A return to winning ways?
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Alonso aims to still be in title hunt once settled order emerges
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Posted By: James Allen  |  19 Apr 2012   |  9:05 pm GMT  |  55 comments

Fernando Alonso is expecting the battle for the championship to distil into a much smaller group of protagonists than currently appears the case – and says that when that time comes Ferrari must ensure it is right in the fight.

The pattern of the season’s first three races has mirrored that of 2010 when there were also three different winners from three different teams and a championship leader who had yet to win a race. Six different drivers have also stood on the podium so far in 2012, which is just one less than the total for the whole of last season.

But Alonso, who currently sits behind the McLaren drivers in third place in the standings largely thanks to his unexpected Sepang win in rain-affected conditions, reckons the unpredictability seen so far will prove the exception rather than the rule once a more established pecking order emerges.

Speaking in Bahrain today, the 2005-2006 world champion said: “So far in three races we have seen three different scenarios, but I expect the championship will settle down and while now there are maybe four teams and a few drivers fighting for the championship, I expect later it will be a couple of drivers and two teams and we need to be in that group.”

With Ferrari having to wait until the sport’s return to Europe to begin to roll out some more fundamental changes to the underperforming F2012 in a bid to close the pace gap to the front, Alonso isn’t expecting much to change this weekend, but is hopeful for the Mugello test and beyond.

“We are hoping for a good step forward for the start of the European season because, at the moment, we are too far behind and not in a position to fight for the championship,” he admitted. “We hope the change comes soon: Mugello will be an important test and then Barcelona is traditionally a race where all the teams bring improvements, so we will have to make a bigger step than the others and recover some of the gap.”

Meanwhile, in wake of technical director Pat Fry’s verdict at the last race that Ferrari needed to bolster its aerodynamics programme, it was revealed today by Autosport that former Benetton and Red Bull aerodynamicist Ben Agathangelou is joining the team. The British engineer, who left RBR in late 2007, has since returned to F1 to work first with HRT and, most recently, Marussia.

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55 Comments
  1. James B says:

    I honestly don’t see them advancing up the pecking order above Williams and Sauber.

    1. Dan Abbitt says:

      I think they will, they have the resources to develop the car that Williams / Sauber lack. Sure it may be a bit of a dog now, but they’ll probably be able to sort it out soon.

    2. Justin Bieber says:

      You must be new to F1. Ferrari is a Top team with great resources, if you think that a middle field team will out develop Ferrari over the season, your dreaming

      1. AH Jordan says:

        As they were in the 90′s and they didn’t do too well then…

      2. Michael says:

        Maybe the problem Ferrari has are the drivers rather than the car? Perhaps the car is very fast but the drivers slow. Not much you can do to speed those two up.

        Just throwing that one in for thought.

      3. Chris says:

        Wow….’shake’s head’…Alsono is a lot of things but slow isn’t one of them.

      4. JohnBt says:

        Nope in Ferrari one is slow and the other fast. You can figure that out for sure.

  2. Chris says:

    Bet Alonso is over the moon with a recruitment who has worked with HRT and Marussia, its bound to make the difference!!

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Hmmm, you obviously chose to miss the RBR and Benetton bits mentioned.
      You probably didn’t know but he and Fry have worked together at Mclaren but still why look for the facts when we can be tabloids for a day.

      1. Chris says:

        I actually read this just before dosing off, and made a point in haste. I realise mocking him was wrong, he clearly has a good track record (no pun intended) to have a career like he’s had. Dave below is right to, there are some fantastic people working in F1 up and down the grid in many different roles. One of them runs this website (my favourite F1 site by far), and I genuinely feel like I have abused it some respects

        James if you can, please delete and apologies to you and anyone who is offended by my comment.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Chris, I think your opinion is as valid as anyone elses.
        We all have different opinions and we watch the same races and read the same articles and take a different view on everything to everybody else. I would term it passion.

        Slightly off subject, but I remember reading about Senna being at a Tina Turner concert in Adelaide with Berger, both dancing to the music, and Michael Schmamcher was sitting in the same VIP area, bolt upright and without moving. Maybe he didn’t like the music, maybe he was shy but it aroused curious looks from the other VIP’s.
        Yet in some ways, this personally coloured my view of him ever since. Even when at Ferrari, I didn’t feel he was passionate about it, it was a job

        If I choose to make a provocative comment, I expect someone to respond, it actually makes the whole site fascinating.
        Bear in mind, all comments are moderated before being put up on the site.

    2. JSHT says:

      But with the right resources……

    3. Klaas Backers says:

      Haha, my thoughts exactly. I fear Ferrari have lost sight of the bigger picture and are acting a bit desperate. They should never have sacked Aldo Costa. The F2011 of last year was not so bad as everyone says. It’s main problem was getting the tyres to warm up, but once that was the case, the car showed good speed. I fear that Pat Fry is the wrong man for the job, is he not the man who created the 2009 Mclaren? Which was also a dog of a car…!

      1. Quattro_T says:

        I think it is a bit unlikely that you know the F2011 strengths and weaknesses better than the people who developped and raced it.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Yes he did create the 2009 Mclaren, which he also sorted out by seasons end.
        Before that he designed the 2005 Mclaren under Newey’s guidance and then the 2007 Mclaren. Wikipedia will give you all sorts of info.

    4. Dave Aston says:

      he worked with Red Bull too… lots of good people working up and down the grid in F1; even Alonso’s first season was with Minardi.

    5. double eyepatch says:

      If you have that mentality then Alonso woud never have climbed higher than the Minardi he started in all those years ago.

  3. Lynn says:

    I suspect they will do well second half of the season which may be good enough as its very tight this year & no one is running away with it. Will be interesting…

  4. JohnBt says:

    Ferrari has been known to turn the season around after the halfway mark. If they do this year Alonso will surely be in content for the WDC, but will he gather enough points before they ‘understand’ the car. I certainly hope so.

  5. AlexD says:

    Ferrari hiring HRT and Marussia people? Great….it will ensure Alonso is in the fight.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      As I have already written, might do you well to research people before criticizing.
      As for the HRT connection, I want to point out one name that everyone mentions as turning around Ferrari last time and how intelligent he is etc, Ross Brawn.
      His connection to HRT??

      Geoff Willis

      What about Aldo Costa? Everyone remembers him as the Ferrari chief, but do you know where he was recruited from by Brawn?

      Minardi.

      1. AH Jordan says:

        Yes but there’s a difference between someone who’s just starting out in F1 and moves from small team to top team….and someone who’s moved from team-to-team and ended up working for the bottom 2 teams in the space of 3 years…

        …and where was he from 2007 to 2010??

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Yes Willis, what a CV he has behind him…

        Leyton House
        Williams
        BAR
        Honda
        Red Bull
        HRT
        Mercedes

        Not everyone is a Newey or a Byrne, but given the right direction, these are all capable men.
        Mike Gascoyne is a recognised techie, yet he’s at Caterham. What about Bob Bell at Renault in 2005 and 6, and what CV does Paddy Lowe have?

        Ultimately, what it comes down to is the leaders vision, whether that’s Newey or anybody else. These teams employ many designers within their organisation.
        In times past, I think Mclaren and Ferrari were reputed to have 200 plus chassis design engineers.
        A 21st century F1 car is too complex to be the work of just one man

    2. Justin Bieber says:

      “it was revealed today by Autosport that former Benetton and Red Bull aerodynamicist Ben Agathangelou is joining the team. The British engineer, who left RBR in late 2007, has since returned to F1 to work first with HRT and, most recently, Marussia.”

      Nice cherry picking..

  6. andrew says:

    I’m sure this is more than idle rehetoric. He fully expects to be more competitive with the new upgrades. They realize an overhaul is necessary, and have committed the resources to make it happen. (If they can just shake some old, out-moded habits.)

    1. Justin Bieber says:

      “If they can just shake some old, out-moded habits.”

      Such as?

      1. andrew says:

        Overcoming their lack of ability to address a consistently declining chasis weight scenario. AKA no more refueling mentality.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Oh dear, you’re still hung up on that!!

  7. Alessandro says:

    No chance of recovery in Ferrari untill the Headmaster is the same Domenicali who has mismanaged Ferrari in the past four years and who has still to understand that a F1 championship begins in March and not in July.
    When is Ferari going to replace slow-moving Massa with fast-track emerging Perez?
    What a pity for the team of my life.

  8. I can’t really understand the people mocking at the new hire, Ben, having been worked at HRT and Marrussia?
    As far as I can see, he has other employers, too, like Mclaren, Honda …
    Ferrari needs people and hire them – I’m sure that’s the best they can do.
    Let’s see what happens, but have in mind that he’s not a head of aero or similar, it’s a more humble role.

  9. Chema Martin says:

    I believe the gap is still too large in terms of sheer performance, and while I expect Ferrari to step up after Barcelona, so will other teams.

    Last year it was clear that McLaren was the strongest team in terms of year-long development, making their car even faster than RB at the end of the season. With them being the leading force at the moment, I don’t think Ferrari have it in them today to recover from when they are and get in the lead… Specially if McLaren gets their act together during the race, in pitstops, etc.

    1. Martin says:

      I don’t think it is as simple as you make out. As we have already seen this year, the cars are circuit specific. McLaren got ahead in one lap pace for Suzuka and Korea and then Red Bull was faster in the last three GPs and was clearly faster in race in Brazil – one of its biggest advantages.

      Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren all appear to be able to turn out new parts very quickly relative to the other teams. One of the Autosport writies suggested recently that Red Bull appeared faster at this than McLaren.

      A constant stream of new parts to try on GP Fridays is one part the development race as this is gives additional feedback over just the CFD analysis and wind tunnel. The other part is comming up with development concepts. If you look at the 2007 and 2008 seasons, Ferrari and McLaren basically level pegged each other. In 2009 we had the situation of McLaren getting the front wing fundamentally wrong – directing air inside the front wheels rather than outside them. This meant that the introduction of the double diffuser initially did nothing. A new front wing in Germany basically turned a car that Hamilton qualified second last in the UK into a contender. Add hot weather in Hungary and we had a race winner.

      This wasn’t a standard development case of refining the baseline – it was fixing a major error. From that point the McLaren went well on tracks that benefited KERS and not quite so much on the tracks with fast corners.

      In the last two years exhaust blown diffusers, DRS and F-ducts have been been concepts to understand, and in a way the different teams had different baselines. In 2010 Renault made a big step with its F-duct at Spa. McLaren had the F-duct in its baseline, so it appeared to be out developed by Ferrari. Some of that could have been due to the architecture of the car not being as suitable to exhaust blown diffusers.

      This year there is still the Coanda-effect blown diffusers to understand. McLaren got this better than most teams, so its development baseline is faster, so there is less it can do there. The Mercedes DRS system is the other technology that teams need to consider that is commonly known. It could be that it works well on the Ferrari and not on the McLaren and Red Bull has indicated that it might not bother.

      A lot of it will come down to the Einstein comment on genius being 10% inspiration 90% perspiration. The big teams have the resources to do the 90%, but if no one there has the 10% moment, all the development work can take a lot longer as permutation are tried. Teams can end up in development dead-ends where steps have to be back-tracked to go forward. This happened to Red Bull around Germany and Hungary in 2011.

      Another factor that doesn’t get mentioned as much recently is that engine performance is largely fixed, and in one lap performance the Ferrari and Mercedes engies were thought to have an advantage over the Renault – particularly so if you are Adrian Newey. Red Bull have shut up about this since Renault has been pouring more money in.

      Your main point that the Ferrari is too slow remains, and the team needs to make a big step. If the team fixes the rear end problems and this is the cause or the majority of the time gap to McLaren then it is basically found the time, just as McLaren did in 2009 with its front wing. Then a much more even development race starts

      Cheers,

      Martin

  10. Andy says:

    I can’t see Ferrari making sufficient improvement to challenge for the title. McLaren, Red Bull, Mercedes etc will also improve.
    In any sport you have to have the belief that you can win.

  11. panagiotis says:

    Lots of time and effort spent on THE upcoming big upgrade, with limited point losses until now, looks very promising for Ferrari. Hope they would make it, if they won’t, well next year. The new recruit makes sense to me. Agathangelou, I guess comes in to a field where Ferrari is well documented as been the least sort, CFD.

  12. DC says:

    What are you people saying with these comments ‘Ferrari hiring HRT and Marussia people?’? Ben Agathangelou is a well known and respected aerodynamicist, one of the best in the sport.

    1. Quattro_T says:

      Could you please elaborate? What makes you think he is “one of the best in the sport”?

      1. Doobs says:

        Ferrari have an opinion

  13. Stickymart says:

    Ferrari may well be able to bring improvements to the second half of the season but will it be enough to take them above Red Bull, Mercedes and Mclaren? Red Bull and Mclaren will be able to match the in-season advances that Ferrari make so they are going to have to make a hug step forwards to remain competitive. I know it’s early days yet but I can’t see Mclaren dropping back, they have started the season with a very good car and can only improve on it. Red Bull aren’t going to sit on their laurels either and will no doubt step up. Interesting times ahead.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      I think many people are missing the point.
      Ferrari isn’t trailing the others by a few tenths and trying to develop their car to be quicker.

      They have a fundamental issue in the design of the car that once addressed will allow them to compete with RBR and Mclaren.
      Once they have removed the problem areas of the car, they will then start to actively chase improvement upgrades.

      There is a huge difference.

      Mclaren, RBR and Mercedes are currently using their resources to improve the speed of their cars. All of which have a good baseline.
      Ferrari has updates which they hope will establish them on that baseline, from where they can improve as normal.

      One recent example of this is Mclaren in 2009.
      Their car in testing was 2 to 3 seconds slower than the leaders.
      It took until mid season for them to get their car re-designed sufficiently that they were competing at the front of the grid.
      Once they had achieved that step, they could work on developments like everyone else.

      So no, nobody is going to sit back and wait for Ferrari, but no-one else has such big issues concerning their cars.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Forgot to add, I have just been reading about Fry on Wikipedia.
        He had been Hakkinen’s engineer in 1995 and returned to the team in 1996 despite rumours linking him at Ferrari. (The Brawn Era)
        He was also responsible for the MP4/20 (under Newey) the MP4/22 (2007) and the MP4/24, the 2009 car which was so disappointing in winter testing and took half the season to correct.

        To all Ferrari fans, maybe he does have the required knowledge to progress the team.
        Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s what you learn from them which defines you.

      2. Martin says:

        Hi,

        Thanks for your answer. I find the emotional side of F1 fans interesting, particularly the non-nationalistic support (I have a strong engineering interest too). My current picture of you is a Brit with Italian parents, and that is useful in considering your comments in general.

        I started following F1 just before my 8th birthday too – an older cousin visiting from xmas had bought a car magazine. The cover was standard Australian Ford vs Holden, but it also had the last two races of the 1984 season in it. So what I read was that Prost won more races than Lauda but lost the title, following a similar situation with Piquet in 83. A few months later I worked out that he was a contender in 81 and 82 as well.

        My understanding of F1 was all through the words of Jeff Hutchinson and Nigel Roebuck, both of whom clearly admired Prost’s racecraft. Senna was highly regarded for his speed in qualifying, but not so much in the race. I feel that drivers were almost given credit for loathing tracks like Detroit and Phoenix. I was told that Prost was the best, I started following him when he wasn’t winning the championship, so it seemed logical to follow him.

        The first F1 race I saw on TV was 1986 Australian GP and the second Japan 87. Those two races just reinforced the perception I had about him. So for me, the Japanese 88 race was easy to rationalise as Prost having a gearbox problem that meant he couldn’t get away from Capelli.

        The preferential treatment from Lotus and Honda didn’t help my impression of Senna, so it was easy to rationalise all those pole positions to generally having the most powerful car (just pile all the wing on that will be fine for one lap). Also pole didn’t really matter in those days.

        I once worked out that Senna had collisions or crashes in just over a quarter of all his races (a holiday spent trawling magazines). Being an atheist, his religous beliefs hardly gelled with me either.

        So in a way I was brainwashed into being anti-Senna. Most of it was driven by timezones as I wasn’t actually seeing many of those races.

        I find Hamilton’s love of Senna amusing as I and a few friends find him much more like Mansell as a racer.

        To actually tell you something interesting, I just bought Driving on the Edge by Michael Krumm. In it he makes a couple of interesting and positive comments on Alonso. One was his skill in driving the Renault. Krumm notes that while it appeared that the Renault had extreme understeer – all those understeer favouring comments – Alonso was actually compensating for an extreme oversteer on turn-in problem. Krumm also pointed out Alonso’s use of what he called the “ultimate line” in comparison to Schumacher using the “alternative pro technique”.

        These days I tend to follow Ferrari for tenous reasons such as learning to drive in Fiat and the post 89 anti-McLaren bias, but like you, the early 00s were a bit much.

        Cheers,

        Martin

      3. Martin says:

        Hi HWS (spelling it out seems weird)

        I went back and looked at the 1988 Grand Prix annual that Roebuck wrote. He was quite flattering about Senna although he made a few excuses for Prost about not taking as many risk in traffic or in the rain.

        1989 was a bit different in that Honda started playing favourites and gave Prost a less powerful engine at some races as the speed data showed. Signing for Ferrari and the whole FISA did sour the relationship with McLaren, but Prost was invited back to be an advisor in 95. He left to buy out Ligier.

        In Suzuka 89, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Prost caused it. I think he did it in way that guaranteed the wheels interlocking, as opposed to trying to create a situation where Senna nerfed him out of the way. I haven’t seen many of the races, but claim by Prost that Senna made many marginal moves on him where Prost had to take evasive action to avoid two McLarens out to the race doesn’t stack up with my memory.

        I have wondered how Prost would go in the modern era, particularly while refueling was allowed. I suspect the benefits of his style, which helped preserve the car, would have been of limited benefit and he basically wouldn’t have been quick enough to be a star. My sense is that Jenson is closer to the benchmark pace than Prost was.

        My own belief is that the refueling era and the high reliability of recent times has created a new level of driving proficiency. In some ways the cars are easier to drive, with much less torque, semi-automatic gearboxes, notably lower centre-of-gravity, but the cars are so much faster in the corners now, so the physicals loads on the drivers are much greater and the intensity of the racing is much closer to the absolute limit than it was in Senna’s day.

        Qualifying is much more important now and much more competitive and I believe this has raised the standard. In Senna’s era my feeling is that some drivers had an extra level of sensitivity for handling the turbo lag. Now it is a bit different with the shear speed of the cars in some corners meaning that some brains can’t cope – e.g. the comments on Bourdais being “behind the car”. I think Senna would have had to raise his fitness level to be competitive in dry races, but from what I read of his career, I think a drive like Alonso would have out thought him and beaten him on pure race pace.

        Your favourite drivers to watch make a lot of sense as a fan. The “fighters” tend to draw attention to themselves, sometimes not doing intelligent things :-) If you are a team manager they aren’t always the best choice as you can lose as much as you gain. Being the fastest is much more romantic than being the smartest, luckiest or best driver.

        How a driver conducts themselves out of the cockpit then moderates that image. For Senna the complete commitment, probably combined with being a proud, charitable, Brazilian, worked – even if he could win and be miserable. For me, I laugh when James describes Lewis Hamilton as edgy. Jay-Z and the Pussycat dolls are essentially mainstream. That beard he has at the moment is doing him no favours though.

        For many of the drivers I suspect it doesn’t help that they have to be so focussed on racing these days. By nature their education is truncated and they tend to live in a bubble, which is why the older drivers tend to be more intersting as people.

        All best for your racing. Andretti, Franchitti and Di Resta suggest you have a good background. I haven’t gotten beyond commercial go-karts. I think that there are four permanent tracks within 500 km of Canberra, so you are a bit better served in the UK.

        Cheers,

        Martin

      4. Martin says:

        I agree with you, with the caveat that the copier still ends up with a different result to the orignal. In some cases – Williams FW07 – it is better than the original. In other the copier might not quite get there.

        Red Bull have/had a smaller case of Ferrari’s problem with the exhaust relative to the McLaren, and I rarely hear or read Mercedes being mentioned in quite the same space as McLaren or Sauber on exhaust design.

        BTW – do you have a hero now?

        Cheers,

        Martin

      5. hero_was_senna says:

        Hello Martin,
        It sounds probably too easy to say Alonso because he drives for Ferrari, but he is the one I have been watching since 2000 really.

        I have been a Ferrari fan since the 70′s in short trousers! I remember being given a model of the Ferrari 312 T2 on my 8th birthday, and seeing news that evening that Lauda had had his infamous crash. You can do the math!!

        My 1st hero was Villeneuve and attended my 1st British GP in 1982, sadly missing him by a few months. Then in 1983, I witnessed Senna in F3 and just loved his ability and his enigmatic persona.
        I always prayed to see that yellow helmet in a Ferrari and it hurt for years that he drove for the enemy. Yet his skill and determination made me support him completely, even to the point that when he drove Prost off the road at Suzuka 1990, I was on Senna’s side rather than the Ferrari drivers. I met him at Silverstone 1991 and much as I hate to say it, was speechless.

        His death saddened me immensely and yet, everything I have read about the man since his death underlines what Frank Williams said, “He was a greater man in life, than he ever was in a car”

        When Ferrari rebuilt with Schumacher and co, I was eternally grateful that the best driver of his generation decided to be at Ferrari rather than take his winning elsewhere, and between 1996 and 2000 embraced the journey like all fans.
        Since 2001 though, it was, to be honest, completely boring watching Ferrari decimate the competition, and worst of all, Schumacher being given the complete support of the team including the submission of his chosen team-mates.
        Something that Enzo Ferrari would never have allowed, because like Williams in recent decades, the car won, the driver lost.

        I noticed Alonso in the 2000 Spa F3000 race and followed him since then, and more than anybody I have seen since Senna, felt he was the greatest out there.
        Hated him in 2007, and when rumours started that Ferrari were looking to offload Kimi for Alonso, rejoiced at the eventual outcome.

        As of today, he is 10 points behind the championship lead in a car that has no right being anywhere on that page. If Ferrari manage to build him a reasonable car for the remainder of the season, I know the fear that everyone else will be feeling now.

        Sorry for the long drawn out answer, but I get passionate about Ferrari

      6. hero_was_senna says:

        Hi again Martin,
        Great to read your reply. I believe emotion and passion is so important in F1, I become elated, depressed, indifferent and ecstatic all in the course of a race.
        Your assumptions are almost spot on, I moved to the UK when i was 2 years old, with 2 Italian parents. Italian nationality but British citizen I guess.
        I agree with your view upon Hamilton vs Mansell similarities.

        Senna? I’d seen him in F3 in the UK and I don’t believe in auras but you just sensed something very special about this man.

        In 1983, Arnoux drove for Ferrari and had a hatred of Prost, I suppose at such a young age (15) I supported the Ferrari man and hated Prost too.
        In 1984, when the magazines started speaking about this man, Senna, who had finished 2nd at Monaco, I felt like saying to them, “told you so”
        The fact that Prost was part of the establishment preventing this genius from winning made me dislike him a little more.
        I saw an article in 1984, that Senna had been to Maranello. As it turned out, to buy a Ferrari but I so wanted to hear he had signed for us.
        I watched Senna at Brands, Silverstone and Monza in the Lotus years, that black and gold livery just looked stunning, always did.
        The Camel car was hideous and yet he carried it beyond anything Nakajima could do, up to 3 seconds a lap.
        Pre-season 1988, everyone thought Prost would beat Senna, because everyone thought he was the best, yet I knew he was about to get hit by a hurricane.
        Monaco 1988, I remember seeing the qualifying times, and it proved beyond doubt that Senna was on a different level.
        It wasn’t until Gerald Donaldson interviewed him in 1990 that we heard about his spirit being outside the car as he went faster and faster.
        Japan that year, he practically stalled and entered the 1st corner 14th, yet I knew he would beat Prost.
        1989, I just wanted Senna to destroy him even more.

        It’s funny that you mentioned Roebuck, a journalist I always felt was arrogant and very biased in his writing. I hated his opinions and his race reporting.
        In the Senna film, you see him walking with Prost towards the stewards office after their infamous collision, you can imagine how disgusted I felt then.

        Prost as I saw it, drove into Senna deliberately, and whether there was any national politics going on or not, it felt that he and Balestre had created an injustice.

        1990, we had the little frenchman, join Mansell, “Il Leone” and completely destroyed the team.
        Mansell an out and out racer being thwarted by this poisonous little man, well, I was hating Ferrari.

        I met Mansell and Prost that year at Silverstone tests. Mansell was one of the most down to earth people you could meet, with his wife and family there with him.
        Prost, practically looked down his nose at everyone around him. Maybe it was a bad day for him, but it certainly didn’t change my view of him!

        When Senna crashed them out in Suzuka, I felt it was retribution and deserved.
        Don’t get me wrong, a disgraceful bit of driving, but i understood his passion.

        1991, I watched Senna at Becketts in qualifying. Sparks flying from under the car as you literally watched the car being physically kept on the edge of physical law. it was mesmerising. It was also somewhat disturbing seeing his application in the car, you just felt he would give his life for his love.

        1993, Donington, I witnessed the greatest piece of driving I will ever see. From passing my position in 4th on the first lap to come by on the next in the lead…

        1994 the magic died.

        I have raced in Formula Ford before children and mortgages became more important. I understand what passion is truly about and I’m working to get back out there and having some fun once more.
        But I tend to love watching the fighters out there.
        From 84 for eg, I love Senna, Mansell, Alesi, Hamilton, Alonso and in motorbikes, Carl Fogarty and Rossi.
        The Prosts, Piquet, Hakkinen, Hill, Button and Vettel I respect but they don’t appear to me to be fighters, merely fast drivers.

        Before 2000, I’d have places Schumacher in the fighter category, but afterwards, well, he didn’t seem to have it any longer, maybe breaking his leg changed something in him

        Summing up, well, Prost left Renault, Mclaren, Ferrari and Williams with greviances against each team, and they were not in any particular rush to get him back.
        Senna, left Toleman, Lotus and Mclaren, each team desperately sad he had moved on.

  14. Stickymart says:

    *huge step even….*

  15. Andrew Carter says:

    That win in Malaysia will prove very useful, because whatever happens this weekend Alonso will still be in sight of the top of the table. As long as Ferrari can make a big enough improvement for Barcelona, then he could very well be in with a shout of the title again.

    I have to say though, if Mercedes can maintain their form with the tyres from China then I think this will be a very wide open title fight with both McLarens, both Mercs (providing Schumchaer gets some luck) and both Red Bull’s and maybe Alonso adding to the mix.

  16. SP says:

    They key point for Alonso is that he has to make the most of what he’s got now and gather as many points as possible. The upgrade would have to be quick out of the box or else it’ll be too little, too late.

    As for the ex HRT/Marussia employee, if hes good enough to make a difference, I’m sure the funding and tools at his disposal within Ferrari will make a difference :)

    Oh and its a while yet, but one race I’m really looking forward to is the Monaco GP. If the cars are as close there, it’ll be thrilling! Also keen to see how Kimi fairs in the principality. Hes excelled there in the past…. but its been a while since hes had to navigate past armco.

  17. John says:

    No chance winning the titles this year. 2012 its Mclaren vs. RB and the constructors is already in the bag for Mclaren

    1. James Clayton says:

      Pretty early to be ruling out Red Bull and even Lotus, though I agree that Ferarri really don’t look like they’ll be on terms this year.

      McLaren have form when it comes to loosing championships that are ‘already in the bag’!

      1. Jeff says:

        …. or Mercedes for that matter.

        This championship may be wide open with 4 or 5 competing teams until a couple of races from the end.

        I certainly hope so. A close championship is far more exciting than the Red Bull dominated snooze-fest that we were subjected to last year.

    2. Dan says:

      ‘The constructors is already in the bag for McLaren’, yet they’re second in the standings?

  18. Shane Govern says:

    The question is ‘do HRT etc. hire bad mechanics and engineers or is it simply that they dont have the budget to allow said employees to shine’?

    I highly suspect it is the latter. You do not get on to an F1 grid for being an ‘average’ mechanic, you get there because you are at the top of your game.

    If you apply that theory to drivers you certainly have support…where did Alonso come from…Minardi? He’s now a double world champion driving for arguably the most celebrated team in F1 history.

    The key here is you have to start somewhere in all career forms. You dont simply walk in to the best, you have to build and develop your CV before a chance to shine is given!

  19. Paddock F1 says:

    I’m sure Ben Agathangelou has an impeccable CV in order to warrant his hire. In any case, Ferrari fan or not, I think it’s a crying shame to see a team try so hard and get very little in return. Hence I was pleased to see Mercedes get back in the winners circle again after making all those hires. I must say Stefano needs to change his rhetoric because hearing about his calm approach and the need to win is like a broken record – does he ever say anything else?

  20. michael blane says:

    the mugello test ferrari will have two exhausts and sidepod design to evaluate, this is the key too the season

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