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Reaction to Alonso’s howler in Monaco
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Reaction to Alonso’s howler in Monaco
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 May 2010   |  10:42 am GMT  |  84 comments

There has been an interesting reaction in Italy to Fernando Alonso’s accident, which put him out of contention for today’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Alonso: Feeling the pressure? (Darren Heath)


Alonso cut a dark, brooding figure yesterday during qualifying, having sidelined himself with an accident during free practice. His chassis was destroyed as the suspension pierced the tub. Spare cars are banned and the rules state that he has to start today’s race from the pit lane in a car made up from a spare monocoque.

Alonso lost control of his car at Massanet corner, as he braked from 170mph down to around 60mph for the left hander. He got off line and smashed into the barriers,
“It was my fault, ” he said. “I locked the left front wheel and the car went into the guard rail. Perhaps the hard tyres needed another lap to get to the optimal temperature and perhaps the track wasn’t at its best. It’s a shame. With the car I had I’ve missed an opportunity.

“But I want to get into the top ten and get some points. The numbers say that usually there are 8-10 retirements here and we need to be right there picking up the pieces.”

Alonso had just set the fastest time of the session to that point when he crashed.

In Italy the media has reacted by questioning whether the pressure of carrying Ferrari’s hopes is getting to him. They have also highlighted the absurdity of the spare car rule, which means that the public doesn’t get to see one of the stars they came for.

The Italian press put the accident in the context of other Alonso errors this season. In Gazzetta dello Sport, they pull him up for spinning at the start in Melbourne, going out in Qualifying 1 in Malaysia after misreading the weather conditions and of course the jump start in China.

“This is the fourth error in six races,” says the paper. “But he denies that behind it all lies the super-pressure of having to win for Ferrari.”

Il Giornale is stronger, “In one moment of folly the fake champion has burned months and months of work of the technicians from Maranello. This is the most serious aspect of an absurd incident, which compromises the whole season.”

While Corriere dello Sport’s headline says it all, “Alonso – what a disaster!”

All make reference to the rules preventing the use of spare cars. Until three years ago, Alonso would have been able to jump into the spare and be in the show, rather than skulking around the garages. Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali says that he is going to raise the issue with the team’s association, FOTA.

Like many rules in F1, the ban on carrying a third chassis was introduced to save costs. By not transporting a spare car and the mechanics to service it, the teams save around £350,000 a season, according to team managers I sounded out.

On days like this the fans are entitled to ask whether that is worth it.

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84 Comments
  1. Jon says:

    The same thing happened in Suzuka last year.. did they care about the spare car rule then? Probably not.

    1. HRT slow mo says:

      …………….and your point is????

  2. Grabyrdy says:

    And if he wins the next race he’ll be back to being the best thing since sliced bread. (Yawn).

    Agree about the spare car. It’s just one of many ways certain new rules encourage safety-first, which I’m sure is not the idea.

    1. HRT slow mo says:

      No Chandhok is the GREATEST!

      1. Grabyrdy says:

        I’m sure Jarno agrees.

  3. Ahmed Youssef says:

    I think the main drawback is that it attaches more significance to events in the practice sessions. Fans don’t want to miss any action, but most won’t tune in to practice sessions.

  4. EST says:

    “The teams save around £350,000 a season. On days like this the fans are entitled to ask whether that is worth it.”

    For sure it’s worth it. Or we would again have wealthier teams having 3 cars and poorer with 2 cars.
    Also I never liked the 3 cars per team rule, a driver could crash the car at the start of the qualifying and then run to the pits for an extra car and make it to P.1. That’s kinda ridiculous. I think if a driver makes a mistake, he must pay for it. In WRC if you write off your chassis, means game over.

    1. seisteve says:

      I agree whole heartedly, most of the rules we have about the car is about trying to ensure the drivers behave safely on the track an do not drive dangerously nothing like missing the race or qualifying to focus the mind.

      A professional driver should know when the tyres are Right and when the car can make the corners in the road. Thats what they get the big bucks for.

    2. Henry says:

      I am just not convinced that a saving of 350,000 over the year is really significant! when teams such as ferrari have budgets in excess of 100m it seems ridiculous! But I suppose all savings are welcome…

      1. Marc says:

        Henry,
        just to say its not about the mega rich teams who seemingly without the budget cap would throw huge masses of money and the kitchen sink to win at all costs. But its also about the independants and lower teams who dont have the spending power of the mega rich teams. Its a good rule after all it was a driver error and what does Alonso get paid large amounts of money for its the same for every driver out there and nobody else went out in practice. Its the rules teams should live with it adn after all he did a good job in the race. Oh and i so loved the schumacher incident at the end of the race it so brought a smile to my face

  5. Julian F says:

    Thanks James,
    £350,000 a year isn’t a great deal of money in the context of F1, where it takes millions of pounds to develop KERS for example.
    I’d like to see the drivers be able to jump into a spare and get back into the fray. Also adds another dimension to the race – e.g. Mansell racing in a spare Williams set up for Piquet (86 or 87 British GP from memory).

    Cheers
    Julian

    1. m de p says:

      silverstone or brands? 87 was silverstone, and he took piquet in the last laps of the race. I was there.
      He won at brands in 85 and 86 as well. Being 85 his first victory.

      1. Julian F says:

        Hi M
        I had to have a think about this one – it was Brands in 86. His driveshaft snapped at the start, but then Laffite crashed and the race was restarted. Mansell hopped in the spare which was set up for Nelson while they were trying to free Laffite.

        would have been good to have been there in 87!

        Cheers
        J

  6. James W says:

    Wow, the Italian’s were pretty ruthless there…! A little OTT I feel though.

  7. Peter says:

    Kimi Raikkonen with a much worst car had qualified into first row last year and had been on podium many times…Alonso is great, but pressure can get him ocasionally, just as Lewis.

    1. CH1UNDA says:

      interesting comparison to Lewis. Dealing with bad press must be the only thing Lewis clearly outscores any driver without controversy :))

  8. C Pitter says:

    Well, he shouldn’t have crashed. The rules are the rules and they can’t be changed just for Ferrari and Alonso, but no doubt they will next year. Thing is, if it was another team/driver, there wouldn’t be this questioning of the rules.

  9. Curro says:

    It’s amazing the short-termed analysis you get from certain sectors. The italian press has always had this masochistic side to it that puts me off so much. Sadly, the pathetically inexperienced spanish press is even worst.

    Yes, he did a mistake and the Red Bull is stronger and this weekend was a great chance of gaining some points on them. But this is the longest season ever. Alonso is effectively leading the championship and he’s got the measure of Massa in a way that Kimi never did. It’s not the end of the world yet.

  10. Charlie says:

    They deserve it. It’s them who put the pressure on these drivers in the first place…

    They should chill out a bit and embrace people like Kimi…too late for that though.

  11. Ben says:

    Funny how the same media weren’t jumping around over spare cars when this same situation has happened previously. Its only an issue when it happens to Ferrari apparently.
    (Webber Suzuka last year for one example).

    Having said that, it happens so infrequently its not that much of an issue. For something which may only affect 2 or 3 drivers per season, is it really worth every team taking an extra car to every race? Not really.

    1. Pierce89 says:

      They already take a 3rd car,but it’s not bolted together

  12. TransMix says:

    Italian press: so latin! (which means hot blooded and with such a big mouth). That goes for Spain’s press, too.
    P.S. – I happen to know this as I am from Romania (some will say that romanians are italians’ cousins…)

    1. Tim Parry says:

      Good point. But the same could be said of the sporting press in general (with the exception of James Allen, of course!). Light on the facts and heavy on the chest pounding, hair pulling, clothes rending and old testament histrionics – sort of like an ultimate fan’s in-depth blog.

  13. Ravara Mike says:

    I’m somewhat taken aback by the “fake champion” comment in the Italian Press. I’m not Alonso’s greatest fan, having been in the Schumaker and Hamilton camps at those key moments in F1 history BUT Alonso was a worthy champion both times and is one of the very best on the current high octane grid

  14. Martin P says:

    £350,000 x 12 teams is a lot of money. £4.2m in fact if my calculator is correct. I’d rather they spent that money on transporting re-fuelling rigs personally.

    But on another note – James, it didn’t look like a particularly bad accident (a glancing blow rather than head-on), so isn’t it both unusual and worrying that the suspension could pierce the tub so easily?

    Freak incident or is design and development outstripping safety?

  15. James Bono says:

    I don’t really like Fernando that much but…Two Drivers World Championships,22 victories,55 podiums,defeating Schumacher in his prime-that, in my book, is not a disaster…

    1. Jimmy Kash says:

      Absolutely! Coudn’t agree more! Nando is a special talent.

      1. Sebee says:

        But you know you were laughing your head off when you saw the replay from lap 78 restart. How poetic.

        Must say, until then Alonso and Ferrari played it well.

      2. HRT slow mo says:

        Nah Nah. Its Chandhok whos the REAL talent man!

    2. HRT slow mo says:

      Lewis to win WDC

    3. seiji says:

      Hee hee, the biggest disaster here is Schumacher catching Alonso falling asleep at the wheel at Monaco’s final lap… Alonso seems to be getting away Scot-free, hiding behind regulations that Schumi’s old nemesis Damon Hill resurrected from the dead.

  16. Edward Valentine says:

    I was just thinking that if there was a first corner shunt, in which case the entire field would be almost certainly involed in, wouldn’t Alonso have a free run from the pit lane into Beau Rivage/Massinet? I know the race would almost certainly be stopped but there is scope for him to make up alot of positions. just a thought!

    1. HRT slow mo says:

      Valentine? hahahah….

    2. "for sure" says:

      ……….looks like Teflonso had a quiet word with Hulkenberg.

      1. Peter Hermann says:

        Calling Fernando Alonso that name says a lot more about the poster than about Alonso.

  17. Nando Garcias says:

    22 victories, 55 podiums, 2 world championships enough said…

    1. Angellla says:

      i totally agree. he was a worthy champion, and if u watch he will b again!!! 18 places even with those that went out was amazing!

  18. Bill Day says:

    You have to love the whole “Ferrari is a family” shtick. It’s a family that eats its sickly and ailing!

    BTW James, love the Monaco GP graphic atop your page.

  19. Tim Lamkin says:

    WOW the Italian press is a bit hard on the guy…he is driving for everything he is worth.

    1. HRT slow mo says:

      No he isnt

      1. Tim Lamkin says:

        Good thing is you don’t know… :)

  20. Alonso says:

    The Italian media is hard to please. One day you’re a hero and the next day you’re a zero.

    But it also is a good meter for the mental strenght, who can take it and who can’t?

    We will see.

    1. HRT slow mo says:

      Chandcock can!

    2. Racehound says:

      well 4 errors in 6 races is not good, but I reckon its just the Italian media giving him a wake up call to get it together now!!! Tyre calls and strategy he has to call the shots, then its down to him…hes had 5 hard races and a dnf and hes only 3 points behind the championship leader!!! If he and Ferrari get their fingers out of their a55es maybe they can get serious from here on!! #:)

  21. Mario says:

    No point talking about spare cars. You have had three years to get your head around the fact that if you crash your car beyond repair you are out. It is same for everybody.
    I personally like Alonso and his contribution to the sport, but I have got to say: tough luck Mr Alonso, shouldn’t have crashed, others did not.

  22. drums says:

    James, what was the year in which Ayrton Senna smashed his Ferrari into the rails during free practice in F1 Monaco GP? I’m getting short of memory, I believe.

    1. m de p says:

      he only crashed twice at monaco. 1988 when he was leading. Was the year he took pole 1.5 seconds faster than prost in the same car, driving on an out of body experience, that is pure racing folklore. And he crashed in practice for the 1993 year, that he won as well. Simply the best at monaco.

      1. Bill Day says:

        Simply the best at Monaco? Let’s not forget Graham Hill.

    2. Cliff says:

      Senna in a Ferrari?…must of missed that one.

  23. Enrico Fiore says:

    I’ve a feeling this will be a good race for Alonso in spite of everything, with a podium at the end of it.
    Better be!
    Monaco sometimes has this effect on brilliant drivers. Remember Kimi knocking his front wing on the barriers 2007?

  24. Benny says:

    I believe its worth it, one to bring costs down and second the fans get to see the spectical of him cutting through the back markers,

    the rule is the same for everybody.

  25. Eric says:

    Fundamentally it’s the same issue as with the refuelling ban: do you cut costs at the expense of the show? If you do so, surely it’s not cost cutting in the long run because if viewers turn off due to boredom/not being able to see their stars in action, then advertising revenue goes down and the teams lose more money than they saved?

    They should put a cap on the number of mechanics, with no restrictions on spare car use. If it can be done in time, drivers should be allowed to run.

    Similarly with refuelling, the FIA should put a cap on the fuel available to each team for each race and steadily reduce this on a year-on-year basis. The teams would be then free to stop for fuel if they deemed it an optimum strategy and would add strategic depth to races. The steady reduction in available fuel would promote increases in fuel efficiency. This proposal would also not hamper the racing or the show…

    Saving pennies while losing pounds isn’t smart.

    1. "for sure" says:

      What’s killing F1 is not the lack of spare cars, but simply that it has become unbelievably dull.

  26. It is worth it, yup.
    If you make a mistake in F1, you should pay for it, not run back and carry on as if nowt happened.
    Teams at the back of the grid would choose to not have a spare car, I assume, adding to their disadvantages.

    I don’t pay to watch any one team, though I have my favourites, so fail too see why one guy sitting it out now and again is a big deal.

    What argues the other way of course, would be what the ‘race’ would look like after a big multi-car shunt and restart…

  27. KerbRider says:

    A fake champion. What a ridiculous and over the top reaction. Were these things said when Schuey made mistakes. Warm up lap in Shanghai rings a bell. For me it shows how hard fernando is pushing. Agree a 3rd car should be available, but the italian media reaction is harsh, and out of context. When a wins a WC for them, he should refuse to comment for those publications

  28. InternetF1 says:

    Alonso is cracking under pressure. In 2005 and 2006 he had the best car so that he could just cruise and collect to the championship.

    Now when he has to fight for the championship in the second best car, he is losing his mind left and right.

    Did he really think they gave out points for FP3?

  29. richard hughes says:

    very interesting. I don’t agree that the pressure is getting to FA – in fact, i am guessing that he will have a very good race today and will be a major factor in the driver championship come the end of the season.

    all this from someone who doesn’t like FA that much.

    The real story should be how Massa is folding under the pressure of FA.

  30. joe says:

    “The Fake Champion”?! seriously Il Giornale? I dont think you can win 2 back to back championships in F1 and be called a fake champion. As much as i hate Alonso he does have innate speed. he wouldn’t be where he is otherwise.

    as for the ban on the 3rd chassis it is a rule that everyone has to live with and knowing that some drivers are able to push to the max and stay on the road is reason enough. it also gives opportunity to see the field get mixed up a bit :P

  31. m de p says:

    fernando. the italian press is telling it like it is. The world championship years 2005-06, are way behide us. You can’t survive just on those wonderfull years. You need to raise your game. Because the begining of the season has being second class. Are you second class? Where is that magic? I don’t see it anywhere i look.

  32. neil m says:

    Very interesting insight James, thanks. However I think the italian press are too harsh, he has made mistakes, so have Ferrari, but surely this is also because he has to push the limit so hard in a car that isn’t quite on the pace.

    No doubt they wouldn’t be any happier if he left more margin for error and ran at a regular 5/6th place. He’s in 2nd place in the championship, they should get a sense of perspective.

  33. artowar says:

    I think the Italian press is being ridiculously harsh here. Alonso is a genius, no one can dispute that. Even his biggest detractors have to admit that some of the things he has done with a steering wheel in his hands amount to a huge talent. We all make mistakes, and it’s season 1 at a new and legendary team. Keep the faith and wait for the season to unfold. There are more questions about Felipe for me.

  34. James says:

    Let us start a list of “Howlers”, then sure Alonso’s crash was one of them – but at the top of the list is Lewis shutting his engine down in Brazil after going off twice, then losing the championship to Kimi. Now that’s a real howler…

  35. Fausto Cunha says:

    Same thing happened do Mark Webber at suzuka last year and nobody was complaining about it.

    “the absurdity of the spare car rule” why is it so absurd?
    For me it´s fine two drivers per team, one car per driver, it´s as simple as that, as long as the rules are the same for everybody it´s fine by me.

    Absurd was some years ago i think on Spa with a big accident, some teams with both cars destroyd and only one spare care for one of their two drivers.

    Many times drivers from the smaller teams have been starting from the pit-lane, this time his a big name so they start question everything about the rules.

    I agree that yesterday we lost a chance of watching Alonso on quali, but today we might have the chance to watch him coming through the field and see some overtaking in Monaco.

    greetings

  36. Miffy says:

    To me he is a one time world champion. Kimi was clearly the best in 2005 but was let down by his car. Even in 2006 he only won because Schui had that brake down at the most crucial time.

    That said he is exciting to watch.

    1. Sebee says:

      I too was disappointed when Schumi lost the 2006 title to Alonso, but fact is both had engine failures in critical parts of final part if 2006 season. So that’s not the real reason.

  37. Karl says:

    Eat your words guys
    he drove an awesome race – Schuey got him on the last corner though.

    After BoreRain ist been a brilliant season.

  38. Thalasa says:

    Q: Who said Alonso is a “fake champion”?

    A: A fake journo.

    1. James Allen says:

      So we are clear, these are not my words, but those of the Italian writer in that paper

  39. Rich C says:

    Funny that when this happens to the Guys In Back nobody whines.

    But let it happen to a Contender and suddenly its a Big Deal.

    What a crock of you-know-what!

    And its completely idiotic to moan that “we’re not going to get to see our Big Star shine!”

    What you’re going to see is the Big Star drive like a maniac, slicing through the field like theres no tomorrow.

    People *remember Schumi’s drive. Maybe after today they’ll remember *Alonso’s!

  40. Race9089 says:

    Alonso is not god under pressure and finally the Italian press see his true colours. Fake Champion he is indeed.

  41. Frankie Allen says:

    I am not sure whether the pressure is getting to Alonso, or he is just generating that pressure himself by trying too hard, either way it certainly looks to be having an impact.

    Some of the things he has done this season, Alonso would be one of the last drivers you would believe of. We might even get a few more this season, though I don’t see this continuing indefinitely. He does seem to get irate with the Italian press, but he’s on a loser there. They won’t give up even if he is successful and once they smell blood, very little will hold them back.

  42. alex says:

    wow, I like that he is feeling the pressure.
    Not a bad race from Fernando huh?
    These italians….

  43. Elvis Barnet says:

    What, “driver crashes at Monaco Shocker”.?

    There was little on his mistakes when he topped all the timesheets up to that point.

    “fake champion”??? I imagine that relates to when Alonso was in the Renault and beat Schumacher.

    How boring

  44. brendan says:

    4mistakes?

    only this and the china jump start.

    thats it. 2 too many really but thats it. melbourne was not his fault. his rear wheel was clipped. he had a driver squeezing him on his left. he had no where to go.

    italian press over reacting massively.

    1. Aussie F1 Fan says:

      It was his fault, he turned in on button when button was already there, as if he was entitled to the position & button should move out of the way.

      1. brendan says:

        BS take a look at it again and tell me where he could go.

        keep with reality dude. talk sense rather than cr*P ‘like he was entitled to the position’

        we are talking about world class drivers not idiots. none of them are like that.

        button was too far back, it was a racing incident. cars too close on a damp circuit. alonso did not weave. end of the day he can take what line he likes when he was clearly ahead, what made it harder tho was michael on the left. which only pat symonds pointed out- and pat was right. where would fernando go.

        Not fernando fault end of

  45. Simon says:

    Erm, save £350,000 ?

    Where do you think the spare chassis and all the associated spare parts to build it up came from on Saturday evening? Scotch Mist?
    Yes the teams take less people but no less spare parts. It’s the gearbox and engine rule that prevents the ‘T’ car from being a viable option not the lack of spare parts or reduction in freight costs.
    Only the fully built spare car is missing from the garage, not all the parts to build it hidden round the back of the garage.Do you really think the bosses flying private jet everywhere is saving money?

    Get a life, get informed!! If your on the outside you know nothing of the real inside.

    1. Ben says:

      The inside where you obviously aren’t? Its the teams themselves saying that not having a built up T-car saves 350,000, and I’d be more inclined to believe them than you.

  46. Canuck says:

    Is it just me? if cost is so important, why not make Monaco the one off race where they can bring a spare?
    Many WC crashed here…
    Anyway, it was a good recovery drive and made for a good show.
    Check out Andrew Benson’s blog at the BBC site for a different take, though.

  47. F1 Kitteh says:

    The problem is obviously that the car is not fast enough. They spent much of last year focused on this year’s machine, were bullish coming in to the season and yet is still nowhere close to RBR. If someone is feeling the sword around his neck then its got to be Dominicali not Alonso.

  48. dans says:

    Back in the not so old days, the spare car was used to blood drivers, engineers and mechanics. Often one of the main drivers would end up taking the setup from the spare.

    Direct cost is minimal it appears, but the benefit to personnel and fans alike seems substantial.

  49. Ben G says:

    Bring back spare cars. I loved the sight of drivers sprinting back to the pits after an early crash.

  50. mike says:

    fa is the guy, I am sitting looking at the results and he went from 24 to 7 postion (later 6th after schumacher incident) This should be enough to show his credentials. I agree that the racing has become boring as there are less or no stops for fuel and tyres. Its just people going around in circles. Much better when you increase the intangiables of stops (pit crew problem, stalling, fuel mishap, tyre nut jam)The show is a much better watch.

  51. Aaron says:

    No one seems to have addressed the point of why was Alonso allowed to start the race in the first plce – HE DID NOT QUALIFY!

    OK, so they got rid of the 107% rule in qualifying but have they also got rid of the need to actually turn up for it?

    Surely if you don’t take part in qualifying you haven’t qualified to take part in the race.

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