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Alonso – “Put the money on me now”
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Alonso – “Put the money on me now”
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Feb 2010   |  6:55 pm GMT  |  110 comments

Yesterday, amid all the drama around Ferrari and USF1, we had another bouncy communication from Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. He has been speaking with Don McRae of the Guardian, who has a good relationship with Ferrari’s communications department and has done some very good pieces with Felipe Massa in recent years.

Picture 6
Alonso says that the bookies have got it right in backing him as favourite for the title, “Put the money on me now!” he jokes. But he underlines the optimism he has already shown about the competitiveness of the Ferrari, “I expect Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull to be big contenders. But we are very happy where we are at Ferrari,’ he says.

The Ferrari has shown well in testing so far, initially proving reliable and more recently showing a good turn of speed especially in the long runs.

Ferrari has made good use of the front wing, I’m told, and Alonso was trimming it expertly during long runs last week to balance out the tyre wear.

Starting on Thursday the teams will be in Barcelona for the final test and Ferrari, like many of the teams, will have a very significant aerodynamic upgrade. The team didn’t want to go into details when I spoke to them today.

In the interview he says that he understands the Ferrari myth already, understands what being a Ferrari driver does for your status and your place in the sport,
“My father always told me this would happen,” Alonso remembers. “He said, ‘If you race for Ferrari then you can retire. Your life is complete.’ So after I won my two championships for Renault I said, ‘I’m happy now – my career is complete.’ And he said, ‘No, no, if you drive for Ferrari people will forget the championships. They will remember you as a Ferrari driver.’ I said, ‘OK, Papa, we’ll see.’ Now I think he was right. Ferrari gives you a special feeling.”

I find this very interesting because this is something Michael Schumacher took a long time to appreciate. It was only later in his career that he understood the myth of Enzo Ferrari and the emotional cache of the team. He was not a student of the sport, nor was his father, who largely stayed out of his early career, unlike Alonso’s. Schumacher had not figured it out by the time of Jerez 1997, for example, when he deliberately crashed with Jacques Villeneuve. Had he done so, he would probably not have done it. This is something Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo impressed upon him the evening after that race.

Alonso has had his own bumps in the road. The 2007 season with McLaren was his low water mark. He had joined the team he had admired as a child, because it was Ayrton Senna’s team, but first he found that Ron Dennis was not the man he thought he was, then he had problems containing his rookie team mate Lewis Hamilton, which led to him getting embroiled in the Spygate scandal, about which he told McRae, “With the spy history I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But I was very happy to help the FIA discover everything.”

“2007 was very difficult but I learnt a lot personally. It was good for my career to take that step of joining them and growing up. I learnt how to work with a team and also to withstand the media pressure. The difficulties I had were coming from the team and the media. Now I am much more prepared for everything in Formula One – and in life as well.”

All eyes will be on Barcelona this week, where Alonso and Felipe Massa will get their hands on the definitive Ferrari F10 for the new season. Alonso promises ‘battles’ with his team mate, but assures us that these will be only on the track.

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1

Just like everybody else i am curious to see how Lewis compares to Alonso and Schumacher this season.

2

Hi,

Most talk about the ±ves of Alonso and Lewis. And some say that he is the best driver at the moment.

If one has followed keenly Alonso usually faced difficulty (or couldn’t) passing Heidfield. James what do you think of Alonso’s overtaking (Yes, Germany was great, overtaking Massa)?

He couldn’t overtake Lewis in US.

3

I doubt Alonso can do a Raikkonen and be champ in his first year at Ferrari.

Can he win his first race for them? again doubtful.

4

Something we should all remember is that any Championship points system is inherently false. You must all have read the comparisons between the various points systems we’ve seen over the years, showing that Piquet wouldn’t have won this, Reuteman would have won that, Prost would have had the most titles of all. Every time the FIA changes the system, the Champions need to do different things.

Points systems are designed to encourage consistent drivers, those who deliver reliable finishes every race. I submit that this is not the measure of a World Champion, they should win races! As long as the car holds up, a worthy champion should win, not soldier on for 3rd or 4th. In this respect, Bernie Ecclestone’s idea was a good one.

If the FIA would stick to one points system forever, it might have some legitimacy, then the oft-quoted maximum points of a driver might remain as a standard. Now, what does it matter that David Coulthard, for example, scored xxx career points at 10 for a win, when the future winners will gather 25?

Regarding the ‘who will organise the setup/preserve the tyres best’ scenario, Michael S. is one driver who has had to do this before and is not too bad at it. Given an equal car, who knows? If we have a lot of rain it won’t be a contest.

5

He may be confident but he mustn’t be cocky. Lewis Hamilton and Seb Vettel may have something devastating up their sleeves.

6

Just imagine if Lewis Hamilton had said this, even in jest. The F1 forums would be in meltdown over his arrogance and general cockiness. Alonso says it and it’s just accepted. I guess it will always be so.

7

I recognise that I am biased against Hamilton and specially against McLaren (not that much now that Ron with Cola Dennis is gone-or isn’t he?), but on the topic of how Hamilton compares with Alonso, I’d like to make the following consideration: Alonso won a couple of world titles agaisnt Kimi and Schummacher, with some margin (remember that the year he won against Schumi he was given a totally unjust penalty for “obstructing” Massa on quali. It was laughable).

Hamilton let go in the last race a championship that was his, and nearly lost a 2nd one which miraculously saved in the last corner.

Conclusion: Hamilton, who is a great driver, cracks under pressure; Alonso does not.

8

Biased is way too neutral for your position. Go back to the beginning of that season with Hamilton and Alonso. Identical equipment, Hamilton in his rookie year in an F1 car, only knowing a handful of tracks. The pressure was so great on Alonso he made more mistakes in those early races than at any other time whilst winning those two previous world championships. Alonso cracked big time which resulted in him blocking Hamilton in the pits during qualification. Yes Hamilton messed up in not winning the championship, equally so did the team. But there was only one starring role as the Dreyfus of the pit lane, Alonso.

9

I have to disagree with you Frankie. As long as I back my biase with reasons (although people may disagree), I think my position is not that extreme.

About the mistakes produced by Alonso on those first races, I’ve heard that it had more to do with getting used to the new car and specially to the new tyres than it was down to pressure. On the other hand, I would say that being a double world champion and seen yourself relegated to a secondary roll by your own team must be extremely frustrating.

Two more details showing why I think Alonso is better than Hamilton:

1.- Last year Hamilton crashed when going on his own on third place with no pressure whatsoever. I’ve never seen Alonso making a mistake when going on his own. He takes it easy and accept his position at the end of the race. Cold mind.

2.- After a dreadful start in one of the races last year, Hamilton had to be ordered by his team to keep racing, because he thought it was better to give up the race and save tyres and engine. Alonso never ever gives up, and that’s something I also admire about Massa.

I am willing to change my mind if you give me the right reasons.

10

Absolute rubbish.

Hamilton was in his first & second seasons, was younger than a comparable alonso was when he was fighting for those championships, got screwed over in belgium 08……which was equally as laughable, will have matured considerably after last seasons ups/downs & in relation to the point you make about throwing away the title in his rookie year, you could argue that was the team’s mistake……much like it could be argued that the team made some ill-called decisions for kimi which won FA his first world title!!

Don’t get me wrong here, i’m not an anti-alonso man…..he’s a great driver, but i believe lewis is even better!

11

I think Fernando’s optimism is down to two big factors, one he knows the car is good, and two he knows he is finally in a team he can compete for the championship with. It is obvious by his comments that joining Ferrari has been a longterm ambition of his, and we all knew, since he left McLaren in 2007.

To be perfectly honest, he must be glad to be out of Renault after spending two seasons in the duldrums. Also there was last year’s Spygate scandal and the fall from grace of team principal and friend, Flavio Briatore.

As for the season ahead, everybody is getting worked up about the possible Hamilton vs Alonso battle, the classic Ferrari vs McLaren scrap which we probably consist of several debatable stewarding decisions. I am not so sure. Alonso’s biggest threat may well be the man on the other side of the Ferrari garage, in Felipe Massa. I feel that may prove a tougher nut to crack than most people think!

12

I don’t rate Alonso as the best driver on the grid, but when he comes out with comments like this, I would happily put money on Ferrari winning the WDC.

13

I wish Fernando the best of luck. If he had made the statement after the last test (when we’ll see just how much sand people have been carrying….) I would have been impressed.

However, if RB or McLaren have been holding back or come to the session with blistering pace and the Ferrari is not fastest, I suspect he might have egg on his face. 🙂

Good that he is confident though, I am very much looking forward to seeing some great battles this year.

4 top teams could be fighting it out most weekends. Cant wait !

14

Hi james

Its my first time commenting here just wanted to ask you that once and for all this B Spec thing which once we heard was all but a rumour which got many ferrari fans worried.

Ive read somewhere of toyota engineer and diffusor thing,still all i want to know from a credible source as you is that no B Spec now and all of those were rumours and there was no truth to it…

I know Ferrari is doing great already but wonder what would happen if they introduce a B SPEC….but still do yo agree to rubish this theory once and for all

15

Ferrari has a new chassis in Barcelona this morning and it is a substantial update on the car which tested in Jerez. The original car looked pretty competitive to me so I’m not concerned that this is a B spec car because the original was rubbish. They have a good basis on which to build, that is the important thing

16

I think Fernando Alonso, Ferrari and many Formula 1 fans are going to be in for a massive shock this season. I think Renault, with Robert Kubica and McLaren, with Lewis Hamilton are going to fight for the World Championship. Mercedes, Lotus(possibly) and Red Bull fighting for third. Williams and Ferrari fighting for sixth, Force India, Virgin(possibly) and Toro Rosso fighting for eighth, and Campos, USF1 and Sauber at the tail of the grid. In the battle at the front, Kubica will win his first Drivers World Championship and Renault it’s third Constuctors World Championship.

17

Wow,, thanks for that.. needed a good laugh.

18

I think you need your head testing my friend!!!

I reckon it’s a better bet that Kubica doesn’t end the season with the team he’s starting with & Lotus no better than a P7 in any race!

19

Where did you buy that crystal ball?? Its faulty!!! #:)

20

Please read the rules of the blog. Your other comments today cross the line of what is acceptable here. Please stick to the rules or don’t comment

21

Hi James,

I remember you writing that Alonso likes a bit of under steer and a longer wheelbase and Hamilton likes a bit of over steer (shorter wheelbase?). Do you think this season’s regulation will play into the hands of drivers like Alonso then?

It would also be great if you can list the drivers on the current grid who prefer this. should be an interesting viewpoint.

22

Of course he was in the wrong place in the wrong time, he was working with it all along.

23

My money’s also on Alonso mainly because I feel he’s the most talented driver out there. Alot is said about what Lewis done to Fernando in 2007 but considering that the important componente of the team (Ron Dennis) went with Hamilton (and understanably so) what we have to look at is where Alonso ended up in the points at the end of the season. He’s a calculator on the track and he’s got all of the necessary skills to compete with the top drivers… Just ask Schumi.

But I also feel that even though Ferrari look pretty strong at the moment, that the field will be tight and that it’ll go down to the wire. Even with that I feel that Alonso is the strongest out there. He knows cars and he knows how to make the work at each circuit… That last one you can ask Hamilton and his personal team at the paddock.

Magnificent stuff James!!! It’s so refreshing to read such an open blog!

Let’s hope we get a great season full of great races.

24

1st – Fernando ALONSO

2nd -Sebastian VETTEL

3rd – Filipe MASSA

4th – Lewis HAMILTON

5th – Jenson BUTTON

6th – Michael SCHUMACHER.

Just my gut feelings for 2010. Forget the past, else we’ll be some old naggers going on and on and on and on……everyday is like a countdown to some rocket launch.

25

If he says so it must be true. Goes without saying that he would refund anyone losing a bet like that.

26

Fortunately, there is life after Ferrari… Schumacher proves that, as well a Barrichello, who fought for the title last year….

Alonso needs to focus on his job, which is not about talking, by the way…. He might be surprised this year to find a strong competition with Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull and …. the Ferrari car driven by Felipe Massa…

He had learn from “Spygate” about himself, as much as we learned about himself.

And his attitude about Crashgate, doesn’t let too much room for anymore comments… What Crashgate and what attitude? Better ask his teammate, Felipe Massa….

27

Alonso seems to have forgotten he was part of the Spygate conspiracy. He was one of those pumping Coughlan for more info via PdR.

He was happy to help the FIA enquiry because he was given immunity, there were no altruistic reasons.

I suppose it should come as no surprise. This is the man who recently stated he still considered the crashgate victory in Singapore 08 a worthy one!

28

i will put all i have on Alonso,it never, never, never to lain again.

If he has doubts he does not say anything….and it seems arrogant.

Always it loses when pocker with Kubica, Fisichella and Pedro because it does not know to lie, it does not know to make light. If it says that the F10 is very good, it is good.

Cheste, tests of reliability, 1º week Jerez, fuel consumptions, 2º week control of degradation of wheels, Montmelo… Q3 simulations. In Montemlo, the F10 with new so large diffuser DDD with channels DIN a3 side its potential.

PD; John Iley, the “artist” of “superb” the aerodynamics of the F60 (ironic way off) card by Mclaren… long successes!!!

Many million we did not forget nor we pardoned 2007 either, but because of Ron Dennis.

29

Couldn’t have put it better myself.

30

God bless Google Translator! :0)

31

Very tempted to put £10 on him. Would love Schumacher to do it, but Ferrari just seem immense this season, already…!

32

For you to know exactly where Alonso’s current best price is go to http://bit.ly/d93muO it’s upadted at every change and lists the best bookie’s price and link.

33

“In the interview he says that he understands the Ferrari myth already, understands what being a Ferrari driver does for your status and your place in the sport”

I remmeber him saying he would never drive for Ferrari.

34

Can you please tell us when did he said that and provide a link if possible?

Thanks.

35

Its a great read, but i treat this with caution, Brawn had a big advantage and later in the season, more teams were eating their points and taking more wins. Things change very fast in this part of the world.

If you play your game correctly, then you might be unstoppable, like Ferrari did in 2002 and 2004, so did McLaren in the late 90’s, these moments are like betting on a driver to be a back to back champion.

Also once we reach Europe, the field would be even much tighter, thats just a feeling I have.

36

i will put all i have on alonso

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