A return to winning ways?
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Fernando Alonso in the headlines as the year draws to a close
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Dec 2011   |  7:33 am GMT  |  109 comments

Fernando Alonso has been in the news a couple of times this week, first for his bullish statements about Ferrari’s competitiveness in 2012 and then again yesterday with the sad confirmation that his marriage has ended.

The Spaniard, now 30 years old, met his wife Raquel de Rosario in late 2005 and married a year later, just after he clinched his second world title.

Apparently the pair have been separated for some months, they were last seen together at a Grand Prix in Hungary in late July, where Alonso celebrated his 30th birthday.

The private life of F1 drivers has been very much a talking point this season with Lewis Hamilton very publicly splitting with girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger and then in Brazil wearing a necklace she gave him following a reconciliation.

Alonso, in contrast, has kept his personal difficulties behind closed doors and there is no sign that it affected his performances in 2011, in fact towards the end of the season he put in some of his most impressive ‘fighting’ drives.

Meanwhile the Spaniard has been talking up Ferrari’s chances for next season, saying that Red Bull have little room for development of their car, whereas Ferrari has got on top of its windtunnel problems and is able to improve by more than its Austrian rival.

“I think we are going to go up,” he said in a Santander press conference. “We had aerodynamic problems when the windtunnel wasn’t working well. We had a different philosophy to adapt to the Pirellis, a different philosophy for the suspension and many other things. So we have a big margin to improve.

“So I think they (Red Bull) will improve by X per cent, and we are going to improve by X times two, so it’s all going to be much closer.”

Alonso has spent a fair bit of time at Maranello lately and is clearly very focussed on hitting the ground running in 2012. Both of his world titles were won thanks to a great start to the season and in recent years it has been vital to start well – only 2010 stands out as the exception, where Vettel lost ground before winning at the last race.


The pressure is on Ferrari technical director Pat Fry and his team to give the team a big step forward. It is a time for strong leadership and clear thinking. And with everyone looking for the new ‘trick’ on the technical side that others will be forced to copy, all eyes will be on Ferrari who have not set the agenda on the design side since the days of Rory Byrne in the mid 2000s.

Alonso has proved time and again that if you give him the car, he will get the job done. And after five seasons without adding the third title he so desperately wants to equal his idol Ayrton Senna, he is as hungry as any driver out there at the moment.

Alonso also welcomed the return to F1 of Kimi Raikkonen. Ironically the last time the pair raced each other Alonso was with the Enstone based Renault team and Raikkonen was at Ferrari. In 2012 the roles will be reversed.

“I welcome him back because he’s a great driver,” Alonso said “He is one of the most talented drivers out there as well as being a World Champion and a nice person, so it will be a pleasure to have him back.

“There is something different about starting a race with Kimi alongside you, rather than any other young driver. Fighting with people like him gives you a greater sense of security.”

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109 Comments
  1. Norman C says:

    Good news or ahould I say hope for a strong car and bad news from Alonso. Sad bad for his marriage and hopefully the 2012 car will deliver for him. I have never been a Ferrari fan. But I have always had respect for them. I am howeber an Alonso fan. He always delivers even when he is pissed off.

    It can only be up for him in 2012.

    1. Tealeaf says:

      The thing is Ferrari might improve but the real weapon in that Redbull team is Vettel, he is now the best driver in the world no doubt, Webber couldnt win a race last season until a gift by Seb at the last race, and whoever said its going to be between Alonso and Shamilton for the title next season should consider the current champ, the favourites and best driver Vettel, also look at Button.

      1. Justin Bieber says:

        I think most people can agree that the jury is still out on Vettle. He is a good driver but to say he is the best is ridiculous.

        The fact that Vettel destroyed Webber in 2011 says more about Webber shortcoming than Vettel talent vs the field.

      2. RickeeBoy says:

        Vettel understood just how to maximise the RB blown exhausts both in quali and in the first few laps – He murdered every other car and driver out there this year because of that – simply stunning. The jury is still out on him as a racer though. Alonso is a hard as nails racer, ( also developing as an excellent Team Leader ) Hamilton has bucketloads of raw skill but has developed fragility ( He’s a little bit of a liability at the moment) . Button is just plain savvy and actually is now leading McL.( One of the first times I’ve seen a slower but cleverer driver leading the team ) Merc are starting to build a good Team …. a fair way to go before beating McL though, (expect them to stop supplying McL engines at some point) Haug and Ross know it will take 5 years.

      3. Chris says:

        Foolish statement, sometimes you just have to let the figures do the talking -

        Races – 81
        Championships – 2
        Wins - 21
        Podiums – 36
        Career points – 773
        Pole positions – 30
        Fastest laps – 9

      4. Brad says:

        If I go on the principle of what the Alonso fans dished out when voted driver of the year, mistakenly taken for the greatest of all time, I’de go with Vettel now being the most complete and best driver, as voted by the TEAM PRINCIPALS.

      5. Slammy says:

        The jury still out on the double world champion? Oh dear.

      6. Randy_Torres says:

        [mod] I’m a massive Ferrari/Alonso fan but I have always believed that you prove to be the best in the field of play, not by polls or opinions. Based on those parameters Vettel is currently the best. With back to backs and a totally dominating 2011 season, how can it be otherwise? Now, is he the best ever? Well, the only way I know to actually prove that is if he raced for at least a season against Fangio, Mansell, Stewart, Senna…! Right now he’s the best, unfortunately for us Ferrari/Alonso fans. Red Bull has an ugly ugly car, though, especially compared to the Ferrari, which is in my opinion a work of art. So, at least we have that over Vettel and Red Bull!

        James thanks for great reads throughout the season, I’m looking forward to receiving and reading my copy of your book. Please remember us US fans in your 2012 contests, it will the year of the Uncle Sam GP after all.

        Happy and healthy holidays to all!

  2. Martin Fry says:

    Sad news for ALonso and Mrs.

    I am sure that he will have a great 2012- he is a true genius driver.

  3. Kimi Räikkönen says:

    Thanks alonso
    Will be fun

  4. goferet says:

    I offer my sympathies to Alonso for the end of his marriage but I think 5 years of marriage to a superstar such as him is a pretty decent run considering he gets to see pit babes in the paddock every other week.

    But boy, is Alonso the discreet type for this breakup is news to me & I got to know about his marriage about a year late.

    Meanwhile, Alonso’s marriage troubles shouldn’t have affected his on track performances for at 30, he’s way mature because F1 drivers really develop in their late 20s – early 30s.

    Anyway I agree with Alonso that Red Bull’s days are numbered and it would be interesting to see the real big boys come to the party & drive circles around Vettel like Lewis did in the wet phrase of Hungary 2011.

    It’s interesting to see how Vettel has rattled the status-quo, first Lewis was mentally disturbed by the fact that Vettel would beat him to a 2nd WDC & now Alonso is getting sleepless nights at the prospect of Vettel clenching a 3rd WDC before him.

    Okay my prediction is that the 2012 title will be fought out to the death between Hammy & Alonso with Lewis emerging the victor of course.

    Say, pretty strange to learn that Aryton is Alonso’s idol & yet I have never heard a word of praise out of the Spaniard.

    1. James Allen says:

      That’s why he was so keen to drive for McLaren, it was Senna’s team

      1. Athlander says:

        That’s why I think it was such a shame things didn’t work out at McLaren. It always seemed as if McLaren was the team he was passionate about joining (although professionally I’m sure he, like most drivers, would choose any championship-challenging team over a sentimental preference.)

      2. tank says:

        The old schu being the exception with his ferrari move ;)

      3. F1Fan4Life says:

        I still feel Ron Dennis made a huge mistake with Alonso. Mclaren was his dream team and while I’m sure many here may think Hamilton a golden boy, I truly believe Alonso would have had 2 world titles with Mclaren now had they made him comfortable. It seems Mclarens loss is Ferrari’s gain and I hope Ferrari can give him a competitive car so he can crush them.

      4. formulasfera says:

        Some drivers like Alonso and Schumi needs a true 2nd driver besides (Massa, Barrichello), and it was not the Lewis case in 2007…

      5. Kenny says:

        yeah, he stated several times that Senna is the reference in F1, and that his room was full of posters of Senna…

      6. Alexis says:

        I think when things were not going his way at McLaren, all sentimental Senna memories went out of the window.

      7. Mark S. says:

        Which makes Alonso’s disgraceful behaviour of blackmailing Ron Dennis all the more sad. I believe Senna would have been disgusted.

      8. AstroboyF1 says:

        I believe Senna would have been proud at the cunning and ruthlessness at which Alonso displayed at McLaren, call it the firey latin temperament that both exuded.

        Senna wasn’t a shrinking violet when it came to exerting his authority within his teams. Just imagine if the situation were mirrored in 1994 – if tragedy hadn’t intervened and Damon Hill (the next hypothetical prodigy) was competing with him race-to-race with no obvious leadership structure, how do you think Senna would’ve reacted?

        By then, Senna was a three-time champion, but hadn’t won in a couple of years. Alonso, in contrast, was hot off double back-to-back WDC’s and was right to be expected to be treated as Team Leader.

        For me, Ron Dennis was to blame for the loss of the 2007 WDC. If he had made Alonso more comfortable, who knows how many championships McLaren would’ve reaped by now – not to mention less controversy and headaches.

        Hamilton was not to blame for 2007, for he only performed his best in matters in his control, and justified himself to no end. However, hitherto 2007 it was unheard of to place a rookie straight into a title-contending machinery.

        I keep on wondering what would have happened if Dennis actually reconsidered the come back from Hakkinen and given him the second car in 2007.

    2. DB4Tim says:

      “”I offer my sympathies to Alonso for the end of his marriage but I think 5 years of marriage to a superstar such as him is a pretty decent run considering he gets to see pit babes in the paddock every other week””

      She is as big a superstar as he is

      1. lucky alonso says:

        you are dreaming. She is more or less like nicole whatever pussy cat doll. A talented singer but no more. The male counterparts are international superstars. What i can be sure of, this singer’s emotional needs are superstars like.
        And i am sure they will be better of without them close by.
        We all know women have a lot of wants and needs, and an athlete like alonso-hamilton, can’t afford to be distracted from thew job on hand.
        They have an appointment with history, and a woman is just not part of it.

      2. lecho says:

        The thing is that for the majority of people reading celebrity news about Nicole & Lewis he is the racing driver guy who is dating a singer, not the opposite way.

      3. Holly says:

        She is not, she is a mid tier singer in Spain at best, pretty far from the biggest spanish pop bands.

    3. Hum says:

      In Hungary Hamilton showed he’s one of the real big boys and drove circles around Vettel?

      With a car advantage (McLaren easily fastest car that day in wet and dry) and then spinning off track, almost crashing into others recovering and finishing 45 seconds behind Vettel who was in the slower car?

      Then Vettel must be a giant :P

    4. Becken says:

      Fernando seems to be a very shy and modest individual.

      While Hamilton seems to worship Senna publicly at any time he is in front of media, Fernando kept it in private.

      But look at this pic below to understand how Fernando have Senna as his model:

      http://papayaorange.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Alonso-in-McLaren.jpg

  5. Jeff says:

    Its always sad news when a marriage fails and my guess is the testing and the season can’t start soon enough for Alonso so he can get his mind on something else.

    Not really an Alonso fan after he threw his toys out of the pram at McLaren but you’ve got to hand it to him, he’s a great driver.

  6. Proesterchen says:

    “Alonso has proved time and again that if you give him the car, he will get the job done.”

    McLaren might bag to differ.

    And for his interview, well, it’s THAT time of the year again, when even Williams can proclaim to be have great prospects for the new season.

    I understand the need for sponsors to get their money’s worth of PR, but this sort of bullpucky just underlines the need for more races and a longer season. The less downtime, the fewer silly proclamations of superiority we’ll have to endure.

    1. Gudien says:

      Personally I think it’s going to be David Coulthard’s year this time around.

    2. Alex W says:

      If mclaren listened to him they would have won the WDC that year…

  7. Thando says:

    It’s always sad when a couple decide to go their separate ways, the scary thing will be a motivated Alonso coupled with a motivated Hamilton add to that a motivated Kimi, a Schumacher with a point to prove.F1 next season is going to be too crazy. I still believe Kimi and Fernando would be perfect teammates at Ferrari in 2013. They compliment each other, they get along, they are both very quick, they are both comfortable in their skins.

    1. Phil R says:

      I can’t see Ferrari re-employing the person they paid $25 million to sack 2 years ago…

      1. Al says:

        Ferrari were paid the $25 Million to move Kimi aside by Santander, so they could get Alonso into the Ferrari as soon as possible.

        Ferrari never sacked Kimi.

        Very big difference.

      2. Justin Bieber says:

        oh please, not that again…

        Kimi WAS sacked because he did not do the job expected of him. Ferrari could not afford another year with him.

        Alonso was hired because he proved time and time again that he could drive beyond the car capabilities and was a great team leader.

        If you want to blame someone for Kimi’s sacking, Blame Luca Di Montezemolo. He is the one who sack people at Ferrari(Kimi, Chris Dyer, Aldo Costa, etc..). To imply that Santander had the clout to take out Kimi for Alonso is hilarious in!.

      3. Al says:

        No, Kimi was not sacked, Santander paid a high price to get Alonso in the Ferrai. I do not know if you remember, but Kimi did win a World Championship for them ?

        Alonso had the drive paid for him by his countrymen at Santander after conclusively proving he was not the best or fastest driver in F1. He ran off to sulk in a midfield Renault when the then Rookie Hamilton beat him and his despicable cheating and blackmail failed to work.

        None of this is debatable, it is set in stone fact.

      4. Anthony says:

        then why didnt they keep kimi and sack massa?

    2. Lynn says:

      Would love seeing Fernando & Kimi as team mates! That would be my dream team!

      1. Jose Arellano says:

        +1

      2. MelB says:

        That’s not going to happen in Ferrari. You won’t see Kimi going back there.

  8. Nathan says:

    James I really hope Ferrari build Alonso a competitive car however I think rbr would welcome his comments but they always seem to have something up their sleeves

  9. Thando says:

    As for Red Bull car next season, Adrian Newey is a wily old fox, he is a ground breaker, a man that can produce the kind of car(Williams) that Prost won his last driver’s championship in, that super quick McLAREN Kimi drove, this uncommonly relibale and fast Red Bull car we have now, is undoubtedly special man and I would bet on him producing another special car next season. The only difference will be that the other teams will be a lot closer than this year and the drivers will up their game next season. Can wait for the season to start.

    1. Divesh says:

      I wish Ferrari or even Mercedes would tempt Rory Byrne out of retirement. He was the only designer that was able to match Adrian Newey.

      Design is a team effort, but the head of design is the genius that pulls it all together and can see a big picture of the car.

      1. Sam says:

        Byrne currently works for Ferrari has a technical consultant (100 days a year).

  10. WW says:

    Alonso has relationship problems in 2011, keeps it quiet, controls his emotions, stays focussed and drives one of his best seasons yet in F1.

    Hamilton has relationship problems in 2011? Well… nuclear meltdown.

    Shows who is mentally and emotionally superior.

    1. Proesterchen says:

      Or it may just show that being the dumper usually leaves you in a much better place than being the dumpee.

    2. terryshep says:

      Shows who is older, too.

    3. vintly says:

      Yes but – who beat Alonso driving the same car in his rookie season? I know things change, and based on last season Alonso looks the better driver, but nothings certain in F1. I hope he has a good year too, Vettel needs a decent challenger!

      1. Pete S. says:

        As far as Hamilton is concerned, perhaps his father gave him a fish for a day!!!

    4. Lynn says:

      Alonso will just be fine for 2012. He’s already got a new hot girl friend haha.

    5. W Bennet says:

      Alonso had his own meltdown at the hands of Leiws Hamilton when both were driving for McLaren.

      Not sure that unfortunate personal circumstances which are very personal is a valid comparison of one’s mental agility.

      What if Lewis had a much closer relationship with his Partner then one would imagine that the impact would be much greater but how would you know that when making your half baked judgement?

  11. Kam says:

    Well comparing Alonso Vs Lewis reaction to the sad news of their separations, you have to say Alonso is made of very tough stuff inside.

    I like him more and more these days (although I have always rated him as the best driver since 2005).

    Strange to think he won his tittles all those years ago!

    Also a shame it never worked for him at Mclaren.

    James- do you think he would every return there, even for 1 season after Ferrari?

    Kam

    1. Roberto says:

      I don´t see Alonso having intentions of coming back to Mclaren with Hamilton there and having an strong support with Ferrari with Massa at bay.

      The only way is see it is Hamilton moving from Mclaren (Red Bull the only team that he will go) and Alonso having a terrible 2012 or 2013 season at Ferrari, pls Mclaren being Championship material which won´t give Hamilton a reason to leave the team. Therefore i see no chance of Alonso going to Mclaren.

    2. Martin says:

      If he wins titles then he has the opportunity to take what Schumi gave away and be the modern face of Ferrari. At the moment he is in the biggest team and the one with the history. Red Bull is working on challenging McLaren for the number two slot with the help of the RRA and Red Bull drink dollars, so unless there was a clear design advantage that would give McLaren better cars, why go there? McLaren has a slightly uncertain engine future as it is the #1 Mercedes customer whereas Red Bull is now the de facto Renault factory team.

      I doubt Fernando would prioritise trying to beat Hamilton in the same car over winning the world title.

      Cheers,

      Martin

  12. dug says:

    I’m a Mclaren fan but I do like Alonso he certainly has talent and I think it shows the level of difference between him and Hamilton they both had sh*t going in there personal lives Hamilton can’t drive because of it, Alonso leaves it all at the gate and puts in a good performance with a naff car.

  13. SMM says:

    WoW, hats off to Alonso for keeping a professional approach. From the outside as a spectator had no idea about any personal problems. Its never easy on anyone when any sort of relationship ends, let alone a marriage.
    I don’t know what else to say..
    Except i hope he comes second to Webber!!
    A true professional.. A Strong Man..

    1. SMM says:

      Ps.. James Will u be on RPM in Australia next year.. Your interviews are gold, and by far the best info we get..

      1. James Allen says:

        Thanks! Yes I’ve renewed that deal with ONE HD and Ten. Looking forward to it.

      2. SMM says:

        YES.(huge smile). Thats awesome news.. Thank you for giving us your early mornings..

      3. Left Philangie says:

        Love your work on One HD / Ten James so good to see you back with us next year.
        Add the great news of Disco Dan to Torro Roso and next year will be a cracker for Aussie Fans !

      4. tara says:

        Awesome! Was wondering that myself.

      5. Erik says:

        Good to hear James, Rusty would be lost without you! Oh and it’s just Ten Sport now mate. One HD is history.

      6. Peter Gangemi says:

        Fantastic news James

      7. Darren says:

        Excellent news James. I applaude Ten/One for giving us great F1 coverage. However, when Greg Rust, Craig Beard and Darryl have to cover commentary due to international audio feed blips like in Brazil – wow. They are so bad. Beattie sounds like he’s is talking in his sleep – he never gets excited – and they are always half a lap behind the action.

        Great to have your expertise on there James.

      8. George says:

        You are spot on Darren! Beattie can make the most exciting race seem like your watching grass grow! Will be good to have you back James!

      9. James Allen says:

        Don’t agree. Having worked with Darren for two years he’s got a great eye for what’s going on with the cars and the drivers etc. He’s also great to work with

      10. Martin says:

        Hi George,

        I think both you and James are pretty right. Given some of the accidents Darryl has had – including chainsawing off your toes with your own bike – just watching cars would be a touch dull. I find Craig Baird comes up with some pretty left field stuff, some as why a particular predicament could be an advantage – but I think that could be just a particular competitive mind at work, trying to be positive.

        Cheers,

        Martin

  14. **Paul** says:

    It speaks volumes about the man that he’s able to still put in a measured and precise performance on track when he has trouble with his private life. Yes he’s a few years older than Lewis, but still, the difference is interesting to see. I think it gives real clues into the respective mental strength of each of them.

    1. F1Fan says:

      You and others are assuming that both breakups are equivalent and further, that the breakup was the only off track event troubling Hamilton. Hamilton also lost 2 friends this year and said he was affected by their passing.

      Still, the notion that one can ever compare the reactions of two individuals’ reactions to seemingly equivalent events is problematic.

  15. gonzeche says:

    Alonso is the true Iceman.

  16. Crom says:

    It is quite moving to know this about Alonso the man, I had no idea.. Like seeing him in a new light, it is impressive how he can endure and remain ever-stoic and professional, despite what must be a sad and traumatic time, topped with all the pressure of being a Ferrari driver.

    Like Schumacher, he prefers his private life to be just that. I am amazed how professional these guys can be, not shirking obligations and responsibilities when their personal lives are in turmoil.

    I know a marriage break-up is not the same as a death in the family, but I am reminded of Imola 2003 when Schumacher’s mother died; both he and Ralf were at her bedside the day before the race, and she died the next morning. They chose to race, and Michael won; the podium for which was an unforgettably sombre moment, for his 65th victory and Ferrari’s 160th.

    Alonso’s mettle has always impressed me; in his career he’s had a few years of wringing performance out of sub-par cars and still delivered results, knowing he has little chance of the championship, yet still doing the best he can – sometimes above and beyond what is normally possible. Reminiscent of Schumacher’s early years at Ferrari, he sees the possibility of a brighter future ahead.

  17. Matt says:

    I agree it shows a certain mental strength that Alonso stayed so focussed this year despite his personal problems. But remember the time he threw his toys out of the pram at McLaren – to his great detriment – was at an age roughly that Hamilton is at now.

    I’m no fan of Hamilton as such, but would hope he learns from the experience as Alonso has done.

    All that aside, much respect to Alonso as a driver, he is in my view about the best there is and has been for a while. The past few years have shown him WCs don’t come handed on a plate, something Vettel will have to learn at some point. A few barren years puts everything in perspective and will make a third title more sweet.

    There’s a long list of drivers who have to wait for a WC, be it their first, second or third, just ask Schumi, Ham, Alonso, Hakkinen, Mansell and Hill to name just a few.

    1. Ral says:

      I’m not entirely sure Alonso’s time at McLaren can be compared one-on-one so to speak with personal turmoil.

      Problems in ones private life are just that, but in 2007 Alonso’s problems were at work. So it would seem entirely suitable for any tantrums to occur at work too.

      In other words, Alonso could be very good at separating private life from work life. It doesn’t mean he handles his private issues any better than Hamilton.

      Lastly, none of what I wrote is meant as a judgement of how either of them handled themselves in 2007 or 2011. I don’t think “throwing toys out of the pram” is accurate for Alonso in 2007, nor is “emotional meltdown” for Hamilton this past year. They had problems and dealt with them as fit them and their personalities. And both still had strong seasons even in their “off” years.

      1. Matt says:

        Ral, fair comment about private vs. working lives and the relative differences that Alonso and Hamilton have faced. But these are human beings we are talking about and it makes sense that both private lives and work can and will influence the other.

        The point I was trying to make is that both drivers have been tested for emotional/mental strength at a similar age, albeit for different reasons. At root I think a big element is that as successful sports-people they are/were not used to the idea of losing in any area of their life.

        It takes time to accept you can’t have everything you want and it takes time to understand that to win long-term means you have to play the long game and take the ups and downs along the way.

        It’s part of growing up in a sense and if Alonso’s performance is anything to go by we should see Hamilton coming back stronger in the coming years. But as I say, these guys are human beings and there are no givens.

        Totally agree their ‘off’ seasons are way better than anything I and many others could manage!!

  18. Pat Byrne says:

    Alonso’s always been a favorite of mine.

    He handled his personal situation with a lot more dignity than Hamilton this year. The British press still give him a rough ride though. Even Brundle, who I admire, has the occasional dig.

    I’m not so hopeful about the ’12 car – really hope I’m wrong.

    If the Ferrari is even within with a tenth or two though he’ll be a contender.

    1. Sean M says:

      Agreecompletely …love brundle but have noticed the digs at times. Alonso has always being the best driver on the grid in my book. If Ferrari get their act together he’l be right up there.

  19. Kevin says:

    Great to hear you will be back with rusty and the boys next year James.

    I’m a massive McLaren fan ( as my surname is McLaren) but its news like this that makes you realise Lewis Hamiltons deficiencies as a driver (albeit few). Alonso is obviously made of far sterner stuff and Lewis needs to disciple his mind to achieve. There are only three drivers in the paddock that can drive a car beyond its capabilities, the two afore mentioned and Henki (possibly vettel too judging by webers relative performance this year). If Lewis can structure his life and management properly he could be one of the greats. As vettel said this year ‘you don’t bring your girlfriend to work with you’.

    1. LT says:

      I would say Alonso is just older and more experienced. I would hope 2011 would help Hamilton learn and be tougher emotionally too.

      1. kevin says:

        In hindsight i probably should have used the word temperament. Alonso has it in spades which is why at the same age he had two WDC to lewis’s one. Hamilton had those amazing years 2007-2008 where his enthusiasm and focus allowed his talent to shine. Considering his net worth is estimated to be 200 million (http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-athletes/lewis-hamilton-net-worth/) and he is a seasoned pro now he has probably lost some focus. The Renault Alonso won his two WDC was the second most capable package, similar to McLaren’s car this year. So Lewis has no excuses in my view. Still Lewis is a smart man and 2012 could be his year. I cant wait for March!!

  20. Adnan says:

    The way he performed over the course of the year despite the marital problem is testament of his talent, professionalism and mental strength. Commendable indeed.

  21. Paul Mc says:

    James it appears that Alonso is a very private person in the same light as Schumacher was during his first career. Does Alonso have a protective bubble around him to stop stories coming out and does he go to the same lengths as Schumacher in protecting his family from the media spotlight?

    To be completely honest i had no idea he was even married in the first place.

  22. Qiang says:

    People compare Alsono and lewis in their recent splits have their points. However, I feel Alonso’s marriage has been really low key and priavte (at least in the English world), while Lewis’s romance with Pussycat has been very public. Consider Lewis’s management with Simon Fuller, and Nicole’s working with X-factor with another mighty Simon, it was a bit too much really.

  23. Paul J says:

    I only just watched the new Senna documentary movie, and it got me thinking about just how much Alonso reminds me of Senna. I started watching F1 in the post-Senna era and so didn’t know much about him and his personality, but seeing clips of him on and off the track and around the paddock, I could see a lot of similarities in their personalities. It’s a shame things didn’t work out at McLaren – maybe towards the end of Alonso’s career we will see him back there. Alonso is a great champion, I hope he wins some more WDC’s in the near future.

    1. gt86 says:

      alonso and senna?!! you mean alonso and prost. Hamilton in a way reminded me of senna, the 2007 lewis, not the 2011.
      To tell you the truth, nobody gets to his level now. Focused, fast, good in the rain, in the dry. The best on a flyier. Good on a interview.
      He could be so candid with a fellow driver, but if you didn’t act as he expected you to, you are written of. Steward interview was owesome.

      1. Alex W says:

        Focused, fast, good in the rain, in the dry, sounds like Vettel to me.

  24. Werewolf says:

    I had a filling yesterday (teeth are a big deal for werewolves).

    I share this only because I am sure it will interest everyone about as much as racing drivers’ romantic lives interest me! So, here’s to Alonso for not making another soap story out of 2012.

  25. Vipin says:

    I am really sad to hear this.

    My F1 hero is going through tough times in his life.

    Marriage is an wonderful thing in life. It really hurts when you separate.

    I hope Fernando finds a better girl than her.

  26. JohnBt says:

    Very professionally handled with no fanfare about his relationship.

    Would really be great if Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel, Schumi, Kimi, Button and Webber be within one to three tenths and fight for the WDC in 2012. I’d like to be idealistic as a fan. Who knows.

    1. Rich C says:

      Me too. I don’t really care at all about these ppls personal trials and tribulations.

      We all have them, though I’m sure they have more sycophantic hangers-on to deal with than I do!

  27. AuraF1 says:

    Well I’m not a Lewis fan by any means but it’s difficult to compare him to Alonso in this situation. Hamilton didn’t just have a break up. He lost two good friends in during the year, was estranged from his dad, was being beaten by his supposedly inferior teammate and dealing with a lot more media focus than Alonso ever has.

    But I think Alonso is a different character and lots of very different personalities makes f1 great drama. Forget the identi-kit media groomed money backed no makes – let’s see kimi, Alonso, hamilton, schumi, button, vettel and webber in action in good cars. It’s almost worth getting sky for!

  28. Adelaide says:

    There are a lot of rumors concerning Rory Byrne’s involvement with Ferrari’s new F1 car. Even Domenicali didn’t deny it in a recent video interview. Just how much involved is a mystery. The man is a genius to equal Newey, for Tifosi’s sake he is very much involved.

    Sad about Alonso’s divorce, but I’m impressed with the way they kept it private and civil. It didn’t affect Fernando’s performance one bit, the guy is a true champion.

  29. amzona says:

    hamilton and alonso are better of without the leaches. Now they can focus 100% on winning the next crown.

  30. David Ryan says:

    Sympathies to both Fernando and Raquel – it’s never nice when a relationship ends, particularly when it is a marriage as well. As others have said, full credit to him for keeping his head down and driving as he has done this season (I will happily admit I had no idea his marriage was even in trouble, much less ending), and it does give an insight into how he values his privacy that it’s only come to light now. Hopefully things will look up for him in 2012, both on and off the track.

  31. r0ssj says:

    Nice to see some drivers keep their private lives private and still show up at the track 100% focused on their job. I wasn’t even sure if Alonso was married or not.

    I did know Senna was his idol. I think its a great pity for McLaren and Alonso, that they couldn’t work together. They should have won several championships together. Alonso has a great record in F1, but really think he should have a couple WDC’s.

    1. JackFlash says:

      A couple more perhaps?
      WDC 2005 and 2006 with Renault already.

  32. Roo F1 says:

    Does this partly explain the thawing between Lewis and Fernando – they both understood that an attention grabbing woman can be a disruptive influence and toy with both their emotions?

    Lewis’ 2012 season is all about remembering that he is a sportsman and forgetting womenfolk for a year+ …

  33. tom in adelaide says:

    I’d say Alonso will be a fair contender for scoring 20 out of 20 in 2012. And I’m not talking about podiums.

    Bahrain and Dubai could be tough though.

    1. GoNando says:

      When many people criticized Hamilton during the year one driver in particular came to his defence, his arch rival Fernando Alonso.
      That was an extremely nice gesture from a man who has been robed of a potential world championship due to the competition he faced from Hamilton in 2007.
      Now that we know that Fernando’s private life too was not going too well it makes it easier to understand why he came to Lewis’ defence. Full mark to Fernando who proved, if further prof was needed, he is not just a great driver but a great human being full of compassion. Bravo Fernando you are a top guy! I am sure Lewis would agree with me.

  34. Pete says:

    I had no idea he was even married!

  35. Chapor says:

    As much as I hated Alonso after 2007 until last year Hockenheim. I must say that I have found a lot of respect for Alonso as of late. He handles himself in a very respectful manner and what he did with this years Ferrari is absolutely amazing. This year is the very first year I actually rooted for a red car with a prancing horse on the nose cone.

  36. Jake Pine says:

    Alonso is finished, F1 is all about the kids now: next year we’ll have a 25 year old 3 time WDC. Alonso was exciting when he was the underdog at 24 and 25 at Renault beating old rich man Schumacher. Now he’s rich, old, slow and boring… it’s the same story always with F1, the successful drivers get too rich and comfortable and don’t push the edge like they used too. P.S any idea James which commentary feed One HD will run in 2012, BBC or Sky??

    1. VicWeir says:

      I understand what you’re saying – and profoundly hope you’re wrong.
      But, “slow & boring”! Compared to whom? His team mate, in the same car? I don’t think so. In last year’s Ferrari name me a driver who would have been faster and less ‘boring’, whatever you mean by that.
      No-one, not even Vettel, who, I agree, had a fantastic season in a fantastic car.

    2. JohnBt says:

      Are you sure you’re following F1?

      Did you not read the appraisals Alonso received from fans, especially those who don’t like him.

  37. mo kahn says:

    I don’t find any rage in red anymore… for me black is beautiful :)

    VIVA KIMI :)

  38. rafa says:

    JAMES:
    It´s centuries since i last posted here, but I still follow the best web there is on f1 anywhere -only people know too much for my limited knowledge of f1 cars, so I didn´t want to embarrass myself.

    Question: in the spanish media, byrne is being talked as having a huge impact in next year´s Ferrari (specially El País). but anywhere else I look, there´s no comments on it whatsoever, as far as anyone´s concerned, Byrne is a very happy retiree… what´s your take on this?

    1. James Allen says:

      I’m not sure, I’m looking into it now. He did a brilliant job when he was running the show and he’s kept in touch but it doesn’t always work to come back and take over. I’m not sure that’s what’s happening here. Pat Fry is in charge, but I’ll find out.

  39. ACB says:

    Kudos to Alonso for keeping his marital troubles out of the picture and off the track. I’m sure the demands on his time and the constant being away from home were contributors. It is always seems a bit of a gamble when an atheletes’ significant other is in the entertainment business. Its always tough to go through a divorce though, its worse than having a spouse die. I wish him well and hope he has a great 2012 season.

  40. Antoine says:

    I think Alonso should date the pussycat doll..
    Then we’d see some dynamite…

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