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Schumacher “was involved in decision” to hire Alonso
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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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this totally shows neither schu never liked kimi

schu favoured favoured massa and through his connections in the team got him preferential treatment.

anyway i feel its got kimi is leaving a team that really never supported him. if jt was around things would have been different.

i hope he stays in f1 and moves to mclaren and unleashes the real iceman!


I'm agree with u. I think,kimi move to other team than stay in the team won't support him. I hope kimi keep on racing in f1 although in other team that really2 support him,so he can show up to ferrari that he can win without them. Luv u kimiB-)


Enough of the Alonso *sslicking already....?


These comments by Schumi are bland PR nonsense that he has agreed to put up with for the benefit of the Scuderia: I can't see him involved in any of the developments that led to the move of Alonso to Ferrari.

Furthermore, we need little further proof that Schumi and Fernando generally have a little less respect for other drivers' achievements than they do for their own (not that there's anything wrong with that, this is F1 after all...)


I think thats the reason why Alonso wants to bring all his own engineers. Hopefully as they have no ties to Schuey they will work and consult with him.


He doesn't and he won't. That story, which emanated from Spain, is incorrect.


James, he will.... probably not 22 as Schumacher did with Benetton, but he will.

Both the Scuderia and Fernando answered "No" to that question based on PR interests: Fernando doesn`t want any enemies inside the team before he arrives and will praise the current Staff. For the Scuderia saying otherwise would be recognising an important weakness they have had since Todt and Brawn (specially) left.

Antonio Lobato from La Sexta (very close to Alonso as you know) answered that question using the same PR resource in a chat with F1 fans, but also added that he knows something that he can't tell (due to that friendship) about this issue.


I think it's inevitable that he'll have his own clique. You have to in a team like Ferrari. I don't really see anyone who stands out who he'll bring though. It could end up making things far worse. Raikkonen didn't get involved in things like that and that might have calmed things down.


Lewis is the next big thing. Though I do think he is a bit'over confident at times. He's more on it than off it. And if the mclaren stays good he should be all over the others and alonso. I mean he was all over alonso at mclaren. Be fun watching anyway.


Why he didn't do this at the end of 2006, when alonso had to choose mclaren, when ferrari was always his first choice. I understand jean todt was the one making that choice, and he was not going to hire him as you say in your book james, but i think schumacher thought that alonso could be the only one to brake some of his records, and didn't push to hire the one pilot he knew was the best choice for the scuderia. He is a great driver, and like all great champions, he only thinks about himself, not in the best interest of the employer, whe there is nothing in it for him.


It actually was Alonso's dream to drive for McLaren. Not Ferrari.


Alonso decided on the move to McLaren at the end of 2005, one year beforehand. MS was still pretty much planning to stay for a while.


Hi James,

What with all the travelling, jet lag etc that you must be going through I just wanted to say its really awesome that you manage to find time to post more than twice a day. As this strange but fascinating season comes to close, I find myself almost addicted to check out the latest goings on at least two or three times every day. Great work keep it up.

Schumacher seems to have mellowed in his older days but from your experience do you thing the strange site of an former great mentoring a new guy is down to the more corporate image of F1 these days. In the past the drivers were almost larger than life with egos to match but now you don't have a press conference without the driver mentioning the team in every sentence.

Perhaps its more a sign of maturing times, that Schumacher can consult rather than Senna. Schumacher seemed to play the team manager role as much as being a driver. In the old days was their even such a need for the role???


Prost did it for McLaren in the late 1990s, Lauda for Ferrari in mid 1990s

Alistair Blevins

And...ahem...Herbert at Jordan/Midland!


I really can't imagine Alonso accepting Schu as a mentor an adviser, as how to wrap the team around him, maybe, although I don't see why Schu would want to help him there!


I agree. I also think Alonso is beyond the point of needing a mentor. Maybe I'm just quibbling over semantics, but I really can't see that type of relationship between Schumacher and Alonso. Massa came into Ferrari and benefited a lot from Schumacher. Alonso is already experienced and knowledgable. If anything, Schumacher hanging over his shoulder will be a hindrance within the team, rather than a help, in my opinion. The chemistry within the team, I believe, would be unbalanced with that scenario.


I have to agree with this. No way Alonso will want to be coached by MS.

No way. He knows he doesn't need it and he's no rookie.


I fully agree with you. He beat Schumacher fair and square two years in a row so why would he want to be mentored by the bloke he beat?


Actually Hamilton beat Alonso three years in a row...


Then you can also say Hamilton beat Alonso fair and square two years in a row so he probably wouldn't have anything to learn from him. But I think that's incorrect. You can always learn something from somebody who is more experienced.


where are all this coming from? who said that MS is going to mentor Alonso. All MS said is that he was involved in the decision making, that's all.


I think Alonso and Schumi will get along just fine.

The only problem Ferdy has had, has been with Ron and Macca ... and that was because Ron was so tied up with his protégé.

I think there is a measure of respect (and former rivalry) between the two men, but that in the end Ferdy is smart enough to realise that he needs to be part of the Ferrari family in order to succeed.

Also think (and I hate to be so generalist here, hate it) that the Spanish and Italians (and the Portuguese/Brazilians) have similar outlooks on life and that Ferdy in an Italian team makes more sense than Ferdy driving for a Brit team (especially with a favoured Brit driver).

Think the whole combo of Ferdy, Massa and Schumi as the elder brother figure will work well. All they need now is a car that can get up towards the front.

Paige Michael-Shetley


Alonso had a problem with Ron Dennis because Ron Dennis refused to give him #1 status after Hamilton was beating him.


I've always found the common consensus that Senna was the man to beat in F1 when Schumi started a bit odd. Yes he was around, but if you think about it in 1992 / 1993 it was Williams doing all the running, whilst Senna was a bit on the sidelines with McLaren. Even though Senna was the best driver on the grid at that time, I think in reality he wasn't the man to beat, as such. Unfortunately, we only ever got 3 races where they were Championship Rivals.


This talk of Alonso being the 'best' driver is quite frankly ridiculous! Hamilton has already proven to be his equal, AT LEAST, when he was a rookie. Now? Really? Hamilton is worse?

Its a downward leap in intelligence to conclude that Alonso is better than Hamilton, 3 season and one championship into Hamilton's career!


I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but I think Hamilton still has a lot to learn. He still makes pretty serious mistakes (exhibit 1: Monza) that he shouldn't make. Chalk it up to racing spirit, but that's really just an excuse when it boils down to it. The real mark of a repeat champion, in my opinion, is being able to squeeze points out a car that isn't the best on track. One example would be Alonso's second WDC. The Renault was clearly outclassed in the second half of the season, but Alonso was able to maximize his points and hold off superior cars.

I think Hamilton will get to that point, but I also think he needs someone to hit him over the head every once in a while (such as Monza) and get him to recognize the situation. I'm not convinced he's getting that at McLaren right now. Seems like he gets the kid gloves treatment a bit much.


John, you don't think this years McLaren starting life as head and shoulders the slowest on the grid counts? In the first 4 races Hamilton took 9 points to Alonso's 5! By any standards the Renault was quicker than the McLaren at that stage of the season, yet in Hamilton's hands it had yielded more points.

I do agree that Hamilton makes mistakes and has to learn many things. He does however have more raw pace than anyone else, in my opinion, add to this the room he has into which he can grow and Ferrari have hired, at best, the second best driver in Alonso!

Second best, if he can beat Massa, which by the way, I doubt!

Right now with every fiber of his being, Massa is focusing himself on the task of beating Alonso! If he proves he is faster than Alonso he will be established as a great driver for all time, championship or no championship! I also think Shumi will be even more behind Massa in this, after all the rift with Alonso does go deep... Alonso not actually being the equal of Massa will firmly cement where Alonso stands in history against Shumi.

Watch this space... the story next season is Massa/Alonso and Kimi/Hamilton. If the teams are equal in pace its going to be VERY interesting!


you only forget he was the favored boy there, right?? 😉


Alonso was the favored one at the start of the season. De La Rosa was telling how they designed the car specifically for Alonso.

When Hamilton showed that he was a better driver than Alonso (he took the lead in the championship after only 5 or 6 races), McLaren decided that it maybe was better to also focus on Hamilton.


Lol,talk about crying!

Still not over the fact that Alonso got beaten by a rookie?


OK! I'm convinced LH is a superhuman!

He only unleashed his superhuman powers after Monaco that year, probably crying to Daddy and RD helped a bit ...


but he was still a rookie. For a rookie to have equalled a double world champion, he must have been *extraordinarily* favoured.

And anyway, what exactly does this alleged favouring amount to? a faster car?


Another leap in imagination and unintelligence is required to think Hamilton was favored! Let me ask: How Renault would have done a similar thing with Piquet?

To claim that McLaren had several tenths of a second in the bag to dish out to Hamilton at will and run the risk of loosing the WDC (which they did loose!) is well just stupid quite frankly!

It's a claim that McLaren gave up the Championship and the money and the sponsorships JUST to embarrass Alonso who they paid vast sums of money to drive for them ENTIRELY for the purpose thereof!

Of course that was their plan, how stupid of me not to see it!


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?


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


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.


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


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


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.


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


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


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!!! #;)


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.


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.


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...


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


Looks like something along the lines of "sheeeeeeeet" haha..


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.


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.


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.


@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.


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?


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


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


Sorry I meant beyond 2009

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?

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.

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..


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


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.

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