Alonso aims to become “the best driver ever” after winning Triple Crown

2018 Belgian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso says he is already planning his next goal after winning the ‘Triple Crown’ of motorsport in his bid to become the greatest driver of all time.

The McLaren driver, who is leaving Formula 1 at the end of the year, is seeking victory in the Indianapolis 500 to go with his Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hour wins. That would make him only the second driver in history, after Graham Hill, to win the Triple Crown.

However Alonso told media at Spa yesterday: “I am more interested to be the first man in history. There are more challenges.”

“I am studying the possibilities,” he added. “If I do something, probably I will try do something that has been never done.”

Alonso didn’t indicate what other event or series he might be considering an attempt at. But he said his aim is to “be the best driver in the world. The best ever.”

The 37-year-old has pointed out several times that he can’t compete for the world championship if he is not in a front-running team. He believes other drivers in the midfield should consider racing outside F1 too.

“I am sure for some other drivers if they look outside they will find bigger challenges than the ones they have now here. Because what you have here is more or less what your car will give you the possibility to do.

“If there are guys here with ambition they will need to find something outside Formula 1. If they don’t have ambition they can drive here.”

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61 comments on “Alonso aims to become “the best driver ever” after winning Triple Crown”

  1. The only thing that will make Alonso better than any driver in the world statistically will be if he becomes champion in both Indycar championship and World Enducarance CHampionship. Graham Hill is only winner of Monaco, Indy 500 and Le mans. Fernando can achieve that and even more- the championship title in both other series.

    1. Would it really though? This year the Toyota’s have 0 competition whatsoever. What weight will this championship have when he inevitably wins it?

      I wish him all the best, but I think it was quite telling that he chose to skip Indy this year and focus on WEC, in the first and perhaps only year, where his team is literally in a class of its own.

      1. What weight did Schumacher’s titles had when Ferrari had no competition? Or Button’s silly title in a championship vs Barrichello? Or Vettel’s when Red Bulls were running circles around other cars?

        1. Schumacher certainly had more competition than Mercedes have had from 2014-2016. Also, Schumacher and Ferrari had to grind for 5 hard years in underperforming cars before they finally reached the top – what followed was certainly just rewards.

          Button and Brawn certainly had a strong start to the season, but midway through they no longer had the fastest car, and by the end of the season were outpaced by Ferrari, McLaren, RedBull and sometimes the regular midfield. His title carried weight in that the team didn’t exist a few days before testing started.

          From 2010-2013, Redbull never finished 1st and 2nd in the championship. 2 of those 4 titles went down to the final race of the season. Of course it took plenty of grit and determination to come out on top.

          Alonso believes stepping into a car and lapping 3 seconds faster than anyone else is less predictable than F1, and somehow makes him the best driver in the world. As I said, I wish him all the best – it clearly takes insane skill to step into another category and be competitive, but it’s hard not to take his words as a bitter shot at the sport in which he knows he can succeed no more. So he tries to lower the status of everyone/everything around him to improve his own standing.

      2. I kind of agree with that, but is it really that different from Hamilton’s or Rosberg’s championships (except maybe for last year) in Mercedes? If you were in a Mercedes you know you’d be champion. They still count, right?

    2. Nigel Mansell???

      1. @pastaman Nige only won Indycar alongside his F1 title.

  2. The first driver that I thought of after reading this was Nico Hulkenberg, despite winning GP2 and Le Mans, he’s had 147 F1 races without securing a podium, and at 31, his future F1 options are slim.

    1. @emu55 Yes, his future F1 options might be slim, but not really a problem at present, since he’s already at a team that has the potential to become a race-winning/title-winning team thanks to being a full-manufacturer team fitted with works PUs.

  3. Not two wheels then, that’s been done.
    I can com up with a couple series, wit legendary races:
    NASCAR – -Daytona 500
    WRC – -Jyväskylä (Thousand Lakes)

    then, in his forties, go for
    Pikes Peak record
    Dakar

    then in his fifties, go for the oldest one of them all:
    Americas Cup

    1. I was thinking WRC too, @uneedafinn2win. If Alonso won the WRC, it would be an astonishingly good achievement.

      1. WEC is like a different sport. I think you need to be at it for a long time to have that natural rhythm of driving a rally car. He could definitely try it, but I wouldn’t rate his chances. Likewise for NASCAR: it’s a tricky sport to get in the right team, with the right engineer, at the right time. I think it’s also totally lost its way as a series and I wouldn’t blame him for avoiding it. WWE style stuff.

        – F1 champ x2, Indycar champ x1, WEC champ x1
        – Monaco winner x2, Indy 500 winner x1, Lemans winner x1 (2?)

    2. Sixties. Senior tour
      Seventies. Join Rolling Stones
      Eighties Run F1

    3. jamesluke2488
      24th August 2018, 8:49

      Considering John Surtees won on 2 and 4 wheels for Alonso to tick everything off

      Moto GP Title
      Indy 500
      Daytona 500
      Daytona 24hours (IMSA)
      Formula E title
      WRC (Finland/ Monte Carlo/ RallyGB)
      Pikes Peak
      Dakar Rally

      Regional
      DTM title
      BTCC title
      SuperGT Title
      Bathhurst 500
      Any other national championship….

      Plenty to do before he is 50

      1. Then there’s the cycle racing team idea. What became of that?

    4. georgeboole (@)
      24th August 2018, 10:00

      I ‘ve seen both Kubica and Raikkonen racing in WRC and was tottaly amazed how fast they would go. They just adapt very easily in any form of racing. So i ‘d really love to see Alonso sliding all over the place leaving tons of dust behind him

      1. @georgeboole Kubica did impress me, especially because he did it already after sustaining his injuries. He was both quick and consistent. Raikkonen on the other hand could go very quickly indeed, but was taking a long time to get some consistency. He crashed out a lot of times in his first year. He was getting better the second year, but by then the opportunity to come back to F1 presented itself.

        I don’t honestly know how Alonso would fare. He is an amazing driver, but WRC and rallying in general is such a different discipline. No wonder no one has both championships under their belt. He might become good at it, but I don’t think I would expect the same degree of excellence from him as in circuit racing. But if he really fancies a chance there he already has the Toyota connection. It would surely grab some headlines.

        1. georgeboole (@)
          24th August 2018, 12:15

          @toiago We agree especially on the consistency part but still they were fast
          @afonic i m pretty sure too they would never have a chance for the championship but still i d love to see Alonso race. After all the king of WRC, Loeb tried the other way around with the c-elysse and decided to stick with rallying.

      2. Being fast is one thing, competing with drivers that have been doing that for all their careers is another thing. WRC is a different beast, I don’t think any F1 driver could realistically have a chance at the championship.

    5. @uneedafinn2win You forgot to add Rally Monte Carlo to the list.

  4. If you read those first couple of quotes and imagine Donald Trump saying them…. scary.

    1. +1 Exactly what I was thinking.

      We live in an era where big ego’s get much attention and can say what they want and then call the critics “fake news”.

  5. I’m actually kind of sad for him that he thinks he needs some trophies in second-rate series to be a “complete driver”.

    Indycar is a domestic spec series with second rate drivers.

    LMP1 is effectively a two car, one team championship. I could drive the Toyota to second place. I could win Le Mans if I just wait for the lead Toyota to break down.

    He jumped in the best car and won a race. It’s all groovy in WEC because he’s the one in the best car. Because he’s not in the best F1 car it’s a boring, uncompetitive series. Figure out that logic.

    If he won a race in WRC I would stand up and take notice.

    If he won a MotoGP race I would stand up and take notice. I would say without a doubt this is the best racer of all time.

    1. “F1 from 2014-1016 was effectively a two car, one team championship.”

      Equally valid comment? It doesn’t take away from Hamilton, Rosberg and Mercedes achievements does it.

      There is a wide world of motorsport outside F1 and its hard to win in different categories…your assessments of WEC and IndyCar are, with respect, way off the mark.

      1. Agreed they are some what hollow championships.

        Hamilton had the best car in the history of the sport for three consecutive seasons yet could only win two championships.

        Does prove however that Hamilton is not in that top echelon alongside Schumacher.

        1. It doesn’t prove anything, other than if Hamilton had been given a Number 2 driver-doormat like Schumacher, he would be on title number Five by now.

          1. That’s what Hamilton thought he was getting when he went to Mercedes.

            Just two races in, Ross Brawn was issuing team orders to Rosberg to not pass Hamilton for the podium.

      2. 100% correct.

        Mercedes had no competition from 2014 to 2016, but in no way does that take away from any of the German marque’s success during those years; and the same applies for Hamilton (2014 – 2015) and Rosberg (2016)…. and I am no Hamilton fan.

        They did their homework and simply did a much better job than everyone else, and they rightfully reaped their rewards.

        Same thing goes for Michael Schumacher’s title-run from 2000-2004, and Vettel from 2010-2013 (even if I still hold the belief that Vettel might still be missing something when compared outright to Hamilton / Alonso). We can say whatever we want (in favor or against), fact is they still won.

        As Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) classically put it, “it don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile… winning is winning.”

        1. The McLaren was the slightly better car in 2000.

          In 2003 there wasn’t much to split the Ferrari, Williams and McLaren. Put it this way, Schumacher would have won the 2003 championship in a Williams.

          2001 he had a superior car to the opposition (first time in Schumacher’s career that he had the best car on the grid over the course of a season).

          2002 and 2004 were truly dominant cars, but still nothing like on the level of the 2014-16 Mercedes. That’s what’s so remarkable about Schumacher in 2002 and 2004. Hamilton had a far more dominant car (relative to the field) from 2014-16 but couldn’t touch Schumacher’s single season records.

          The RBR being dominant between 2010-13 is a myth.

          Five drivers were in the running for the championship with 2 or 3 races remaining in 2010.

          Seven different drivers won the first 7 races in 2012.

          RBR was dominant in 2011, but nothing like Mercedes dominance. Not even close.

          In 2013 the RBR was only dominant after the midseason break (still nothing like Mercedes dominance).

          1. In Abu Dhabi 2010, four drivers had a chance to win the WDC: Webber, Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton. Hamilton chances were admittedly slim, but mathematically he was still in contention. I’m surprised people still considered RBR were as dominant as Mercedes 2014-2016 when Webber never got a second place in the WDC.

    2. “I could drive the Toyota to second place. I could win Le Mans if I just wait for the lead Toyota to break down.”

      Keep the jokes rolling, fella

    3. “Indycar is a domestic spec series with second rate drivers.”
      Being a spec series is an advantage of IndyCar because you know drivers earn their success more than in the 2- or 4-car pseudo world championship that is F1.

      Second rate drivers? Half of the IndyCar field is more talented than the Strolls of F1.
      F1 only has 3-5 drivers that could potentially be better than all Indy drivers.
      People forget that when the perrenial F1 medalist Barrichello went to Indycar he barely scratched the top-10 given equal car.

    4. There are very good drivers in IndyCar. Unlike WEC where he has the best car and should easily win. In F1 he didn’t have a chance. In IndyCar, we’d find out how good he is driving a car that’s similar to his competitors driving on Road Courses, Street Courses and Ovals.

  6. Writing your own achievements and calling them great..greatest.. pure Alonso talk.

    WEC champion. (nope, only one race)
    F1 Champion (check)
    Indy Champion. (nope, nice single race but not good enough)

    If you achieve this your the greatest. For now. A great driver, but far from the greatest.
    ( although he is very busy writing his own history)

    1. I think you’re putting words in his mouth.
      I haven’t read the whole interview, but it seems to be merely his answer to the question what his aim is after a possible Triple Crown.

  7. Alonso can try all he wants – he will never be “the best driver ever” – best he can aspire is be in top 10.

    Honestly in 50 years time I am not sure his name will be remembered like Fangio, Senna, Schumacher, Prost, Clark etc those are the true greats of F1 history with Hamilton and Vettel possibly being added to that list.

    1. According to the University’s study, the top 10 F1 drivers of all time are:
      Juan Manuel Fangio.
      Alain Prost.
      Michael Schumacher (not counting his 2010-2012 Mercedes stint, which would pull him down to eighth)
      Jim Clark.
      Ayrton Senna.
      Fernando Alonso.
      Nelson Piquet.
      Jackie Stewart.
      Emerson Fittipaldi
      Sebastian Vettel

      Source: The best F1 drivers of all time, as chosen by science – Red Bull

      1. ” (not counting his 2010-2012 Mercedes stint, which would pull him down to eighth)”
        Wow, what a useless study if it does that!
        If Usain Bolt came back to competition and failed to get to the olympic podium, would that mean he was worse than what originally assessed? That makes zero sense.

      2. The fact that that 2010-2012 stint has any effect, should be raising eyebrows.

        These lists are always flawed if their purpose is to create a definitive list of drivers’ quality. Impossible to compare such different era’s.

        Love the 11th and 142nd, ahahahhah.

      3. Any list that has Christian Fittipaldi in 11th place and Niki Lauda in 142 deserves all the ridicule it will get from all true fans.

      4. According to me (non-scientist) at the end of 2017 Alonso was 14th most successful F1 driver of all time. He is likely to slip a place or two after this year: http://www.gpfactsandnumbers.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/21-Championship-GP-Starts.pdf

        1. Interesting ranking, which criteria do you use?

          1. Forgot to notify: @gpfacts

          2. @esploratore The method is ridiculously complicated, but I tried to make it as fair as possible. As it is based off results, it really represents driver’s success in F1 rather than relative ability. The criteria are described here: http://www.gpfactsandnumbers.com/driver-ratings/

          3. Ah, ok, interesting work, well done.

    2. Everyone else seems to be aware that Alonso is quicker than Vettel. That’s not up for debate, is it?

  8. Did Graham Hill win Le Mans proper, or was it in a lower category?

    1. Did Graham Hill win Le Mans proper, or was it in a lower category?

      I’m not sure Alonso won Le Mans proper. Beat the other side of the garage is all.

      1. Grahams was Le mans proper. And he won many other series as well if we were to get into it. Back then they did a series in Australia as well.

        Also he won indy at first attempted something Alonso now can’t do.

        1. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
          24th August 2018, 11:50

          That was the Tasman series which most f1 drivers did in the winter. Reminds of Button and his triathlon between Australia and Malaysia 2011.

      2. Pretty much how Hill won it. Matra was on a different level and Ferrari didn’t even compete in Le Mans, having secured the championship.

        A Le Mans win is a win, no matter what the circumstances.

  9. I love Alonso, but this does all feel like a self-constructed narrative around himself he is projecting outwards, repeatedly to build his own mythos, stemming from his dissatisfaction with his F1 career achievements. No possibility he would be abandoning F1 if he could get anywhere near a front running car and in with a chance of a 3rd title, it comes across as bitterness.

    The question for Alonso is, if he achieves an Indy500 win would he trade that and his Le Mans win for a third F1 title? I think we know the answer to that by his sniping at F1.

    1. There’s no major difference between 2 or 6 WDC titles.
      I’d rather add some iconic silverware instead.

      1. There’s 4 WDC difference

  10. Sorry, he must be joking. Does he seriously think he is a better racing driver then Senna, Schumacher or the real brave ones from the fifties or sixties? What an ego.
    Reality is that he only was F1 WC twice, that’s very good but in no way he will be seen as the best ever. LeMans was a team effort and without real competition. The rest is marketing and story telling.

    If he wants to be a legend of some kind, die on the circuit, not in bed.

    1. i would put him ahead of Senna, on almost levels except qualifying. Schumacher no due to his records. But he did beat him fair and square if he wanted to argue it.

      1. Alonso 26, schumacher 37, drivers being in decline from 35 to 40 and fast decline after 40, would hardly beat him at the same age, too bad we can’t ever do these comparisons, schumacher-hamilton at same age would be interesting.

        1. Oh, by that I don’t mean he wouldn’t be close, I see alonso as a top 10 f1 driver ever as well.

  11. If he were to combine the achievements of Graham Hill and Jack Brabahm i.e. triple crown + winning a title with his own team then, perhaps, he could make this sort of argument.

    1. I’m just trying to imagine Alonso running an F1 team and my minds gone blank ………….

  12. Just a stat across disciplines. F1 is the hardest to win Schumacher won 7 times, a few with 3 or more including 2 contempories who had been in F1 less time….they had the cars? So did Alonso at LeMans, would of been harder to lose. Making up the criteria for greatness on his own, McLaren have really rubbed off on him.

    Try Moto GP. Surtees won premier bike and F1 title.

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