Stoffel Vandoorne, Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 2018

Alonso: Vandoorne is ‘one of F1’s best talents’

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In the round-up: Fernando Alonso says his team mate Stoffel Vandoorne is one of Formula 1’s best talents.

What they say

Speaking before Vandoorne’s move to Formula E was confirmed, Alonso was asked about his team mate losing his seat at McLaren:

Well obviously it’s a shame in a way because I think Stoffel is one of the best talents.

There are only two drivers who dominated Formula Two: (Charles) Leclerc and Stoffel. Both of them they have all the records: pole positions, victories etc… One will be fighting for the world championship next year and one is probably not in F1 next year.

That’s how Formula 1 is at the moment and how sport is at the moment. You need to be in the best place in the best moment possible and probably Stoffel was unlucky with the moment.

It has been probably always like that, Formula 1. Maybe not as extreme as [for] Stoffel because he’s one of the two best talents in the paddock but it’s difficult to change the situation.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Has Formula E hit a sweet spot with its technical regulations?

Have Formula E done the impossible and written technical regulations that keep costs down, allow innovation, promote manufacturer involvement alongside privateers and create good racing?

It’s a shame that many people can’t see past the Mario Kart gimmicks to this achievement. Next season will be the acid test.
Alex Brown (@splittimes)

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  • 45 comments on “Alonso: Vandoorne is ‘one of F1’s best talents’”

    1. “He’s one of the best talents in racing. So of course I beat him easily every week, with the minimum effort”. Seriously though, I’m sure Stoffel is a lot better than his results in F1 show and good luck to him in FE.

      1. That was my thought. I appreciate Alonso’s talent and what he has meant to F1, but over the last couple of years, how many times have we heard how he had the best drive of his life and qualified 16th? This is the same thing. The more he can pump up the teammate he has throttled every week, the better it makes him look.

        If you don’t beat your teammate, you move to the back of the grid. If you are at the back of the grid, you move out of F1. It’s not much more complicated than that. I’m not saying Vandoorne has no talent. Obviously he does based on his record. Is he one of the 20 best drivers in the world? Probably Not.

    2. Thank goodness the W series cars will be detuned to 270 hp, you can’t expect women to handle the full 300hp.

      1. It’s about avoiding direct comparison. This way they are expected to post slower laptimes, but the perception will be that it is because of, wait for it… 30bhp less. Anyone suggesting that the laptime difference is too much to account just for those 30bhp will be called sexist.

        1. Yep, I think you are right.

      2. I hope you’re joking.

        1. No, he’s trolling.

          1. Actually, he’s being sarcastic and making a good point.

        2. I was/am being sarcastic to highlight/ridicule “conservative” attitudes, but Biggsy may just be right.
          PS: I find sarcasm, irony and satire lose effect if labelled as such.

      3. Is there any evidence the engines used in the W series is actually different from that used in the Renault “SpSeries” (other than innuendo)?

        1. @drycrust, I believe that, mechanically, the engines are going to be the same – it is also worth noting that the article produced by Autosport states that the power output will be between 270 to 300bhp, as Renault do not seem to have decided on the final power output themselves (a detail which Keith’s tweet does not make clear).

        2. @drycrust.
          Formula W is set to use the same Alfa Romeo turbo engine as used in F3 Asia.
          Renault Eurocup will be same chassis, but a Megane engine.

          1. Thank you both for your replies.

      4. @hohum Everybody knows that this gap is a feminist myth …

          1. It’s a pay-gap joke. :)

    3. I don’t disagree that Vandoorne is probably F1 midfield quality, but I don’t ever really see him being at the level of the top drivers in F1. And McLaren, even though they have been midfield/backmarkers for six seasons now, they still see themselves challenging at the top in a few seasons, and are thus still looking for their next Mika Hakkinen/Lewis Hamilton. I’m not sure Norris will be that, but I can definitely see them replacing Sainz within 2 seasons for their next “superstar”. But the difference could be that for the first time in a long time, McLaren haven’t had a top calibre driver in one of their seats, who acted as the ultimate yardstick. And it would be hard to drop a driver who is consistently quicker than his teammate, even when that teammate in question is Carlos Sainz.

      1. @mashiat I’m not sure hakkinen is a good example. he took a long time to come good, despite having an awesome career in the junior formulae. vandoorne has arrived in mclaren’s worst period in their history (though during hakkinen’s early years they were not a lot better) and in a time when the grid is smaller and teams are more reliant on pay drivers than ever before. I imagine SV brings some sponsorship (companies would be dumb not to back him a bit) but it’s never going to be equivalent (or even close) to the daddy billions of people like Stroll.

      2. If they’d kept Vandoorne, at least they’d still have an indirect comparison with Alonso. Now if Sainz and Norris perform similarly, McLaren won’t know if both are doing well or if both suck.

        1. @krommenaas

          I would like to see all the drivers do a 100 laps in that McLaren to gauge how good/bad Stoffel really was,

          1. Are you sure it can manage 100 laps in one go? Never mind repeat the feat another 20 times with different drivers?

          2. @greg-c even easier than that… they should have let Vandoorne drive Alonso’s car in FP1 & Alonso in Vandoorne’s car.

      3. Honestly, I really don’t follow your thinking. Vandoorne was in a worse car than his teammate. On the rare occasions they had more or less the same tool available, the difference between them was almost zero. When Norris was in Vandoorne’s car in testing, he was slower compared to Alonso. And Norris in Alonso’s car, the difference with Vandoorne was much smaller. When judging drivers, you should consider all variables and have look at the times and facts as well.
        It can not be a coincidence that Vandoorne is now picked up bij HWA (which is Mercedes). Losing his seat at McLaren is down to finance. When 2 drivers costing about 35-40 million dollars are replaced by 2 others bringing some cash, Zak can show a nice balance sheet next time round. It is very questionnable whether the results on-track will be acceptable for a socalled top team. Being Sainz or Norris, I would be very worried.

    4. Eurogamer article is cool, it is certainly nice to see the parallels being realised across both industries as a serious discussion. How long until remotely driven cars are driving around F1 tracks as a support race? They could go a lot faster and safety would be much less of a concern after all… Such “cars” could drive around the wildest and tightest wall lined circuits. No Halo required. They could even shoot missiles at each other or have spikes coming out of their wheels…

      But then they’d just be heartless chunks of material, yet still isn’t that a greater feat than pixels on a screen which already entertains and captures the attention of so many?

      There are a lot of philosophical issues when the virtual intersects with reality. I think with car companies investing as they are and circuit owners already having these established locations; there are a lot of interesting possibilities to leverage the best of both for Motorsports to become something truly spectacular.

      1. I think that idea has the potential to be spectacular, & a huge fan draw: think Malaysia pit-lane boat races (but not necessarily with all the rain & boats). It seems the fans always get a kick out of those… I sure do, in spite of all the rain & no F1 cars on track. We get to see more of the individual human side of the massive machines that are modern grand prix teams. More reason to root for teams without fanatical driver favoritism as well… the discussions surrounding teams aren’t usually nearly as rabid as those about drivers… but back to regular F1 come Sunday, though (with qualifying as is, thanks).

    5. @skipgamer – I don’t disagree with your comment, and some of the support races might well evolve into what you’ve outlined.

      Team engineers would also love not having a meatbag messing up their nice creation 😏

      But can you imagine the moaning from “purists”? They can’t even handle the change to V8s or V6s!

      1. @phylyp: And, at least the post-race grid interviews won’t be robotic…

        1. @jimmi-cynic LOL, nice one 😀

    6. Re COTD, I agree they’ve accomplished all of that you mentioned except for one thing: Good racing.

      The tracks are so narrow and the turns so slow – the races are mostly single file follow-the-leader.

    7. Re COTD
      It will be great from a manufacturer’s perspective to relax the technical rules for the energy store and the drive systems. This will work great …. until someone starts getting really sophisticated and innovative. Read that as starting to run away with things.
      Then there will be restrictions on using unobtanium and beryllium nitride or similar in the batteries. Expect a ban on super conductors and cryogenic systems to follow. Is it about the Show or is it about technical innovation. Follow the money as they say.
      For me, open up the rules and lets see some real engineering and technical development. That is what is needed.

      1. For me, open up the rules and lets see some real engineering and technical development. That is what is needed.

        @rekibsn – while that is definitely a good suggestion to promote innovation, I’ve a strong suspicion that the FE promoters have seen from F1 how costs can run away (as you’ve alluded to in your comments), and how the balance of power swings towards the big manufacturers pouring money into the sport.

        Whether by design or by accident, they seem to have stayed away from that quagmire. And they definitely have been focusing on “the show”, although the innovation has also been there (teams now build their own motors, diffs and gearboxes, only the battery and chassis are spec).

    8. Don’t know what is worse, saying that Vandoorne is one of the best talents in F1 or that the privateers in the LMP1 class are at the same level as toyota

    9. Despite Alonso’s ego massaging, I kinda agree with him – Vandoorne was excellent in the lower formula. You don’t just lose that kind of thing? It wasn’t like he was there for a zillion years before winning it because everyone else was rubbish that year, he came in and blew everyone away – just like Leclerc. I just don’t get what’s happened to him? You don’t just forget how to drive? Are McLaren that poor at developing drivers? Norris and Sainz should be worried.

      Alonso’s right in one way, that where you are in F1 is somewhat down to luck. Leclerc came into Sauber just when they’ve had one of the strongest cars they’ve had in years while Vandoorne arrived at McLaren in the worst downturn they’ve had in years. I wish him the best in Formula E, which really looks to be getting better and better.

      1. @rocketpanda I agree with you! I feel like I have been defending vandoorne too much here but I can’t believe people saying how bad he is.
        First of all, it has been clear that McLaren has decided to work on next year car rather than qualifying pace or even this year’s car.
        Though unverifiable for us, Belgian TV has also raised a point on new mechanics being trained on his car since the summer. They also said he had not even been told Norris was doing fp1 with his car in Japan. I have my doubts on those being only justifications from the journalist (though Belgian tv is usually not that kind to failing sportsmen). But if true, his performance would be explained.

        And from experience, I know what it is when things go bad for a while and you cannot see how you will escape from it. It can really impact your performance be it at work or in sports.

        Lastly, I believe he is being dropped because McLaren realised they needed to compensate for the lost Honda money now that they know they can’t hope to fight at the front for a while. As far as I know he brings no sponsor and Belgian companies have never really sponsored any racer in a long time.

        1. I hope that the HWA deal has some undertones of Mercedes interest in Vandoorne. I mean, HWA is giving him the opportunity that Mercedes could’ve easily demanded for Ocon or Wehrlein. I’m not aware if any of the current GP3/GP2 drivers apart from Russell are being backed by Mercedes, but this is good news for SVD!

    10. I agree with Alonso. Interesting content the Autosport-article has as well.

    11. The biggest liar of F1 history, and some people still believe him, incredible really!
      He’s been lying every weekend for 15 years, everytime he opens the mouth he’s a compulsive liar, and astonishes me that some people still believe…
      Back in his days of Renault it was funny to see how he changed his interview opinions depending on which country the tv channel was. It was funny to hear the spanish interview saying one thing, and in the italian interview (5 minutes later) saying the total opposite or viceversa.
      Some more this week: “I win in WEC (resistence competition), not because i have the better car (everybody knows that), its simply because im the best racer and we race better than competition, our car is similar in lap times (3 seconds ahead the rest). He’s always been like that, telling lies every weekend, and some fools believing them… People is so naive…

      1. You need to make a stand Alex, none of this dilly-dally-ing around on the fence , you either like Fred or you don’t , no more up the middle ok :)

        1. +++ LOL

    12. I have always & continue to be impressed by what Formula E does on a technical level…. However something about that series just hasn’t clicked for me so after watching every race until that point I stopped watching it part way through last season. And with the introduction of the hyper-boost for the next season I can’t see myself going back to it anytime soon either as that’s the sort of gimmick that is a real turnoff for me.

      As to why it didn’t click, Some of the more gimmickey stuff have played a role but I also think a part of it was the circuits as while I’m not against street circuits most of the one’s used by Formula E have been rubbish imo. Cars can follow closer & there has been some good bits of racing, But again due to the circuits there’s been far too much bumper cars & that isn’t really the sort of racing I enjoy.

      I also wish they would let teams design there own cars or at least have a few different chassis options or do some of there own development on them as while the performance & development thats been seen on the power train/battery side of things has been great it’s less interesting when there’s no developments or differences on the outside which is the stuff you can actually see.

    13. There is already a cost-effective spec series that offers fantastic racing with top-notch talent. It’s called IndyCar, and they run on real racing circuits without gimmicks.

      1. Formula E would appear to be in need of their own version of Bernie E. Someone who can squeeze money out of a stone.
        With 18 million (pick your currency) in arrears they need more than the Feel-Good image they portray to make the series survive and potentially grow.
        Motors, gear systems, differentials and controls are all reasonably well understood and widely available. Yes some are better than others, but the differences are single digit efficiency numbers. Batteries are what would seem to be holding back pretty much all forms of electric power systems. That is cars, trucks, boats and what-ever you can imagine that could be electrically powered. Formula E could be the breeding ground for cutting edge innovation.
        There are loads of ways that the rules can be set up to motivate development while ensuring that those same developments be available to other teams, say with a time delay or similar offset.

    14. I’ll take Alonso at his word as he knows talent when he sees it and doesn’t hand out accolades often.
      VanDoorne has been very unfortunate in his time at McLaren with a crappy car in addition to Alonso has getting preferential treatment as far as updates etc. and rightfully so as he is the best or one of the best.
      I hope Stoffel is successful in Formula E and also hope Alonso goes there soon.
      F1 will lose popularity as FE begins to grow. F1 is at the stage where it is beyond absurd.

    15. Stephen Gooden
      16th October 2018, 14:49

      I am gonna go out on a limb and say that Vandorne has been hindered by McLaren in regards t parts and prioritization. I don’t think he was getting equal equipment to Fernando at some stages but that could be just me trying to give the guy a break. Good luck to him in the FE series. Hopefully he gets an opportunity to show what he can do.

    16. The car was a good addition. But who are the people shown? I don’t think they’re drivers. Is that Austin bloke a rapper? And who is Fi Fia – she looks a bit like Britney Spears?

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