistakes cost him? You cant seem to get your head around the fact Alonso was stretching himself in the Ferarri significantly. Yet he had a car that could only touch pole 2/19. And what’s the excuse for Massa? Funny how there’s drivers who don’t make mistakes yet don’t get anywhere near a win let alone a championship fight.

      2. @thunder1115 The Ferrari was nowhere near the Red Bull on pure pace. The only reason Alonso managed to get so close to winning the title was that Vettel was so wasteful. He was to blame for a crash in Turkey, several in Belgium, lost a certain victory in Singapore due to poor laps in qualifying, and lost the race himself in Britain by being too aggressive with Webber into the first few turns. The Red Bull had 15 poles out of 19, sometimes over a second ahead like in Hungary, so don’t me that it wasn’t the best car of the season by some margin

        1. so don’t me that it wasn’t the best car of the season by some margin

          Well it wasn’t (certainly not by “some margin”) if it fails to finish a good number of times despite being in the lead (e.g. Australia, Korea).

        2. @mashiat
          You’re blaming Vettel for getting a puncture from Hamilton’s wing at Silverstone? And the points made by @thunder1115 are valid, Alonso was wasteful that year as well. Vettel made mistakes, but his car’s unreliability cost him a lot of points too.

          1. Blaming Alonso for having to push too hard to eek out points in a sub-par car. You might as well blame Vettel for the realibilty problems. Seems to me Alonso would have been considered a better driver if he hadnt pushed so hard and amied for 3rd in the championship.

            1. So if Alonso makes mistakes, you make excuses, but if Vettel does it, he’s just “wasteful”?

          2. @simracer Don’t forget all the points Alonso lost that year as well. He had a gearbox, then an engine problem in Malaysia, he was spun to the back of the grid in Australia, he overtook Kubica off the track in Silverstone, which was completely his fault, but Kubica retired a few laps after that, which meant he lost the option of simply giving up 1 place, then just as he got the penalty, the safety car came out, which meant instead of dropping to 6th or 7th, he had to drop to the back, then got a puncture from Liuzzi I believe. He didn’t lose as much as Vettel due to car issues, but he definitely had a worse car, and didn’t make as many driver errors.

    9. I disagree with both the COTD and Rosberg. Regarding the latter: Personally, I don’t struggle to see F1 as a ‘real world championship’ without Germany, which was already the case in both 2015 and last season, and is likely going to be the case again next season. I don’t see Germany as an essential part of the championship. Definitely nowhere near to the same extent as the likes of Spa, Suzuka, Monza, or Silverstone, for example.

      1. @jerejj, I suppose it depends on how you view it – the German Grand Prix is one of the longer running events on the calendar (only a fraction shorter than the British or Italian GP’s), so it has a fairly significant heritage (and we have heard fans talk about how they want Liberty Media to “respect the heritage” of the sport when choosing venues).

      2. @jerejj
        I suppose one issue with the German GP is that it has changed venues a lot, whereas those other countries mentioned, although they have had forays at other tracks, have always had one clear favoured circuit. Same deal with France.

        What did you disagree with in the CotD, out of interest?

        1. @george To answer your question concerning what did I disagree with in the COTD: The thing I disagree is the suggestion of Italy doing the same with Monza and Imola as Germany used to do with Hockenheim and Nurburgring. I’d much rather keep the Italian GP in Monza on an annual basis as Imola never really was an overtaking/racing-friendly circuit. Yes, the Monza races have historically tended to be a bit straightforward as well, but it’s a much more enjoyable circuit to drive than Imola.

          1. @jerejj
            Oh I agree. My point was that I’d rather have Monza every other year than not at all. If Liberty aren’t willing to take a pay cut then that might be what it comes down to. I prefer the Nurburgring to Hockenheim too, although frankly my heart doesn’t bleed to lose both.

    10. if you can fight until the last race of a wdc then you have a wdc winning car. no matter how much you try to talk the car down

      1. Simplicity is such a beautiful thing, such shame people don’t appreciate it

    11. Don’t agree with him. He had his chances in 2010 and especially 2012 with the Ferrari but did not make most of it due to a variety of reasons.

      It seems to me that Alonso has finally realised that his time for a third title is running out. IMO, he still has a chance if certain eventualities occur.

      – IMO, Raikkonen will leave Ferrari at the end of this season. There is a SMALL chance that Alonso might fight for that seat, even if it is for one year.
      – Less likely but possible is Hamilton leaving Mercedes at the end of his contract this year. This is almost certain if Bottas finishes ahead of him but the chances of that are small. If that happens, Alonso might be considered for a year’s one-off contract.

      1. I’d say it’s the other way around. In 2010 the top drivers all made a lot of mistakes, so then there was a decent chance for him to win the championship in a slower car. In 2012 Alonso had a near-perfect season. His only mistakes were his collision with Räikkönen in Suzuka and his poor strategy in Canada, but apart from those races he pretty much got the maximum result possible in every race.

      2. @loup-garou

        Yeah yeah let’s blame Alonso for only getting 2 poles out of 19 as well.
        To measure how good the cars were you can look at the team mates and expect anyone in a ‘championshiop capable’ cart to be up there somewhere. Massa couldn’t keep up with the McLarens let alone Red Bull.

        It was obvious in 2010 that Alonso was over strecthing himself and car. This is mostly what his career has been about. Schumacher won in dominant cars that his team mates were regularly on the podium with.
        In 2006 the Renault could be described as ‘dominant’ for half the season at best. That and the 2007 McLaren were Alonso’s last ‘capable’ cars.

        1. Massa, who did still get 5 podiums and a near win, couldn’t keep up because he wasn’t as good as the Red Bull or Mclaren drivers.

          Basically you’re saying that since Massa was only 6th, this proves Alonso overperformed. Hamilton and Vettel have actually won titles with their teammates 6th and 7th.

          1. @simracer whoa I never thought WEB’s 2012 was that bad points-wise

          2. No Im saying the same as the people who drove and still own the 2010 Ferrari. That it wasnt a title challenger, not like say Massa’s 2008 car was.
            Dont for one minute think youll convince me that Alonso with the many different cars he’s driven was unaware how good the 2010 really was.
            Vettel has a much better Ferrari today yet so far has only done a similar job to Alonso.

            1. It clearly was a title challenger, hence the fact that it went into the final race still challenging for the title. Let’s be honest, Alonso has it in his own interests to underrate the cars he has driven- it makes him look better. And who is it that you speak of that owns an F10, and has also driven an RB6 and an MP4/25 to compare?

        2. That’s a bit like saying HAM’s first title-winning car was terrible though, with which HAM had to overstretch himself to stand any chance of winning the title, based on KOV.

          And I don’t think that’d make sense.

          1. Alonso beat them both in 2008 though in a car not even up for discussion as a good one.
            I look at his whole career and it balances out as him getting more from second and 3rd rate cars than any driver did.

            Alonso is only one of three drivers to win titles in non dominant cars in several decades. 2006 2008 and 2009. Never saw a car dominate more than half a season and their team mates were also way off them.

            1. Alonso beat Kovalainen in 2008, but obviously not Hamilton. The second part of your post is pure nonsense.

    12. The 2018 Red Bull cars look in a stronger postion than the two 2010 Ferraris.

      I’m guessing some point in the future the finicky F1 fans will use the fact Max or Dan didn’t win the title in 2018 to try and claim ‘they wernt that good drivers’ .

    13. I see Fernando Alonso has arrived at the Jacques Villeneuve career stage right now of telling ridiculous nonsense to get attention. Both the 2010 and 2012 Ferraris were good enough to win a title with and him not having access to the title-contending 2008 McLaren was his fault and his fault alone. You would think Fernando is secure enough in his legacy to not need the LeBron James-esque combination of victim mentality/arrogance, but I guess that is not correct. It is a shame, really.

      1. @klon
        Alonso performed better than Lewis in the second half of 2008 in a car nowhere near good enough and 90hp down on the McLaren. This is the period despite not challenging for the championship that won him his many plaudits as ‘the complete package’
        So-called fans like yourself pretending you know better than the actual drivers about the cars they drove is worse than any word ever uttered by an F1 driver.

        What makes your comments particularly stupid is that Alonso actually owns his 2007 McLaren and 2010 Ferrari. They are now in the Museum at his Karting facility. Perhaps you’d like to meet Massa there and asking why the car appeared no where near a challenger in his hands?

        1. @klon

          Was it also you spreading those rumours back then that Ferrari built a different car for Alonso than to Massa?
          I thought I recognized your tone.

        2. Perhaps you’d like to meet Massa there and asking why the car appeared no where near a challenger in his hands?

          Massa seems a likeable and honest enough guy, so he would just admit that his performance wasn’t up to par.

      2. @klon while I rate Alonso higher than Jacques Villeneuve, I think you just come up with a new catch phrase for the F1 Dictionary “The Jacques Villeneuve syndrome”

      3. @klon I agree with you and other comments that Alonso seems to have switched to an ‘on his way out’ tone. I don’t think the comments are ridiculous though as much as blindingly obvious and not actually making his point particularly well. In 2007, when he supposedly last had a real chance (not true as he came close twice in subsequent years, as we know), there were just two teams contending, McLaren and Ferrari. This year by his own reckoning there are 3, plus 2 other teams dominating Q3. So fairly healthy. Since when has a F1 driver not been reliant on the car to get into contention? Alonso’s issue is clearly that he’s not in one of these 3 or 5 teams. That’s down to his own career choices, unfortunately.

    14. Rich Energy isn’t so rich, certainly not “rich” enough to be funding an F1 team to the tune of a $100 million buyout plus whatever capital investment and operating expense support is required.
      This is a company with £470,000 of working capital, £17,000 of tangible fixed assets and negative tangible equity, hardly the balance sheet of a $100 million acquirer.
      If “Rich Energy” is about to buy Force India then they are doing it with someone else’s balance sheet.

    15. Alonso has only himself to blame. He can talk up his status as “one of the greats” but he’ll be remembered as a guy who always picked the wrong team, plus:
      Beaten by a rookie as World Champion
      Spygate
      Crashgate
      Germany 2010
      Couldn’t pass Petrov to win a WDC

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