Schumacher “was involved in decision” to hire Alonso
McLaren
Schumacher “was involved in decision” to hire Alonso
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 Oct 2009   |  7:45 am GMT  |  72 comments

Michael Schumacher has posted a short quote on his website saying that Ferrari’s move to hire Fernando Alonso has his full backing and, what’s more, he was in on it from the start.

Photo: Ferrari

Photo: Ferrari


“Fernando with Ferrari, that’s something I like a lot. I was involved from the very beginning in this decision, and I always liked the idea. I am sure Fernando will feel well with us, and I can only say: Welcome, Fernando!”

Much has been made of the apparent strain in relations between the two following their intense battle for the 2006 world championship. Alonso was very angry with Schumacher after the seven times champion blocked the track in qualifying in Monaco that year, preventing him and others from beating his provisional pole time.

But Alonso admired Schumacher’s ability to get a team behind him and is the natural heir to Schumacher in more ways than Kimi Raikkonen.

I remember back towards the end of 2002 that Schumacher had his eye on Alonso, who was then only a test driver for Renault. Asked whether he felt Raikkonen or Juan Pablo Montoya was the driver most likely to challenge him for his crown he said that it was neither; Alonso was the next great driver.

It’s never an easy relationship between a benchmark driver of one era and the young up and coming guy who pushes him off his perch. The older one is raging against the dying of the light, the younger one smells blood.

When Schumacher came into F1, Ayrton Senna was the big beast and Schumacher made a point of getting right up his nose, with the result that Senna took a swing at him during a test session in Hockenheim.

Can you imagine a scenario in which a retired Senna, had he survived, in the capacity of ‘team consultant’ might have mentored Schumacher? Neither can I. Yet that is what Ferrari will have next season with Schumacher hovering in the background as Alonso gets down to work.

Kimi Raikkonen kept himself to himself and let Schumacher deal with Felipe Massa and the engineers. How will Alonso play it?

We have time to ponder such matters as it is pouring with rain here in Suzuka and the cars are not bothering to go out on track.

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1

Alonso himself said he would be glad to learn from Schumacher which is already a different attitude than Räikkönen’s:

“Q- Life changes a lot. You were Michael’s rival before and now he will be your counselor

A- I think its great new having Michael on the team so I can watch him and learn from him. By career, he is the best pilot in F1 history, and I think its a great example to keep growing in my career and improving as a Ferrari Pilot”

People believe great drivers would never admit they might learn something from somebody, but I think great drivers DO learn whenever they can from whoever they can. Schumacher said the day you shink you have nothing left to learn is the start of your decline. So if Alonso sees something he can learn from Schumacher he will gladly take the advice IMO, unlike Kimi.

Yes, Alonso will be mostly his own man, but as strange as it might sound I think the relationship between him and Michael will be better than the relationship between Kimi and Michael. They are closer in personality and Alonso is a more open and chatty guy than Kimi was.

2
Mark A. Stephens

Schuey was involved and will continue to be so. I think it’s great and I am looking forward to the WDC’s and WCC’s that will follow because of this decision… I am all for Nando @ Ferrari!!

As for Schuey not letting Kimi play ball, give me a break, Ferrari has bent over backwards to accomodate Kimi, but Kimi is not into the family business thing at all, likes to do his own thing and is very independent and that’s fine, it’s just who he is. I will miss Kimi in the red car, but half of this was his decision and one that he wanted as well.

3
Mark A. Stephens

As for the Tifosi taking a long time to support Nando, get real, most of us already do and welcomed this change..

4

He is quite popular in Italy already. He is a fluent Italian speaker, as is Massa. First time the team has had two board for a long time

5
Paige Michael-Shetley

I can’t see a shred of truth in Schumacher’s remarks. We all know that he is close to Massa and has supported him for long time. Does anything think he’s going to turn his back on him to support Alonso?

6

I doubt whether Alonso’s dream to finish his career in Ferrari will really be true. No one expected Kimi to be looking for a team when he had a contract beyond 2010. So I think it will get extended only how he performs every year and whether the external factors really suit him to continue in Ferrari or not. But one thing I am sure, he would definitely need lot time to get the support from all Ferrari fans because of his comments on the team and especially on Schumi.

7

Sorry I meant beyond 2009

8

The thing is, Schumacher has never forgiven Kimi for having preferred to relieve himself on ze bog rather than attend his parting ceremony. I’m not sure I would either if I were a seven time WDC, although I think I could surely appreciate the cheek of the man.

9
Mike from Medellin, Colombia

I think that this is Michael showing that he is still the Daddy.

MS is big enough and confident enough to work with Alonso.

10

Unfortunately, all the good people at Ferrari like Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne, as well as Jean Todt who gave them political clout, have now gone and the team is about to descend into the politics that has blighted its history. Throw in the Schumacher/Massa half of the team and you have quite a cocktail.

I can understand why Raikkonen wanted nothing to do with Schumacher and it will be interesting to see the effect his constant hanging around will have on Alonso.

11

Yes, but time heals all wounds. I forget if it was before or after a race but Prost, who was retired, was doing commentary on some TV network when Senna said something like “Alain my fiend I miss you on the track” or sometging to that effect. So if these two can reconcile I don’t see a big problem between Nando and Michael.

12

So it seems that all the sabotaging and lobbying rumors about Schumacher against Kimi may have had some truth in them?

13

I am slightly confused here. There seems to be an implication that the main reason Raikkonen failed at Ferrari post-Malaysia 2008 is because Schumacher and Domeniciali ‘favored’ Massa by providing him with tutelage and extra support. This allegation is similar to the allegations Alonso made against McLaren in 2007.

My question is simple: why would Ferrari favour Massa when they had a much more talented and better driver in Raikkonen amongst their ranks?

14

This comes down to this Kimi was doing just fine when Jean Todt was in charge, Kimi won the world championship in his first year,Schumacher never did this,So when Fernando

Alonso relationship ended with Mclaren in 2007

2008 he started to talk with Ferrari, Then all

of a sudden Jean Todt is forced out, And Kimi

car went down hill Felipe car took off. The boss man at Ferrari took Santander money, And

Kimi is now forced out by Santander money, Do

not let Spain or Santander money run F1. Good

luck Ferrari you truely deserve each other.

15

@Kimi won the world championship in his first year,Schumacher never did this…

I must say that this is one of the lamest arguments I have ever seen. I am no fan of MSc, but I do not know how can you compare the machine Ferrari had in 1996 and in 2007 . In 1996 was a serious upper midfield team. In 2007, Ferrari had the fastest car on the grid although a little fragile. I do not think Schumacher doesn’t need to be insecure of a driver like Kimi for nothing.

16

Whilst the achievements of Schumacher speak for themselves I find his continued presence increasingly awkward – it’s like he’s there because he’s trying to keep out of the way of the wife and he’s got nothing better to do.

I think he should sit down with Luca and Setefano and define a specific role in the team and take on some specifc responsibility/accountability – be that Development Director or PR or anything he likes. The generic ‘Consultant’ job title doesn’t mean anything to anyone.

Alternatively, he should simply take a sabbatical and step away – do business, do charity, anything productive – until he can come back to the Scuderia as the next Team Principal (as has been alluded to already).

He needs to avoid being seen as a garage hanger-on. Whilst Ferrari love him and will no doubt keep a role open for life the current set-up is confusing and needs better definition. High-lighted by the dawning of this next chapter in ferrari racing focused on Alonso.

17

I think Michael and Ferrari are both quite definite about his role. Consultant is a well used term for retired people but the role is usually well defined. The fact you don’t know what it is, probably doesn’t matter to Ferrari.

18

Its actually quite funny because if you look at his picture on his website, you can see his expression as if he just had something very disgusting and probably thinking “Ohh man I can’t believe I am saying this, I feel like throwing off.”

As for old man’s sunset vs young gun, I don’t think it was the case. Schumi set more fastest laps then Alonso and demonstrated he still got a few years in him.

Surely Alonso won fair and square just like Mikka did, but in my humble opinion, Schumi knows that Alonso isn’t as tough as Mikka to beat.

What strained their relationship is that Alonso said certain disrespectful things such as “Who is Schumacher?” and Schumi probably wasn’t impressed by that.

19

I know! I wanted to use that pic but it’s too complicated. But the pic does say something different from the words!

20

Looks like something along the lines of “sheeeeeeeet” haha..

21

I do not think Alonso needs Schumacher’s advice on the race-craft; they both drive quite differently anyways. But Schumacher can be a great advisor on how to build a team behind a lead driver and how to win races as a team of 500+ people. Nobody in the pitlane has done it more efficiently than him. If Alonso picks up those qualities from Schumacher inside and outside of the garage, he will be the next big thing at Ferrari for the next few years.

22

Its actually quite funny because if you look at his picture on his website, you can see his expression as if he just had something very disgusting.

And he must be probably thinking “Ohh man I can’t believe I am saying this, I feel like throwing off.”

As for the old man vs young charger, I don’t think, it was the case although it appears to be.

If Alonso was born earlier and that battle happened in 2000, Alonso would have won the title. On contrary, if Michael continues, he would have beaten Alonso. Michael set more fastest laps than Alonso did in 2006.

But I do think he didn’t like the way Alonso conducted while they were fighting.

I remember that when Alonso was asked if he was worried that Schumacher was trying to overtake him. And he replied with a smile “Not so much”. I don’t know how to explain but his body language was like “That’s easy peasy”, which is disrespectful.

And he said things like “Who is Schumacher?” These are one of the few things that strained their relationship.

23

Ferrari contradict themselves. They state that both drivers will get equal status in the team, like Kimi and Massa did, and they also say that they got rid of Kimi for Alonso because they want someone with charisma who can lead the team.

So, which one is it? They are hardly going to elbow Massa to one side, given their claims to be a ‘familia’ but if they chose Alonso to lead the team then Massa will have to follow.

No wonder Massa’s so angry about Singapore 2008. He knows that was his last chance to win a WDC with Ferrari. Now he will be Piquet Jr #2 for Alonso and he knows it.

24

It’s great to see two magnificent drivers such as Schumacher and Alonso come together to work for Ferrari’s future.

I’ve watched Alonso’s career over the years and he is the most consistently brilliant driver out there in the field today, he always drives brilliantly and he has commands great confidence and presence which show his qualities as a driver being able to lead his team into championships.

Seeing how he threw that Renault around the track at Singapore and how he gets the absolute maximum out of the R29 just shows exactly why Ferrari wants Alonso, he will always put them in the best position possible with unmatched consistency.

Alonso to me has been the most exciting thing to happen in F1 this decade, and I am really hoping his story will continue at Ferrari with great success.

25

Well Gentlemen, methinks we have just uncovered the alias Mr di Montezemolo is using on this site …

26

As I posted the other day before this thread was here, I wonder how Schumacher and Alonso will get on in the team. I can’t help thinking there may be fireworks mid next year.

27

Great post as ususal, James!

How do you think the relation gonna be between Alonso and Schumacher?

Spanish press said Alonso doesnt want Schumi in his box. Looks like something that could be true. He wants to do things in his way but at the same time seems to me he´s too smart to reject so valuable knowledge from the german.

I dont think gonna be drama there(Alonso maybe will be distant with Schumi but he´ll avoid an open fight) but with such a strong characters you never know…

28

If Alonso is smart he’ll take all the help he can get. It worked for Massa.

Schumacher isn’t about to get in the car anytime soon, so Alonso should take what he can from Michael, just as Michael took from everyone he could when was in the car.

There’s nothing wrong with getting help. It’s a willingness to accept input from talented people to better himself that differentiated Michael from his peers and helped establish the benchmark for modern professional drivers.

29

I like it!! #:) Micheal obviously being positive about Freds signing, but the truth is Luca is the 1 who makes the real decisions at the end of the day, and theres no doubt he has wanted Fred since 05, but didnt make a move until it was too late and McIdiots poached him first!!! #:) Cant wait for 2010 now!!! #;)

30

How petulant can ya get? I’m no Mclaren fan either, but honestly, this is one good site for real discussions. Let’s please keep it that way. These kinds of posts are fit on the Beeb 606.

31

I remember when Alonso was asked about Schumacher’s conduct in comparison to Zidane’s red card from the World Cup, he said “Zidane retired after a glorious career, whereas Michael is the most unsporting driver in the history of F1”. Ouch.

Nah, they did respect each other heaps.

32

Schumacher never took Alonso’s comments in 2006 to his heart. He is wiser than that, he knew they were made in the heat of the moment by a young hot-head. He actually even defended Alonso in an interview he gave to the Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung at the end of 2006 saying how that reminded him of himself in 1994…

I don’t think that Alonso disliked Schumacher either. It was just a competitive thing, when you are in a battle with somebody you have to “hate” him but when the dust settles after the fight, everything goes back to normal. In fact, I think Alonso always admired Schumacher and closely examined his methods and set him as an example for himself. I remember a charity football macth in 2002 (when Alonso was a test driver) and although they were in the same team, after the match Alonso went up to Schumacher to exchange shirts with him. That was very telling.

Also when Schumacher got the Prince of Asturias award in Spain Alonso was present at his ceremony. They seem to get along fine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U4BPDHPOzw

33

LOL very true. Alonso disliked Michael… lets see if time has mellowed him out.

34

James do you think this is one of Schumachers way of playing mind games with Alonso by telling him who is Ferrari golden boy??

35

No, he’s not driving the car, his chance to ‘add value’ is diminished compared to the driver

36

I highly doubt that Alonso will welcome Schumacher’s mentoring any more than Raikkonen did. Alonso, just as Raikkonen did, is going to Ferrari to make his own mark there. Schumacher is delusional if he thinks that he will get another Massa like apprentice of Alonso. It didn’t happen with Raikkonen and it most certainly won’t happen with Alonso.

37

James I’m Michaels biggest fan but surely his presence will be an annoyance to Fernando. Alonso will want to build his own legacy at Ferrari and I can’t see him taking advice from Schumi.

Is Michael in line to be Team Principle at Ferrari?

38

They will both see the bigger picture. They aren’t competing..

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