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David Coulthard is right…it’s been a long time since Fernando Alonso has won a championship in Formula One. Having joined the team in 2010 to replace Kimi Raikkonen, Alonso hasn’t won a title since his days at Renault in 2006. It is easy to forget that its been over six years since he’s won a title but I am sure Alonso doesn’t feel the same because he’s driving like a champion each and every race with no results to show for it.

As Coulthard told the BBC, Alonso offered a stark comment after the German Grand Prix when he said:

“They need to do something and they need to do it now.”

The word “they” and not “we” is a bit of a sign and the demand for immediate action is clear as well. Driving for Ferrari is on many driver’s bucket list but doing so for history’s sake isn’t really as appealing as it once was. The 7-time champion Michael Schumacher joined the team only to see his efforts rewarded with a domination of the sport for years but the same has not happened for Alonso.

Silly Season always brings speculation as to which driver will move to which team and with Red Bull’s Mark Webber retiring at the end of the season, the hottest seat in F1 is open. That seat is the focus of everyone’s attention but what else could be lurking behind the Silly Season politics? Could Alonso be prepared to move to a different team? He’s said in the past that he would retire at Ferrari but I believe he also wants to win.

Could you see Fernando leaving the Scuderia for another team? Would McLaren be a good choice? How about Red Bull or Mercedes or even back to the Lotus team from whence he came?

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Sudha S

    If Lotus keeps producing results for the rest of the season and in 2014 and Kimi joins RBR and things dont happen at Ferrari in 2014 as well, then Alonso might think of going back to Lotus in 2015? Unthinkable but like Hamilton said these drivers best years are getting wasted.

  • moby

    “but I am sure Alonso doesn’t feel the same because he’s driving like a champion each and every race with no results to show for it.”

    Each and every race, huh? Like in Monaco this year? Japan, Korea, Brazil last year?

    http://f1stats.blog.com/2011/09/18/case-the-2010-championship-without-misfortune/
    http://f1stats.blog.com/2012/12/09/alternative-history-the-2012-championship-without-misfortune/

    Cut the delusion already. The only reason we’re even having these discussions is because the fanbase still refuses to believe that Vettel is legitimately better than him and that the car is not the only factor in his championships. Alonso’s ego is getting too big even for Ferrari, and it’s getting to a point where they’d be better off without him. As you can see in the above two links, Fernando himself was nowhere near the “magical element” that people think allowed Ferrari to lose out by just 4/3 points despite “supposedly” having a shitbox.

    “The 7-time champion Michael Schumacher joined the team only to see his efforts rewarded with a domination of the sport for years”

    Are you somehow saying that Ferrari are the ones who brought Schumacher 5 more titles? Are you forgetting where they were back before he joined the team? Where they were in 1996? 1997? 1998? Even 2005?

    • Ferrari were not winning titles or races in 96, 97. Schumacher brought key personnel with him and they all built the team that dominated.

      Alonso has been putting in terrific drives over the last few years but has no title to show for it.

      I’m not sure but you seem angry via your post. No one is worshipping Fred here or saying he’s better than Vettel etc. just asking if Ferrari could lose him.

      • UAN

        I’d agree with lots of the points Moby is making – he sounds more frustrated, ala “enough with Fernando is the greatest driver” meme. For sure Alonso is one of the 3 or 4 drivers you’d want to have (Kimi, Hamilton, Vettel being the other 3).

        But there is an underlying narrative that goes unchallenged that Fernando can take a poor car and do magic with it. Even last year, folks were calling him flawless, when he did make some mistakes at key times (Japan? Brazil) and benefited from the misfortunes of others. Both Hamilton and Vettel were on par (and Kimi as well) with Alonso. In fact, last year, I thought Hamilton was a touch better than Vettel overall and both were above Alonso. The qualitative difference I think is that Hamilton and Vettel were in it to win it, whereas Alonso was in it to inherit it, or to pick up the pieces. It’s a different mindset. It’s a mindset you see clearly with Hamilton taking it to Vettel in their epic battle in Austin, and Lewis taking advantage of the one opportunity he had – whereas many of Alonso’s wins/podiums came when cars in front of him had issues (he wins Valencia because of an alternator failure on Vettel’s car, for instance). I remember after Abu Dhabi, that while Kimi was happy with the win, he also acknowledged that it was the result of Hamilton’s mechanical, less from his own driving – a certain humility lacking in the Spaniard :).

        A perfect example from this year is the praise Alonso got for getting the Ferrari on the podium in Silverstone. But he got there because of Hamilton’s tire blow up and Vettel’s gearbox failure and Lotus’s bad call not to bring Kimi in during the SC.

        I realize you (NC/F1Blog) aren’t worshiping Alonso, but the general consensus in the F1 world is doing just that, and there’s always just a bit in there that Vettel’s success is down to the car.

        Re MSC, I think Moby’s point is one of semantics. Schumacher was integral to building Ferrari back into the championship team it was, and in a sense, it was Ferrari that was rewarded by bringing on Schumacher, rather than the other way around. I’m not sure if Alonso has that same involvement at Ferrari.

        Definitely Fernando is a great driver and deserves the accolades he gets and will be remembered as one of the all time great.

        • BadName

          People fail to embrace the fact that Alonso has been the points leader going into the final race, 2 out of the last 3 years.

          When you have the points lead going into the final race, the work has already been done, the driver must secure the championship at that point.

          The media likes to paint pleasing pictures. But, it’s the statistician’s job to procure facts. The fact is, Alonso has failed Ferrari more than Ferrari has failed Alonso.

          • Christian

            He wasn’t the points leader in Brazi, last year. Anyways, I believe in the final races of the last season he seemed to stumble, being outpaced by Massa a couple of times.

        • Philippe

          I agree that he tends to pick up the pieces. How many times has he won a race because the leading car broke down while he was in second palce?

          Those come to mind:
          2005 Imola: Räikkönen was in the lead, car broke down.
          2005 Nürburgring: Räikkönen was in the lead, car broke down.
          2005 Hockenheim: Räikkönen was in the lead, car broke down.
          2006 Suzuka: Schumacher was in the lead, car broke down.
          2010: Bahrain: Vettel was in the lead, car broke down.
          2010: Korea: Vettel was in the lead, car broke down.
          2012: Valencia: Vettel was in the lead, car broke down.

          • Philippe

            Haha! Funny that I got a dislike for that post. Those are facts. :-P

  • yoshif8tures

    It would be more interesting to see him in red bull rather than kimi…

    • Philippe

      I agree, but Alonso doesn’t like (or can’t handle) having a fast teammate.

  • Rob

    I cannot see it happening but stranger things have happened. I think it’s more likely that Vettle joins him at the red team but it’s pretty unlikely. That would help Vettle but not Alonso IMO as it would be far closer then Massa shows but I doubt the red team could get past old ways of having a clear #2 driver.

    “Would McLaren be a good choice?” – I think that chapter has run it’s course even though the grey team is not Ron’s version it once was I doubt that could ever happen…. I suspect that is written in the unofficial blood sworn rule book somehow :-).

  • charlie w

    Certainly, Ferrari could lose Alonso. He(Alonso) probably expected Schumacher-styled domination at Ferrari and it never came. The pendulum has swung in the direction of Red Bull. Now, he has to drive all out in a Ferrari F1 car that is not the equal to Red Bull or maybe the Lotus on some tracks. But where could he go and get the same resources as Ferrari and willing to pay him properly? Back to McLaren? Not over Ron’s dead body. Fred stays at Ferrari and maybe the pendulum swings back towards Fiorano in 2014.

  • gowras

    It will be eventually difficult for Alonso to go on producing best drive after best drive every race if Ferrari eventually do not produce a race winning car. Somebody here has to let go of the EGO factor and get on with the job.

    • Philippe

      It is a race winning car.

      • Philippe

        It is. At the start of the season, Ferrari had the best tire wear / race pace ratio.
        And it won two races in dominant fashion.
        Again facts.
        You Alonso fanboys… :-P

  • very interesting post, I’m not sure what spurred the negative posts from some, nevertheless outside of winning championships, i don’t think Alonso has ever been happier with a team, and I really see him retiring with Ferrari. But results do matter despite his championship drives the last few years. Next year with the big rule change if Ferrari doesn’t make a big leap forward it will be interesting to see how he feels. I think results of next year will paint a big picture for a lot of drivers in the field, alonso, hamilton, button, and probably the most critical years for di resta, hulkenberg, etc.

    i really think that alonso is the only person that has been consistent enough to disrupt vettel’s champtionship streak, but let’s just hope ferrari and lotus don’t take too many points off each other, vs away from redbull!

    going to be exciting!

  • crazzzycanuuuk

    Nando’s under contract until 2016. With the richest contract in F1, I doubt he’ll break it.

  • Toogood2tell

    Given that Ferrari has not resolved the fundamental issues that have plagued them since 2008 e.g. making a car that work with the tyres under all conditions and qualifying speed, it’s surprise that Fernando made a choice to move to Ferrari to start with.
    Additionally, the two teams that are attracting all the technical resources in the paddock are Red Bull and Mercedes. Given this situation if Alonso was not able to bring in his own resources on technology and strategy front, Alonso is hamstrung anyways. As such DC makes a valid point about Alonso losing patience with Ferrari at some point or other.

    Only reason I suspect is holding Alonso, is the fact that he is still fixing the PR damages that he suffered at hands of English media for the relationship debacle with English team (McLaren) in a closed environment (F1) dominated by the English. After the 2006 season, only Ferrari is an organization where there has been conscious effort to eliminate Non-Italian personnel from Key decision making position and as such safe haven for the Spaniard.

    • Meine

      I suspect you are not a Ferrari fan :-)

  • Rob

    Few people are better qualified than Couthard to comment about “just making up numbers” or ‘will never win championship” or “wasting his time”

  • Silver arrow

    I don’t think he will leave, just as others have pointed out he has a fat contract and that’s not including the other deals he gets by being a Latin driver on an Italian team. He clearly had struggled because of the car but so has everyone except Red Bull. He is probably more pissed off that Mercedes are beating him on race day then red bull. Lets wait and see how the rest of the year goes and what he can do with the new car coming in next year. There too good if a team and he is too good of a driver to not figure it out

  • Ab345

    As a new fan of the sport with no previous regard for Alonso, I do think he is both a careful driver that also gets a lot out of his chances. He makes mistakes, but I think if Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel all raced RBR cars, it would be a fight between the first 2, with Vettel behind as I don’t think Vettel would battle and drive the car as extremely as the first two. I don’t think he would be able to pull away from them as he does from Mark.

  • dom

    Great post and comments! Refreshing opinions being expressed about Alonso. I like him, despite the tremendous ego, but to me there’s been something off about him since moving to Ferrari. Reading the comments I couldn’t help but be reminded of that clichee, “A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it”. To me it seems Alonso is not the driver he was. As a championship contender and racing for Ferrari (finally), he just looks to me to be far too careful and being far too careful to avoid losing valuable points is IMO one of the main reasons he is losing valuable points… if you look for it i think can see it in many races. Where others take chances and take a leap forward he hesitates, waits, and sometimes loses out.

    • Ab345

      Some of his quite bitter comments about younger drivers and wheel to wheel racing support what you are saying. But Spain and China impressed with the way he took the chance to put it away.

    • Toogood2tell

      Where others take chances and take a leap forward he hesitates, waits, and sometimes loses out.
      >> For somebody who has followed his career from his first race, that has always been the case with Alonso and not simply recent development. When put in situation of wheel to wheel racing and on track racing, As much as possible the Spaniard doesn’t force the issue on track, rather stick to race strategy.

      While the English media oohed and aahed about ballsy pass made by Webber on him at Spa in recent year, a lot has to do with Alonso not putting a firm fight in those situation.

      And I don’t blame the Spaniard for that, he is the driver of that generation, that was always encouraged to stick to lap times and work with the pit wall on race strategy. Kimi Raikkonen is other driver that comes to mind, who incidentally developed his F1 career in the same era as Fernando.

      DRS, KERS and fake rules to promote wheel to wheel combats are recent additions to game, just to keep fans engaged after sterile strategy based races from Schumacher-Alonso-Kimi era of the 00’s

  • He’s not going anywhere, but he is running out of time and nerves. Of course he has a big ego – make no mistake, there are NO nice guys in F1, but he is tired to make a fake smile and produce inspirational samurai quotes via Twitter.
    What he has achieved with mediocre cars hasn’t been done by anyone else in recent F1 history.
    Sure, he makes mistakes, everybody does. I couldn’t understand where Vettel came into the discussion?

    • Philippe

      I don’t think the 2012 Ferrari (basically the 3rd fastest car) was a mediocre car.
      The only mediocre cars Alonso has driven were the 2001 Minardi and the 2009 Renault.
      And, while he did outdrove those cars, he didn’t do any miracles in them.
      But yeah, he did some great races in average cars. Japan 2008 comes to mind. But I don’t agree that he is the only one who did that in recent F1 history. Vettel’s win in a Toro Rosso (also in 2008) was even more impressive.

      I think Vettel came into the discussion because of the comparisons in the last few years (title fights between them in 2010 and 2012). Some of us are a bit tired of the Alonso Praising + Vettel bashing.

  • Noah Kaczor

    I feel like this could be said about any driver. now that Vettel has won 3 in a row and is going for 4, it must be really frustrating for all of the top drivers. That doesn’t seem like grounds for leaving Ferrari though. If a variety of other people were winning championships, then maybe, but I think Alonso’s best chance still lies with Ferrari… As long as the can fix their terrible qualifying problems!!!!

    • UAN

      The thing about Vettel’s 3 WDCs is that, except for 2011, he wasn’t a shoe-in for them. Alonso had 2010 in the bag until Ferrari decided to cover Webber instead of Vettel in Abu Dhabi. Webber also had it in the bag in 2010 until he lost it Korea and then totally blew qualifying and the race in Abu Dhabi (when he had won 4 races that season and was in clearly the fastest car at that time). Hamilton had it in the bag except that he got too aggressive in Italy and Singapore and threw away points that would have won him the championship.

      In 2012, McLaren helped to throw away any change Hamilton had. And Fernando threw away points in Japan by trying to squeeze Kimi off the track. And he under performed in qualifying in the last several races, benefitting from Hamilton’s retirement in Abu Dhabi and Webber’s KERS failure/DNF in Austin. Heck, Alonso even baked it into T1 in Brazil at the start of a yellow sector early in the race, losing 3rd place to Hulkenberg (and Vettel gets criticized for slight contact with Senna in Abu Dhabi lol). Alonso lucked out to even have a chance by the Hamilton/Hulkenberg collision, with LH retiring and Hulkenberg getting a drive through.

      It’s funny, Vettel gets hammered for being petulant and somehow unable to handle pressure (omg, he ran wide in Canada on the last lap with Jenson closing into DRS range and certain victory anyway). Yet, when push comes to shove, and it’s all on the line for the Championship, Vettel has raised his game over and over to earn his WDCs (2010 he won 3 out of the last 4 races, and should have had Korea as well if not for an engine failure) and his competitors haven’t – it’s not just the car. Even in 2011, Vettel had some mega drives for wins, including Spain with a faster Lewis hot on his heels and with DRS for 15+ laps, and Monaco where he held off Button and Alonso for many laps (even without the Red Flag, my feeling is Vettel had it covered – he was driving brilliantly).

      • Ab345

        Going to have to see him in a different team’s car before judging. The new rules for Fy2014 may make it hard for Vettel.

        • TooGood2tell

          Going to have to see him protect the earth from collision with Asteroid 320790 before judging. And even if he does I’ll credit the scientist that designed the spacecraft to travel in the space in the first place.

  • Paff

    Here’s a thought… Last year the talk was of Perez replacing Felipe at Ferrari, but how about a swap: Fernando back to McLaren, Sergio to Ferrari?

  • prem

    I think the argument of the Alonso fanboys is that he is making a strictly-okay car look good. Maybe a detailed comparison between him and Massa this year will help get a clearer picture of how fast this year’s Ferrari really is? Just thinking aloud.

    • Philippe

      Massa is too inconsistent and makes too many mistakes to be the driver that we judge the car with.

    • Philippe

      Also, we if judge the pace of the cars with the second driver, look at Webber’s 6th place last year and this year’s 5th in the standings. Does that mean that the Red Bull is maybe not as great as people think it is?

  • prem

    Absolutely. Just posting the hypothesis that Alonso might already be pushing that car substantially further than it can go. In which case he must be quite fed up.

  • prem

    And one way of working out that and the real pace of the car is comparing with his team mate.

  • Meine

    Interesting, the article spurred some Alonso bashing.

    But to answer the question: I think that Alonso will stay with Ferrari until his contract is up. And then he will maybe retire, or go to a team with championship chances if available.

    I, like David Coulthard, think that Alonso is one of the top 4 drivers. The other three being (in no particual order) Kimi, Vettel and Hamilton.

    In my opinion Alonso is the smartest of those three and Hamilton the least smartest.
    For whatever that’s worth.