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Fernando Alonso commits long term F1 future to Ferrari
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Fernando Alonso commits long term F1 future to Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  19 May 2011   |  12:11 pm GMT  |  98 comments

Fernando Alonso today committed his future to the Ferrari team, with a five year deal which will take him though to the age of 35. Alonso spoke of “ no doubt ending my F1 career” at Ferrari.

Alonso: Ferrari's main man (Darren Heath)


Alonso, who narrowly missed out on last year’s world championship in his first year with the team, was praised by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo as “a driver who has always demonstrated a winning mentality even in the most difficult circumstances,” a reference to the disastrous final round of 2010 in Abu Dhabi, where the strategy let him down, but also to his attitude and efforts with a disappointing car so far this season.

Apart from an impressive rally last Autumn, where the car was developed into a competitive enough package to allow him to win races and challenge for the title, so far the overall balance sheet for Ferrari with Alonso has not matched expectations. The two times champion has had to be patient as the team overcomes calibration issues with the wind tunnel and a restructuring of the technical management.

Alonso’s commitment to Ferrari is therefore a bold statement of faith on both sides. Like Vettel’s new three year contract with Red Bull, these commitments are the cornerstone of both teams’ medium/long term plans.

The other driver of that calibre, who has yet to decide his long term plans, is Lewis Hamilton.

McLaren are delighted with the pairing of Hamilton and Button, as are their sponsors and all the signs are that they intend to stick with it. However there are some destabilising forces, such as Red Bull’s management, which enjoys dropping compliments and hints about Hamilton joining their squad.

The question is; are they serious, or just trying to destabilise McLaren? And is Hamilton listening? The Englishman dismissed Red Bull as merely ‘a drinks manufacturer’ recently, but their continued domination on the track argues differently and Hamilton is in a position, in which many leading drivers have found themselves in the past; needing to decide whether to stick with McLaren because they are always there or thereabouts, or to try to get himself in the best car.

Hamilton’s idol, Ayrton Senna, won three world titles with McLaren, but eventually moved to Williams in 1994 because they had dominated the sport for the two previous seasons with their Adrian Newey designed car. Hamilton is eager to match Senna’s three titles, but his opposition is fierce and he needs to know that he will have access to a winning car.

Red Bull don’t need Hamilton in order to win because they have Vettel (and Newey). But this is a company which has always done things differently and Hamilton’s appeal to them would be enormous and it would re-energise the team, if they could persuade him to move at the end of 2012. Should this start to look like a reality, a new one year deal for Mark Webber would bridge the gap before Hamilton’s arrival.

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98 Comments
  1. Donald says:

    A couple of questions I would love to see put to Hamilton

    1 – Lewis has referred in the past to seeing himself as the Senna of our period, with Alonso as Prost. Drivers like Fangio and Senna jumped teams to be in the best car at the right time. To what extent would Lewis like to emulate past greats, as opposed to being the “1st Lewis Hamilton”?

    2 – is success more valuable if you stick with a tough situation, than jump to the best car?

  2. Alonso4ever says:

    Great News. Made my Day. Clearly shows the faith Ferrari have on Alonso. Seems almost similar to the Michael – Ferrari Domination Era. But the Competition is a lot more intense now. Hope he can win a couple more Titles with Ferrari and be remembered as one of the F1 Greats.

    1. Andy C says:

      Seems almost similar to the Michael – Ferrari Domination Era

      The main difference being of course that they arent dominating, and are unlikely to do so unless they obtain Mr Newey. ;-)

      1. Dave C says:

        Incase you’ve forgotten Ferrari’s domination from the early 2000-2004 were all without Newey.

      2. Andy c says:

        I haven’t Forgotten thanks. But Rory Byrne is no longer there. He was another fantastic designer.

      3. Alonso4ever says:

        I really hope Ferrari somehow poach Newey from Red Bull. They have definitely got the Moolah. But i don’t think Adrian is interested in that. Besides, Newey is getting old now. Don’t think he will stay on till 2016. He might retire soon.

      4. James Allen says:

        He turned them down again last season

      5. Andy C says:

        If you remember that Adrian Newey is rumoured to earn more than most of the drivers on the grid I very much doubt its a matter of money.

        If you can imagine the weight of expectation on any designer going into Maranello, you cans blame him.

        Compare that to the settled ship he’s got at RB, and his wonderful collection of cars and racecars, and you’d have to wonder what else he thinks he needs to prove?

  3. Adrian Jordan says:

    James, if Red Bull did succeed in poaching Hamilton away from McLaren, who do you see the Woking squad bringing in to replace him?

    Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso are really all on a level above the rest of the field (a level Schumacher used to be on but has yet to show any real signs of returning to), so who could McLaren opt for?

    Personally I’d like to see them try and lure Rosberg from Mercedes as I hear he has a similar style to Button and I think the 2 of them would get on well together.

    1. **Paul** says:

      I doubt 18 months ago anyone would have said Vettel was in a league above the rest of the field. Signing a driver up so far in advance is a risky thing to do. I think RBR would be well advised to wait and see rather than jump to sign someone now. E.g. Kubica could be back and fit, and I think in a top car he’d match the very best, then there’s the Torro Rosso guys, granted so far none have made a Vettel style impact on the sport, but in 18 months? Who knows!

      I suspect much of the LH stuff is about mind games, trying to get him off balance a little, as he’s not the calmest of characters.

    2. JohnT says:

      Paul Di Resta would be my pick. He’s giving Sutil a good run for his money.

      1. Midnight Toper says:

        As is Eric Lux

      2. Storm says:

        lol…

  4. Daniel says:

    If i were Lewis Hamilton, i would wait till 2014 to see if i need to change team or not. There’s a huge change coming in 2013. Will RB still be the team to beat? Things can change quickly. Lewis should extend his contract with McLaren till 2014.

    1. JamesF1 says:

      Recent history proves that wherever Adrian Newey is, that’s where you should be. Hamilton would be as well to leave his options open at this stage. Newey has re-signed at Red Bull until 2014, so if Lewis stays at McLaren until then he may well miss the opportunity of working with Newey entirely. Newey will be in his late 50s then and has spoken of his desire to do something else rather than F1 before he retires.

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        Ferrari beat and later destroyed Newey led Mclaren.

      2. JackFlash says:

        Not quite Jo.

        When Newey was at McLaren, Ron Dennis kept Adrian from having the total reign on all design matters. One will never know if her could have made a diiference with more autonomy.

        It was one of the reasons Newey left McLaren, to pursue a position with RBR where he was guaranteed autonomy of Technical Directorship in the design of cars. Look what that change of handling produced for RBR over time! JF

      3. Andy C says:

        Yes, but where is Rory Byrne now Jo? Enjoying some fishing in South Africa I imagine.

        Really dissapointed to hear that FOTA are against the ground effect change in 2013.

        Yes its a change, but they have completely missed the point about fake items like DRS.

        Cars need to be able to follow each other ni corners to make sure these aids are not required.

        A turbo car with kers that had ground effect would be able to race without DRS. DRS is a temp solution to a problem they refuse to fix (he says digging out old DVDs of the 90s)

    2. Andy C says:

      Thats not a bad call, although Renaults engine at present is not recognised as the strongest but the RB chassis definitely is.

      Renault have huge experience in engine building and are unlikely to build a bad one in 2013 (whatever the formulae change).

      I still think Lewis will be at Redbull at the end of his current contract, unless he has a number of wins this year and is very close to winning the wdc.

      1. …and Renault has a good idea or two about building turbo engines…

        ;-)

      2. Andy c says:

        If only v6 turbos were allowed. Awesome.

  5. goferet says:

    Congratulations to Fernando Alonso on signing over his soul to the Red Dragon (Ferrari), this can only mean he will go down in history as a two time Champ for didn’t Ferrari take 20 odd years before bagging the big one uh-huh.

    Unless of course, if Alonso could get himself fired like Prost was then joins Red Bull replacing Webber in two years or so then maybe, there’s hope.

    Hamilton shouldn’t make the same mistake Senna & Schumacher did for both thought they were getting into a fast car in the form of a Williams & Brawn, but things don’t always pan out as we think they will.

    P.s. Ferrari should get Kobayshi in the other seat ASAP

    1. Andy C says:

      I would absolutely love to see Kamui in the second ferrari.

      He continues to impress me with his overtaking. Just gets on and does it.

      1. mo kahn says:

        I second that.. Kamui is a very Ferrari-sh Driver and he would be the first Asian to drive for the legendary marque… Phew what a dream :)

  6. Racehound says:

    Mouthwatering prospect seeing Vet and Ham at Bullies together!! If you think it was fiery between Alo and Ham in 07, these 2 will really go to town on each other. Theres not much love lost between them now as Ham can see the advantage Vet has in the RB7, but in the same team it will be teeth and claws at dawn!!! cant wait!! #:)

    1. TheGreatCornholio says:

      Putting Lewis in the same car as Seb will cause many people to re-evaluate Seb’s results so far and they will come to the conclusion that he isn’t all that! Truly awesome over 1 lap but when he has to overtake ppl he’s found wanting. DRS is the greatest gift (apart from Adrian Newey) anyone has ever given him. Hamilton will have the beating of him for definite i’m afraid. It’ll be great to watch though:)

  7. ram says:

    Hamilton/Vettel driver pairing would be a recipe for diasaster. Hamilton is better off with a more sedate team-mate like Button/Kovi who are geninuely good but not yet there in league of super competitiveness.

    The same rule applies to all “great” drivers … Senna/Prost Alonso/Hamilton … i think they simply cannot co-exist under a single team without regular fireworks :-)

    It is great entertainment both off and on track but whether Horner can handle such a explosive combo is the real question …

    1. Dave C says:

      I think you’re short changing Button there, he’s far better than Kovalainen, also it’s good that people are now acknowledging Vettel as a great but to put Hamilton and even Alonso up there with Senna I think is a but far fetched, also I’d like to add Schumacher was better than Prost.

  8. Michael Grievson says:

    there are so many top level drivers F1 is in awesome shape. I’ve never liked Alonso. He seems shifty to me but I’ve always admired his racing craft and determination to get the best from each weekend

    1. Born 1950 says:

      ‘Shifty’ is rather unfair. I’d say self-absorbed, perhaps a little arrogant. MSC seems a similar temperament. Probably that’s what makes them so formidable — maybe ‘made’ in MSC’s case.

      I’m glad that Hamilton seems to break that mould. He needs to forget emulating Senna though, and just be himself.

      1. "for sure" says:

        Alonso and Schumacher share similar profiles, great drivers, lousy sportsmen. For my money they are welcome in any team I don’t support.

  9. steve_muzzy says:

    Always amazed that these things happen so soon in the season, wonder where this leaves Massa?

    1. efBir says:

      Well, I think Spanish GP is the perfect venue to announce this long-term marriage. Imagine the fireworks in Spanish media.

  10. AlexD says:

    James, thank you for posting this! It would be nice to hear more of your thoughts in this article related to Alonso and Ferrari, eg. – what made him sign knowing that he is not a loyal person, rather a relentless driver chasing titles. Does it mean that Luca has shown a plan where they all know they will beat any other team, regardless of what other teams are going to do?
    This “Alonso/Ferrari” articles is a bit dominated by Hamilton..which is interesting too, but a lot more important is to know what is going to be the outcome of Ferrari and Alonso sticking to each other for the next 5 years.
    Thank you.

    1. rafa says:

      i think that alonso realizes that moving anywhere else at this stage would put him in a very awkward position, i.e., maybe having to go back in the woods like he was back at renault in 08 and 09, bidding his time for an opening in a top team that may never come. I think he gathers that given his age, he´s best establishing himself at Ferrari as the top dog and waiting for a couple of good cars in 5 years, which is a reasonable bet, given the team´s history. Although he probably had schumacher´s record in mind when he moved to McLaren I think he now contents himself with the idea of winning a third and perhaps a fourth title. It would definitely establish him as one of F1 greats.

  11. Mao Xiaogang says:

    A long march just begins, whether it will lead to a great legendary we now another four years to expect

  12. Andrew says:

    This has to be pure gamesmanship by Redbull. Why on earth would they want a driver likely quicker than their golden child Vettel. It would cause major problems. Hamilton likely knows he’d be as quick if not quicker than Vettel and is hardly going to want the grief that Webber has had to put up with being the outsider in the team and cold shouldered. I think the most wise choice is for Hamilton to stay at McLaren where he’s already loved and in a car usually the closest to Redbull.

    1. irish con says:

      i personally think that seb is the fastest guy out there over a single lap at the minute and i think only brits or lewis fans would disagree. im a ferrari and alonso fan but i wouldnt dare say alonso is faster over a single lap.

      1. Dave C says:

        I’m a Brit and I completely agree, Vettel is definitely the fastest in term of raw speed, Hamilton’s controlled aggression, race craft and consistent pace is formidable over 1 season and Alonso’s intelligence, relentless drive and allround ability makes him the overall best closely followed by Vettel and then Hamilton.
        I think the English people knows this deep down even if they deny it, any other driver in that Redbull and it wouldn’t be so dominant this season

      2. mo kahn says:

        Alonso drives above the resources he is given. Thats what makes him The most complete driver. Apart from him only Schuey has this quality, but is struggling with form or timing. I just want Schuey to sort out his issues. The battle when he gets it right would be priceless. Imagine, Schuey, Alonso and Vetel… The Battle would be something that would change the very complexion of Formula one :)

      3. Storm says:

        Am an Alonso fan too. I agree he is not the fastest driver out there, but he is the best. And i have to disagree on who is fastest. I think if vettel and hamilton were driving the same car, hamilton would be beating the pants off vettel. Vettel prbly knows this, and though people dont discuss this, there is probably a clause in his contract too which allows him to veto the second pilot.
        Hamilton is staying at McLaren, whether he likes it or not.

    2. Andy C says:

      Because Adrian Newey is the most competitive person in F1. And he will push as hard as you like for the best two drivers available.

  13. JohnT says:

    Personally i would prefer to see Hamilton stay with McLaren in the light of Alonso/Vettel signing long term deals with their respected teams. Three of the top teams with three top drivers is the way for me. Maybe four if Kubica can return and still be the top of his game.

  14. Kristiane says:

    Too happy to know Alonso is sticking to Ferrari for the next five years.

    Hammy should stay at McLaren. It’s just a matter of time really I’d say, or at least I hope so for his sake.

    No matter what tho, for us fans we are gonna have quite a number of fantastic years with so many great drivers in the field right now

  15. The silly season in May?!

    Crazy.

    I think having Hamilton and Vettel on the same team would be worse than Senna and Prost… it would be more like two Sennas!

    1. Also, can’t forget that Vettel has mentioned that “any driver would love to drive for Ferrari”. So while they may not take on Hamilton while Vettel is on their team, they would likely jump at Hamilton if Vettel decided to go elsewhere.

      1. Neil Williams says:

        But does Alonso signing to 2016 block Vettel going there until 2017 anyway? Would either want the other as a team mate?

      2. True… but he might pull a Rossi after dominating for a few years and go to the F1 equivalent of Yamaha or Ducati, and sign up with Mercedes or Williams (provided they get their act together). Nothing says his only way out of Red Bull is to Ferrari.

  16. Would Red Bull really want to stem the growth of their Toro Rosso boys by planting Hamilton alongside Vettel? You always hear Alguersuari and Ricciardo talking about making the jump to Red Bull after Toro Rosso (after Webber retires) and I can’t imagine how disconcerting it would be for them to watch Red Bull hire a McLaren driver.

    Red Bull seem to be the Barcelona of Formula 1 nowadays. Granted Sauber fills a similar roll for Ferrari but it’s not quite the same.

  17. Tim. says:

    Good to read this……

  18. MR SERIOUS says:

    I am glad the way it is shaping up right now with the Top Reams including Merc and Rosberg all committing long term to the best drivers.

    I thought Button at Mclaren was a risk but he seems OK? Lewis against Vettel I think would be closer but there is no mention of how Vettel would feel and I can not recall if he commented on the Hamilton overtures by RB?

    I do not think he will want him there. I do believe Webber will stay 2012.

    Hamilton could leave Mclaren but it would limit his options for the future. I do not think Merc will pay his fee, Newey could leave RB and Ferrari now have Alonso? It is his coming back to Mclaren later that would be tough.

    I would like him to leave but do not think he will, look at todays comment that Button is the best team mate he has had?

    1. JacobD says:

      Webber will be out of Red Bull come 2012, and it will be of his own choice from what ive been led to believe. Red Bull will need to get someone else or give one of their junior drivers a shot if they want Hamilton for 2013.

  19. goferet says:

    Speaking of Abu Dhabi 2010 isn’t it ironic that Daddy Schumi made it possible for baby Schumi to win the title.

    Yes, if Rosberg hadn’t tagged Schumi on the first lap, spinning him then all these midfield runners like Petrov wouldn’t have pitted & we all know how that ended.

    But anyway, whoever leads the WDC standings going into the last race when there are three of more drivers still in contention, well the guy on top usually doesn’t win it so Alonso was toast from the get go.

    1. irish con says:

      rosberg never touched michael. michael spun all by himself

  20. Holly says:

    Great news!.

    Like it or not, if you are a F1 fan you should be happy to have such a great talent in F1 for such a long time in a competitive team (I guess).

    Let’s hope they can produce a car that match Alonsos talent and determination, this guy deserves at least one more WDC before he retired.

    1. Storm says:

      well said.

  21. Bayden says:

    It is clear that “Nando” has designs on emulating Schuey’s feats at Ferrari, invest time and build the team into a dynasty. He also wants to be remembered as a Ferrari driver, thus giving himself as long as possible with the outfit to achieve maximum success. Time will tell if it is worthwhile.

    Next season is crucial for Hamilton, he seems to want to race for the dominant force. If Red Bull are in the same position next year – you could bet he will sign for them. If McLaren shows signs of re-emerging as a force, then he’d surely re-sign for three-four years.

    Webber deserves his Red Bull drive, irrespective of potential future outcomes i.e. Hamilton. He’s done more than enough to warrant his position. It’s just that Vettel’s sublime talent overshadows his efforts, more or less every weekend. I’m sure that when Vettel’s car is struck by lightning, he will be there to pick up the spoils!

  22. JF says:

    He should go, he is wasting his time at McLaren

    1. glen says:

      I wish I could waste my time at McLaren.

    2. Williams4Ever says:

      +1. He should go to Ferrari. He and Fernando will be the toughest pair to beat. Their driving styles are similar. They have good respect for each other and there won’t be Ron Dennis to hash things up.

      1. Storm says:

        With fair uncle ron out of the way, i dont think hamilton can give Alonso a good fight.
        Just kidding, on a more realistic note, it will be an unbeatable pair on paper, but i doubt two drivers of this caliber will be getting along. The inside the garage politics and tension will finish the teams spirit.
        It will be a bad move.

  23. Bayden says:

    I know this is an unlikely prospect, but if Lewis were to “get some wings” in 2013, is there any possibility of Vettel making his clearly desired move to Ferrari?
    He’s said how having his contract through 2014 doesn’t mean he may not be at Ferrari sooner, and having a Vettel/Hamilton combination would be odd.
    A mature Alonso/Vettel combination at Ferrari in 2013 would make more sense. But again, unlikely.

  24. guy says:

    James, how much is alonso likely to be paid – and are you suprised he has extended now not least because driver salaries seem to be lower than usual due to the credit crunch?

    1. James Allen says:

      Good question. Somewhere in the €16-20 million a year range would be my guess.

      1. Man says:

        According to this: http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/news/story?id=6391145 he makes $22,736,842 and Felipe makes: $17,052,632 is US dollars. so just shy of €16 mil and just under €12 mil.

  25. mo kahn says:

    I think Ferrari has cemented the most complete driver in formula one with them for keeps. I am of opinion that the marriage between Alonso and Ferrari is of mutual benefit. There is no one in Formula one who fights harder than Alonso and there is no team or marque than Ferrari which personifies the Spirit of Fight, maybe that is the reason why Ferrari is what Ferrari is and no other team can emulate them by a country mile… What Ferrari has is extremely relate-able to human side of life. The Appeal, The Red Blooded Fight, The Fragility through their Flawed Instincts… Ferrari has everything, and no other driver does justice to what Ferrari stands for than Alonso. So it is the most interwoven marriage in F1.

    One thing I’d like to ask Hamilton however, is Atleast Redbull makes sport drinks… what does Mclaren make? (Mclaren F1 is not exactly classified as a product of production, since they have not launched a new model since Mullets were in fashion). So, instead of discrediting someone’s hard work and wonderful efforts try and introspect Mr. Hamilton. And as far as Senna is concerned… You can’t take Mclaren or any other car a percent of places where Senna took… So, go easy and concentrate on your driving and to which I must say that you are bloody fast, but its these constant bickering makes you look more like Prost then Senna. That is why we are fond of Button its simply cos he is not found discrediting anyone and lets his driving reflect everything.

    I think Vettel is headed for Ferrari and deservedly so :)

    1. PSW says:

      There We Are Then…

    2. Dom says:

      How about the MP4-12C….

    3. Damian J says:

      I hope this marriage made in heaven does not end in a divorce for you.

      Oh and McLaren F1…a Le Man winner!

      1. mo kahn says:

        I don’t deny the fact that Mclaren F1 is a wonderful car to own and to drive,for its been ages since they launched a new variant of the same or expanded their product portfolio so you cannot classify Mclaren as a Car-Manufacturer on the same levels as Ferraris and Mercedes or even Lotus for the matter since on those very grounds its valid for me to question a ridiculous statement made by Hamilton calling Redbull a Sports Drink Manufacturer… There are thousands of people that are working hard in 1/10th of Mclaren’s Budget in the Redbull F1 Team and it is preposterous on Hamilton’s part to insult them and their hard work in this manner, especially when you are sailing in the very same boat of classification as the Redbull Team. Well, that only shows that Hamilton though a Senna-wannabe is actually a Prost in disguise :)

    4. mtb says:

      It is my understanding that, in addition to producing the ECU that has been mandated by the FIA as the standard unit for F1, McLaren has, amongst other things, produced stereo systems, the official control unit for NASCAR from 2012 and bicycles.

    5. Andy C says:

      “what does Mclaren make?” Well let me write you a list.

      * Race winning F1 cars
      * Every ECU on the F1 grid (McLaren Electronic Systems)
      * a very soon to be race winning GT3 car (Automotive), plus having produced the SLR and the F1 to date.
      * Lots of bespoke telemetry systems for race teams across europe.
      * Technical innovations in sport, medicine etc(applied technologies)

      But apart from that, nothing Mo ;-)

      1. terryshep says:

        Mo, what is it that Red Bull makes? Guess what, it’s a Sports Drink!

        FLASH! Could Lewis be right?

  26. Dale says:

    James, you say ‘Red Bull don’t need Hamilton in order to win because they have Vettel (and Newey)’, me thinks that should read they have Newey (and Vettel)……….

    I’d put both Hamilton & Alonso ahead of Vettel if they all had the same car.

    The trouble with F1 is so many just see the results, do YOU for example honestly believe Schumacher would have won all his championships had he had been paired with Mika?

    Some for sure but not all by far, Senna himself reckoned (as others in know did) he drove his best in his last year at McLaren where he was soundly beaten by Prost.

  27. Lynn says:

    Ferrari & Alonso are made for each other. LOL.

  28. Nil says:

    James,

    Do you know the inner details of the deal? What are the kind of exit clauses on both sides?

    I ask this because of two reasons:

    - The Italian media won’t get off Alonso’s back if the title doesn’t materialize until the end of next year.

    - This does contradict Luca’s posturing of a breakaway series. Or does this contract include a clause to retain Alonso wherever Ferrari go?

  29. Williams4Ever says:

    McLaren under Whitmarsh is not the one Hamilton joined in. I don’t foresee McLaren-Hamilton marriage on long term with Martin at helm.

    If everyone has missed it, isn’t there a marked difference in how Martin has handled Lewis as compared to how Ron handled him. Martin has frequently critiqued Lewis in public on race management skills and his over enthusiasm which has cost him races (and campaigns).

    This used to Ron’s job who used to throw his drivers under the bus, but who was always soft on Lewis and push blamed elsewhere for Lewis’s mistakes in 2007-08 season.

    Not to mention Martin knowingly or unknowingly made Jenson Button as the reference point for Lewis (and not the other way round). I wouldn’t be surprised if Lewis doesn’t renew his contract with McLaren.

    While British/Lewis/McLaren fans may not like this, but if there is one team that fits Lewis’s temperament, it is Ferrari. And I don’t think Lewis and Alonso would have any problems driving next to each other, unless Ron Dennis becomes team boss at Ferrari…..

    1. manuel says:

      My thoughts as well, Martin Whitmarsh looks more worry in making Jenson as good as Lewis than making Lewis a world champion. If Lewis wants to win wdcs, he will have to leave the “Jenson and I” environment Whitmarsh wants him to adopt. I suspect that’s the reason why he’s not willing to sign with them just yet. I bet if Ron Dennis still was the TP, he would’ve signed already.

      But I don’t think Ferrari suits him at all. I would say RB suits him more. If Vettel is to leave in 2014, he should find himself a deal to be RB new leader. Even Mercedes could be an option in the future.

  30. Stevie P says:

    Makes perfect sense; he loves the team, they love him (currently!). He doesn’t fear Massa and even if they were to bring in a different driver he’d still be a “No 2″ type. They are and will be one of the top few teams capable of winning races and championships. Makes perfect sense :-)

  31. Rich C says:

    A little early for the silly season to begin, no?

  32. Andy C says:

    This is great news for F1, ensuring that Ferrari will have a very top line driver for the foreseeable future.

    With Seb at Redbull, and Lewis potentially at McLaren or Redbull (I just cant see him at Ferrari – although I’d love to see it).

    My only hope is that no 1 team goes and spoils the party by dominating (ahem attention Adrian ;-)

    If F1 wants a trully competitive formula there should be a 5 year Adrian Newey rotation clause in the Concorde Agreement.

    1. mtb says:

      Great proposal!

    2. mo kahn says:

      Hahahaha… 5 year Adrian Rotation Clause… True and Yet Brilliant :))

  33. Lilla My says:

    Great news. It shows how pleased Ferrari must be with Alonso and the other way round if just after one year both sides decide to extend the contract for such a long period. I hope this relationship will bring some good results.

    As for Hamilton – it would be interesting from fans’ perspective to see him in RBR along Vettel, but could be difficult to manage. And the situation with McLaren is smilar to what Alonso said today about Ferrari – these teams have been lately on top (or close to the top) even in their bad years so you can almost take for granted that you will fight for the wins driving for them. Red Bull might be on top now, but it’s still not a safe bet in a longer run, thus if I were Hamilton, I would stick to McLaren for a few reasons: you can almost be sure that the team will be on top and Hamilton is in the centre there, while RBR is Vettel’s turf, so entering it might be risky. However, fortune favours the brave, so maybe Lewis should take a risk and jump the ships.

    Lots of Hamilton James as for an article with only Alonso in the title ;-).

  34. Edward Valentine says:

    I think Fernando should have waited before committing to 5 years. It’s quite possible that he will not win another title while at the reigns of the Prancing Horse and I think he and Kubica would work well in a RedBull.

    1. PSW says:

      +1

      Ferrari could well be heading for a period in the wilderness, whoever the star drivers are (paid for, of course, by the famous favourable financial settlement they get). Since Schumacher’s backroom Brits (Brawn and others) left they’ve been looking increasingly fragile. This Alonso-Ferrari contract period could just turn out to coincide with a period of Newey-inspired dominance from RBR (unless, that is, Luca gets away with some behind-the-scenes rule-fiddling to hamper the competition..) No, I think some kind of deal with Santander is more likely the main driver (no pun intended) for this deal – but goodness help them if Spain’s economy (the S in the PIGS) follows the others down the pan – they could be stuck with Santander like Williams was stuck with RBS..

    2. Dom says:

      I assume Alonso’s logic is to keep Ferrari for himself – in his long game of chess with Lewis I’d suggest he now has the upper hand as RB won’t want Lewis if they have Seb and I’d guess that both Seb and Alonso will now end up with more titles….

  35. Stephen Kellett says:

    “Should this start to look like a reality, a new one year deal for Mark Webber would bridge the gap before Hamilton’s arrival.”

    Nice bit of analysis.

  36. PSW says:

    I can’t see why Hamilton teaming with Vettel should be much different to him teaming with Button. Vettel’s character seems to be pretty easy-going (like Hamilton’s and Button’s) and I think they’d push each other to achieve more (though I honestly think Hamilton would come out best, seeing as how Webber ran Seb so close last year – but I digress, that’s besides the point). Neither Seb or Lewis seems as highly strung and as needy (to be comforted by the team making them the clear no 1 by employing a duffer sidekick) as Alonso and Senna is/was…
    Seb and Lewis in Newey cars and Fernando stuck in a Ferrari contract with the Tifosi and Luca getting more and more irritated as the seasons pass – ah, we can but dream..

  37. Tyler says:

    Please say it isnt so. Hamilton’s pretty boy image is perfect fit at the pretensiousness that is McLaren. He looks so adorable in the whiter than white, perfectly pressed interview only jacket…match made in heaven.

    1. Zac says:

      What? Pretty boy image? It’s more like ugly erratic schoolboy image. It was a match made in heaven when Ron Dennis had most of the power.

  38. Dom says:

    Can’t see RedBull wanting Hamilton if they have Vettel – doesn’t compute after last season’s battle: a less stressed and more reliable Vettel with a no. 2 surely makes most sense in terms of maximising their winning opportunities.

    Presumably the Ferrari deal will include a veto over any second drivers.

  39. Adam Taylor says:

    James, what has been your favourite driver pairing from the past 20 or so years?

    I think Im going to go against the grain and having not witnessed the Prost/Senna era, Im going to choose Webber/Vettel from last season. Great battles, team politics and raced hard until the last race of the season.

    I believe that a Vettel/Hamilton pairing would be immense, exactly what Red Bull are looking for, not just in terms of talented drivers but because they fit the Red Bull mould fantastically well, a marketers dream

    1. James Allen says:

      Great question. Might do a post on that with a poll

    2. Andy C says:

      Definitely Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi. Absolutely outstanding…

    3. irish con says:

      button and jacques

  40. Irish con says:

    Well I have said what I think and I’m very much sticking to it. I think vettel is the fastest man over a single lap at the minute. Also the guy in autosport magazine made a point last week which I agree with. He said that Hamilton keeps getting compared with senna but he said that for him it’s vettel that is most like senna because of his recent domination of poles in the past year or so. Think most of the soo called experts are saying that vettel is the best out there at the minute which is hard to disagree with but my personal opinion is that vettel is the best on a Saturday and that alonso is the best on a Sunday but that vettel is closing in fast on him.

    1. F1Fan says:

      The difference between Senna and Vettel as far as poles go is that while Senna was taking all those poles he didn’t always have the best car on the grid. Quite the opposite. It’s just that Senna had this ability, perhaps more than any other driver, of extracting the very maximum out of the car. Along the way that mean extracting the very best out of himself as well. Usually when Senna finished, there was nothing left in the car to be had.

      It also explains why he started off so well in his first years in F1, with obviously less capable equipment.

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