Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024 pre-season test

Alonso suspects Mercedes will “hide things” from Hamilton before Ferrari move

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Fernando Alonso says Mercedes will have to keep some developments secret from Lewis Hamilton as he prepares to join Ferrari next year.

In brief

Renault kept secrets from me in 2006 – Alonso

Alonso compared Hamilton’s final season at Mercedes to his season with Renault in 2006, when he had already confirmed his plans to join McLaren at the end of the year.

“For me it was not a big difference,” said Alonso. “In 2006, I started the season very okay, I think with the team and very relaxed with a very good atmosphere and for me didn’t change much.

“It did change maybe for the team a little bit because halfway through the season they were just testing things or programming things for the following year and I was not involved in those things because they kept some secrets from me, which was understandable.

“I think for the driver point of view doesn’t change much for the team, they try to hide a few things in the second part of the year.”

New race engineer for Zhou

Sauber’s Zhou Guanyu has a new race engineer. Andrea Benisi, previously the team’s performance engineer, has taken over from Joern Becker, whom Zhou has worked with since his F1 debut two years ago. Becker is now head of track operations.

F1 Academy grid complete

Nerea Marti has taken the final place on the grid for the second season of F1 Academy. She will drive for Campos alongside Chloe Chambers and Carrie Schreiner.

The full grid is as follows, and will be augmented by a fourth Prema for wildcard entrant Reema Juffali for next week’s season-opener at Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

TeamDriver 1Driver 2Driver 3
PremaDoriane PinMaya WeugTina Hausmann
CamposChloe ChambersCarrie SchreinerNerea Marti
RodinAbbi PullingLola LovinfosseJessica Edgar
ARTBianca BustamanteLia BlockAurelia Nobels
MPHamda Al QubaisiEmely De HeusAmna Al Qubaisi

F1 Tokyo Festival details confirmed

Honda will hold an F1 festival at Roppongi Hills Arena in Tokyo on April 2nd-3rd, ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. “In addition to appearances by F1 drivers and F1-related guests, there will be an exhibition of F1 cars,” says the manufacturer. Tickets will be free but allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

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Comment of the day

Andrea Kimi Antonelli has a big season ahead of him as he prepares to make his debut in Formula 2 with a potential graduation to Formula 1 as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement in the offing if he impresses:

If there is ever a season to dominate F2 as a rookie, it’s this year. Brand new car, so even the experienced drivers start from a somewhat similar point to the rookies.

I cannot believe I am now old enough to remember the debut of a driver who went on to be successful enough that someone named their kid after them and now that kid is on the verge of F1.
Christopher Rehn (@ChrisChrill)

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Hedgey, Kolon, Verstappen and Andae23!

On this day in motorsport

  • Born 85 years ago today: Future Formula 1 driver Peter Revson

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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38 comments on “Alonso suspects Mercedes will “hide things” from Hamilton before Ferrari move”

  1. Of course Merc will hide things / shut Lewis out. Every other team would do that to a driver leaving, why allow the driver to take confidential info about the next car to a new team?

    Toto might be all jokey now but it’ll kick in soon

    1. To be perfectly precisely, he couldn’t take such info anyway because of an NDA requirement within contract that probably doesn’t expire simultaneously with employment ending, as is usually the case in all fields.

      1. Sure, he would not be able (and probably wouldn’t even want to) take anything literally with him. But understanding what they are looking for, what things they are testing and showing would potentially help his new team to find potential for improvement too.

        So yeah, it is highly likely and to be expected that as the season goes on, Hamilton will be less and less part of discussions about and feedback from what they are developing for the future.

      2. The NDA typically doesn’t include brainwashing or other methods to unlearn/unhear/unsee, so better not feed the brain with any such secrets.

      3. Any NDA will be for IP (Intellectual Property….documents etc).

        You can’t “un-know” something. Any knowledge Lewis has in his head is his own property to do with what he wishes….although considering it looks possible that RBR “might” be going down the zero pod design in a few races time, after Lewis adamantly told the Mercedes engineers that they had got it wrong with that concept, I’m not sure his engineering knowledge carries much weight.

    2. It’s interesting because it would work the other way around too. If Lewis feels something in the car he might just as well stay silent about it, especially late in the season. Why would he make Mercedes better?

      1. Coventry Climax
        27th February 2024, 12:13

        That’s the first sensible comment I read about this all.

        And then there’s his feeling around it too: Why tell them anything at all, if they won’t listen anyway? ;-)

  2. Yes, they’ll make Lewis drive blindfolded so he can’t see his own car’s technical details.

    1. it is obvious now with the new whatsapp button on the steering wheel, they ll encrypt the messages so he cant understand them either! on the other hand, lewis will probably sabotage his driving to purposely not win a wdc and make mercedes look slower and unreliable… sighs…

    2. The question is, will it make a difference?

  3. Re. title (source)

    I didn’t read the linked article, but I am not sure it is reasonable to conclude “excerpt” this early in the season.

    1. Didn’t read to much in this article title source but kinda like the

      First the NBA, owF1. The fact it had no « excerpt » made it outstanding.

      1. Sorry about that, as you can imagine a bit of placeholder code slipped through by mistake!

  4. Well some claim that other drivers do this now.

  5. Rumour is that Horner will be told the result of the investigation tomorrow but that it likely won’t be made public until there is the opportunity to hold a team meeting to inform all the members of staff which is something that may not be possible until Wednesday.

    Should Christian be let go Jonathan Wheatley will likely act as team principal for at least the short term.

    1. I would also expect there is some talk going on about a severance package with Horner? Probably already been going in paralell, unless it is explicitly in his contract already?

      Makes sense to get the team together to make clear what is going to happen, nobody would want them to have to learn about stuff from media afterwards, that would really hurt team spirits ahead of the season and be unfair to everyone involved.

      1. I’d imagine he’d be terminated for gross misconduct which in most industries wouldn’t attract a severance package. But then again “we at Red Bull never play by the rules” as Horner so eloquently put it at his car launch.

  6. Wasn’t Alonso the driver that through dirty tactics caused his team to lose a double championship in 2007? Weird that he’s be thinking of these kinds of things still.

    1. Alonso was by far not the only one in the team responsible for the 2007 fiasco. Also this has nothing to do with the trivial matter at hand. Alonso was asked a question about something that is common practice in every F1 team that the departing driver is prohibited from knowing any information regarding next year’s car, and he answered that yes that’s how it normally works nothing new, no problem

      1. Yes, the actual story of that season has been so been so inaccurately remembered and boiled down over the years. Sadly, a lot of what eventually happened was down to a lot of simple miscommunications and of course the natural conflict that occurs when an immovable object meets an unstoppable force.

        1. It’s funny though that it’s a long list of burned bridges and questionable actions left in Alonso’s wake, I mean crashgate isn’t even in the top three and that’s saying plenty.

          1. Which bridges did he burn exactly? Because he returned to McLaren after 2007, he returned to Renault twice and he’s going to be working with Honda again. So, bridges burned: zero.

    2. We’ll never know how much of a title challenge they would have been able to mount without the shenanigans of Alonso, Stepney, Coughlan, and others. For example, Renault and other Michelin teams were very ‘surprised’ how quickly McLaren was able to make the exact right changes to best use the Bridgestone tyres.

    3. Quite the contrary – Hamilton was responsible for McLaren’s botched 2007 season.

      It all started when HAM failed to yield to ALO on the latter’s hot lap despite “team” orders.

      That led to ALO’s response in kind – holding up HAM in the pits to screw him. Tit for tat I believe is the phrase that best describes it. Or touche.

      McLaren disgracefully went to the stewards and demanded that ALO be penalized and he did lose 5 places because of it. A bit of favoritism towards HAM no doubt.

      Anyway, if HAM had yielded to ALO as his team ordered, none of it would have happened and ALO would have won the WDC.


      1. @pete he was being asked to slow down make way for king alonso to hurt his ego less with a rookie driver who was anyone’s guess was equally fast if not faster than him. when it became apparent, alo threw his toys out of the pram and did what he knows best as an honorableking, blackmail the entire team!

        1. What an outright lie. They were taking turns who would be running in which order and it was Alonso’s turn to drive in front. It had nothing to do with Alonso requesting favoritism.

  7. Didn’t Ron Dennis fire Montoya when he announced he was leaving the team at the end of the season?

    1. No, because of two bad races, i.e., the Canadian & US GPs (Indianapolis) in that season.

    2. @markwebber it depends whom you ask.

      Montoya has claimed that Ron Dennis fired him after he told him after the US GP that he was going to go and drive in NASCAR for 2007. However, if you ask Ron Dennis and McLaren, they fired him because of his inconsistent performances that season, which was capped off with crashes in the Canadian and US GP’s – the latter of which saw Montoya take Raikkonen out of the race and cause a multi-car pile up.

      1. Montoya was one of my favourite drivers of all time. Great for interview on TV also. The man can drive anything fast. I was disappointed when he left f1 but it was his own decision in the end.

  8. Sorry, but what protests is Byron Young speaking about in the linked tweet? I live in the region and was in Bahrain very recently, nothing seemed wrong when I was there and no one I spoke to spoke about any issues there (other than rising cost of living which is affecting seemingly everyone in the world). There is also no mention of protests in Bahrain in any news source I have checked, regional or western.

  9. Source? This is especially the type of quote you have to provide the original source for so we can see just how far a driver’s words have been mischaracterized.

  10. Most certainly & nothing new in such actions.

    A similar event as before last season’s Japanese GP, but only in a different part within city limits & of course, only Red Bull Racing & Visa RB drivers will attend that event since it’ll be Honda-specific, albeit I wonder which roads might get used for demo running.

  11. I can only imagine how many teams are looking closely at their cash flows to make an offer to Christian Horner if indeed he parts ways with RBR.

    I doubt he’ll just disappear and a team like AM with Stroll senior footing the bill would probably jump at the chance of luring him and his designer over to them.

  12. No, Alonso– Mercedes trusts Hamilton so much, he’ll be designing their 2025 car.

    Hamilton will be invited to give his feedback on the 2024 car, but will not be part of the 2025 discussions. Anything else would make no sense whatsoever.

    1. hamilton at the end of his career, doubt he will be carrying over any info let alone risk his years of image for this kind of low and short lived fame? alo thinks of everyone is like him when it comes to blackmailing when things dont go his way…

  13. Alonso was still World Champion in 2006, even with his team hiding “things” (the milk? TV remote?) Probably got him more fired up, and as people have mentioned, it got much nastier at McLaren.

    1. The ‘very good atmosphere’ Alonso claims was there is another classic Alonso re-telling. In reality, he dragged himself through the end of the 2006 season insulting Schumacher, claiming the FIA was rigging the championship, and suggesting a conspiracy at his own team of people who didn’t want him to win, among other shenanigans.

      The guy is a fantastic driver, but he has some… issues.

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