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Will Alonso launch a new era for Ferrari?
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Will Alonso launch a new era for Ferrari?
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Jan 2010   |  6:46 pm GMT  |  215 comments

Fernando Alonso held his first press conference in Ferrari colours today. He spoke about his desire to win many championships with Ferrari, to end his career there and denied requesting number one status at any stage of his career. He also said that he expects to have a good relationship with team mate Felipe Massa.

Picture 7
His theme was that joining Ferrari was the culmination of a long journey in his career, that he was now at home in the Ferrari family. But being Alonso, he couldn’t resist an edgy comment about his McLaren days, suggesting that he felt like a number two to Lewis Hamilton. He kept referring to ‘minorities’ who continue to talk negatively about his behaviour at McLaren in 2007, it clearly bothers him that he has not been able to set the record straight about that time – due to the non-disclosure clause in his severance contract.

“I’m not saying to the team that I want to have anything better for me,” he said. “What I do is work 110 per cent with the team and if the team is not working 110 per cent too it’s not right. I’m a guy who will push everybody to do their best job possible, as their push me to do the best job possible.

“I never asked to be number one driver in any team in my career and that’s coming from nowhere, and keeps repeating again from a minority. But what I don’t want to be, for sure, is number two, like it happened sometimes in 2007.”

It is rare for Ferrari to hire a world champion – they have traditionally liked making champions. When they do it, it tends to be someone pretty special and it comes at a time when the driver is mature in his career and the team needs a boost. In the 1950s they hired Juan Manuel Fangio, in 1990 they got Alain Prost, in 1996 they hired Michael Schumacher and now, at the age of 28, Alonso joins that elite group.

This time around, the team isn’t in bad shape, like it was in 1996. They had a poor year in 2009, but in the two previous years they won races and championships. But Alonso is there to stop any rot setting in. He has been hired for his leadership qualities and because, for all the talent and speed of a Raikkonen or a Massa, the management believes that a team like Ferrari needs a killer in the car.

Alonso said that there had been a lot of waiting around to get started, thanks to the winter testing ban, which he criticised. But he has done as much as he could to get the lines of communication open with the team,

“We have had contact, especially with my race engineer and the technicians of the team,” he said. Ferrari confirmed to me this morning that Alonso will inherit Kimi Raikkonen’s crew, which means that he will be engineered by Andrea Stella.

“We kept exchanging emails and phone calls and I’m always updated about the development of the car so we can be perfectly ready when the tests start in February, ” he added.

“We have worked well. From day one I found myself at home at the team. There is like a family feeling from the start. He added that he was “100 per cent sure” that he would end his career at the team. Mind you, Raikkonen said the same thing in 2006.

“For any driver, coming to Ferrari is the best thing you can do in your career,” Alonso added.

“It’s almost impossible to find the motivation to race for another team after racing for Ferrari, because you will never find the same environment or have the same feeling due to its history.

Inevitably he spoke also about Michael Schumacher’s return. Alonso is the only driver on the 2010 grid who has beaten Schumacher to a world title and he admitted that the motivation is very strong to beat him.

“His return is good for the sport. For the fans, 2010 at the start will be very interesting. It’s a motivation for me of course. When he wasn’t here, of course there was that lack of motivation,” he said.

As for emulating Schumacher’s feats, in the Italian language conference he said, “Winning seven world championships would be difficult, if not impossible in F1 today. But certainly I will try to win as many as possible in the next few years.”

Schumacher’s arrival heralded a new era for Ferrari – the question now is, will Alonso be able to emulate him and carry the team forward?

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215 Comments
  1. Jeremy says:

    Technically, Raikkonen has ended his career in F1, with Ferrari.

    1. F1ART says:

      Not quite!
      Ferrari ended it not Raikkonen
      If technically correct then it would have been thathe would end his career at the team, his choice not the teams?
      Sorry to get so technical!

    2. F1 Kitteh says:

      Actually, it was the other way around, Ferrari ended Kimi’s career.

    3. Dale says:

      Nonsense, if Schumacher can come back after 3 years out then so too can Kimi.

    4. salty popcorn says:

      Agree with Jeremy. Ferrari ended Kimi’s Ferrari career, but Kimi chose to end his F1 career (for the time being) with Ferrari.

      Maybe one day I will get over this, but not quite yet!

    5. Lola says:

      Mercedes and Mclaren offered him a drive, it would have been handsomely paid.
      Those were 2 great offers to keep going in F1, even for someone like Kimi who became WC with a lot of luck.
      Who ended his carrier?

    6. Peter Freeman says:

      If what James reported is true and that the Ferrari mechanics could not understand how Kimi got the pace out of last years car that he did, then I think it is a refection on the role of politics in F1 that Kimi is not in a race seat this year. Certainly Kimi vs Fisi was a slaughter, which was not so when it was Alonso vs Fisi. Alonso was faster, but by a few 10ths, not by the whole field!

      1. Craig Chamberlain says:

        The problem is that this past year it is only a few tenths that separates the whole field.

        Alonso has consistently beaten all his teammates. In 2007 he met his match of course by trying to beat his teammate AND THE TEAM both at the same time! He nearly did it too which is pretty amazing!

        Craig.

      2. Peter Freeman says:

        Well not quite true… when Trulli left Renault in 2004 he was 2 points ahead of Alonso and had proven faster than Alonso that year.

        As for the comparison between Kimi and Alonso vs Fisi, lets look at Brazil 06 and 09. In 06 Alonso was 11.6 seconds ahead of Fisi while in 09 Kimi was 27.3 seconds ahead of Fisi. And yes the cars were closer in 09, more credit to Kimi!

        Also I think the claim that Hamilton beat Alonso because of help from the team is a wishful think. Hamilton was a rookie and really should have been well behind a double world champion, no amount of engineering should have been able to help Hamilton. Pique vs Alonso the next season is a good comparison and speaks volumes for the ability of Hamilton.

        In truth Alonso has achieved a lot, but it remains to be seen if he can actually beat a strong team mate. This year his main goal should be beating Massa, no mean feat as Massa has improved a huge amount in the last few years.

      3. Pablo Rossi says:

        I’m far more of a Kimi fan than an Alonso fan, but the simple fact is they BOTH walloped Fisi. Using arguments about time between finishes is a little simplistic as i’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be a difference of 16secs between Kimi and Alonso, no matter how much I would love to see it.

      4. Peter Freeman says:

        Of course one can’t say that there is therefore 16 sec difference between Kimi and Alonso, that would be simplistic and highly unrealistic. I am simply pointing out the significant difference in the margin between Kimi and Alonso vs Fisi. Different cars, years and circumstances yes, but still Kimi was WAY faster than Fisi, by a margin Alonso did not achieve. It is my opinion that Alonso is more consistent that Kimi, but that Kimi on form, is significantly faster than Alonso and that Kimi should still be in a competitive race seat.

      5. Amritraj says:

        There is no logic to your argument. Fisichella did just 5 races with Ferrari this year; in a car which had KERS, a whole lot different to the Force India Fisi was driving, and with no testing whatsoever. How can you even begin to use Fisi’s pace as a guage between Kimi and Alonso?!
        Going by your even logic even Piquet should have been a match for Alonso since he matched Hamilton all the way in GP2….

        Kimi and Alonso are 2 great racing drivers with very different working methodologies and very little to choose between them.

      6. Peter Freeman says:

        I think comparing F1 team mates in F1 cars is a reasonable thing to do. Fisi joined Ferrari as a highly experienced veteran F1 driver, in fact Ferrari sought him out. Also I was unaware that Piquet had won any GP2 series in which Hamilton was competing.

      7. Gary T says:

        In Belgium, Fisi was on Kimi’s tail in a Force India with no KERS.

        Clearly the gap between the two when driving the Ferrari was due to him having no opportunity to adjust to the team.

        Give the guy SOME credit!

      8. Amritraj says:

        Gary, I am giving Fisi all the credit he deserves. In fact I have factored the difference in the Force India and the Ferrari car to Fisi’s defence. All I am saying is you cannot use his relative pace at Renault and Ferrari as a guidepost to compare Alonso and Kimi’s pace, and you cannot deduce that Kimi would be faster than Alonso becuase he was relatively quicker than Fisi than Alonso was (during their pairing at Renault). The logic Peter Freeman is using is completely bonkers.

        This is F1. Even the most brilliant and expereinced engineers have to rack their brains to figure out who is quicker and why. And we have an armchair analyst who seems to have figured why Kimi is quicker than Alonso. May be he should apply to Ferrari for a job. They may hire him as their talent scout….

      9. Pablo Rossi says:

        Personally I don’t believe Fisi deserves half the credit he’s being given. If Kimi, Alonso, Lewis and several others were in that Force India car at Spa, there would have been no-one even close to them. After the restart Kimi was a beast; yes because of KERS but also because he is a dedicated overtaker meaning once he makes his move its win or bust. It was more than just KERS that got him past. However like i said, the same guys in the FI car would not have let that happened or if they had they would have retaken the Ferrari, there were enough laps for Fisi’s FAR superior car to take the lead but he wasn’t up to the job. Reminded me a lot of my favourite race of all time – Suzuka 2005.
        A genuine question to any Fisi fans (Gary) – Do you believe that roles reversed Fisi would have won the race in the Ferrari had Kimi been in the Force India. Purely hypothetical and as i’m writing it, it sounds confrontational – I assure you this is not intended!!! :)

  2. Morris Mao says:

    I believe he can

    Hope it will turn out

  3. Lady Snowcat says:

    Well, well…

    Isn’t this the guy who asked to speak to the entire McLaren workforce when he arrived and told them it had always been his dream to be a McLaren driver….

    Apparently it brought a tear to many an eye… which was, of course, repeated several times during 2007 for entirely different reasons…

    I also note that Felipe has had almost no attention and Stephano has basically said Alonso can beat Schumey but seems less sure about Felipe in the Press Releases…

    I have to say that Luca’s decision to put Stephano in charge looks a bit of a mistake when there is no hard nosed Jean Todt in the background…

    Nice guy but just not up to it….

    I just hope Felipe and Rob have got their strategy well planned….

    1. jose says:

      you can have more than one dream in your life, can’t you? Being a mclaren, and a ferrari driver mix pretty well as far as i know.

    2. Carlos says:

      Alonso was a McLaren fan from childhood, and that can’t be changed. I’m sure it’s given him a lot of regrets. He’s also hinted that he still likes McLaren, but not Ron Dennis (he’s never been too specific about that – he may have been talking about other bosses in the team).

      When he announced that he was joining Ferrari, his words in the Spanish press were always, “It is A dream to drive for Ferrari,” or, “Driving for Ferrari is something that lots of kids dream about.” He’s never actually said that it was HIS dream, because he can’t.

      Hell, he used to be quite anti-Ferrari. I remember him saying that winning a championship for a team other than Ferrari was a greater accomplishment, and he once said he would never drive for them – but that seemed to be a personal spat with Jean Todt, who’s now… uh oh.

      1. James Allen says:

        Indeed – he dreamed of McLaren because it was Senna’s team. But Ferrari is Ferrari

      2. Lilia says:

        And what exactly is so great in the fact that Ferrari is Ferrari. For me is just Ferrari. Just some well played Italian marketing making people say thinks like that.
        Really what exactly is it that makes them any better? Because they started a few years earlier? So what? Mclaren has a big history also.
        That why Ferrari makes there driver say all that stupid things about how big an honor is to be part of the history of Ferrari and that they are like a family and they see the Prancing Horse in there dreams. Just marketing to make you Say the Ferrari is Ferrari speech. It’s just a team.

    3. M__E says:

      Alonso’s template for use each time he changes teams:

      “it has always been my dream to drive for *___ and end my days there.”

      *which ever is the current team he is at

      though renault doesnt fit that model..hmm

      1. Carlos says:

        see above

      2. GP says:

        Two things can be true at the same time. It doesn’t have to be either/or in everything.

        As James mentions, Alonso dreamed of McLaren during Senna’s time. If you asked any of the current drivers my bet is that their dream team will be the one that was winning at the time they got interested in F1.

        I’m also sure that you have had more than one dream, right? At least I hope you do ;-)

    4. Yes, I often thought that the reason Alonso was so hurt by the McLaren thing was because he really wanted to live out his Senna-esque dream.

      When it became clear Lewis was the team’s favourite, very quick, and he couldnt get on with Ron Dennis, it all went horribly wrong. He was woken from his dream with a jolt.

      Alonso has a lot of fraustration about that and…well…isn’t it the one’s we love that fraustrate us the most? If he was that hard-nosed, he’d have just forgotten about it.

  4. Morris Mao says:

    it clearly bothers him that he has not been able to set the record straight about that time – due to the non-disclosure clause in his severance contract.

    I just wander whether one day such clause would expire, so we would konw what had happened?

    1. fenman says:

      I don’t believe it “bothers him” in the slightest … everyone knows pretty much exactly what transpired; who, how and when. I do believe it suits him to pretend that there is an untold story. Maybe on some level he has even convinced himself.

      Clinging to this non-disclosure fetish is pure spin, looks desperate. A cobbled-together reality distortion field for those apologists in the peanut-gallery, blame a bogeyman that is all too conveniently hidden by contractual non-disclosure. Doubt it.

      He’s got form here. All part of woe-is-me persecution complex. His pathological requirement to always blame external forces, real or imagined, for any and all undesired outcomes.
      It’s a coping mechanism, to re-assure himself that it wasn’t any shortcoming on his part that led to the problem, but this absolute abdication of personal responsibility is never going to work out in the long run. He turns in on himself.
      Hopefully he has matured somewhat in the last coupla years, he’s moving into a stressful and highly politicised new job, he’ll need to play the angles and the big picture a whole lot better than he did last time.

      Either way, he effectively got the fat end of 30million quid to shut his gob, so maybe, just maybe he should do that. 2007 redux and ad nauseam is getting a bit threadbare and starting to sound more than a little played-out.

      1. GP says:

        You must have read the non-disclosure document. Can you post it here so we can have a discussion on the facts?

      2. timem1 says:

        I take it your a Hamilton fan. In which case your projections are understandable. :)

      3. fenman says:

        I am not a ‘fan’ of anyone, fans are ridiculous looking creatures, blinkered and easily led by the nose. Look at them, standing in the rain, dressed the same, waiting to get their piece of overpriced, merchandised tat scribbled on …

        Like I say, he had form going in to this, at Renault, the card on Alonso said great driver when he’s winning, fragile and paranoid when the wheels fall off. When push came to shove, that psychological weakness was always going to be his undoing.

        F1 is a big boys sport, there is unequal pressure applied from all directions, it’s how you absorb that pressure, and it’s how you react to that pressure. It is pointless to complain about the travails endured, or the perceived inequalities, real or imaginary, that is the nature of the beast, that is real life, life at the very sharp end.

        He notoriously retreated within himself and within his entourage, skulking and sulking back over at the Renault motorhome, an echo chamber, exacerbating and reinforcing his persecution complex. Rather than push back, and overcome, he withdrew, that more than any other contributory factor is what did for him.

        Waving his fist (at who, for why) coming down the Indy straight told everyone everything they needed to know about who was where in the headgames. Who was coping and who was cracking.

        F1 is also never that complicated, it generally is exactly what it is. Two men started a new job, both wanted a team built around them, they went head to head, to make it their era.
        For a poker player like Alonso to still not realise it’s not the cards, it’s how you play them is baffling. No-one ever gave-away anything worth having, he was up against a ruthless competitor, if he wanted it, he should have fought harder and fought smarter. Reflect and deflect that pressure, crack a rookie, win the team.

        He didn’t or couldn’t, that’s the way it goes sometimes … if after all the intervening time and distance, he still can’t acknowledge that, if he hasn’t learned anything, if in snide and snarky press comments, he still clings to a personal and conveniently untellable re-spinning of events, then you need to be real concerned, real concerned, how he will deal with the politicking and factionalism of Ferrari. Woking was a cakewalk compared to Maranello.

      4. James Allen says:

        I really like the way you expressed some passages here, especially the penultimate para. Thanks for this post

      5. Antoine says:

        fenman, you seem pretty sure of your comments, care to enlighten the rest of us of exactly what went on in 2007. I do remember Ron Dennis saying “we were racing Alonso”, but I guess that is an example of some of the imagined external forces you are babbling about..

      6. Lockster says:

        Fantastic post Fenman, very accurate expose on Alonso’s character.

        Another example of his “form” of blaming the team was that unbelievably wet race in China 06 when he had a terrible race by his standards, and from memory I think Fisi overtook him(someone might be able to confirm or correct that) but Alonso was babbling on about how the Renault team wasn’t supporting him, blah, blah blah when the fact was that he was just not at the top of his game.

        On the Mclaren front, the fact that a double world champion with his many years of experience couldn’t beat a rookie was a real eye opener, both as to how good Hamilton is as a driver and how fragile Alonso really is.

      7. Charlie B says:

        @fenman, if there was nothing to tell then why would there be a non-disclosure clause?

      8. Morris Mao says:

        A driver is also a human, I do not expect he can keep everything under control.

        No driver is perfect in every aspect, even Alonso.

        No driver can win a season without the team’s support, even Alonso.

        In Renault,Alonso had win the team, his history in Renault has few people would reasonable doubt, with a competitive car, with support from the team, Alonso can win a title.

        Even this had already been proved, McLaren still choose to their own baby, but the result was: with a competitive car ,with support from the team, this baby failed his work.

        I think the difference between Renault and Mclaren was: one was a French team, lead by Briatore, One was English team, led by Dennis.

        Did you mean Renault was a cakewalk compared to Mclaren, in politicking and factionalism?

        Come on,let’s make situation more easy to understand.

        It’s only show someone’s prejudice and stupid.

      9. Morris Mao says:

        No driver can win a season without the team’s support, even a great driver as Alonso.

        Actually, this one of the conclusions I drew from 2007.

      10. norbert says:

        either you are Fernando Alonso’s psycoanalist and know something the rest of us don’t, or your post is the most elocuently written pile of dung i’ve ever read… based on the offical gospel of Lewis Hamilton, i know, i’ve heard that tale of David and Goliath before, i’m actually sick of hearing it , actually , no matter how elocuently told.

      11. alsi says:

        alonso is the best.thats for sure.him and jeff gordon are gona be unbeatable in the ferrari in 2010.hope toyota does well in 2010 as well!!! they deserve it.thanks james for this website.there are a couple of interesting things on it.

  5. Zaryaan says:

    James, I’ve really enjoyed reading your articles! Thank you very much!

    I honestly think he was mistreated at Mclaren and it is a shame that he can’t share his side of the story. The fact that he had to sign a non-disclosure form before leaving the team says it all for me. Lewis wrote about some of problems he had with Fernando in his book, but that is only one side of the story.

    Mclaren have a history of not being able to manage their drivers well, and you would think that after the Prost and Senna days, they would have had some more experience to draw from. Mclaren did the same to Montoya, Kovalainen and David Coulthard. I’m sure more than Alonso and Massa being an issue in 2010, the bigger issue will be Hamilton and Button. I guess time will tell.

    Ferrari have also favoured their number ones, Schumacher is a great example. But when equal status was given in the team to Massa and Raikkonen – Raikkonen won the championship and Massa lost in the final corner of Brazil and only by a point.

    James, what are your feelings on this?
    Do you not think that the team to be more worried about should be Jenson and Lewis, as opposed to everyone being focussed on Fernando and Felipe.

    Some people seem to feel that Felipe will be number two in team as Fernando has emerged as a leader, do you think this will be the case?

    1. James Allen says:

      I think they will be equal. The Schumacher situation was pretty unique

      1. jose says:

        james. Did you read the book checkered conflict, abaut the 2007 season? Has it any new information worth to buy it?

      2. James Allen says:

        No, let me know what you think if you read it

      3. Flintelli says:

        Its a very good read…. It doesn’t have anymore information interms of what was published at the time, but I would argue that I warmed to Alonso more after reading it…! Both Alonso and Hammy played the game that year. The book does try to compare 2007 with 1986 an aweful lot which is the basis for the book, hence Mansell and Piquet. Somehow that doesn’t work for me, but if you want an insight for 2007 as a whole it is certainly worth a read.

      4. Morris Mao says:

        In the last few years, the main difference between the number 1 and number 2 was who would take a little less fuel,so got a better chance to grasp the pole.

        Under the new rule in 2010,such a difference mostly probably will disappear, so it will depend on who can make the faster speed in the qualifying with the same equipment, who can make less mistakes on the track, the points will decide who is the number 1.

      5. F1-FAN says:

        Expect Massa to be replaced in 2011. Mark my words, we’ll see it at the end of 2010. And if we can we will come here to remind ourselved.

      6. Sinan Kolat says:

        I would like to see that but it might be a far shot as he is managed by one Nicholas Todt. If he can continue to deliver on track (albeit not on a championship winning level) he will still be in the Ferrari suit. But I would like to see him go, definitely. The guy just doesnt have that extra thing that makes a driver a champion

      7. Martin P says:

        And on that particular note… I’ve been reading on another site (yes I know, I admit I look around, but I always come here for the definitive!) that Schumi has said he’s at Mercedes to win a Championship within three years.

        Does that not sound like Rosberg is the de facto number 2 before turning a wheel?

        Forget the Button/Hamilton & Massa/Alonso stories – the big one for me is how Rosberg & Schumacher work together. Keke won’t be a happy man!

      8. Ewan says:

        Rosberg is absolutely the number 2 driver, at least in Schumacher’s head.

        Whether it’s true or not won’t be decided until a couple of races – if Rosberg can match him in the tests and first month of the new season then he’ll get a decent shot at racing, otherwise I’m sure Michael will get his way.

      9. Schmidt says:

        “unique situation” explained ..

        “When I was at Ferrari with Michael, I did the majority of the testing, the tyre work and the chassis work. But Michael could just get in the car and go fast immediately. He was quicker than me so he was the No. 1. When I was close to winning the title in 1999, Michael came back after his broken leg and proved he wasn’t just the best No.1 but also the best No. 2 in Malaysia when he let me past for the race win.” – Eddie Irvine
        source: http://en.espnf1.com/f1/motorsport/story/5796.html

    2. jw1980 says:

      The facts of the matter are McLaren try to employ the best drivers available. Few people doubt that Hakkinen, Raikkonen and Hamilton were/are vastly superior drivers to Coulthard, Montoya and Kovallainen.
      Problems occur when drivers are evenly matched. Ferrari did not have that problem during the Schumacher years because Schumacher was so good and the team deliberately chose not to place him alongside a potentially strong teammate.
      Recent history has shown that Alonso does not react well to a strong teammate and there is history between him and Massa. That’s why people think that there could be problems ahead. If Alonso is significantly faster then there will be no problems. Likewise at McLaren with Hamilton and Button. However, in the past Button has shown himself to be pretty level-headed when up against it with his teammate.

  6. jose arellano says:

    i think we are all expecting a looot from alonso in a ferrari.. do you think he is starting to feel a little pressure to deliver ??

    1. jose says:

      pressure?! he is having the time of his life.

  7. yos says:

    Hi James
    I wish he could have replied to Lewis’s ‘I blew him away’ comment. I think he wants to relply it on the track.

    1. Mac says:

      He did reply.

      He said Lewis only matched him as Macca treated him as a number 2 and didn’t give him their full support.

      With equal status, Alonso would have been WDC.

      Lewis knows this. Which explains why he is so rattled now.

      1. Peter says:

        I don’t think Lewis mean ‘blew him away’ in terms of overall performance that season. They were similiarly matched throughout the season even though Lewis just finished ahead of him in the drivers standings, but what Lewis means is that Fernando never expected Lewis to be so…good.

      2. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        Not true about early in the 2007 season. Alonso was favoured….remember Monaco 2007?

      3. Freespeech says:

        Yes I do and I think Lewis could have won it if he’d been allowed to race.

      4. Tom Johnson says:

        Ridiculous post. He had equal equipment and status within the team.

      5. davidturnedge says:

        Have to agree. Lewis was (is) outstanding – and I am not a fan – Alonso looked like he let his frustration get the better of him which damaged his relationship with the team, his team mate, the public – and I am an Alonso fan.

      6. Mac says:

        He didn’t have equal treatment. You may think otherwise. But I know for certain.

    2. Dale says:

      Lewis was only stating a fact :)

      1. Peter says:

        And who remembers the time in Hungary 2007 when MCLAREN blamed Lewis for the sour events because he wouldn’t follow team orders in letting Alonso through on the track during qualifying. Being treated as 2nd driver? No, McLaren did everything they could to make Alonso feel like 1st team driver but his rookie team mate showed that wasn’t going to be the case on the track.

  8. Tom Adams says:

    Best of luck Fernando, i think youll have your work cut out with Massa!

    James, whats your inside knowledge on the second Renault seat…
    Surely you must have heard some whispers or rumours! Still hoping for Villeneuve, does he have a chance?

  9. Kibby_Maine says:

    Common James, you know there are things Nando will never admit (and maybe not only the No. one status issue). Good? He`s good allright. But talking about eras? There`ll be No eras, at least not pilot related. And this is good by the way. There are too much variables into play (teams and team-mates, cars, tires, seasonal development etc). So could you please ease off the ode-like speeches, thank you.

  10. Andy says:

    It will be fun finding out won’t it!

    Personally I was a little amused and bemused at stefanos comments about it being a breath of fresh air to have an all Latin lineup.

    If I recall it took Frenchman, a german, a south African and some englishmen to put Ferrari back on the map.

    James,
    do you think he will win multiple champs with Ferrari?

    I can’t wait for the first tests!

  11. rfs says:

    “Schumacher’s arrival heralded a new era for Ferrari”
    You mean Schumacher+Ross Brawn+Rory Byrne+Jean Todt. I’m sure Alonso will do well at Ferrari and win one or two championships, but he won’t monopolise the sport like Schu did with the “Dream Team”.

    1. Scuderia@China says:

      Excellent comments. Schumi started an era not just by himself but a team. From my perspective, the problem with the Scuderia today is more about management and less about drivers. To blame past failures on the drivers, or a single driver in particular, is to find a scapegoat. Montezemolo + Domenicali combination is the crux of the issues. Until then, there will be flashes of brilliance but no where near utter dominance. Personally I think the independents will be at the center of the show in the new era of F1. Not a bad thing indeed.

      1. James Allen says:

        Schumacher was the lightning rod for the new era- he’s the reason Brawn and Byrne went to Ferrari

      2. Tim says:

        Jean Todt was there before Schumacher, and Todt had already successfully head-hunted some Benneton technical staff before Schumacher – or Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne – came across from Benneton.

    2. AP says:

      1. Jean Todt was already there since 1993/4

      2. Schumacher had no opponent at his level from 2001 till 2004. Now there is Alonso, Hamilton, Schumacher, maybe Raikonnen will reappear… So it’s much harder

    3. jw1980 says:

      I agree with rfs comments. It was the team that achieved so much success duirng the first half of this decade for Ferrari. Schumacher is an outstanding driver but he positioned himself so that he never took on an outstanding teammate.
      You can say that Ferrari have won three championships out of six since the departure of Brawn but this is down to his legacy I believe rather than the abilities of the existing management team. It can take a while for an excellent team of people to reach their goals just like it takes a while for the decline to set in when significant people leave.
      With Alonso on board I am sure that Ferrari will do better than in 2009 but against McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull they will be hard pushed to win a significant number of races.

      1. timem1 says:

        What people seem to forget is that Schumacher was an integral part of that team. He was given #1 status because Ferrari knew he was a generational talent that could deliver consistently. Ross Brawn has stated many times that Schumi’s ability to clock laps again and again at the absolute limit were key to the teams success. The guy is the best driver ever, bar none.

      2. jw1980 says:

        Schumacher was an integral part of the team and the best driver of his generation with only Hakkinen coming vaguely close and Alonso challenging towards the end of his career. However, it was a team effort that created such utter domination. Ferrari had the best driver, stategist, team manager, etc of the day. The point I was trying to make was that some of Domenicali’s success has been because of what was set up beforehand rather than his own abilities. The Ferrari team is not what it was ten years ago or even five plus they have much stronger competition now therefore I do not believe that they will achieve as much with Alonso.
        I disagree with your assertion that Schumacher was the greatest bar none. Statistically yes. However, had Senna not died I believe that he would have gone on and won the WDC in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 giving him 7 titles. Would Schumacher ever have moved to Ferrari under these circumstances? Senna may have retired at the end of 2007 when Renault pulled out.
        Another aspect that Senna, Prost, Alonso and Hamilton have on Schumacher is that they have all taken on strong teammates. We never saw that in Schumacher’s career and never saw a direct comparison beween him and another all time great or even an emerging great. That said he is probably one of the top 5 drivers of all time.

      3. Timem1 says:

        Statistics are all that really matter. Senna was a great one and I will always be in awe of him. But imaginary Championships that he might have won are not the same as actual WDC’s that Schumi has actually won.

      4. kenny says:

        “Schumacher is an outstanding driver but he positioned himself so that he never took on an outstanding teammate.”

        Your claim that Schumacher never had an outstanding teammate is untrue but i can understand why you might think that.
        Irvine was an exceptional driver, and was denied they world championship only by that bungled pitstop in Nurburgring. Massa has shown himself good enough to be world champion (had the Toyota been able to get around the last corner in Brazil) and Barrichello was quicker than the current world champion in many races this year – and he is at least 5 years past his peak.

        Schumacher is the outstanding talent in F1.

      5. jw1980 says:

        I presume the comment about Irvine is not serious? He went into the last race of 1999 with a 4 point lead over Hakkinen but in Japan was well and truly beaten.
        That’s not to say that Irvine was not a good driver just like Barrichello and Massa. However, none of them are a Prost, Senna, Alonso or Hamilton.

    4. EthanX says:

      Win chmapionship 1 or 2 championships ??

      never in a million years ! Alonso is going to retire without adding any rings at Ferrari !

      MS will win the next 3 years …

      1. Tim L says:

        …Nope…he is good but not the next three.

  12. smellyden says:

    Its going to be a very interesting season 2010. There are so many plots and sub plots, and even with the lack of fuelling I hope that this season is going to be interesting. But as Alonso himself said he is going to be unable to match Schumacher achievements for the scarlet red, will this mean his time there is going to mean failure? If he even achieves half the dominance that Schumacher I think that would be a great result, as unlike Schuey era there are more people competing at the same level. There are 4 world champions, then there is the wannabes like Vettel and others who are going to push all the way. Surely who ever wins the world championship this year will have to go down as winning the most toughest championship ever!

    1. kenny says:

      smellyden,

      you appear to be degrading the value of Schumachers title because there werent as many champions around in his time -compared to the four now.

      I would like to remind you that Schumacher raced against:
      Mika Häkkinen
      Jacques Villeneuve
      Damon Hill
      Alain Prost
      Nigel Mansell
      Ayrton Senna*

      If they were able to genuinely match Schumacher’s speed, they would not have been so quick to retire!!

      In the latter years, there wernt too many ex-world champions around – because Schumacher was the champ.

      1. Smellyden says:

        I understand what you are saying, but throughout Schuey era he only ever faced one driver, who could match him. But in the era now with cars being so close in terms of competivness, and with so many drivers being capable of winning, I think my comment is still valid!

  13. Francisco says:

    As Spaniard I have a great deal of admiration for the guy and his qualities.

    Will FA emulate MS? In a nutshell, never! … Ok never say never, but almost impossible.

    For start, MS had an unlimited budget/testing to get the car/team ready to be WC. Even considering FA as good as MS in preparing a F1 car he will never have the “unlimited” word on his future. Ferrari has to be magic and get him at least a car as good as the competition.

    With the current conditions, i.e. cap and very limited testing, it is a hit and miss affair from now on, if team-X gets the best car, one of its drives almost for sure will WC. Brawn has done it. As much as I like JB, I am afraid LH, FA and KR are a step or two ahead.

    1. Fastmikey says:

      I love this. People always throw KR in when talking about LH, FA and MS etc. KR was a natural talent no doubt. But FA (and I am not an FA fan but I suppose i have to be sort of as Ferrari is my team), like MS and LH bring their A game everytime they get into the car. They are the rawest competitors the world has every seen, like their predecessors AS, AP and GV etc.

      This is the essence of formula 1, and this is why the world watches. I don’t watch F1 to see Kimi the cruiser wander round a track when he thinks he has no hope of winning, or Kimi driving the doors off to save his skin as its contract time.

      Great Champions create the opportunities that don’t exist. Schumacher used to do it often, even when racing his brother and rubens for 6th place. Alonso will bring his A game every weekend, and so will Lewis and now Michael. What a great 2010 we are going to get.

      Kimi might on somedays and for that I will not miss him . . .

      1. davidturnedge says:

        A fantastic post. Agree wholeheartedly!

      2. tarun says:

        fastmikey, so why don’t you give justification for alonso’s renault years after 07
        what has he got to show for his strong development skills
        why wasn’t he on podium/points each race
        just coz he wasnt driving a ferrari doesnt mean the guy is blameless and the car is to blame for lack of performances.
        it’s a huge generalisation to make about fa performing on A level and kimi not so much.
        kr left f1 only because this bs that has been going on about him.
        Now alonso is in ferrari we ll definately get to see what he does, i am sure he’s motivated but thats not the only thing to win champshp
        one cant win in a bad car
        when a lh or fa win in a odd race in low potential car people compare them to f1 greats and when kr who has won races in similar situation ppl like you suggest he’s trying to save his job/contract and all that
        give things a rest!
        you may have a liking for lh or fa but don’t claim that kr doesnt belong to that league in fact in all through his career he has truly proven it, his status is deserved, ferrari are not such big fools to offer him that kind of salary.

      3. Fastmikey says:

        Personally for me, FA did more in the last 2 years in a crappy renault to make me respect him than he has done in the past. Maybe thats because I was too much of a Schumacher fan to see what everyone else was doing!

        There are many reasons a car does not get developed, and I am sure Renault has had their reasons and I dont think it was anything to do with FA. My original post also mentioned nothing about how these guys develop the car, but rather when in in they are on their game every weekend.

        KR left F1 because of all the BS? Kimi left F1 because Ferrari chose FA over him, even having to pay him out. Then nobody else would pay him the big bucks or give him the best car he so desperately needs. The guy has no work ethic. He is talented beyond belief, but that talent only gets you so far in this game.

      4. tarun says:

        The guy has no work ethic!!??
        your posting this thing as if you were the team principle where kr was working.
        there has been no comments about kr having no work ethic from the people who were closely associated with him
        its pretty easy to generalize things from the outside. look work is not done in the media limelight to satiate fans like you. fa/lh/fm all are pretty good at pr.
        in modern f1 there’s very little a driver can do about other things than just drive fast. if it comes to racing i dont see any lack of commitment from kr or alonso for that matter. clearly the difference is only abt being vocal and not being vocal.
        You sure seem to believe that fa’s victory in sing 08 was clearly due to his abilities and with no outside influence.. that’s why you’re pretty impressed with his performances in 08-09 years.

      5. Charlie B says:

        Kimi didn’t drive fast to save his contract, i’m sure he knew and Ferrari knew that Alonso would be there in 2010. Kimi raced 100% when the car allowed him, I agree he didn’t perform to the maximum all the time when it didn’t but how do we know that anyone is? How do we know that Alonso was pushing all the time in 08 and 09, we don’t.

      6. Francisco says:

        Retaking the beginning of the post.
        As far the limits in budget and testing are kept, I see truly imposible to pick any driver to win 7 WCs as MS did.

        FA is the best position to do it, 2 already and many years left to do it.

        With these restrictions I do not see Ferrari, McLaren or Brawn having a winning car for that many years on a row. As Jordan was saying on the BBC, Ferrari got out of trouble by throwing money and testing until they manage to find performance. That is over.
        If you star badly you are doomed (ie Renault or BMW in 2009), you might win some races (McLaren) but forget about the WC.

  14. Zobra Wambleska says:

    Alonso may be the only current driver on the grid to have beaten Schumacher to a championship, but there are drivers there that have beaten Alonso to the prize.

    1. Dale says:

      Can’t wait to see Lewis go head to head with Schumacher, I think Schumacher will be in for a shock 8)

      1. Freespeech says:

        I think Schumacher will be surprised how others fight his dirty tricks with like for like.
        There are several, including the likes of Kubica who doesn’t get a mention that will go all out to prove themselves against the old man.

  15. Carlm21 says:

    Kimi Raikkonen ended his career with ferrari and I very much doubt he will come back. Rallying will suit him better as he’s a no nonsense sort of person who doesn’t like to hang around chatting.

    Hopefully Massa will take care of Alonso and then I can see a big rift developing. Fireworks at Ferrari, I can see the headline now. In all seriousness I hope Ferrari are proved wrong in hiring Alonso and dropping Kimi. The pressure is on at Ferrari to deliver.

    1. James Allen says:

      I see more scope for problems between Massa and Alonso than I do between Hamilton and Button, I have to say. But the battle between the Ferrari drivers should be terrific

      1. Dale says:

        I think Button really deep inside knows he’s not in Hamilton’s class and will be happy picking up wins here and there 8)

      2. salty popcorn says:

        Hi James – very informative site, keep up the great work.

        I thought this comment was very interesting. Do you attribute this mostly to the personality of the respective set of drivers, or their performance differential (ie Alonso/Massa will be more closely matched than Hamilton/Button)?

      3. James Allen says:

        More about the chemistry

      4. Carlm21 says:

        I agree the racing will be brilliant. It will either work out 2 ways with Alonso.

        1. He is 28 and more mature person and driver so he is more likely to nuckle down and get the job done.

        2. He finds out about Ferrari are giving Massa the treatment that Hamilton gets at Mclaren. I did suspect this to be the case when Kimi was there as his team mate, especially in 2008 and 2009.

        The fireworks are in position it’s just a case of whether they get lit or not.

      5. adam says:

        Well,some of the bookmakers don’t think there is going to be a battle.
        You can get 13/1 on Massa WDC!
        Alonso is well ahead as second favourite.

        http://www.oddschecker.com/motor-sport/formula-one/drivers-championship

    2. Hezla says:

      Without being a fan of Massa, I have to say: People seems to underestimate him. The same people blamed Kimi for being unmotivated etc., instead of realizing that Massa is very fast. So if he is back to his old form, which is still a ?, Alonso will have problems beating him specially in qualifying. I see problems for Ferrari and Alonso.

  16. guy says:

    James,

    Why do you think teams always down-play team orders/lead drivers? It seems as though teams with equal drivers have lost more championships than they have won…

    1. James Allen says:

      Well for a start it’s because team orders are banned in F1. Also the lead driver tends to be established by salary and/or superiority on the track

      1. Dale says:

        So as they’re banned are you saying it doesn’t happen :?: Me thinks not but has ant team been brought to account for using them :?:
        Another piece of FIA nonsense :)

      2. Stu says:

        Team orders are banned in so much as a team cannot go on the radio and tell the #2 to pull over. But they certainly can go on the radio and remind/tell them that the #1 is behind.

        And if the #2 knows what’s good for him he will use his common sense to make the decision himself.

      3. Andrew Hill says:

        Based on salary that means Ralf Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve were leading the pack during their twilight years.
        Although perhaps that was balanced slightly by lack of superiority on the track.
        Or will Villeneuve be back to prove me wrong?

  17. Frankie Allen says:

    I really cannot understand Alonso referring back to those times at McLaren? He must clearly know there are some things he did there that were major errors. Something has got under his skin recently and he cannot let it lie.

    It’s similar to his defence of his win at Singapore, something I just cannot square!

    1. Peter Hermann says:

      Maybe you should ask the british journalists who started attacking him (the upteenth timne) with those questions at the press conference in Madonna.

      They should really let go but obviously, they can’t.

      They repeat themselves like broken records. So for Alonso, the best is to answer like a broken record, maybe one day they will find it boring and give up.

    2. ml says:

      He was asked about those times. He just was answering questiones made by the presss.

  18. F1ART says:

    Plenty of talk from the little Spaniard in the red Italian team, reminds me of those little dogs called Yorkshire Terrier’s barking away annoyingly lets see the Bite!
    Hope Massa can carry on from where he left off before Hungary ’09. Very mature, hard working and a gentleman, not latin at all!

    1. jose says:

      are you saing that latins can’t be gentelman?

      1. F1ART says:

        Not at all, MUST HAVE BEEN A SLIP OF THE KEYBOARD!
        How latin of you to challenge my veiw Jose?
        Best regards
        F1ART

  19. mcr says:

    “he couldn’t resist an edgy comment about Maclaren”

    Why wasn’t he supposed to talk about his time at Maclaren? Everybody keeps doing it, so Alonso has every right to tell about how he felt. It’s good to know both sides of the story.

    About 2010, I hope Maclaren and Ferrari are competitive and we have a good fight. It doesn’t matter who wins ( I have my preferences obviously), as long as it is all kept fair and drivers are given their share of respect by the press and the public.

    1. jose says:

      we all want that. In spain that’s not going to happen, tv has done so much damage, that is going to take 50 years to change.
      You talk to the fans, and they just hate hamilton.
      They watch f1, like if it was a football match.
      In england there is a much more fair fan base.

  20. KRf1 says:

    Raikkonen did end his carreer there though not how he must have thought in 2006 .
    Alonso couldnt do much to devolop Renault’s car in the last two years , but what he did was drive it faster than anyone else could . So much also depends on Ferraris engineering of the car .

  21. Anthony says:

    I believe Alonso is trouble with a capitol T,
    this is why Jean Todt did not trust him. If
    Massa is as good as I believe him to be, Alonso will start wingeing again as he did when driving for McLaren

    1. Williams4ever says:

      To set the records straight, Alonso and his Manager had met Jean Todt in 2000 they didn’t hear from Jean and Flavio spotting the opportunity swooped in gave Alonso a good offer. Though it was verbal agreement Alonso and his Manager honored it over the paperwork that Jean had laboriously put together. It was a touch and go situation. Jean expected Alonso to break the “verbal agreement” and sign the paperwork. That Alonso and his then manager didn’t agree Jean was ticked off and he swore not to entertain Alonso and focused on grooming Massa through this Son Nicholas.

      Now where is the matter of Capital T as in trouble :-? If not then anything it took some courage for a rookie driver to honor what was but a verbal agreement with Flavio.

      And this account is from someone, who is totally ambivalent towards Alonso.

      Having seen the guy spontaneously breaking parc ferme rules in Monza’08 to congratulate Vettel and Walking into McLaren Garage to Congratulate Lewis and when I compare that to grumpy face of Lewis and his father at Silverstone’08 when Kovy stole the pole on heavier car or similarly when Kubica won his first pole (only two grumpy faces in the paddock were Hamiltons). These incidents are enough to tell anyone whom they would trust as better Human beings!!!

    2. jose says:

      alonso is a different animal, than he was during the 2007 season. He knows he can’t make the same mistakes he made at mclaren. because of this, is a much more dangerous enemy.
      James i haven’t heard if with the slik tyres, alonso could return to his very hard turn in driving style, without overdriving the car. Do you know?

    3. Mac says:

      This is what Alonso is trying to tell you: he isn’t trouble . . . he was treated badly at Macca and stood up for himself. Why are people so stressed that they don’t like him standing up for his rights?

      Ferrari aren’t stupid. They wouldn’t take him if he was trouble.

      Wish people could see past the Macca falsehoods.

      1. kenny says:

        “Ferrari aren’t stupid. They wouldn’t take him if he was trouble.”

        They took on the so called “ice man” who turned out to be not so hot!!

      2. adam says:

        …and I wish people like Mac wised up a bit, and didn’t swallow hook line and sinker Alonso’s excuses for 07.

    4. Anthony says:

      I stand by what I have stated. Interestingly see what Joe Saward says in his blog this morning

      1. John says:

        Without wishing to get into some silly “war of the blogs,” I think it is fair to say that Joe Saward writes very much with a particular audience in mind (i.e. one that already has pre-formed conceptions of particular bogeymen), rather than write with an effort to challenge that audience’s preconceptions.

  22. Rob H says:

    The team seem very disrespectful of Massa to me, I hope he gets down to work and puts Alonso under serious pressure.

  23. Mark R says:

    Hi James,

    I know I’ve already asked you about the rumors concerning the F2010 aero efficiency on the previous Ferari article but do have any reliable contacts who might be able to set the record straight and say if there’s any truth behind them because Stefano has been very positive this week and the car is only now going in the wind tunnel next week for comparison checks against last years car?
    Thanks.

    1. James Allen says:

      I’ve not heard that. But will check it out

  24. Tom says:

    Did he answer and/or field questions in Italian, James? If so, that’s very impressive. If not, I presume he spoke English?

    1. GP says:

      Actually, I read somewhere that Fisi said Alonso speaks better Italian than them (Italians)

      I remember the video that someone shot of all the drivers wishing Massa a prompt recovery after his accident and Alonso did it in fluent Italian.

    2. Williams4ever says:

      Alonso has Italian connection from his mother’s side and can speak fluent Italian. That is what I remember reading somewhere long time ago

  25. jude says:

    Is 2010 the year F1 made? I have n’t been this excited about a season in a long time.

    Whatever happened at Mclaren in 2007, if Alonso can’t say what is preventing anybody else, say a mechanic, from singing? I am an Alonso fan but but i believe it was something that Alonso felt, rather than ‘happened’. I stand corrected.

  26. Andy says:

    Good point. I think the same.

    What made ms situation was that they had the best driver and a full support staff and tech team that were also the best.

    I don’t believe that to be the case now.

    Reading newey is delaying to test two. That means it is going to be a great car for vettel and webber!

    1. James Allen says:

      Newey cars always seem to need a little more cooking..

      1. PaulL says:

        From what I hear they’re very complex which leads to complex difficulties in solving reliability also. I don’t know if the 2007 Red Bull issues were attributable to that.

  27. Peter Williams says:

    I wonder how many people believe him when he says that he has never asked to be number one in a team before. I seem to recall him threatening Ron Dennis that he would leak information about spygate to the FIA if he was not made number one.

    Alonso has always been very insecure about his team mates. Remember how worked up he got when Fisichella beat him at Indianapolis in 2006? If Massa still has the speed, having gone through the traumas of last year, Alonso’s insecurity will crop up again.

  28. El Shish says:

    Good driver? Yes, honourable, sincere? Hardly. I hope for Ferrari’s sake they’ve built a winner and, also one that suits him better than Massa. Won’t be a pretty picture if the Ferrari is fourth or fifth quickest and Massa outperforms him. It’ll be interesting to see where his 0.6 seconds are lap are then.

    For his own legacy, it’ll be good for him to win at least one more championship… at least balance the number of championships with scandals he “hasn’t” had anything to do with.

  29. Young Slinger says:

    If you don’t want to be number two, what does that leave if not number one? Alonso and Ferrari deserve each other. I am a neutral as far a teams go, mine was the original Lotus team. Now, I just enjoy the sport and my national drivers edge the support. Good driving and a well run team, team players and a desire to promote their chosen sport. What did Bernie state about a certain Champion just promoting himself, not F1. A selfish driver, wouldn’t you say, and a team that really only does what is best for them and, despite a lot of talk, not the rest!

    1. williams4ever says:

      To set the records straight, what/who has stopped Bernie as Ringmaster of F1 circus to mandate all F1 drivers to be available to fans when F1 circus visits race venues.
      Things that Bernie Says never make sense.
      Isn’t he the one that proposed medal system
      and now he is proposing 5 shortcuts per race :-?

  30. Kevin M says:

    The most interesting quote for me is that Fernando suggests he lacked motivation without Schumacher on the grid.

      1. Martin Collyer says:

        James, any information on what Renault people think of Alonso’s “…lack of motivation…” remark?

      2. James Allen says:

        I think it’s water under the bridge.

      3. Seye says:

        there was not much motivation to be got from the cars he drove the last two years i would say

      4. Mac says:

        I think he said it wasn’t the same level of motivation.

        After you’ve beaten a 7 time world champion, people like Kimi and Lewis just aren’t going to have the same credibility.

    1. Dale says:

      What a load of rubbish that is. Alonso has showed us who he is and should Massa stay on his pace we’ll see it again :!:

    2. monktonnik says:

      So it wasn’t the bad car then? That’s nice.

  31. nickw6666 says:

    If ever there was a driver in the Ferrari mould then that man is Alonso. I think it is great for Formula 1 that Alonso has joined Ferrari and he has the talent to win championships there if Ferrari can provide him with a fully competitive car.

    Schumacher apart, I think Alonso is comfortably the best all rounder with Hamilton the only one who can approach him in the near future.

    I think there has been a lot of incorrect information put about by journalists regarding the 2007 Alonso fall out with McLaren and I think the non-disclosure element of Alonso’s contactual farewell says it all. I don’t believe Mclaren did anything other than give equal cars to both drivers but I think the team loved up Hamilton too much and gave Alonso the impression within the team that he was not the darling.

    It doesn’t take a genius to work out how this would have affected Alonso’s mind set and I don’t think he peformed at his best in 2007 despite comfortably beating the new superstar Hamilton in Australia, Malaysia, Monaco, USA (for pace), Silverstone, Spa, Monza, Nurburgring etc.. Not the blowing off of Alonso hat Hamilton like to say…

    I think a lot of british journalists supported Hamilton to the detriment of truthful reporting although I am happy to say that James Allen was not one of those although occasionally the ITV-F1 commentary could come across as a little pro-Hamilton…

    2007 aside, I think Alonso and Hamilton need each other to help define them like Prost and Senna did and I think Shuey’s comeback aside, those two will be the dominant drivers for the next few years.

    I think Massa is very fast but can still be too inconsistent and not enough of a killer racer to beat Alonso over a season, but I do thyink they will make avery good and stable team…

    Can’t wait to see Alonso actually racing in red and taking on Schumacher in the silver of Mercedes with Lewis and Jenson up there in the now very ‘british’ McLaren.

    Rool on 2010 and the new Alonso Ferrari era!

    1. Daniel says:

      I appreciate your comments, but take exception to the notion that Massa is not a “killer” racer. Let us not forget he would have won the champinship in ’08 rather comfortably had he the least bit of luck in Hungary (mechanical falure with a couple of laps to go) and Singapore (refueling fiasco). Those are hardly his fault. How would we be speaking of Hamilton then… who had Kova to contend with, while Massa had Kimi… Seems to me like Massa is at the same level as Hamilton… and if you put Hailton up there with Alonso (I don’t) then I’d say its a 3 way tie at the top–Michael Shucmacher, of course as well, making it 4.

    2. GP says:

      Now that you mention it, shouldn’t the McLarens be green? ;_0

    3. Mac says:

      It goes further than that.

      A lot of the people at Macca were openly rude and hostile to Alonso and stood in his way in their attempt to get Lewis the WDC title.

      As Alonso said, there were occasions when team members said offensive things about Alonso when he was in ear-shot . . . . as if they thought he couldn’t understand English and they just mocked him. This comes top down from the like of Ron.

      Alonso had the guts to stand up to a rotten team and unprofessional behaviour. Why do people have problems with that? You want the guy to sit down and take a kicking?

      Kudos to Alonso for having character and strength.

      But for the insane penalty in Hungary he would have been WDC despite Macca’s attempts to stop him.

      1. Kent Paul says:

        ^^^^^^^^^^^^
        Right………….

      2. I couldn’t agree more with what Mac said above. Alonso showed incredible character to just get through 2007 without walking away. Lesser people would have walked away and in doing so would have breached their contracts and lost a lot of money which was due to them. Of course I’m sure that never occurred to McLaren did it… :-\

        Fernando is a relentless competitor and with even handed support from his new team he will succeed without a doubt. I think even Massa will develop respect for him in due course when he sees what he is capable of.

        I look forward to reading Fernando’s autobiography in years to come when perhaps the truth about 2007 may finally be revealed.

  32. Seye says:

    Well well well, lets just pause for a minute. no interview by felipe massa, no mention ny mr domenicalli about massa. lets not forget felipe beat michael the 2 times he was allowed to race him and also the one time michael screwed up qualifying. also massa EASILY had the beating a world champion, kimi. i have been hearing about title favourites and his name is not even there. lets not forget without the engine failure 2 years ago, he would have been world champion without the Singapore controversy. i just want this guy afforded the respect he deserves. whats are the odds on alonso having to help felipe win the championship this year.

    well done james, was very curious to know if andrea stella would engineer alonso. surely rob and felipe have got the upper hand. hope to have some felipe massa headlines soon

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s Massa’s turn to speak tomorrow, I believe

      1. BA says:

        I expect massa to beat alonso this year square!

      2. Seye says:

        thanks for letting me know that james.. will be glued to my pc all day

    2. Daniel says:

      Thank you sir! I find it incredible how “World Champion” changes the preception of a driver. Seriously, how would we be speaking of Hamilton had Massa won in ’08? How would we be speaking of Massa? I think Alonso is in for the fight of his life for I beleive Massa is as good as Hamilton (if not better). We’ll see, but I’d bet Massa gives him heartburn this year..

    3. Marcus says:

      Alonso will eat Massa for breakfast, he is one of the few drivers on the grid who can always find a way: a bit more in qualy, a bit more race pace, a better strategy, whatever. When the fight is on Alonso will bring more to it than Massa, and when the stakes increase he will bring more again.

      1. Daniel says:

        Marcus – We’ll see. I have HUGE respect for Alonso, whom I consider the best driver out there at the moment. No doubt about it, a top flight ace. However, I think people consistently underestimate Massa. We’ll see, but I would not be surprised if Massa ends up beating Alonso next year.

  33. Eric Weinraub says:

    I’m a huge Ferrari fan. I’m a bigger Schuey fan followed by Alonso. Alonso has NO chance of duplicating Schuey for several reasons having ZERO to do with driving skill 1. The team has returned to its ‘Italian’ ways. 2. Alonso did not create a brain trust. 3. He was selected no heralded as a savior.

    Alonso will will. He will likely be world champion again. He will not change the sport and be utterly and completly domimant in 1 and the better part of a 2nd decade. That kind of driving comes once in a great while. Love Fernando but so far he’s in nobody’s list of ALL TIME TOP 10 drivers with Senna, Schumacher, Jimmy Clark, Prost, Jackie Stewart, Fangio, Mansell, Gilles Villeneuve, etc

    1. Dale says:

      Also he has a team-mate that’ll be allowed to race him unlike Schumacher (it’s for this reason why I will never see Schumacher as one of F1′s true greats).

      1. Freespeech says:

        Funny how Schumacher fans never really talk about this isn’t it :?:

      2. jose says:

        you mean the greatest. He is a top five on any list.

    2. GP says:

      Actually, Autosport “…persuaded 217 world championship F1 heroes to vote for the all time greatest.” Alonso is #9.

      http://f1greatestdrivers.autosport.com/?driver=9

      1. Andrew Hill says:

        And 62% say Alonso should be lower down the list.

        That’s the voice of the fans.

        However, if he manages another championship with Ferrari I admit he probably worthy of keeping the number 9 spot.

      2. bond007 says:

        so “voice of fans” it is…haan … ? :D … this is not competition for fans favorite is it? … more than 200+ f1 drivers have voted for the best talent in f1 … and you really think fans know better than drivers ? are you kidding me :O

    3. jose says:

      Mansell?! I liked him a lot. He is my kind of driver, but is the first time i see him on a top 10 list of all time greats.
      Don’t forget that the list is open, and hamilton and alonso still have time to get into it, in the case they do a little more, in the time they have before they leave the sport.

    4. Mac says:

      He’s in my top ten . . . . close to Senna.

      He would have won 4 or 5 of the last 5 WDCs but for Macca’s behaviour.

  34. Well Fernando and Filipe together added an interesting dynamics to the new season. I saw Lewis’s interview where he described the upcoming season the most exciting season yet. He was also generous enough to say that he is not the No. 1 driver, Jenson being the reigning world champion. Now the big teams apart from Red Bull have got two German, two British & two Latin drivers, plus four world champions. When did we see a grid like this? So I couldn’t agree with Lewis anymore.

    Fernando said that he didn’t ask to be no. 1, at the same time he doesn’t want to be no 2. Filipe is good enough to beat Fernando on track. So I have no question in my mind that both drivers are going be equally treated in Ferrari. Now, will Alonso resume the sheer dominance of Ferrari again? I do not think so. There is at least 6 (maybe even 10) cars are worthy of winning the championship. When Rubens was in Ferrari it was obvious that Schumacher was the no. 1 driver. To be honest, as harsh as it sounds Rubens were never good enough to win the world championship. Schumacher earned his status in Ferrari. In the end Ferrari is the one who benefited from that situation the most. But Alonso is by far the closest driver to Schumacher in terms of aggression, driving style and the obsession of winning. Sooner or later the old rivalry between Ferrari & McLaren will resume I believe. As Fernando labelled Ferrari as the last team of his career, I do believe there is a huge chance that Ferrari will be the team and Alonso the driver to beat for the next Era. However, it all depends on how well the team work together to give Filipe and Fernando maximum reliability. The generation of John Todt, Ross Brawn and Schumacher combination is over. Therefore, the new generation of Ferrari got some huge shoes to fill in. Fernando and Filipe fits pretty well with the team. Kimi is a terrific driver, but he certainly doesn’t fit into a team like Ferrari.

    I read that Alonso refused to answer if Flavio has got anything do with him anymore as far as driver management goes. My question is James; will Flavio be allowed to manage drivers if the Paris court rules against the FIA appeal? Who is Alonso’s manager now?

    1. James Allen says:

      I guess he will. Manager is Luis Garcia

  35. Steve JR says:

    At the end of the day, it boils down to whether Ferrari can produce a championship winning car because Alonso looked good last year in a subprime car and he wasn’t winning races in it for no fault of his own. I can’t see the golden days of Ferrari dominance somehow magically returning with the competition being as stiff as it has been recently. I think we’re into a new era of racing and I for one am more than happy to see 6 or more different drivers share the limelight than 1 or 2 from yesteryear!

  36. Great post once again. I think Nano Alonso is a great ambassador for the sport and I think Ferrari should make the best use of this. In many ways, Alonso is a PR dream, focused without been disrespectful to the other party. As much as I think highly of Kimi Raikonnen, I don’t think he gave the other teams and drivers the respect that they warranted.

    Although Michael Schumacher is returning this year, I feel is may be only be returning in name and reputation and I feel the performances may not be there. I would like to see Nico Rosberg keep up with him, this would provide the foundations for a future champion.

    For the 2010 season. I would like to see Sebastian Vettel crowned champion.

    Thomas Churchill

  37. EthanX says:

    Alonso was always way over rated ! We can say that Schumachers engine blow up at Suzuka 2006 made Alonsos career .. if that little twist of fate wouldnt of occured, MS was going to win the 06 championship and Alonso would only be a 1 time champion … Alonso is overated and Massa will always be underrated ! I hope massa proves everybody wrong and beats alonso just like he did to the overated Raikkonen !

    1. tarun says:

      massa is a good qualifier but doesnt have the race craft of a kimi or alonso
      that is the reason he doesnt have the wc tag

    2. PaulL says:

      You must be lying to yourself. Alonso lost 16 points in Hungary and Monza due to failures.

      Aside from that, the Suzuka 06 engine failure cost Schumacher a net 12 points (Alonso +2 from 2nd, Schu -10 from 1st). But Alonso won by 13 points.

      Alonso won that battle.. taste it!

  38. Craig says:

    Im no Ferrari fan but defo an Alonso fan. Sure, he acted like a big kid at McLaren and was caught out for it. The only reason we were somewhat forgiving was that the guy is an out and out racer and an amazingly quick driver. As we all know the best drivers have that killer instinct. No compromise is their modus operandi. That’s what makes them the best. Although I like and respect Massa for the way he has developed in recent years. I still remember his Sauber days. He is no match for Alonso and I believe this will be shown to all next season. I sincerely hope this is not the case but time will tell.
    From my experience,I think the coming season will be one to be remembered for many a year.
    Just cannot wait!!!!
    James, keep up the good work.
    Cheers, Craig

  39. The Limit says:

    I think you answered that question in your article James. The point is that, when Michael won his first championship with Ferrari ten years ago, he was the first man to do so since Jody Scheckter in 1979. That is a very, very long time for a team as big as Ferrari.
    I remember them back in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s, and they clearly were playing second fiddle to Williams and McLaren. I remember Gerhard Berger’s win at Monza back in 1988 and the Italians went berserk. They simply had not expected, in their wildest dreams, that a Ferrari would win the race.
    Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn, Rory Bryne, men like these, changed that. They made that team champions, when they were previously cannon fodder, which is not where they belonged.
    Alonso has entered the fray after there worst season since 1996 probably, but to a team that still has the experience and resources to succeed. Alonso certainly comes across as Schumacheresque in his motivation and self belief, and is without doubt no wallflower when it gets down to the nitty gritty.
    Many questioned his claims three years ago when he suggested that he gave the McLaren a performance advantage during testing, of up to a second if my memory is correct. Many lauded his ability to turn an average car into a winner. It certainly was put to test in the years since a Renault, and to some extent, was proven correct.
    Fernando clocked two back to back victories in 2008, in a Renault that nobody thought was able, even in his hands. That is impressive, Crashgate aside.
    So he ticks most boxes, that is for sure. But the performance advantages afforded to Schumacher between 2000-2004 will not be bestowed on Fernando. The competition has raised the stakes, and alot of the drivers are young and new talents have emerged. As I always said, Michael was the best driver in the best car in the best team at the right time. A time when Ferrari enjoyed a period of reliability that lasted years, and the likes of McLaren and Williams were not.

  40. RON says:

    The tires alone beat Michael Schumacher in 2005 and 2006 – most likely, some FIA deal with Bridgestone to slowdown Michael’s win, and to appease the other sponsors…

    Alonso has proved he is very weak mentally, and is not good enough to beat a rookie Hamilton…

    Alonso may not win any races in 2010, and worse still, he may not even beat Massa too often…

    If he struggles as bad as I think he will, I expect him to age at a rapid rate in 2010…

    1. Alberto Dietz says:

      Not bad. Not bad at all.

  41. monktonnik says:

    Yes, Alonso will launch a new era of winning at Maranello.

    I think he will win at least 3 more titles.

    I think that Schumacher will win one more as well, judging from the testing times today.

    1. Freespeech says:

      Calling Major Tom, earth calling :lol:
      £ more titles with the drivers currently in F1, Vettel, Hamilton, Kubica to name just 3.
      Alonso will be lucky to win another one :!:

    2. jose says:

      so many titles, so little time.

  42. Owen Hayes says:

    Only history will tell, but if anyone has a chance of doing it, it is Alonso. I wish him the best luck as 2010 is going to be an incredible season, especially with the genius Schumacher back with Ross Brawn, so whoever wins this years championship will set the tone for the new decade.

  43. darren says:

    the two thing i hate about formula one:

    1. Alonso

    2. Ferrari

    1. Freespeech says:

      Maybe F1′s not for you then :)

    2. Formula One is not your sport then mate

    3. jose says:

      what about politics. Don’t you hate those?

    4. Alberto Dietz says:

      Nothing to argue about 1, but please reconsider 2. I do, out of respect for Felipe, Ferrari’s sole 2010 driver.

  44. sam says:

    Lack of motivation?
    He should be motivated by the fact that he has never beaten Lewis.

    “For any driver, coming to Ferrari is the best thing you can do in your career,” Alonso added.
    Hmm not the view that MS would share. In the context of “joining a team”, the best thing a racing driver could do is to join an underdog team and turn it around not joining the most successful team and get a winning car straight away.

    One must remember that Alonso does not share the same values that MS had.
    He is not prepared to go through thick and thin. He is not willing to sacrifice a couple of years in making a winning car. If Ferrari were going Williams’ way, he would not stick to the team for a resurgence. He will talk to another winning team.

    Mark my words tiffosi before you blame Schumi.

    1. mcr says:

      Not only Alonso, no driver would remain in an uncompetitive team for years if he has the chance of joining a better team. They would be mad if they did, considering the fact that the sporting career is not a long one.

      Do you think Hamilton will stick to Mclaren if they can’t provide him with a winning car? do you think he is ready for that? you must be kidding.

      Alonso is no different to any other.

      The same applies to any area of life. If you know you are good and you have got the talent, and you have ambitions, you want the best for yourself and you fight for it. You don’t stick to a job or a company if they don’t give you what you need, you leave the job if you can and find a better one.

  45. Jon Wilde says:

    Not sure if link’s from other websites are allowed on here, but I thought this was a telling photo of how Ferrari really feel about the new sponsorship deal they have with Santander:

    http://joesaward.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/ferrari-drivers-madonna.jpg

  46. alex m says:

    Yet again Little Mr Inadequate tries to hint that Hamilton had a better car, it is the only way he can continue the Legend of Fernando the Unbeatable. Sowing the seeds, knowing how hysterically the Spanish press will propagate the lie, whilst having said very little.

    2010 looks like it will be between McLaren, Merc and RBR, Ferrari at best in 4th. Massa is very quick, still so I hope, Alonso is not going to like being beaten by a driver more established in the team. If this happens more than once of twice I can see the usual snide remarks being made to Spanish Journalists and it all starting up again.

    Nobody has asked the questions about Santander’s money either, it bought his seat and paid for Kimi to be moved aside, yet Banks are in great financial trouble and you have to wonder what exactly Santander are up to.

    1. James Allen says:

      I’ve picked up this morning that Alonso also said in Italian that he would need three races to get to his maximum with the car.

      1. Freespeech says:

        That’s known as covering ones tracks……….

      2. Tim L says:

        …..and that seems to be consistent with Alons’s past, by race three/four the car is where/how he wants it.

      3. With the amount of money and resources Ferrari injects into their F1 project, plus having Alonso & Massa as drivers I was expecting Ferrari to have the most competitive car on the grid. Now Alonso saying it’s going to take 3 races!!!!! If they froze the development of F60 to build F2010, I wonder why it would take Alonso so long to get the maximum out of the car. He is double world champion, not Giancarlo Fisichella.

    2. jose says:

      santander is not in trouble. And 25 million euros it’s just peanuts for them. The money always helps, but if you don’t deliver, there is just so much it can do for a driver.
      And santander is after what every bank in the world is. Investing a dollar, and getting two or more out of the deal.

  47. Peter says:

    In my opinion Alonso on his own is not enough to launch a new era at Ferrari. I find Domenicalli unprepared for his position and a the whole team is a bit week in terms of strategy and decision making.

  48. Michael Nichol says:

    Will 2010 truely be an unusual season? Four teams, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari in with a chance to win? Do we really believe all four teams will be competitive? Look at McLaren and Ferrari last year! Remember the double diffuser, and how that device impacted the championship. And now Ecclestone wants to implement ‘shortcuts for passing’! There is still time for Bernie to screw everything up.

  49. Érico says:

    Alonso is full of it. What number 2 treatment ever allowed him to beat and steal points from Hamilton at both Monza and Spa 2007 (way late in the championship, mind you)? Regardless, none of this would be a topic of discussion had he been fast enough to keep Hamilton in check and rightfully lead the team both on and off the track. The rest is history…

  50. Matthew says:

    Alonso – obviously a very capable driver being arguably the best but I my self am not sure of the team itself. Stefan Domenicali is no Jean Todt that’s for sure, Rory Byrne went a while back, no Ross Brawn there. Of course, Alonso himself is no Schumacher.

  51. GP says:

    The ITV website today quotes Massa: ““Although I’ve always worked very well with Kimi I’ve spoken more to Fernando over the last three days than with him in three years.”

    Interesting comment…

    1. davidturnedge says:

      I just think Kimi didn’t give a damn which is why I’m not sad that he’s gone rallying.

      Iceman was very fitting.

  52. Peter says:

    Alonso has never asked to be numver 1 driver? He’s a forgettable chap. Remember the time he blackmailed Ron Dennis during Hungary 2007 after the qualifying fiasco telling him to slow Lewis down or he’ll go to the FIA with his and De La Rosa’s e mails? Does he think we’re idiots?

    1. Peter Hermann says:

      You could probably ask yourself why you believe this fairy tale made up by the british press.

      1. Matthew says:

        Don’t think it’s a fairytale – pretty much all papers were saying it, not just British. The guy’s a cry baby, accept it.

      2. norbert says:

        pretty much all papers uh?
        you took your time and read what the rest of the world is saying, yes?
        then, surely, you should have no problem in giving us JUST 3 examples of a non-british paper talking about the twisted personality of “Evil Alonso”, the villain who brake-tested Lewis…..
        I’m sorry to disapoint you mate, but this fictional character only exists in the British tabloids and on the minds of those prone to voluntarily switch off their ability to have an opinion of their own.

  53. Jerome says:

    Fenman,

    You clearly weren’t wAtching alonso when he drove a minardi and performed miracles or the fact he won two wct against a man who had not been truly beaten for half a decade! You think dotting down a few lines like you do based on no facts means anything to anyone?

  54. Aleks in Houston says:

    The field being closely packed together is irrelevant when discussing team mates as they are driving the same car. Kimi really showed his class towards the second half of 2009 for the following reasons: 1. He was bouyed psychologically by Massa’s absence and the downfall of Messrs Badoer and Fisichella. 2. He was driving to save his career. These two facts imply that he is not as calm and collectedl as everyone likes to make out and that he does care, as demonstrated in Spa were he drove like a mercenary. 2010 is shaping out to be such a great season, my only regrets are that Kimi won’t be there too join in the bunfight between past and present WDC’s.

  55. Jerome says:

    James, care to let us know why you think this will be the case? I find this odd as surely the brit press is going to milk the jb lh lineup and rivalary to the extreem. It will be like England going to a worldcup with half a chance to win only for the press to poor sour grapes at every op!

  56. Monktonnik says:

    Ok maybe 3 is a bit of a stretch, but it reall is possible. He has at least 10 years if he is good as everyone says he is. A ten year period allows 3 people to achieve 3 WDC victories and still have room for a wildcard. When MSC went to Ferrari would anyone have predicted that he would win 5 in a row? Particularly after the first couple of years.

  57. Ahmed Al Mutawa says:

    Given a competitve car, spot on strategy team & pit lane crew ( 2008, 2009 were absolute shambles ), he will do great. I agree with F1- Fan, Massa will be shown the door at the end of 2010 season, i believe he won’t be 100% fit, add to that he won’t keep up with Alonso’s pace, & don’t rule out Schumacher / Alonso at Ferrari. When Ferrari signed Alonso , Schumacher said, ( Fernando with Ferrari, that’s something I like a lot. I was involved from the very beginning in this decision, and I always liked the idea. I am sure Fernando will feel well with us, and I can only say: Welcome, Fernando! ) or may be R Kubica will drive alongside Alonso. With all respect, the drivers title will be between Alonso & Schumacher specially with the refuelling ban in place.

  58. Sam says:

    Comments like these make me wander if I am getting rather too old. Do you realize that Schumacher was making his mark while Senna and Prost was racing? By saying that Lewis would shock him is an insult to other champions who shared the track with him

  59. Bonnie says:

    It is also well documented that they pursued hiring Ayrton Senna in the nineties.

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