Posted on April 19, 2013
Screen Shot 2013-04-19 at 09.08.23

There has been something of a phoney war going on this week with Fernando Alonso mischievously tweeting a photo of himself having dinner with Red Bull’s Mark Webber in Dubai. In the light of the climate of antagonism between Webber and team mate Sebastian Vettel after the team orders debacle in Malaysia, the photo assumed a different significance and that was exacerbated when it was mysteriously taken down.

There is nothing unusual about them having dinner together; they do it regularly. However, both drivers are celebrating 200 Grands Prix and on Thursday and ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, the BBC got Webber and Alonso to sit down together to talk through their shared experiences. Some of the chat was broadcast last night on BBC Radio 5 Live (listen Here) the whole chat will be shown during BBC TV’s Live Spanish Grand Prix coverage. There is some terrific banter, which shows how well the pair get along.

“What are your memories of your first race?” Webber asked.

“It was quite scary,” said Alonso. “I arrived at the first race and I hadn’t had any testing. I jumped in the car and I didn’t know all the buttons on the steering wheel, especially the neutral. I went down the pit lane and went down the gears, down, down looking for neutral, but I couldn’t find it! At the last moment I got it and missed hitting the car in front of me! That was a good start!”

Webber made his debut, also with Minardi, a year later and recalled, “I wasn’t comfortable in the car’ you’d been there, a short arse and so I had my knees on top of the chassis, the elbows in the side.”

“Was it strange making your debut in your home race,” interjected Alonso.

“It is strange yes,” said Webber, referring to the Australian GP 2002, where he finished fifth and scored points on debut. “Fortunately for you, you’ve won your home race. I was speaking to Jenson; he’s never won his home race, I’ve never won mine. I enjoy Melbourne, but I think I used up all my coins in that first race!”

“What was your favourite race?” Alonso asked.


“Probably one of the Monaco wins, the 2010 race, I think,” said Webber. “I was fortunate that you crashed in Practice 3, which helped me a bit, because you were quick, along with Robert (Kubica) and Seb. The win was between us. Yours?”

“Probably Malaysia 2012,” said Alonso. “It was completely unexpected. I started 9th and then the red flag. When you stop for an hour it’s really challenging for the drivers, to see how the grip has changed.”

Webber and Alonso have had some terrific battles over the years, not least their classic scrap at Spa in 2011, where Webber passed Alonso on the outside on the way into the Eau Rouge corner and you can sense the respect and cameraderie between them whenever you see them together, such as in the cool down room or off camera in the Unitateral TV studio after a race,

“We’ve had some really good times on the track (over their 200 races together),” said Webber. “There’s a few guys out there; you, Jenson, the racing can be really hard and fair and looking a bit more at the bigger picture.”

“It’s good to battle with someone you respect and the battle can be fair. I think we met in many starts at the first corner,” said Alonso. “The last three or four years we have been fighting for the first three or four positions.

“Some of the rookies that arrive in F1 with a GP2 mentality, it’s very risky,” said Alonso, possibly reflecting on last year’s Belgian GP start, where he was taken out by Romain Grosjean.

They also spoke about life after F1, Alonso said that he is interested in driving other cars because F1 is so restrictive in terms of testing bans and opportunities to have fun. They agreed that Fridays at Grands Prix do not satisfy them. Although they are compelled to drive in F1 by the challenge of racing at the highest level and competing against the best drivers in the world, they are conscious of there being more to life.

“We enjoy this category (of racing), but there are others and more fun cars to drive, ” said Alonso. There is a lot of pressure and the enjoyable moments are less and less. Sometimes we go in a kart and enjoy more.”

“There is life outside F1.”

You can read between the lines.

As my colleague Gary Anderson observed, in F1 you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

If the Dubai photo was designed to upset Vettel, he refused to take the bait,

“We all need dinner at some point and it’s quite boring to always have it on your own.”

It’s a classic piece of F1 gamesmanship by Alonso and Webber. Vettel accused the Australian of doing nothing to help him in their years as team mates. He knows now, if he had been in any doubt before, that his arch rival Alonso has an ally within his own camp.

* Look out for the full Alonso/Webber chat during BBC TV’s Live Spanish GP weekend.

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Alonso and Webber: After the dinner, the joint 200th GP chat!
126 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: Anne
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 9:30 am 

    Nothing new. Webber and Grosjean have been Alonso´s best firends in the F1 for a long time. Too bad the media just found out now. Webber and Alonso have been friends for 13 years!!! Briatore is Webber´s manager. Keep in mind last year Webber was in talks with Ferrari before he decided to stay in RB. I´m not surprise at all about that picture

    [Reply]

    Wayne Reply:

    I don’t understand how the media have made such a big ‘thing’ about this. How and why would this bother VET? Regardless of his battle with WEB, why would VET care who WEB has dinner with? This assumes that VET is incredibly childish – I don’t buy it.

    [Reply]

    Brian Jeffery Reply:

    Oh Dear, somebody has rattled your cage.

    [Reply]

    Martin Reply:

    It is a standard thing with Wayne to make a reply to the first post so people will read it, regardless of whether he is adding to the original comment or not. He’s probably still agitated by Pirelli…

    RampantHaddock Reply:

    +1 Martin

    Wayne Reply:

    Martin, my post was DIRECTLY related to the OP. It was relevant in every way, but thanks for your less relevant reply.

    Tealeaf Reply:

    The news is to undermine Vettel saying everyone’s friends apart from you, its like Alonso playing mind games with Seb, he’s been doing that for years but it hasn’t worked so far has it? Everything Alonso’s been saying in the past few years to get under Vettel’s skin has backfired and will contiune to just give Seb extra motivation to beat these overrated drivers.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    I am really starting to have massive respect for Vettel.

    To win a championship with support of your team mate is impressive, but not as impresive as winning a championship without support of your team mate.

    But where does winning a championship while your team mate has tried to trip you up rate? I’m thinking to the Brazi 2012, Silverstone 2011, Turkey, “not bad for #2″ comments, this Sepang mess, etc. etc.

    Who has had to overcome such internal additional layer of crap coming within the team from the #2 garage? Senna/Prost perhaps, but Webber isn’t exactly one of those two – you need a WDC to be in that comparison.

    So again, what Champion has had to in history of F1 put up with the BS Vettel has to put up with? What 3X WDC has had his authority and #1 status questioned by his non WDC #2?

    Sebee Reply:

    Hey Wayne, I just want to be clear. You’re very much pro #1 and #2 status, and you support driving for the team. You wished Lewis had #1 status on a number of occasions.

    Seeing as Vettel is a 3XWDC and clearly #1 at RBR, and perhaps because of Webber’s previous behaviour around Vettel and vice versa they issued the order only to avoid a DNF, but really wanted the reverse result with Vettel P1…

    Where do you stand on the fact that Webber refuses to accept his designated #2 role against team wishes? Isn’t that going against the team? He clearly knows he’s #2, he keeps saying it in the media. He knows RBR have him there as a #2. Why doesn’t he do as the team wishes of any #2 drive? If he’s such a team player, first question in his mind should be…what would a team want a #2 to do?

    [Reply]

    Wayne Reply:

    I’ve never, ever said HAM should be number 1 unless he has earned it by opening out a gap in the season. Same for any driver.

    RBR have never, ever designated WEB as a number 2 driver so how can he be disobeying anyone? Indeed RBR have said he is not number 2 on numerous occasions.

    Sebee Reply:

    Wayne,

    Indeed, you didn’t, but you are very supportive of #1/#2. I’m not against it myself by the way. I think it is a way to success, althought not always. And I must admit, I do enjoy those #2s causing a bit of chaos for entertainment value and to put some pressure on the #1s. I also don’t like it when the #2 thing goes too far, as if he’s not an F1 pilot but a floor matt…leaves a bad taste if you know what I mean.

    But back to Webber…I believe you may not be correct. I think Marko has come out saying it regarding consistancy. There is the fact that Vettel is 3XWDC. More imprtantly you need to look to the 2010 season and their lack of desire to back Webber.

    Do you honestly believe Webber thinks he’s equal with Vettel on that team? Sure, RBR have not broken seals on Webbers car, or asked him to give up P1 like Ferrari do of Massa. Let’s not focus on what RBR say or not say. Let’s focus on actions. Plus, Mark knows he’s #2…he’s said as much. So why create actions that create such internal turbulance? As if to get “in the way” for lack of a better choice of words.

    gudien Reply:

    **Sebee**; Couldn’t agree more with the points you make.

    Saw Vettel on an old ‘Top Gear’ program and it’s obvious he’s a smart lad. Best of luck to him.

    Wayne Reply:

    You’re right, Sebee, WEB does not think he is equal in that team. That’s the reality of the situation but as long as Horner does not designate WEB as the number two driver, WEB can’t be accused of disobeying the team’s wishes race by race.

    In the absence of an official designation you can’t expect a F1 driver to take it upon himself to roll over and promote his team mate to number one status.

    The fault in this, one way or another, lies with the team’s weak management. They are either weak because they will not come out and say WEB is number two or they are weak because they cannot control VET – I don’t know which but it’s not WEB or VET’s fault either way in that sense.

    Qiang Reply:

    Grosjean a good friend of Alonso, Really?

    [Reply]

    Anne Reply:

    Yes!!! Both have a very good friendship since 2009 when they were team mates in Ranault.

    [Reply]

    gudien Reply:

    Fernando is a very talented driver for sure, but he is never, never friends with drivers whom challenge him. Ref.: Hamilton when at McLaren, and of course Vettel.

    Once Hammy and Merc get their act together for real expect the fallout to begin between Lewis and Fernando. You read it here first!

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    The media hadn’t “just found out now”, it’s been known for a long time. This article came about because of a dinner and the interview, and to coincide this with the recent happenings between Vettel and Webber, all this makes the whole RBR situation more interesting. That’s the whole point.

    [Reply]

    Anne Reply:

    I don´t understand why this is news. If Webber is having dinner with Kate Middleton I can see that is newsworthy. But Webber having dinner with Alonso it is something Alonso mentioned in his twitter. I don´t think Webber is a Ferrari mole nor I believe RB and Vettel would care. Drivers don´t get points for having dinner.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    The news isn’t about the dinner….

    Anne Reply:

    You´re right. They were celebrating 200 Grand Prix. But the media decided to make a big deal about a picture. The important thing is their memories and their plans for their future.

    Today Hamilton in his BBC column said a lot of very nice things about Alonso. I must admite it was a suprise for me. That doesn´t mean Hamilton wants to upset other drivers nor I think he is playing mindgames or something

    gudien Reply:

    This photo makes me worry for the homespun values I grew up with!


  2.   2. Posted By: Paddock F1
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 9:34 am 

    James, that is some of the most brilliant, entertaining, creative and original editorial ever Thank you for writing and publishing this.

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: Mat
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 9:37 am 

    Any idea who took the photo ? I notice the table is set with 3 places.

    [Reply]

    f1future Reply:

    The man who took the Foto?

    Perhaps Flavio Briatore.

    [Reply]

    Riccardo Consulini Reply:

    I did. LOL

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    Vettel joined the party, which explains why he wasn’t bothered. All that happened for the past 3-4 years and Malaysia a few weeks ago are just a big setup by RBR for marketing.

    [Reply]

    Tealeaf Reply:

    Why make assumptions that are not true? Vettel is here to win the championship and he will do nothing to do with Redbull’s schemes.

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: James
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 9:42 am 

    Having worked with both I can say they are two of the best and nicest to work with.

    [Reply]

    puffing Reply:

    Very illustrative. Thanks for saying.

    [Reply]

    Carlos Del Valle Reply:

    I wonder what Helmut Marko said about the picture

    [Reply]

    AuraF1 Reply:

    Sebastian does not crumble to the hunger for food like mark. He is more focused and able to handle the pressure of not eating dinner. He may one day succumb to the lure of lunch – as all drivers wish to – but for now he is happy sat at my Death Star with no friends. Ja.

    [Reply]

    AlexD Reply:

    He took it…

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Mr Squiggle
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 9:44 am 

    James, I hope this interview will be made available in Oz.

    Do you see any merit in the idea of Mark moving to McLaren? …you know…If Perez underperforms

    I can’t see him moving to Ferrari to race alongside someone he so evidently likes

    [Reply]

    AuraF1 Reply:

    Mclaren will want a driver in their 20′s as button has the experienced role. So can’t see mark going there. Ferrari will probably promote bianchi if he keeps up at the rear end of the field.

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: f1future
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 9:45 am 

    Mr. Allen wrote:

    “It’s a classic piece of F1 gamesmanship by Alonso and Webber. Vettel accused the Australian of doing nothing to help him in their years as team mates. He knows now, if he had been in any doubt before, that his arch rival Alonso has an ally within his own camp.”

    This observations makes me think that RBR won’t have the same driver pairing next year, unless Mark’s friendship with Mateschitz saves the seat for him. However I rather doubt it, for millions saw Webber’s attitude towards Vettel live on TV at the start of the Brazilian GP when Vettel and RBR were fighting for the DWC against Alonso. I predict that Lotus will have a tough fight on their hands if they want to keep Kimi. As for Webber, I guess Felipe’s seat is in jeopardy.

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: Gul
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 9:46 am 

    Definitely agree, keep your friends close but your enemies closer..Alonso and his mind games…heheheheheh :)

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    Vettel ought to learn a thing or two from Alonso to ant up his game. :)

    [Reply]

    Brad Reply:

    He does’nt need the mindgames like Alonso. Alonso and Hamilton and both played mindgames for the last 2 years, with Vettel still winning the championships

    [Reply]

    TukingFypo Reply:

    Yes. This is true while you have a car that is ONE SECOND FASTER and your team mate (with the same car???) is not allowed to race against you. Under these conditions you don’t need mind games for sure, but now that his main rival (ALO) has a car as good as his, he seem to be in desperate mode. With Ferrari and RBR with almost the same performance level, Alonso will extract that extra 0.3s per lap. Easy.

    KRB Reply:

    I don’t sense any desperation from Vettel. I think they (Vettel/RBR) are just trying to maximize the points they can get any race weekend, and trusting in Newey to eventually find a trick, just like last year, that will unlock serious performance in the car, with which to rattle off a string of good results.

    Maybe when he’s trailing by 40 pts like last year, with no turnaround in sight, then he’ll get desperate. At the moment, he’s top of the pile.

    Skan Reply:

    Exactly what Dr Marko was referring to.

    [Reply]

    gudien Reply:

    Precisely!

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: IP
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 9:51 am 

    Gold… No mention of Flavio being keen to have them both as team mates at Renault back in the day?

    [Reply]

    Honkhonk Reply:

    He wouldn’t have wanted Webber to feel so inadequate so early while Alonso won 2 titles. That said this secret is all tongue in cheek guys… Hoping for Hulkenberg to drive a Ferrari next season.

    [Reply]

    Justin Bieber Reply:

    I dont see that happening. If Massa keeps his current form, he will stay in 2014 for sure.

    Like that say in the US of A: If it aint broke , why fix it?”

    [Reply]

    TukingFypo Reply:

    Really??? What did he do until now??? (I mean, besides getting in the way of ALO). If you were LM you would keep him, right???

    Kay Reply:

    Now imagine: what if Flav take up SD’s seat at Ferrari and bring Webber in.

    Won’t happen though sadly enough. :D

    [Reply]

    Ledio Reply:

    With Flavio Ferrari would be unbeatable.

    [Reply]

    Blowndiffuser Reply:

    Think incidents like Massa’s gearbox penalty in Austin, and much more.

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: Anil
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 9:53 am 

    Just listened to this on the chequered flag podcast and it was fantastic! Great to see a true friendship in the sport and they’ve always shown great respect to each other on the track.

    ‘his arch rival Alonso has an ally within his own camp’….we’re in for an amazing season.

    [Reply]

    John M Reply:

    Totally agree.

    The respect and friendship between them is very clear.

    It’s also really cool to hear them talk about things in an open, honest way, without the company-line type speak that is typicaly given to journalists.

    [Reply]

    Anil Reply:

    Yeah defo! Alonso has a fantastic sense of humour and so does Mark; it’s a shame we can’t see it more!

    [Reply]

    Dragster Reply:

    Fernando, Mark and Jenson. 3 of the best we’ve ever seen.All 3 are my favorites and have had some classic races. Gotta love the old drivers


  10.   10. Posted By: Mobeen Shafaat
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 9:56 am 

    Well if anyone had any doubt about Alonso’s
    “mole” in Red Bull it should have had disappeared after the Brazil GP where the “mole” tried everything to and almost succeeded in making Seb crash.

    Like they say in movies “I smell a RAT!”

    [Reply]

    jonno p Reply:

    Mark Webber helps Vettel by taking points off His Rivals.
    this is for all with short memories.
    Silverstone 2012 webber overtakes Alonso in final laps to take Chequered Flag and 25 points
    Alonso misses out and takes 18 points.Deficit is 7 points
    fast forward. Vettel wins 2012 WDC by how many?
    yes folks 3 points only. Vettel then says mark has never helped the Team? ignorance is Bliss!

    [Reply]

    Dan Reply:

    People will always see what they want to see unfortunatly.. Mark has a good heart and he knows whats best for the team. Dont forget both RB drivers get paid according to their finish possition. A win = a bit over a million dollars so why wouldnt you try your best. Mark is only 20 points behind so im sure he will bounce back. Go Mark! :)

    [Reply]

    Red Rider Reply:

    Thanks for these reminders Jonno P

    [Reply]

    TukingFypo Reply:

    Just perfect!!!!

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: Kate
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 9:56 am 

    Alonso didn’t take the photo down – you just need to click “All” on his Twitter page to see it.

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: Elie
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 9:58 am 

    I wonder if the tab was paid by a Ferrari credit card. :)
    Regardless it’s good to see fierce track rivalry doesn’t mean you can’t have a drink together and clearly the guys have joined F1 around the same time and still ete after 13 years is a feat in itself !
    Same for Vettel Raikkonen- though I can’t imagine what these 2 have in common. Seb likes Kimi cause “he’s an honest straightforward guy” – I wonder if the same can be said about Seb.
    All we need now is a picture on twitter of Seb and the Iceman getting smashed in a bar with several fine ladies around -with a caption reading “that’s how it is done pops “

    [Reply]

    stigous Reply:

    HAHAHA!

    I definitely would love to see Kimi “corrupting” the kid.

    Thanks for the mental image

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: azac21
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 10:21 am 

    Great interview!

    I wish there were more like this beltween all the drivers.

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: Nico
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 10:24 am 

    Mark Webber’s gamesmanship has rung a lot emptier against Vettel than it did against the Pizzonias or Kliens of his career.

    As an Australian it’s a bit disappointing to be honest. We love a good sledge or mind game as much as the next guy, but if you talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk.

    [Reply]

    Lindsay Reply:

    Or perhaps you, like apparently everyone else here, are reading too much into it.

    These two have been friends off the track for years.

    [Reply]

    69bhp Reply:

    agreed. Pizzonia, Klein, Alex Yoong and also Rosberg (in his rookie year) were much easier meat. For some reason Webber’s way has always been to try and unsettle his teammate.

    [Reply]

    AuraF1 Reply:

    Whereas Vettel doesn’t play mind games. He employs helmut to do those for him ;)

    [Reply]

    Wade Parmino Reply:

    What exactly are you implying?

    [Reply]

    Lezza Reply:

    Unfathomable.

    [Reply]

    gudien Reply:

    I don’t see Australian men such as Alan Jones, or Jack Brabham playing at these children’s games.

    As talented as Mark Webber is I don’t see why he bothers playing second fiddle to Alonso in these mind games. Mark should be his own man and take the championship by the scruff of the neck. Now is the time!

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: Paul Watson
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 10:26 am 

    Cannot wait for this as unfortunately missed it last night. Like you say, the politics behind the message are brilliant, although how interesting that they continually refer to Jenson. Great reporting!

    [Reply]

    AuraF1 Reply:

    Jenson is part of that little gang of experienced 30-something drivers who are quite respectful of each other. I remember in 2009 mark and Fernando both defended Jenson winning the WDC against others, saying he was the rightful champion. I think alonso could have almost handled losing to webber in 2010. I don’t think any of these 3 really rate Sebastian.

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: goferet
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 10:51 am 

    Uh, boys will be boys!!!

    Cool friendship between Alonso and Webber, this reminds me of the kind of friendship that exists between classmates that enroll into school at roughly the same time. So yes, I can see these two doing some more racing together in another motorsport series >>> probably as teammates too.

    Concerning the Dubai photo, one can only imagine Webber has been pouring his heart out to Alonso in relation to the recent dealings at Red Bull and hence why it got deleted.

    But Vettel shouldn’t worry too much about this partnership for whenever you’re universally loved in F1/sport that’s when you will know you’re aren’t a threat to any one.

    As for the statement by Alonso that there’s life outside of F1 >>> I believe this is just a case of Alonso not knowing what he has got till it is gone.

    Maybe he should have a word with Schumi or Kimi or Heikki or Jacques etc

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: Mike84
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 10:57 am 

    Who would win an arm wrestle there, I think the guy on the left.

    [Reply]


  18.   18. Posted By: kame
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 11:22 am 

    James,
    really nice piece about friendship in F1. This has brought a question to my mind and I don’t know if it would be possible, to read an article about friendship in F1.

    We know that Vettel and Raikkonen are good friends, and also that Sutil is not a very good friend of Hamilton after China. However we all read support from some drivers to Glock after announcing that he wouldn’t continue and also a picture of a dinner with all the pilots in Abu Dhabi (I think).

    I know that some people would get along better than other, and also that all of them think first of themselves when they are on the track, but as Kimi said (not an actual quote), it’s different once you are outside of the car.

    Thanks!

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: JohnBt
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 11:37 am 

    Yeah most of us know Webber and Alonso been pals for a long time. Very pleasant picture, one of true friendship.

    Was Vettel late?

    [Reply]

    Martin Reply:

    Seb was out in front all by himself…

    [Reply]

    Bones Reply:

    Vettel was taking the picture.

    [Reply]

    buttox Reply:

    vettel agreed to take the picture, but after taking it, he changed his mind and scarpered with the camera!

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: CarlH
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 12:02 pm 

    So Alonso and Webber are friends for years and because they decide to have dinner together it’s gamesmanship aimed at Vettel?

    Sorry, not buying it.

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: Clemo
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 12:12 pm 

    First time I’ve listened to the podcast, and it won’t be the last, excellent listening. Recommend clicking on that link above.
    The webber/alonso piece was superb, great to hear the drivers sounding more relaxed and a bit less ‘ PR speak ish ‘ than we normally get. Be great to have more of these.

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: Random 79
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 12:26 pm 

    “I wasn’t comfortable in the car’ you’d been there, a short arse and so I had my knees on top of the chassis, the elbows in the side.”

    Politics aside, as I frequently jump in a car after a number of different drivers I can relate to this :)

    [Reply]


  23.   23. Posted By: Glennb
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 12:49 pm 

    I don’t see what the big deal is really. 2 guys that have known each other for many years have a feed together.
    What I do find funny is Webber saying (last year?) when asked about his relationship with Fernando. He responded something like “it’s not we’ve ever had a meal together or anything” :)
    I get the Jenson references too. He’s as close to cool as these guys, he’s done a zillion GP’s and he’s a pretty decent bloke. BTW, Jenson took the photo ;)

    [Reply]

    Alex W Reply:

    Correct, he did say that!

    [Reply]


  24.   24. Posted By: Kay
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 12:55 pm 

    “It’s a classic piece of F1 gamesmanship by Alonso and Webber. Vettel accused the Australian of doing nothing to help him in their years as team mates. He knows now, if he had been in any doubt before, that his arch rival Alonso has an ally within his own camp.”

    Vettel is smart, but not smart enough to keep his teammate on his side. Yes, he can win races on his own, but with a person from the same camp helping another driver, it’ll do more harm to him than necessary.

    This year definitely will have a few races where Webber shoves Vettel aside and make way for Alonso. If this is to be his last year in F1 then there’s less for him to concern about in doing so.

    [Reply]

    TukingFypo Reply:

    As the previous race showed, RBR will not allow WEB to do that.

    [Reply]


  25.   25. Posted By: trullili
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 1:00 pm 

    I dont believe anybody at Red Bull would care if Alonso and Webber would share a room together. That the so called “sport journalists” have to tell Vettel of this dinner, no doubt arranged by Briatore, to get a response is all you need to know. If sites like yours wouldnt make a mountain out of a molehill this would be a complete nonevent. In fact it is !

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    If you noticed, I didn’t report the dinner at the time, didn’t make a mountain out of a molehill

    This is a factual report with extensive quotes on a very interesting conversation between them. Somewhat different, no?

    [Reply]

    Red Rider Reply:

    Yes James. It’s fun. A nice change of pace.

    [Reply]

    G Reply:

    This is an interesting article with a human angle to it. It will be read by many and enjoyed. In case you hadnt noticed – this is a forum for people who are passionate about F1. I for one am very interested to read about drivers’ interests and friendships.

    Jopurnalists will always try to get an interesting angle on every story. If the facts were reported as simply facts then this forum wouldnt exist and you wouldn’t have been able to comment….

    [Reply]

    Anil Reply:

    The article is about the interview they did, which is part of this weeks chequered flag podcast.

    I’ve followed this site since the beginning and James never makes a mountain out of a molehill. It’s the reason why he’s the only journo worth following!

    [Reply]


  26.   26. Posted By: OscarF1
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 1:29 pm 

    I don’t quite understand this article.

    It initially seems intended to “blame” Alonso and/or Webber for misbehaviour in posting the picture (still posted) and their race attitude towards each other and, later on, it explains the reasons for such dinner, their mutual respect and hints occasions in which they’ve raced like badasses.

    I guess it would have been more effective, in terms of mind games, if the picture was “leaked”, instead of openly posted and commented.

    Oh, I’d like to remark Vettel’s response to the picture: “Were they naked?”
    (That can be consider either mischief or a rather peculiar personal etiquette while dinning with friends)

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    How about that it’s not seeking to blame anyone for anything, but is merely and objective story, dealing with gamesmanship and subtle messages, have you considered that?

    [Reply]

    Dai Dactic Reply:

    C,mon, James –

    ‘Dinner party’ + ‘Photo Tweet’ = ‘Objective’ – events did happen.
    ‘Gamesmanship’, ‘Subtle Messages’ = ‘Subjective’ – journalistic license.

    Most entertaining! Keep up the good work!

    [Reply]

    OscarF1 Reply:

    James,

    I appreciate the article in its full extension as it develops the full story and I always try to consider different intentions in the current or any other situations.

    Unfortunately, the first and last lines don’t seem objective to me:

    “There has been something of a phoney war going on this week with Fernando Alonso mischievously tweeting a photo…”

    “He (Vettel) knows now (…) that his arch rival Alonso has an ally within his own camp.”

    Oh, as written before, the pic is still available at Alonso’s twitter, though Webber’s “re-tweet” of it is no longer.

    [Reply]

    Red Rider Reply:

    To Vettel’s remark concerning nakedness. I think it means if they’re naked there’s a story, otherwise who cares. Vettel playing the game too.

    [Reply]


  27.   27. Posted By: Val from montreal
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 2:11 pm 

    To the Maitre D’ Hotel from Alonso and Webber at arrival :

    Alonso : Hello … Reservation for Alonso and Webber …

    Maitre D : oh yes , Mr Alonso and Mr Webber , thank you for your visit in our fine establishment …You will enjoy a great dinner … May I seat you to your table now ?

    Webber : Yes please , were pretty hungry !

    Maitre D : Ok follow me .. Your table is waiting for you bear the bar ….

    Alonso : The bar ? We reserved our table on the terrasse … What’s going on ?

    Maitre D : Well we had unexpected guests who just arrived last minute … And obviously we could’nt turned rhem
    down … Our seats are limited …

    Webber : Who are the people that took our table ?

    Maitre D : Mr Michael Schumacher and Mr Vettel …

    Alonso : We want our table now !!

    Maitre D : Were sorry but the 7 time world champion and triple world champion have got the priority … However , Champagne is on us !!

    [Reply]

    Gazza Reply:

    It must be the way you tell ‘em.!

    [Reply]

    Oly Reply:

    Alonso: oh, but how is that? It was me who ended the domination of one of them and I’ll take care of the other one soon – you know, unlike me, they are really not so good without the really really dominant car.. ;-)

    [Reply]

    Sid Reply:

    Nice one!

    [Reply]


  28.   28. Posted By: Ravi
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 2:33 pm 

    Mind games -if they are here- are played by the mentally weak and never work ! Webber has been at this all his career, well.

    Lets be honest here, a mind game might be the difference between winning and losing for two top drivers – Webber here is neither a match for Alonso or Vettel.

    A Schumacher mind-game against say a Damon Hill/Hakkinen is on a completely different plane compared to Webber…

    [Reply]


  29.   29. Posted By: Ravi
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 2:38 pm 

    As for knowing who has goal posts in who’s mind – we don’t need look any further to Webber cracking within seconds in the last GP when Vettel came up behind him…

    So, when your driving has to do the talking Webber is far from walking the talk

    [Reply]


  30.   30. Posted By: Red Rider
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 2:52 pm 

    Are we having a merry time counting the number of angels on the head of a pin?

    Still, no harm done. Lots of fun.

    [Reply]


  31.   31. Posted By: Oz Geezza
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 3:01 pm 

    Love Alonso because he is a true pro.
    Love Mark W,more, he is a true blue and
    my mate.
    And I thank you Mr Allan for puting picture
    and the chat between two friends having a
    dinner on your site, simply memorable.
    It shows why your site is the best in the
    business by displying the lighter side of a
    bear pit.
    Thank you again and keep it up.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Thanks

    To be clear the quotes are not from the dinner they are from the chat organised by the BBC

    [Reply]


  32.   32. Posted By: David Ryan
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 3:23 pm 

    Interesting comments from them both about life outside F1 – I did wonder whether either driver would move into other categories such as sportscars or the DTM/WTCC after they finish with F1, and while Webber looked more likely out of the two (perhaps soon if the Porsche rumours are accurate…) I wasn’t sure about Alonso. Also interesting that they talked about the enjoyment from F1 becoming less and less – perhaps Alonso’s comments about finishing his career with Ferrari were a hint that 2016 might be his last season if this trend continues. Reading between the lines to a huge degree, admittedly, but it makes me wonder at least. Especially with the WEC making its mark nowadays.

    [Reply]


  33.   33. Posted By: Sergio
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 3:50 pm 

    It’s missing 3rd chair for Robert Kubica. Along Webber, a best Alonso’s friend too.

    [Reply]


  34.   34. Posted By: GarryT
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 3:51 pm 

    [mod]
    If Mark Webber is so bad as you lot are trying to make out how did he ever manage to make 200 F1 races.

    You don’t get to race this many years without some talent.I don’t exactly see him having a rich family to pay for his drive.

    [Reply]

    Bob Reply:

    Barrichello anyone?

    [Reply]

    JB Reply:

    I think he managed to connect with the right people i.e. Flavio Briatore and was been able to step into F1. Then if you’re good enough, you’ll survive there.

    Now, Webber is an experienced driver, he has valuable knowledge of how different teams work and more capable of aiding in car development. RB will be wise not to upset him as he could giveaway RB secrets to opponents.

    [Reply]


  35.   35. Posted By: holly
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 4:08 pm 

    Great document James, congrats. Only one thing, the pic or the tweet was never taken down.

    [Reply]


  36.   36. Posted By: Chromatic
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 5:53 pm 

    “After the Dinner, the Joint”….

    Ah if only the headline had stopped there. Would have made some of our fellow readers here nostalgic for the 1960s

    [Reply]

    Alex W Reply:

    Kimi likely still partakes, on a remote Finnish holiday island in the wintertime…..

    [Reply]


  37.   37. Posted By: Calvin
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 7:57 pm 

    I see it as more than who’s eating with who, but about the characters of these drivers. Vettel while a great driver does not care nor shown to have any interest in building relationships with his peers. This helps justify his ambitions and ruthlessness and in my opinion makes him less of a complete sportsman than others. The fact that Webber and Alonso have been known to be good friends for years tells me a top tier driver like Alonso/Webber can be both inspiring on(skills) and off(relational) the track. To be the best you do not need to in paranoid and hostile with your peers, on or off the track.

    [Reply]

    Cabby Reply:

    No, Vettel has friends, too, e.g. Kimi Raikkonen. There was a great interview with both of them on German TV. Kimi was actually talking on his own free will, revealing whether he was the black or brown Gorrila on a party snapshot, a question which was bothering some people in the paddock for quite some time, apparently.

    He also gets/got on well with the other German drivers, especially Timo Glock who is from the same region.

    [Reply]

    JB Reply:

    wow! Where did that come from? Do you actually know this for a fact?

    [Reply]


  38.   38. Posted By: Peter
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 8:25 pm 

    Two friend having a dinner is not a big thing. However, this to got published tells me that Webber knows he is out of RB at the end of the year anyway.

    [Reply]


  39.   39. Posted By: Cabby
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 9:18 pm 

    I guess it is pretty normal to have friends in the industry you are working in, and they do not tend to be the people that are competing for the same position in a company.

    Sometimes even this happens, but then this friendship goes a long way back, or there is no direct competition because one person is the “planned” successor of the other, e. g. a Schumacher / Massa situation compared to Schumacher / Barichello.

    Apart from that, this picture actually weakens Webber, giving fresh fuel to all those who want to believe that, may the situation arise, he is more likely to help Alsonso than his own teammate and, therefore, in the end, his own team.

    An own goal for both, if you ask me, that is probably why it has been removed.

    [Reply]


  40.   40. Posted By: mhilgtx
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 9:32 pm 

    We learned a few things:

    When Webber jumped into his car seat after Alonso he forgot to punch the number 2 button for the comfort settings. If head the seat would have pushed back, lowered a bit, the pedals retretreated to the nose, the mirrors adjusted, climate control moved to 71 degrees (f), and the radio would have been changed to the pre-set “team orders” 103.3 FM where we promise you won’t have to race your teammate like a man.

    2: Seb shot back and most have missed with his “eat alone all the time” quip. I guess he wishes Mark happiness.

    Seriously I don’t see this as a problem at all. There is nothing here that even I didn’t know.

    James, listened to the clip yesterday and it was awesome. Thanks

    [Reply]


  41.   41. Posted By: dufus
        Date: April 19th, 2013 @ 9:41 pm 

    Webber is also close to Button.
    They also have a great relationship.
    They dont all have to hate each other to race hard.

    [Reply]


  42.   42. Posted By: IP
        Date: April 20th, 2013 @ 12:15 am 

    James, how long till Webber stops seeing development parts and so on, especially plans for next years car? Assuming he’s possibly on the outer and red bull won’t want him taking their secrets to another team?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I’d be surprised if that happens with a WCC to win. If he’s going to a rival team next year they might keep him in the dark, but they will always want the car to be as fat as possible because points mean prizemoney

    [Reply]


  43.   43. Posted By: Bullish
        Date: April 20th, 2013 @ 1:02 am 

    Still think that Webber should have gone to Ferrari. New challenge, friendly teammate and a car more suited to driving style.

    [Reply]


  44.   44. Posted By: AlexD
        Date: April 20th, 2013 @ 6:10 am 

    Alonso doesn’t need to play mind games with Vettel and he did it because he never had a car advantage, he had to find something else. I am absolutely certain that if ferrari will be on par with red bull in qualifying and races, Alonso will take the title and not vettel and hewill not need any help. He just needs a car.

    [Reply]


  45.   45. Posted By: Wild Man
        Date: April 20th, 2013 @ 6:44 am 

    I was wondering how they are both celebrating 200 starts when Webber started a year later.

    Anyway, Alonso spent a year as test driver at Renault in 2002. He then replaced Button in 2003. That is how he missed a year.

    [Reply]


  46.   46. Posted By: JB
        Date: April 20th, 2013 @ 1:59 pm 

    Alonso is drumming up allies with Webber and Hamilton. All these efforts to rattle Vettel’s crown. ha ha…

    Judging from the quali and practice session in Bahrain. I think Alonso has got the gear to win his first WDC for Ferrari.

    That said, Vettel should never be ruled out. He is not only the pole king but also the comeback king! The 2010 and 2012 season both went down to the wire and he was triumphant in both occasions. Vettel 2; Alonso 0.

    [Reply]


  47.   47. Posted By: Simon
        Date: April 21st, 2013 @ 9:33 am 

    How about Webber at Lotus next year, not Ferrari, and Kimi to Red Bull?

    [Reply]

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