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Alonso and Schumacher renew hostilities
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Mar 2010   |  9:57 pm GMT  |  259 comments

One of the interesting human interest stories to come out of this Melbourne weekend was the renewal of the niggly relationship between Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher.

Alonso: Radiates confidence (Darren Heath)

The pair have history. Alonso is the driver Schumacher identified as his biggest threat as early as 2002, when the Spaniard was test driver for Renault. They battled for the title in 2006 and in Monaco that year, things came to a head when Schumacher blocked the track in qualifying. Alonso was one of the drivers prevented from taking pole by that move and was very angry about it. Privately, he threatened to lay down on the grid in front of Schumacher’s car, if the FIA didn’t punish the German, to symbolise that Schumacher runs over the other drivers.

Luckily it never came to that and Schumacher was moved to the back of the grid.

Alonso made positive noises about Schumacher’s return this year, arguing that a championship won against the most successful driver in history is surely more valuable.

But this weekend they started getting under each other’s skin again. On Thursday Schumacher was camped out in the Ferrari hospitality area talking to former colleagues and Alonso came and went several times, clearly unhappy that he was on his turf. There is a dark look that comes over Alonso’s face at times like that – it was very much there in the press conference in Monaco that time – and it was there on Thursday, I’m told by a trusted colleague who observed the whole scene. Later the pair met by the Ferrari fridge and Alonso blanked Schumacher.

On Friday after practice, Alonso and his team were unhappy that Schumacher was not punished by the stewards for failing to observe the red flag for a Kamui Kobayashi incident.

Then in qualifying Schumacher was baulked by Alonso and took it up with him face to face in parc ferme.

This kind of struggle is what makes F1 so compelling; the mind games and gamesmanship of highly competitive individuals. Schumacher got stuck into Ayrton Senna in this way in his first few years in F1.

Ron Dennis once said of Alonso “Competitive animals know no limits” but if anyone embodies that description it is Schumacher. Alonso is now in his prime as a Grand Prix driver and for all the quality of Lewis Hamilton and the promise and maturing brilliance of Sebastian Vettel, Alonso is still the biggest beast in the F1 jungle.

Schumacher, yet to get back to his peak and to challenge Alonso in a competitive situation, is trying to mix it with him, perhaps looking for the psychological combat to inspire him back to his old level. A few years away from the scene has meant that he doesn’t carry that air of dominance around with him, especially on the track.

“Basically on my last try, I was slowed down by him,” said Schumacher after qualifying. He wanted to know if the Ferrari team had informed Alonso that Schumacher was coming through.

“In a way it is difficult because he was on his in-lap, and he was worrying about other things than maybe watching the mirror. But saying that, we had this chat yesterday in the drivers’ briefing that this should be taken care of, and actually he was one of the main guys asking about it.

“I had a conversation with Charlie (Whiting) about it because I wanted to know what are the guidelines here – and whether the rules have changed a little bit to what they used to be. I [told Whiting I] need to know what would you be okay with, and what not.”

Alonso told my Spanish colleagues on Sunday that Schumacher should have “taken the matter up with the stewards, rather than the TV cameras.”

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Interesting, given MS'S previous antics i chuckled when i heard about this. Alonso is far to strong to fall for this but i sincerley hope MS gets a competative car so we get to see the two big dogs fight. I fully believe alonso is faster, stronger and makes less errors than micheal but we will see


Competitive car? Rosberg doesn't seem to have much problem with it's speed.


Yeah I heard it Romeo. I am fairly sure that the guys back on the pit wall and the garage were thinking exactly the same thing, and probably weren't being as polite about themselves.

Lewis has had a great relationship with his team since he joined, but over the years he has occasionally let slip when he hasn't been happy. However that is a vastly different thing to what a lot of the media pundits are trying to make it out to be.


I completely agree with James that this kind of struggle does make F1 more compelling, I love watching Alonso getting angry! and against Schumi, well they are undoubtedly the two largest personalities on the grid!


As long as it's actually happening I don't mind reading about it. I get sick to the back teeth of the media trying 'make' rivalries between drivers or within teams. Like they tried last year between Jenson and Rubbens, between Rubbens and Brawn, like they are this year between Jenson and Lewis, and in a rather sad attempt between Lewis and McLaren.

A true rivalry is fantastic and doesn't need any media hype beyond reporting the facts, and is all the more interesting for it.


this one is media hype. They need to about something.

Romeo ( MEX in USA)

(LH vs McL) I guess you did not listen to radio or the after race LH presser. ( You Idiots cost me a podium)


Since Prost vs Senna


Great article James.... It is going to be interesting to see how the three of the cope... the third being Ferrari


This, I think, is all part of the ultra-competitive mindset of an F1 champion. MS is looking for every possible advantage and I don't think he's purposefully playing mind games as a 'tactic' of sorts, I think its just a consequence of the "all in" competition MS is used to, fight for every inch.

Its nothing new and MS is not unique in this regard, its up to Alonso in my opinion to be the bigger man, take it all on and still beat him on the track. He spoke about "the championship meaning more" when MS was on the gird, well this is exactly that - MS is not just going to be a silent name on the grid.

It certainly makes for an exciting spectator sport, where are all the critics that were so vociferous after bahrain?


If memory serves correctly, wasn't it Alonso who BEAT MS for both of his championships already? And then it was MS who "retired" wasn't it? Seems any questions should have been answered by now and it is up to MS to quit the "games" and make a showing on the track where it counts, eh?


I wasn't questioning Alonso's WDC wins, I was just responding to his assertion that he was happy to have MS on the grid and that a championship won against MS would mean more.

You're right, any questions should have been answered by now, but then why does Alonso seem to be having trouble dealing with someone he already beat for two WDCs?

You said it, it all comes down to the showing on the track, I will be interested to watch how this relationship unfolds in exactly that arena!


a very selective memory you have there!? have you forgotten the MASS DAMPER which was ILLEGAL used by Renault and Alonso to win that title against a "physically finished" schuey!


I can't wait for these two to get back at it on the track. I think by Barcelona Schumacher should be back up to speed and able to take the race to the leaders if the car allows.

I remember the races at Imola in 2005 and 2006 and can't wait for another intense encounter along those lines.

James do you think that Mercedes have the capacity to improve this year and give Schumacher a chance to compete and do you believe he will stay around for a second season knowing that he can be involved in the planning and development from an early stage?

Keep up the good work



Merc definitely will come up with the goods sooner or later. Schumacher/Brawn combination is destined to do so. I remember the 2006 season when Schumacher was trailing by 26 points from Alonso. From there they turned the season around & Schumacher was leading the championship until the engine failure in the 2nd last race. There is still 17 races to go & with the experience and quality Mercedes will definitely bounch back. Alonso & Schumacher battle is the biggest rivalry since Prost & Senna. I hope Schumi will stick around until the end of his contract with Merc


it is different, mercedes it's not the power force, ferrari was at the time. With bridgestone working for just for them, and all the time to practice at fiorano. It is much harder now to overcame a performance deficit.


In 2006 FIA banned Renault mass dumper, plus an extrange decision to penalize Alonso for blocking Massa in Monza allowed MS to challenge Fernando.


yes but dont forget in Hungaroring practice alonso braked HARD which forced schuey to take avoiding action and drive around him - all under yellow flags! which was why schuey was penalised! all part of the plan from the team and driver that cheated at singapore 2008

Romeo ( MEX in USA)

Talk about fixing the results to heat up the competition.


I agree that the Schumacher / Brawn duo is incredible and that they will deliver the goods. However, the 2006 resurgence of Schumacher was also down to the fact that the mass dampers of Renault were expelled. It took Renault some time to come up with an alternative. It was not down to an incredible leap forward from the Schumacher / Brawn duo.


I think Merc will improve a lot second half of the season and into 2011. There is too much quality and resource there for them not to


Mercedes involvement in Brawn is a dead knell for this team. After BMW and Toyota it's another example of "big name" manufacturer greed for excellence, for ultimately success. Corporate spirit will never beat pure racing spirit. On that moment when Brawn became Mercedes, it started countdown to the moment when Mercedes will announce withdrawal from F1. Without single driver or team tittle on theirs account, of course.

Alistair Blevins

That's the same statement that was perennially levelled at Toyota from many quarters 😉


If only they'd used the same technology from their road cars in their F1 cars there'd have been no stopping them. Literally!


I know that this rumour is probably bul$hit but it tells you how Massa and Alonso are animals 🙂

"Unfortunately there is already growing angst between Alonso and Massa. Forget the charade we see publicly between the two of them or what the team has been communicating. The course of events are as follows;

Bahrain GP

- Alonso was having problems with his setup and Massa didn't want to share any tech info

- Alonso then used the "But i am number 1" card but not as direct as that

- Massa's response was to say "then you should be able to manage by yourself"

This was the beginning of the problem, It was resolved by Domenicali and Luca that both of them will share all technical and setup information and this was communicated to them both.

Australian GP

- Roles were reversed

- Massa had issues during practice

- Alonso simply stated that for whatever reason he was not having issues but his side of the garage didn't relay any useful info to Massa

- This is when things really deteriorated

- Each of Massa's and Alonso's engineers were waring with each other

- Massa's was angry because they said there was an agreement to share all info

- Alonso's was angry because they said they were disadvantaged in Bahrain so why should they give assistance to Massa

- The post race debrief was a very heated one

- Effectively we now have two teams within Ferrari, Team Massa and Team Alonso

Alonso has since called Luca to air his concerns in a very heated way."

from autosport forum


- Alonso then used the “But i am number 1″ card but not as direct as that

^ That sentence alone makes me think this is a fabrication.


Hi Max Damage,

I think the team dynamic is very interesting here. Massa has been Ferrari's man for a while now but Alonso has settled in very well.

I believe Alonso is the faster (I'm a fan but Alonso is just more consistant and makes way fewer mistakes).

Let the battle resume...I don't think it'll be a repeat of 2007.

We'll just have to wait and see.


From what I hear, that's not in any way true.


Thanks for the insight. At least we hope Alonso has learned not to take this stuff to the press since last time. Anyone thinking he had changed was being naive.

I hope Massa continues to do Alonso's head in by quietly going about being quick.


I really think he will. It's going to be interesting to see if the 'no racing in the final stint' rule holds at Ferrari. From what we've seen so far cars are only going to stop the once and often that'll be early on in the race. Does that mean that a faster Ferrari is going to follow around the other for 2/3 of race distance? I honestly can't see that happening. There'll come a point when one of the decides that they need to go for the win - then you'll have fireworks.


Alonso had a go at Massa (albeit not 100%)... there was one attack (near to the "car-park section) when Massa had made a slight mistake, but Massa held his ground, on the inside line and kept his place. Later on, in the race, Alonso had dropped off the back of Massa to help in his own defence from (at that stage) the quickly closing Hamilton - a good move - but Massa made another mistake and Alonso wasn't close enough to capitalise on it.

I think they will attack each other, when the chance arises.

Alonso was\is playing the longer game ie, he knows (Massa too) that scoring points on a regular basis will keep him in the hunt for the WDC - with the odd win thrown in too.

So I concur Ben, at some point, later in the season the Ferrari's will have a proper go at each other, if the need arises. At this stage of the game (especially when Vettel has surfed off into the kitty litter) there's no point risking a DNF... just collect the points and move on to the next race.


Which insight? This is a non-story written by someone in an internet forum who claims to have 'inside information'. Excuse me?

At Ferrari all the cars data go into a 'pool' where every driver, race engineer and mechanic can take information from. Massa should know that- after all he explained in an article from 2008. So why would he suddenly try to prevent that? Plus, since when its the drivers at Ferrari who decide who is getting what information?

Don't fool yourself. Aside from Schumacher sitting around at the Ferrari hospitality- which is nothing more than bad manners from his side, and Ferrari should put a stop to that already- the story helds no substance. And the McLaren fans should better look at their own team: you don't need 'inside information' to see things are going heated there.

A little gossip now and then might be entertaining, but please keep it at bay.


Andrew Halliday:

I think he was commenting the story that someone put up there, not what James Allen said.

Andrew Halliday

Foolish comment mate, James has provided many interesting stories through this site and his ability to accurately report the goings on of F1 is much appreciated. I would give his story much more credibility than comments made by an armchair expert such as yourself.


He's already doing. Probably you've seen that quick Massa in some P7 if there wouldn't have been Alonso in Hamilton's, Webber's and Rosberg's way. Massa is extremely quick, especialy when team engineer tells him how to turn into last corner. He's also extremely quick in losing places to anybody that becide him. It was clearly team orders for Alonso not to overtake Massa because those drivers are in different leagues


Thats right. IF they were infront of Massa, IF Alonso hadn't spun... all IFs.


Problem with this is, Domenicalli and Montizemolo are being pussies about the entire situation: there's an article in itv-f1 wherein Domenicalli stated that during the race (Oz GP) he decided to stay out of the way and let the two drivers settle things themselves, even if it was very clear Alonso was faster and being held up and baulked by Massa (multiple times). If Ferrari lose the driver's title this year it will be because of the management's indecisive attitude and fear of criticism that would have cost them.

Compare them both to Jean Todt, when he was running the show at Ferrari, he did what he had and didn't bother with what the public thought of him. In the end, no matter how much we might have hated the man, he still has an astounding 6 driver's titles and 7 constructor's titles to show for it.

If you look back to McLaren at the end of 2007, you would have to agree that Alonso was justified for demanding "no. 1 status." Had McLaren not fiddled around with the dream of a rookie world champion, they'd have won the championship much sooner than '08. Peter Windsor once wrote in an article of F1 racing that teams who maintain a status of equality among drivers has a tendency to blow more opportunities than if they imposed rank. This theory can be proven when McLaren won the WDC in '08 with basically just fully supporting one driver, same with Ferrari in '09; Raikkonen improved massively when Massa was sidetracked because he no longer had to compete within the team for attention. Let's not be fooled by it, Massa was quick in '09 but the best he could be before his accident was to be best of the rest, and Raikkonen (once Massa was sidelined) occasionally became the best of the best (Spa/Hungary/Monza).

Plus, any moans out there about Alonso not being a team player, i think, has been silenced during the Oz GP. Two times in the race, Massa made mistakes and Alonso could have forced it and passed but decided to stay conservative in case Massa was to do anything ragged and stupid. He did it because he didn't want to take both cars out. He held up going around Massa FOR FERRARI. It even cost him a place at one time when Webber zoomed past because Massa lost momentum.

So Ferrari should really focus on Alonso, Massa proved last Sunday that he can show flashes of brilliance but he cannot maintain it (great start, nervous race). Plus the Brazilian is actually only really really quick and consistent on favored tracks. Alonso is Ferrari's best shot to regain their winning ways, they should stop worrying about being condemned by the public for treating drivers unequally and just do what they have to do to win. If Alonso was hired to be team leader, then rally behind him, and make the "one-hit-wonder" Brazilian do so too.


so why not give the title to alonso, and get rid of the racing. So you can be happy.

Team orders are banned for a reason, to let drivers earn the points, and not be given, when they don't deserve it.

Alonso made a mistake at the start of the gp, that was his mistake, and that mistake compromised his race. But you want to give him a podium he just didn't earn.

This is racing, and don't forget it is why you started watching f1, in the first place.

Don't be like lobato, because you are looking just like him.


First, its only 2 races in.

Second, if Alonso is that good, he doesn't need his team mate to let him go.

I prefer to see ALL drivers race against each other OR do we really want to go into another shumi like era where we know which "team member" will always be ahead.

Romeo ( MEX in USA)

Amen Rafael


james any thoughts on this ?? can it be only gossip ??


We could see this coming a mile off. They've got their history, and Massa had established himself as top dog in Ferrari over the past two years. Plenty of fireworks ahead!


team Ferrari Massa vs. team Ferrari Alonso



It's unbelievable [!!!]


hard to believe. Well see in the next races.


LOL Brilliant! But things may be just as bad in the McLaren garage after this weekend, I hope not.


Great post James,

I'm sure the Alonso-Shuni dynamics have to make for compelling watching...

Interesting that Shumi still hangs out in the Ferrari paddock, and I wonder whether Ferrari will allow that to continue. Ferrari are in a tough spot aren't they? How do they appease, and cater to, both these great champions?


Maybe MSC hasn't really found a comfort zone in the Mercedes Team yet beyond his friend Ross... He might be trying to get some of his guys to jump ship next season, who probably are in Alonso's crew, basically a repeat of what he did in 1996, getting the best mechanics, engineers, etc. from Benetton...


that would make a lot of sense


You might be onto something there mate.....


Just like the good old days, nothing like a bit of 'friendly' rivalry. Obviously Ferrari and Schumacher have a special bond, just wondering how the hospitality works...would Ferrari invite him to lunch or is it more informal with Michael turning up on his own accord?

Is Michael simply seeing his friends which he is so attached to, having had several successful years working together, or is there another motive? Does he miss the Ferrari family, probably, but there must be a large slice of mind games going on here? Its now Alonso's patch, he is adored as Schumacher was

(still is) and Fernando has the potential to emulate him. There must be some jealousy that he is not in Alonso's shoes and is this a way of getting to him? Michael can't challenge Alonso on the track just yet, maybe this is the only way to exert some pressure on him right now...


I don´t know about this but the Alonso´s -wife end dad- used to hang out at the Renault hospitality during his tenure at McLaren. Maybe it´s not so strange after all. But Fernando would not be playing a wise card to get angry. Let the old man enjoy a capuccino in the hospitality, so what? It´s not like he´s gonna come back, he´s somewhere else now. Whatever FA does he´s gotta play it real cool till he wins at least one WDC for Ferrari: maybe then he´ll be doing the calls.


I think your right rafa, maybe he should let the 'old man' get on with it...Alonso acknowledges that Ferrari is a special team and Schumacher represents a large part of the history. That was the case before Alonso joined and perhaps he should accept it, unless the time / relationship with Schumacher is to the detriment of Alonso and his race weekend. I really hope that he keeps his cool!


It seems like deja yesteryear! Schumi taking the fight off track when he cant' win on it.

See you in the carpark ferme sunshine.


Looks like Alo is is up to his childish tricks again!!!!



Hi Richard.


But why are Ferrari letting Schumacher in their garage? Do teams let drivers from other teams hang out with them just like that? I know Michael is still a Ferrari man deep down but for Ferrari he's a rival now.


As James said "On Thursday Schumacher was camped out in the Ferrari hospitality area talking to former colleagues".

It was the hospitality area, not team garage, so it's no problem.


Oh I think it is a problem, I am not a Schumi fan but have a huge respect for his competitive ethos and his intelligence. If he is in the Ferrari hostility suite then he is there inadvertently picking up tidbits of information.

As was mentioned above, maybe sounding out who of his old team might jump ship. In the words of Nicolette in The Bourne Identity "they don't do random, every action has a purpose"


Great stuff James, perhaps this is the answer to ensuring exciting races; organise the starting grid in line with the "jungle" pecking order, Alonso at the rear, Lewis around 15th, Schu and Vettel in the middle!


just don't put di Grassi or Algesuari in front on Schumacher

Romeo ( MEX in USA)

LOL - Jaime said he "learned" a lot from racing with Schumacher - Yes he eventually made a mistake but it took 34 laps. An epic battle for the one point 10th place. I know Jaime will get his points and Mercedes will eventually improve and Schummi will move to 4th or 5th. For now it is sad to see him battling a 20 year old and Pedro.

michael grievson

Great article. I find it funny Schumacher has the hypocrisy to complain about other drivers after Monaco. I'd have loved to have seen alonso lie down.

It's shows though that having a past driver on the stewards panel still doesn't mean infractions are punished. Schumacher could have seriously injured or killed someone ignoring a red flag


so u mean to imply that just becuz of the monaco incident, all the drivers are now allowed to block schumi?? and he shouldnt complain. Nice!


The bloke asked for rules clarification, that was all as he felt that he was bloked. And look what people make it out to be. We all know how much the rules changed since Schumacher retired in 2006. I don't understand why people just look for negetivity even if there is none


they don't have anything better to do.

And talking about being killed in f1, that's a joke. Everybody saw the huge accident between kovayashi and the hulk. Not even a broken bone. I have seen accidents like that, at a slower speed in the seventies, and soon after, a ball of fire with the driver trapped inside, and being burned alive. There is not danger in f1 anymore, don't fool yourselfs.

Michael Grievson

Of course not. There isa difference between not seeing someone coming up behind you and deliberatly blocking the track so someone can't get past.

I don't think I am being melodramatic. A red flag is brought out when there is an immediate danger to someone. He could have hit a marshall, another driver or even crashed into a stationary car.


I think you are a bit melodramatic.

Even though a red flag ends the session, the cause is still located at a specific point on the circuit, in other words, the danger is not general but very localized. And as soon as there is an on-track problem the teams radio their drivers so they know where they can safely go fast, no danger there.

For example, if the problem is in turn 1, the rest of the circuit is still perfectly safe and the drivers know it.

The reason a red flag is used instead of a double yellow is because a car, or parts of it, cannot be safely removed while other cars are still circulating. When there is a double yellow drivers are not forced to drive around the whole circuit at reduced speed, it is still safe to drive flat out around the rest of the circuit.


The Red Flags came out when schumi was taking the final corner. At least thats what I saw in the practice session. Who on earth was he going to injure on the pit straight? Thank god we got some racing drivers as stewards now.


No.. where does it say that?


After the ridiculous, unfounded reactions that have appeared in the comments the last couple of days James - I wouldn't be surprised if you packed this blogging lark in.

As a dedicated fan of F1 since '96, there has never been a better, more insightful or as shrewd resource on the sport in all of that time, and I'm thankful for that.

It would be a shame if small minded, reactionary and ignorant commenting put an end to it.

As Charlie Brooker once noted - "comments are the worst thing to happen to the internet".


Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I think we will tighten up the moderation from now on. We need to post only comments that add something to the debate


don't be so melodramatic.


Spot on mate,'MELODRAMATIC'


Have you seen this:

I don't think there is any real rivalry between them now.

Yes, Schumi asked him a question, it was hardly a "confrontation" as many have called it. I personally would take those Spanish journo sources with a pinch of salt.



not only Spanish journos. What's the point of this article by Mark Hughes


Absolutely. Until FA came along there was no substantial F1 following in our country. With Alonso, things changed dramatically. Hence, a lot of journos have made a living just jumping in the bandwagon. Lobato is a clear example. However, there are some serious journos, Manel Seerra being among the most prominent, but it´s still nothing compared to what you can get elsewhere, for example in this site. That´s the reason why followers that have some proficiency in English prefer to go to English sites.


Great man for the double standards is our Michael.

Fernando, I'll just park my car at La Rascasse, just in case you think of beating my provisional pole after botching my own middle sector now that you've just set the fastest first sector time.

What is it with Michael hanging around like a bad smell at Ferrari? First it was to the annoyance of Kimi and now Alonso. I wonder does Felipe have a hand in all of this?!


Alonso has a point when he says Schumacher should have “taken the matter up with the stewards, rather than the TV cameras.” To me this is clearly mind games from the german. If he is pissed because a car blocked him, the correct procedure is going to the stewards, not to the driver. He clearly did it to get a nice photo op, which he did. Pure mind games.


james, you said that alonso drove a champion's race in melburne, but what about the start? Nobody is talking abaut his mistake. He started with both tyres on the white line, while the drivers behind were away from it. How was he supposed to get some good traction? He fix the race with a good drive and some gift from mclaren, but that was a race that got away, and alonso should have won.


he would have won for sure!!! I was surprised he left JB so little room but I suppose he was thinking JB would HAVE to go 2 wheels onthe grass to avoid any mishaps!! The dampness probably forced JB not to put 2 wheels off the track, so 2 into 1 dont go. Shame Tricky got caught up in this, after his great start, as i reckon we would have had an even better race with these 3 at the front!! Massa was a complete joke and is nowhere near Fernandos class!!! Ferrari must act quickly and not handicap FA for Massa!! Luca and Stefano WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!! #:)


@tequilla, "Ferrari must act quickly and not handicap FA for Massa!! Luca and Stefano WAKE UP!!! #:)" That is exactly what they did to Kimi in '08 & '09.


Absolutely, I had noticed this before the red lights came on and could see the consequences all the way down the straight.

Schumi had someone on the pit wall give him a helpful reminder on the dummy grid on how & where to line the car up. I guess no on at Ferrari remembered to do the same.


I disagree that it was a gift from McLaren. We hear a lot in the commentary that catching is one thing passing is another. Lewis was stuck behind Fernando for 8 laps prior to getting bumped by Webber. His start was a bit too aggresive. But with the new rules and after the Bahrain disappointment drivers need aggresive start to the race to be able to fight for the win. And first corner accident is too common in F1 as you know. I agree with James in this instance that he really did drive like a champion. He came out of the pits last & finished leading the championship. That's what you call champion's drive.


the fact that he drove like a champion, doesn't have anything to do with the fact that the bad start was his mistake, they are to different things. But he had a car, and a grid position to win the australian gp, and he didn't achieved it.


I agree. If having his tyres in the white line was the problem as it seems, it was a very unusual mistake by Alonso's standards.


Perhaps Michael would be better off working on getting the better of Rosberg first...


James, great stuff. Keep them coming.

We are very interested in team dynamics outside the public eye, especially between FA vs FM and LH vs JB.


Jenson 'complete driver' Button would never engage in such petty squabbles, lol.


It is invigorating to believe that Formula One is not just about a corporate bottom line. While frowned upon in civilized society, megalomania, infantilism, and back stabbing are all integral to to a sport that should be anything but civilized. Sweet.


Schumi is the master of head games, and it would seem Alonso is falling for the bait. Schumi knows exactly what he is doing, every move is calculated.

The Spaniard could learn a few tricks here if he doesn't let the red mist block his vision.


What's the betting if Hamilton tried any such tactics everyone would come down on him like a ton of bricks?

Schumi and, esp Alonso, can behave how they like, and no one judges them. It's all apparently par for the course, but somehow its Hamilton who has the spolit brat tag.

I can tell you right now, its not Hamilton who's looking like a spolit brat - it's these two supposedly more mature members of the paddock.

And if I was Schumi I'd stay closer to home - because his apparently famous mindgames haven't worked one bit on Nico!


Great way to turn the topic and focus on Hamilton. Have you not seen the kind of abuse Alonso has recieved since 2007.

Tell me, if Alonso had been on the radio complaining would you be slating him?

I believe so...


I think the reason people are harder on Hamilton is because of a difference of attitude. Since Hamilton always plays up this really moral and honorable thing so when he does something bad and then over apologizes it seems disingenuous. But Alonso and Schu don't seem to care as much and give off the vibe like they'll do whatever it takes to win and when they get caught you get the feeling they are know that they are pushing the limits and sometimes you got to far, oh well that's racing.


Good observation, and clarification to Hamilton fans.


Honestly, it's like something out of a girl's comic... blanked each other at the fridge for goodness' sake! No, this is *not* why I like F1 - actually I like the pure skill and effort of drivers like Jim Clark, Damon Hill, Mika Hakkinen and Jenson Button, rather than tolerating obnoxious, dangerous maniacs cheating and bitching at each other. As if Alonso has anything to fear from old stuck-behind-a-Toro-Rosso Schumacher anyway. Meh!


Spot on, mate!

Val from Montreal

Schumacher has been there and done that , he knows how to play the game even without having a competetive car ...

I think Alonso is very insecure and that's his archilees heel .So far Massa has proven to himself he can be faster than Alonso and beat him.. This is'nt 2006 anymore when Alonso had the upper hand over Fisichella ... I think the problems will start at Ferrari as soon as Felipe surpasses him on points ...

Coming back to Michael , I am certain he's gonna start winning again soon IF Merc gives him a faster car..

BTW James , are you that in love with Alonso ?

It's way to obvious ... Stop saying he's the best driver in the field becuase it's really starting to get annoying .I mean based on facts , Hamilton proved to be faster in 2007.

Massa is already proving it, and Schumacher has been proving it since 1994 ...


I believe some people should watch races or at least check results - maybe when dreams about Massa being faster than Alonso and prooving something will fade away.


Please review your "evidence" again. It took 18 laps for Alonso to catch up to Massa from last place to 4th.


I think James is wise and experienced enough to discern who is the best driver out there (you don't need to thank me, James). 😉

I wouldn't go as far as to say that Hamilton proved to be faster in 2007, but a bullet could be faster than any driver and it wouldn't win a single GP.

Being a great champion is much more than being faster.

Let me remind you: Alonso 2 - Hamilton 1, and you should bare in mind that Alonso hasn't being always driving in one of the two top teams.

My bet: we will start 2011 with Alonso 3 - Hamilton 1.


..and how much longer has Alonso been in F1 ?


With a top team capable of winning the championship? not much longer.

Obviously he had no chance as Renault test driver, Minardi driver or at Renault after his McLaren days.


Ask me again in four or five years time. 😉


I agree with James that Alonso is best driver. He is the most all rounded driver on the field today.

I don't agree that Hamilton was faster than Alonso in 2007. I would say close to but not faster. What we didn't know (but can only suspect) is what went on behind close doors at McLaren whereby Ron Dennis helped Hamilton to try and clinch his title as a rookie.

Massa has not proven anything so far. Don't forget Massa has been at Ferrari much longer. Alonso just got to drive the car in Feb. of this year and we are already seeing what great things he is doing with the car. Alonso was obviously faster than Massa in Bahrain and Australia.

As for Schumacher, Alonso took the WDC in 2005 and 2006 so his run for the championship was stopped by Alonso and he retired.


When Ferrari forced Michael out they should have cut all the ties; or have forced Massa out at the time. (Or if MS was not ready to retire, he should have gone to another team.) MS played on Kimi and now Alonso. Piero Ferrari said last fall it never considered that they would put MS in the seat of FM or FA. If they had, whichever driver stayed would be playing 2nd to MS, not the new 'equal status' SD is speaking of. Instead of allowing & playing these games it would have been better to have switched. What is going on since MS was ousted from 2006 is not healthy for anyone.

Val from Montreal

Oh and , If Michael wants to eat his pasta macaroni,steak, chicken or whatever, in the Ferrari kitchen , who's to stop him ?

25 years from now, people will still associate Schumacher to Ferrari and Ferrari to Schumacher ...

Michael has won 1/3third of Ferrari driver's championships ! YES 1 third of Ferrari's titles were won by himm ...So Alonso can shut

the hell up IMHO ...

Besides I don't think Felippe Massa is bothered by MS's presence and I bet he wishes Michael was still his team mate in the other garage ...


Hi, hi, you don't seem to like Alonso...

Tough times coming ahead of you. 🙂

If I was you, I would consider watching football instead. You seem to get very bitter.


I'm sorry Val but I think you're taking your obvious hatred for Alonso a bit far. I'm admittedly one of his fans, but the nonsense you're spreading if enough to annoy even the most neutral of f1 supporters.

With regard to your previous post: Yes, Massa did beat Alonso (full credit given) but also consider that Alonso drove from the back of the grid after the first corner. Not only that but he said if Massa weren't his team-mate he would have had a real go at him. Alonso stayed behind for the TEAM and stability.

As for the mind games, let them continue. They both play them, but in the end in 2005 and 2006 Alonso was on top. Who knows we may be in for a repeat.


"... Alonso is still the biggest beast in the F1 jungle."

That is how I've always felt about Alonso even if I could never articulate why. I haven't been following F1 long enough to provide good technical or insightful analysis so I'll just say what's on my gut.

Alonso & Schumacher always seemed so much alike: two sides of the same coin. To me, I get a sense of tremendous focus and dedication from watching those two - more so than any of the other drivers in the grid. Maybe it is as you say, it's their insane level of competitiveness. Kimi & Lewis on the other hand, though they too are competitive, I see them more as speed freaks.

Anyways, great article as always. Thanks for always sharing your thoughts!


Schumi has an advantage over Alonso in that he can swing by the Ferrari garage or hospitality area to visit old friends. Alonso has no such relationship with Merc GP. If it displeases Alonso as much as your article suggests James, then Schumi can play this card when needed. I can't see Ferrari barring MS from their hospitality areas. He is a god from their perspective. So, while Alonso holds the on track advantage at the moment, Schumi can exercise his off track advantage in a bid to get under FA's skin. Absolutely brilliant.


Wasn't Alonso hanging around the Renault garage/hopitality after all his hissy fits at McLaren


Yes, Alonso was in Renault hospitality because McLaren people told his father and his wife that they can stay there, then they had to go to Renault. At the same time, TV cameras shows Hamilton father in the McLaren boxes. Next year, Kova's girlfriend had to go to Renault hospitality to watch the GP.

2007 was a hard season for Alonso and his family


they can´t stay there, my apologizes

Romeo ( MEX in USA)

Wasn't Briatore his manager ?


Yes, he certainly was, but again, just using the PR Hospitality areas to eat and hang out. Like then, I think this is just the "Public" Team areas, not the garages, where a driver could well spot things of interest to his own team.

Nice to see Alonso getting so rattled by all this, I hope Schumi is doing all he can to stress the relations there and undermine Alonso in his half of the garage. His words about how important "his" Championships were because they were against MS was also grossly vain and yet another cheap attempt to undermine Lewis and Jenson. He might be a very good driver, but Alonso is a remorselessly nasty little man.


On Australian TV over the weekend when Alonso had a sit down inteview he was asked how he feels about Schumi's return. I loved his repsonse. He said something like "It's great to have him back, I haven't won a world champiopnship since he left and so now he's back hopefully I'll win some more"


I love his response too - i am not surprise if it happen again !!


You may say that Alonso is the main man, but it's hardly happy time for Alonso to be having Schumi's sloppy seconds. As a Ferrari legend Schumi has real estate at Ferrari named after him, probably a wax statue at the Ferreri museum by now, Lego sets with his likeness in minifig scale and locker at Ferrari etched with five Ferrari stars that Alonso must use now. Alonso's parking spot probably still says MS for old time sake. He gets there by taking a left on Via Schumacher. At Il Montana Rossella called Alonso Schumi a few times already and made him the Schumi special.

Sorry Alonso, you're just following a path set by Schumi. Sadly, you will never achieve what Schumi has at Ferrari. That's gotta sting a bit.


Sebee that is fantastic!! lol
as for the article I cant belive how arrogant alonso is! He should not forget that he is that position today at ferrari because of what schumacher has done! If alonso was such a great champ as james allen fantasises him to be, then he would have stayed at renault and brought them to the top!
but no he'd rather jump into a fast car, he'll NEVER be as special and dominant and schuey!


Ferrari vs Renault budget please?

Plus unlimited testing ....


As we saw in 05 testing means NOTHING! and Michelin were clearly the better tire.

On another note dont u just love the biased ruling of the FIA, when schuey parked up at rascasse, he was sent to the back of the grid but when Alonso did it to hamiltion in hungary he was demoted 5 places! great transparency isnt it?!


thats funny comment .... agreed schumacher has won 5 titles for ferrari dont forget he too won titles with them..... agreed he built the team but ferrari is legendary team already .. ... even senna said "he wanted to end his career with ferrari" ..... agreed schumi glorified ferrari more but that doesn't mean one has to nod for everything that ferrari traitor says or does ... fact of the matter is u schumi's fans cannot digest that alonso beat schumi fair n square to the 2 WDC .... i can just take pity ....


"fair and square"??? haha u make me laugh, a mass damper is very "fair and square" isnt it?

if the fia deemed them to be illegal they should have docked ALL their previous points just as they did to Tyrell back in the 80's and another thing, renault used team orders in Shanghai whereas Ferrari chose massa to pit 1st in Turkey which cost schuey the race and therfore the title! "fair and square" huh what a joke


So by your logic Senna is a looser for switching to the faster Williams.


So why then isn't he driving for Virgin or HRT?

He signed for the team who won the championship and who has the best engine in the business!!!


You said it. At least Schumi has the guts to fight a championship in a slow Mercedes. So much was pointed out that Schumacher didnt have much competition and hence went to resurrect Ferrari, yata, yata, yata.

This time round the competition if even fiercer but he still doesnt complain about the Mercedes, does he? I dont think he would ever leave Mercedes to go to a faster Mclaren or Ferrari.

Thats what class is. Not wanting the fastest car but working hard to get it fastest!!! Thats what differentiates Schumi from the rest. Im sorry you dont see it.


Spot On Miles, I think the biggest credit should go to Schumacher. Alonso left Renault for a fast Mclaren and again he left Renault for a fast Ferrari. Jensen, well he is really not much of a champion, so wont say any further. And Hamilton - Well, I dont think he will ever leave Mclaren. So much is being made of how great he is and all. He is good at overtaking becuz in 2009 he was starting with KERS and as brawn mentioned, MClaren were pro-Hamilton for whatever reasons. And right now with the F-ducts, he again has a big advantage. How on earth can that be ever compared to Schumacher's overtaking skills, I will never know.

Finally, Schumacher left Benetton for a slow Ferrari and again he's come back in a slow Mercedes to make it a winner again - That is a sign of a true CHAMPION.

Lastly, to all those comparing Schumacher and Alonso's drives from the back of the field. Please have your facts correct: Alonso has a car that is a second faster than Schumacher. Its a miracle that Schumacher managed to grab the last point after having to overtake Jamie twice whose straight line speed was faster than schumachers!!!!


Hi James. (Pls. feel free not to publish this.) Glad to see you got a break after the McLaren piece. 539 comments. Whew. Just to say from someone who so appreciates your views: I do not know what's in it for you to read so many words from those of us who aren't even participating in F1. I for one would support your making this a paid site. Nominal I would hope. Seems sometimes when forums are free that too many know no bounds. Anyway, it pains me to see folks being disrespectful of one another or, more importantly, not adequately appreciating you and your work. Just my opinion.


Next day, see my post is awaiting moderation, so just a footnote to say I, and I expect most here, expect in daily life to give value in exchange for receiving value, that's all. After your McLaren article and so many posts I thought you might spend more time going thru all that than it takes for an actual race. Just didn't seem respectful of your time. I thought post 49 expressed it well. All the best to you; we're lucky you share all that you do.


Spot on commentary, James. Love it, love it, love it!!!


Great journalist/presenter you are, James. I never got ITV/BBC since 2002 hence never got to watch much of your work before. However, was able to observe a lot recently and I think everybody agrees you are doing a great job!

Just a simple question, do you think Schumacher will ever be able to return to his peak? Is it something fans should hope and wait for? What do you think personally?



he is at his peak already. Just needs a better car, and a little luck to win. In australia he could have taken the victory without the first lap incident. He was overtaking alonso on the outside, to position himself forth behind vettel, webber and massa.


Do you really believe he could have win in a car too slow to overtake Algesuari in STR for 2/3 of the race?


don't underestimate him. They are closer that it seems, and in malaysia, with changing conditions, he will be very dangerous.


Brilliant Michael!!! Chatting with old team mates in Fernando's new digs. Alas Alonso can not do the same at McLaren. I agree with the comment that Ferrari should think twice before letting Michael back in, given the fragile nature of Alonso's ego (go ask McLaren on the thin shell).


Alonso can do the same at Renault - but what does this change? Is it someking of new criteria for driver - how many garages he can visit?


After Brawn's and Fry's reaction to Button visiting Mclaren at the end of last season, are we going to see Schumacher similarly sanctioned and castigated? I think not.

As for no action being taken against Schumacher for apparently ignoring a red flag, it has crossed my mind already this season that the FIA are showing surprising leniency this year. Webber in particular has got away with too much. I don't want to go back to the Mosley era of vindictive, stupid over-governance, but drivers will be wondering just how much they can get away with!


a lot more i hope.


other than the racing this is what i love about F1 😉


i think a bit of this is people wanting to make a bigger story than really exists. whereas i'm sure the two aren't best friends, i really can't see two grown men, as competitive as they are, unable to share the same space. i'm sure alonso just had places he'd rather be, like his own little private room.

as for blocking in qualifying, was i the only one thinking that Q1 was complete chaos!?


I agree john g; Q1 was exceptionally chaotic, I kept expecting a massive rear-end shunt as all were jostling for their 'perfect' laps, pausing on track, trying to see into their side-mirrors etc etc!


Alonso is undoubtedly an amazing talent who has raced wheel to wheel with Schumi many times before and took MS's 'last' championship away from him..

MS is a cool and calculated driver in more ways than in his oh so dominant past.

However as has been so eloquently pointed out, both are ultra-competitive racers who are both capable of playing mind-games and falling over their ego's...

Love this story James, I think we'll see FA & MS in the kitty-litter together at some point..., anyone want to predict who'll win the punch-up??!! 😉


Why is Schumi worried about Alonso?

He seems to have his hands full with Nico Rosberg.

Dosn't every driver want to beat his team mate most of all as they have the same equipment.

I suggest he sorts out Nico before taking on Alonso.

Schumacher is lauded as the complete driver but remember his mistakes when Mike won the world championship twice, stalling on the grid for one. The mistake he made before crashing into Damon.

Hamilton gets criticised for making mistakes but Senna and Schmacher made plenty in their career.

I will remeber Schumacher for being petulant when he didn't get his way and being a blatent cheat.


Re "Why is Schumi worried about Alonso? I suggest he sorts out Nico before taking on Alonso."

Firstly let me list out some universally accepted 'AAA' grade drivers.





et al.

N Rosberg isn't one of them. I don't believe Rosberg at peak ability and car performance will ever defeat Alonso at peak ability and conditions. Rosberg hasn't even shown the promise nor the performance level of a Vettel or Hamilton yet.

We do know for sure, Schumacher at peak ability CAN beat Alonso (and vice-versa). Therefore it makes more sense to concentrate on trying to bring back your own peak ability, because you know once you've done that, Rosberg automatically becomes irrelevant.

Waste your time trying to match Rosberg, in the end you only end up as good as Rosberg. Better to gauge yourself against the top dog, whom Schumacher thinks it is Alonso.


Anthony, you should remember SEVEN WDC's. Because that' what matters. Let me guess, your a Hamilton fan?


"Anthony, you should remember SEVEN WDC’s. Because that’ what matters."

To believe that cheating doesn't matter as long as winning is achieved is a mindset that a psychiatrist would term "sociopathic". I realize that the terms of this blog forbid personal attacks, but I am not attacking a person, I am taking issue with the mindset which would have us believe that winning is all that matters. That is NOT what sport is about.


Well now that is a whole other area of debate. Some people would say that sport is only about winning, especially in the modern era. Anything else is just games.


7 WDC's is in the PAST!!!!

Also achieved by cheating ie lifting floor which everyone who praises MS conveniently forgets.

Just to remind you Nico is faster.


7 WDC's stands FOREVER mate. Nico has had a good run. Once MS gets situated, Nico will be Michael's water boy. It's only a matter of time. The lifting floor that's old, unproven, and in the past. 🙂


Sorry not Mike but Mika!!!!


that michael is using words like 'fun' and 'enjoyable' to describe the weekends is very telling i think.

the only thing the old michael would find fun is winning.


Hahaha, good one! 😀


I thought the interesting aspect of Schumi asking if Ferrari told Alonso to block him was the fact that Schumi should think this likely of Ferrari . . . . is his question a suggestion that Ferrari have done this in the past to other drivers?


what ms really need is a good coffee and a confortable seat at the merc.pit-wall, he's done give nick a chance.


Herman camping out at the Ferrari hospitality trailer is strange, to say the least...but, he's a strange person.

The rest seems to be a non story. As Chris pointed out, Herman only asked Alonso a wasn't a "confrontation". Besides, Herman isn't going to get in anyone's head...his days of intimidation are over. The other drivers might be interested in getting his autograph, though.


Never mind the hostilities between Fernando and Michael, what about the hostility from Darren Heath toward Michael!?

What is *that* all about?!


He must have been 'short' with Darren in the past, certainly don't think he'll be doing any photo-shoots with him in the future!


hehehehe...funny stuff!!


If i was michael i'd spend more time in my own hospitality area, and be more concerned with beating Rosberg.


The media already have the daggers out for Schumi. They are loving the fact he is struggling especially the Italian media.


The problems will be between Alonso & Massa, not with MS the Kaiser I dubt he obtain his old performance.


Alonso said something after the race I found VERY significent. He declared himself 'delighted' with 4th place because the main title rivals were behind him. He mentioned Vettel and Schumacer by name and vaguely referred to 'some others'.

Firstly I found it facinating that he mentioned Schumacer given his recent struggles and less-than-competitive car. At the time I thought it a compliment. After reading James' article I'm not so sure...

I also found it interesting that he seemed to be discounting those who finished in front of him - Jenson and Massa - and that he did NOT mention Hamilton!

My interpretation?

- He sees Vettel as the biggest threat for the title (and was delighted he failed to finish).

- He rates and hates Schumi and he gets extra satisfaction from beating him (and possibly fears him luring ex-colleagues from Ferrari in the future).

- Psychological game of not mentioning Massa and anyway he sees himself as top dog at the team.

- He refuses to mention Hamilton by name. He KNOWS he'll be a threat...

- Jenson - Pah!


I think I heard him mentioning Hamilton as well. As you, I was amused with him not mentioning Massa...


Maybe he didn't mention Hamilton because he doesn't feel he's a threat.


Well.. it could also be that he does not see Massa as a title rival at this stage; rather that it is something between the Ferraris and the Red Bulls... the perfect situation for Alonso and Massa would be to put some distance between them and the other teams and fight it out in the track; Ferrari wins team championship and is 1-2 n driver's championship. I bet Domenicali would sign this now.


I think he sees Hamilton as his major threat with Vettel second.

Redbull won't have the fastest car come the end of the season it'll be either Ferrari or McLaren as this year they are not so far behind from the start and as good as Vettel is he's still very young and will make many mistakes.


he is not making any at the moment, and alonso, schumacher and hamilton did.


Hi James,

What do you think about Schumacher's reaction over Alonso? What can be the main reason?

1.Traditional Alonso hostility, as you explained?

2.Displeasure of Alonso's new situation "the King of Tifosis" what he used to be for years?


James - another great article. I don't always fully agree with your views (but accept you have an insight that is without question far far superior to mine) but your balanced, intelligent and considered writings are a joy.

However, I am going to have to stop reading the public comments to your pieces and making my own contributions.

I used to leave feedback at least weekly. I tried to contribute to the lewis / jenson debate. However this was completely spoilt and overshadowed by those disciples of lewis or jenson, who are seemingly devoid of objective thought and simply wish to provoke a pathetic argument. I say this as a lewis fan who disagreed with your views in your last piece - but fully respected them and wanted to participate in a conversation and enjoy a debate not mindless squabbling.

I shall continue to enjoy your blog only and thank you for this brilliant service. I suppose the comments left by others are the price of your deserved success.


There's no need to get all Greta Garbo.The comments section is a hell of a lot more civilised than the F1 internet forums. It's the lifeblood of the site, not something to be endured.


James, once I heard that in Hungary 2007 Alonso was so angry that he threw his helmet against something in the garage. Do you know whether it really happened?


Maybe. Why it is so important? Alonso is a normal human being....

He also eats...sleeps? Is that true? Yes....I have heard so.....


AlexD, I didn't say it is important. I was curious, that's all.

Alonso always looks calm and I find difficult to picture him throwing things around.

I remember him eating that apple in the press room, sitting by Ron Dennis. That was the only time it gave me the impression he could kill someone.

As I tell you it is out of curiosity. I don't take F1 that seriously. It is only a pass time.

I always say that I only care about my people, my life and Fernando Alonso winning races. 🙂


I think it was in China 2007 after Qualy. He smashed MM motorhome door.Apparently his tyres had the wrong pressure in Q3. British media ignored it.


No they didn't. I remember reading about it.

"wrong tyre pressures" is a driver eupherism used when performance shortfall cannot be explained or a driver cannot comes to terms with being beaten.


By "British media ignored it" I take it you mean the Spanish media made it up, that is usually what happens, or was it just another of Alonso's excuses for a Teammate, let alone a Rookie beating him.

Sorry to see this blog fill with Alonso fans, just turning up when they think they will have something to brag about after two years of near silence. Very tedious to read the constant repetition of slanted views, lies and stupidity.

Hamilton beat Alonso fair and square in 2007, get over it.


Absolutely right.


Alonso has always been petulant - and it is both his weakness and his strength.

In his championship days he used to get the red mist on the track, and at McLaren he did not have the strength of character to mould McLaren to him; his gripes were about things that were his by right. His real complaint was that Hamilton wasn't shackled rather than he needed something extra from the team himself, which never sounded right. Things didn't work out and he let it get to him.

Ultimately, if Massa retains something like an an equal footing with Alonso, Alonso will complain that he has been disadvantaged by not being given the no. 1 status he would have earned if Massa had not been impeding him. Ferrari will end up with the same issues that McLaren had.

I find it interesting that people seem to think at various times the various drivers are the epitome of the perfect character for an F1 driver. It is clear that Hamilton, Schumacher and Alonso all have flaws in their character - but that's what makes it fun.

They all believe they have a right to be champion. Schumacher will have his excuse in not being given the machinery; last year Hamilton and Alonso could reconcile their position the same way - but not this year.


As far as I can remember, in 2007 Alonso didn't complain for not being number 1 at McLaren, but for being number 2.

What kind of double world champion would he be if he didn't complain for that?


Excellent. We need more needle between drivers to spice things up. F1 isn't a love-in after all. They're not here to make friends!


There is also history between Schumi and the Ferrari fridge...

Anyway, I heard Michael still has an open tab at the Ferrari motor home. After winning them so many championships I think it would be unfair to deny him access.

Wasn’t it Damon Hill who said they (Schumi + Hill) could sit happily round a camp fire together whistling the theme tune to Dad’s Army? Or did that actually happen?


How about the theme from "It ain't Half Hot, Mum" ??

Alistair Blevins

I believe it was in a bar (the Log Cabin I think) after the 1996 Japanese Grand Prix when Damon had just clinched the title that the 'Dad's Army' incident occured.

Damon and his entourage starting singing 'Who do you think you are kidding Michael Schumacher' to the tune of 'Dad's Army'.

Michael was there, not sure he joined in though.

I seem to recall it being in a documentary on his championship year.


Ya, and how many more Championships did Damon win after that? 🙂


None as Williams ditched him, JV won the next year in the Williams.

Schumacher won because he had the best car, except one title in the Benetton.


I was there, in the cabin. I can confirm that it happened and Schuey tried to join in until he realised what they were singing. He was pretty sporting about it though


Were you also there for the Ferrari fridge incident? Which if I remember correctly was after one of the early championship wins.

Despite his rather straight faced exterior, MS is as human as the rest of us. Which is a good thing. Even if he didn't always 'get' Barrichello's jokes.

I have also heard surprisingly humorous stories about Ron Dennis from seasons past. So, unless written by JA, perhaps we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover.


It was Suzuka 1996.


Amusing. The more people I see trying to bash Alonso, specially talking about the past, reusing past events in an eternal loop, the more I feel he is really feared. A lot. Kind of trying to demolish his image at any cost if, by chance, he wins again. Sad relife for those...

Very good article James, thanks for that objectivity, extremely rare today.



Sorry, "sad relief" I meant of course 🙂


"Alonso is still the biggest beast in the F1 jungle" PERFECT! Alonso fans will get a high. LOL!


I'll do myself a t-shirt with those words! 🙂

Just kidding. I'm not that cuckoo. Yet.


Never mind all that - what's IN the Ferrari fridge???


We know from last year's Malaysian GP that they have Coke and Magnums in there...


Red Bull ??? 😉


Red Bull, what else.


Naughty mags with Max on the cover.


I don't see Fernando approaching the team-mate scenario in same manner as 2007. He is too intelligent to repeat his mistakes. I really think, he will take it slow and steady to get under Massa's skin.

What do you predict James?


I agree that there's no way Alonso hasn't learnt his lessons from 2007. The ones who constantly keep bleating about Alonso's petulant behaviour are simply HOPING that he does it.

These good people are going to be seriously disappointed as the season goes on, as Alonso's general action/words on track and in the press since he became a Ferrari driver is waaaay different from his admittedly petulant behaviour of earlier years.

He may throw the occasional toy out of the pram, but that's Latin temperament for you.


His mistakes?

Time will clearly show the mistakes were made by Ron/McLaren.


to the outside world, it was all dennis fault, but dip down he knows he has to change his approach if he wants to win again.

He is a mouch more dangerous animal this year.


I don't think we can blame one or two individuals for 2007 debacle. It was a collective failure where everyone, including Fernando, had their share of responsibilities.


Alonso may be the biggest beast.

But the 2007 benchmark against rookie Hamilton showed the world he isn't the best.

People have such short memories and it gets overlooked so many times.


Unless you have a crystal ball and can see into the future towards the end of both of their careers then your comments are pure speculation at best.

Currently Fernando is a double WC and Hamilton is a single WC (thanks to Timo Glock...) so as of right now history will show Fernando is "the best". Nobody knows how this may change over the coming years but in my humble opinion Fernando will win another couple of WC's at least. It will not be easy by any means but it is possible for him to topple Schumacher's record.

Michael is proud of his F1 records - perhaps he is worried that Fernando will overtake him and has come back to try to stop him...


There is no need for a crystal ball when we have 2007.

zero seasons vs. a 6 seasoned man.

The only thing winning more titles will show as that they're team delivered a better car.

There is no better benchmark than driving in an identical car.


"2007 proves absolutely nothing"

Actually it proved everything.

They didn't hire 2 x WDC and pay him millions to only make him look a fool against a rookie who had never raced an F1 car.

It was up to Alonso to stamp the authority on track and I honestly believe he could not cope with Hamilton. He resorted to so many lap 1 do or die moves like Canada 07.


2007 proves absolutely nothing because there are still more questions than answers from that year. Maybe some day someone will tell the full and true story of what went one in McLaren but I firmly believe that Fernando was not given equal opportunities.

It was an outstanding performance from Fernando in 2007 to gather himself together and come through to equal Hamilton's points by the end of the year even with everything working against him. Hamilton had cracked up under pressure by that time and threw away the championship with amateur-hour performances like when he beached it in the gravel in China.

So, as I said, without a crystal ball we can't tell who will win in the end but my money is literally on Fernando. He's quite simply in a different class as a racing driver at present.


The two WDC's to Hamilton's lucky one point win on'08 say differently. Usually the person with more wins is thought of as better. At least in the real world that is. 🙂


One point.

And how many points were taken from Hamilton and given to Massa by the FIA ie Belgium?


As many as were taken away? It makes zero difference. Excuses don't win WDC's mate. Hamilton squeaked into his WDC and LOST in 2007 with a 17 point lead with three races left in the season. Hardly the definition of decisive.


Alonso would say that a championship won against Shumacher is more valuable wont he? Because he's the only one he's ever won against and kind of make him look special. I dont buy it.

Yes Shumi was an excellent driver resorting to quite a few underhand tactics to win his haul with unbelievable assistance from the Naz Mosley and the money hungry Bernie who saw Germany as a gold mine for printing money, but more special or valuable i wouldn't say.


It's clear to me that James Allen believes that Alonso is the best driver in F1 and has done so for several years now, I don't agree with this and I don';t believe Alonso himself really believes it as he knows that in both Hamilton and Vettel that there are two drivers that could beat him given equal equipment.

Of the 3 (my top 3) I think Alonso is most weary of Hamilton and he knows it is only Hamilton that could make the many overtaking moves he did in the last race, pity Vettel was at the front as it would have been good seeing how he compared when moving towards the front.

We'll all see the real Alonso should Massa peg him or even lead him........


alonso is good, there is no question about it, but do you thing prost would had had any problems with massa as a teammate? He would have won not only at baharain, but in melburne as well. Alonso made a mistake at the start, that cost him the victory, and finished behind massa, in a race he should have won. Making life hard not only for himself, but for domenicalli. He wants to give him nº1 status, but finishing 4ºth does not help their case.


Alonso is without doubt the best driver on the grid today.

What makes him great? In his own words consistency! He is like Sebastian Loeb from WRC - consistent, intelligent and utterly relentless. Colin McRae was probably faster in his day but Loeb is a more complete driver, just like Alonso.

Alonso has grown up in the wake of 2007 and is stronger as a result. He will have run-ins with Massa without doubt but I think they will actually make a very good team. Massa might feel that his chances of winning a WC are now reduced but the best thing he can do is keep working with Fernando to improve the car and hope that he can stay close enough to Alonso to challenge him. I have my doubts that this will be possible though.


I do not like Alonso, but I agree. be fair. Really fair and not bias. I do not think that Vettel is as good overtaker as Hamilton or Alonso. If you will study all races last year when Vettel was expected to overtake, he was really poor at this. I think that many people will confirm it. Hamilton? Oh, yes! But Vettel? Not at all.....last year we were very happy to see Vettel so competitive, but were disappointed to see him failing to overtake.


Last time I looked Alonso made as many overtaking moves in Australia as Hamilton. From last place on the grid to P4. That's about 20 cars passed. So I doubt a guy who can do that is worried about the other guy.


I think you'll find that I'm not alone in the view that he is the most complete driver


then he should win the title, because he is the most complete driver in the most complete car. We'll see.


James you might be right but you will also agree that there might just be as many people who think Hamilton is the BEST (not complete) driver 🙂


Yes, he pretty much earned this in hardest possible way.



with all due respect I think the funniest thing in it all is how the media are trying to read big things into nothing (or very little) and how fans tend to fall for these amateur psycho-analysis of drivers.

Now people watch this video about Michael and Fernando AFTER the race. Sure those two guys look like they have just renewed their "hostilities". 😉


Like they messed up in last few seasons, I think once again Ferrari is missing important points. This season will be extremely tight in the end. Someone within the team should really tell Massa that it will be in his best interest to be more concentrated on beating other drivers rather than his teammate.


Hi James,

Long time follower, first time poster.

I tried emailing you at but it failed. Is there another email address that would work?



Thanks K. But you should continue the rant, there is sooooo much material on this one.

For example, everytime Alonso drives to work in his new 458 he's impressed with the Schumi designed interior and tries to copy the setup from the car by contacting (now legally) the mole who has the original blue prints.


For me, the thing with Alonso is this:

At Renault, the team was set up in such a way that they had a clear number 1 and number 2 driver. This I think was because of the fact that Alonso was clearly better than his team mates at Renault. He got used to this.

At McLaren, this wasn't the case. Nor is it the case at Ferrari.

It certainly wouldn't suprise me if it did kick off this year between Alonso and Massa.

James - this blog is superb and gets better. For well written and interesting articles it beats anything else out there on the web.


Well it already 'kicked off' from Hamilton's side, so at least if you find the races boring, you will have something interesting to follow.

All that 'hostility' between drivers the press loves so much to spice up the show and get the spectators in line doesn't really exist. All the drivers respect each other a lot, even if not all of them are friends.

Schumacher coming into the Ferrari garage, and Alonso making a 'dark face'? lol...what a soap opera! Little 'mindgames' are played all the time between the drivers as well.

The important thing is to respect each other on track and most of them- if not all of them- do.


Has anyone surveyed all of the various team’s hospitality areas?

Since I have never been paddock side of the security gates I wouldn't know if hospitality doors are open to all comers or whether there is a VIP only guest list. There is so much black/mirrored glass it’s hard to tell from the outside what’s on the menu.


If Alonso was so much 'the big beast' in F1, then how come he did not out pace Hamilton in 2007? He should have been way ahead of a rookie if he was as good as everyone says he is and NO amount of 'help'from McLaren would have altered that!

Besides two WDC titles in two much faster cars, where everyone sees this untouchable talent I just don't know, all the on track evidence speaks to the contary. He is good, but he is not the best and certainly no all time great. 2007 showed him for who he is and agianst Hamilton now in equal cars there is no way he would win... No way!


I totally agree Peter.

Hamilton was a rookie. He hadn't even raced some of the tracks before. He did not even know the nuance of an F1 car. He did not know much about setup.

Alonso had SIX years of F1 experience while Hamilton had zero. That's no typo.

Yet after 3 or 4th race Hamilton never lost the WDC lead to Alonso, and routinely made Alonso look very ordinary.

Now Hamilton has had 3 years in F1. His learning curve would have been exponential in these years. One can reasonably infer that if in his rookie year Hamilton was that equal to Alonso, surely now Hamilton would surpass Alonso should they again be benchmarked in the same car.

It isn't even fair that Hamilton was compared to Alonso because Alonso had 6 years in F1.


Congrats peter. Uve just entered the guiness book of records as the most wrong a person can be


Peter, if you can't see Alonso's talent then you might want to take off the Hamitlon spec beer goggles your sporting and look at reality.


Oh man, year after year, different mouths, same tedious, repetitive argument... And I thought Alonso's fanboys were sad. Hamilton's are ever worse!

Acording to your view, Alonso was massive in 2007! He was able to match the new real and true legend! Not a rookie, but the best driver- talent-force of nature-never seen before! Can you see it this way?

People change, evolve, think, rethink... Do it. Yes, you (and others) can. But I think you (and others) do not want to change your opinion at all...



"There is a dark look that comes over Alonso’s face at times like that"

So true. He will never be the most "popular" and beloved driver on the track either by the public or the media but that's one of those things that makes him genuine to my eyes. I am a fan, I like that light/dark side of his and I love to see him struggle to keep the lid on. Sometimes he does lose it but I value his capacity of self-control and discipline, so difficult for someone like him. I find him fascinating. After all, don´t we all share that battle to some extent?

I just hope he doesn´t fall for the bait or allow his insecurity (as someone wisely pointed out) off the track to lead him to make mistakes. I hope he can keep his cool and control his ego to his own and his team's benefit focusing on the long run and remembering something about a certain dish tasting better when served cold.

I've got a big alpha male pet and I sure know what happens if we don´t restrain him when our neighbour's one comes for a sniff of our tree.

And not even deliberately....


As much as Michael's driving skill and fighting spirit command respect, it must be said that Alonso has easily been the top F1 driver since winning his 1st title in 2005. He has beaten the Meister twice on equal terms and had he not gone back to Renault (or gone to Ferrari sooner) he would have probably won at least one more title. Regardless, he will win the WDC again this year, as there not only is a better driver in F1, but also there is not a better driver-car combination.


Yes he was top dog for 2 years until Hamilton beat him in his rookie year at McLaren or have you forgotten that? 😉


Lewis has supreme talent. If Alonso had been able to accept/digest that fact early enough in 2007 and focussed more on his driving, he would have beat Lewis and taken his 3rd WDC. But he simply lost the plot as he couldn't digest the fact that a rookie (albiet a very special rookie) could be as good as him, if not even better in some areas.

When he learnt to deal with it, we had those masterful drives from Monza onwards, but it was too late.

Alonso hates being bettered by a fast team mate as much today as he did in 2007. Difference is that he knows to just get on with the job these days. Contrast "happily" tailing Massa for most of last week's race versus his "pitwall swerve" display of Indy 2007.


No I have not forgotten. He had the same points w/ Lewis at the end, and only one less than Kimi. See comments above for more on the 2007 season. I think most people who are not biased agree that Alonso has been and still is the top F1 driver. James himself has said as much.


A strange analysis of Alonso. If he was the top F1 driver in 2007, you have to answer why, in a car that was at least the equal of the Ferrari over the season, he was not able to dominate. Remember that the only reason McLaren didn't win with Hamilton was that they made really stupid mistakes with the last couple of races, not because the car wasn't up to it.

How did McLaren sabotage his first races, say, to put him in a position behind Lewis? The nonsense started after Alonso had already dropped the ball, and the petty stuff like the very deliberate blocking of the McLaren pit was hardly the mark of a master tactician, much more the work of the carparkmeister.

Alonso is excellent, but fallible.


You must be a newcomer to F1 as the other guy I replied to. In 2007 Alonso had to make a very difficult transition to McLaren. Lewis (who I also rate very, very highly) was in the McLaren system for years and was groomed to be the prime driver in that team (as he is today). Still, Alonso only lost the WDC by a single point for reasons that I stated above. You must also remember that a great driver in the fastest car doesn't always win, as has been the case w/ Kimi in terms of not having won the WDC, not once but twice (2003, 2006).

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Have you erased 2006, 2007 and 2008 from your memory?


No I have not. You must be a newcomer to F1. In 2006 he won the WDC. In 2007 he lost the WDC by a single point, and only because the championship was fixed due to the Mclaren spying scandal (to rescue the season, they agreed to give it to Ferrari in exchange for letting the McLaren drivers race on). In 2008 he was in a much lesser car than anyone of the front runners and still won not one but **two** races (granted one was fixed, but still). I am hardly alone when I say that Alonso has been and still is the top driver in F1.


Michael Schumacher is playing mind games indeed.

Nico Rosberg first had to give him the number that had been allocated to him.

Then he had to swap sides in the garage in Bahrain.

All of that is so insignificant. But if the person being targeted doesn't see through it then he may step right into the trap.

As far as I can see Nico Rosberg has not yet stepped into the psychological traps Schumacher has set up for him. I think Nico will be fine as I think he has the kind of personality that he will not curl up but he will talk to others and get it levelled up that way.

I see Fernando Alonso did "curl up" whilst he was at McLaren and that was his downfall in the team. He felt hurt and curled up and at that point Lewis Hamilton had won the psychological war.

I think Alonso is actually quite a fragile person and he will be upset way too easily considering his status in F1. It's quite fascinating actually that such a person who has won so much shows such clear signs of weakness. Michael Schumacher must know that and he is aiming to rattle Alonso. But ironically, I think Schumacher himself is sort of a fragile person himself, too. His former team boss Jean Todt has talked of it. And Sabine Kehm, too. Schumacher appears tough on the surface but it is because he is trying to hide his insecurities.

So, where am I going with this? I think Alonso and Schumacher are quite similar in that regard, both are quite fragile. If you compare them to Kimi Räikkönen then Kimi is the one with the strongest head. Kimi's strength (and weakness) is that he genuinely doesn't care who his team-mate is, and so on. So he will largely be immune to the psychological warfare that will affect the likes of Alonso and Schumacher, or Massa. The downside in that is that Kimi will be more easily "blind-sided" by his team-mate, or team, using dirty politics inside the team, as I believe happened at Ferrari - he got blind-sided by the politics because he was trusting the team a lot and thought they would never do that to him. In a sense he was too relaxed to notice the team was blind-siding him. The more fragile egos of Schumacher and Alonso won't be as relaxed and therefore not as easily blind-sided.

I regard them all highly but comparing their personalities is interesting - there are some really interesting differences between those F1 World Champions. And we love them all for what they are.


Don't know if it was after the race, or after qualification, but they showed this after the race on German TV:
There was a shot of Michael talking to Fernando who was smiling and nodding in a manner that you do when you really don't care what the other person is saying. Then Alonso nodded and turned as if to walk away, thinking that the conversation is over. But Michael continued to talk with the hands gesturing, obviously repeating his story and Alonso's facial expression changed so rapidly - he looked down and nervously moved from one side to the other - if you'd seen this, it looked like he was so pi**ed of he could start shouting or even punching! Then Michael finished, and Alonso looked him, smiled, nodded and said something in a "yeah, whatever you say" manner, tapped Michael on the side and walked away.

Man I just love Fernando for this little things, you clearly see his character in these situations!

Great post James, as always.


I know the war between them is great and it love it as much as anyone. But as has been mentioned ms needs to beat nico first. Ms keeps mentioning that it's fun this fun that, if he keeps coming second to nico the fun will drain away I'm sure. It's not just nico though, it's the doubters he is racing againt as well. I include James in that as well, who keeps banging on about ms's neck. I don't know if ms will gain the fees tenyhs he is lacking atm, he is walking a tight rope that will last a year and if nico is at the finish before him his legend will be be a little tarnished. Great article many thanks


D: he beat Schumacher on 'equals terms' in 2005?

Which equal terms were those? I'd even debate 2006 to be honest given the engine woes Ferrari had that season.


I think the number of responses to this post says it all.

This is what Schumi could bring to the game. As an admirer of the game, I love it.

As far as the topic is concerned I think both are great's and unique in their own way. Anyway time is the best leveler of matters of this nature, so let's leave who win's and who loses until the end of the season.

I would say no matter what the result is, both, in my view will be the winners('Coz they are World Champion's).

And anyone who wants to understand how hard it is to be a world champion should look at Jenson Button's career timeline once, you'd see how hard he tried and how he was unlucky at times.

So here it is to Schumi and Alonso..keep it coming.


Maybe I'm not the best person to point this out, but there seems to be an excess of hysteria about some of James' points about Alonso, Schumacher, Hamilton, and Button.

If a point is made about driver 'x' you don't need to follow that point through to it's extreme extension, like for instance that Alonso is a more complete driver unarguably and forever vs Hamilton/Vettel. Nor is the author of that view "kissing Alonso's buttcheeks".

If you disagree, great- tell us why and on what grounds, give us a credible argument and maybe tell us something we don't know. Save yourself the stress though by assuming a realistic perspective on James and others' views.

Eg. same about Button/Hamilton. The view that Button in Australia demonstrated one skill that Hamilton could also integrate into his game DOESN'T mean that Button is the consumate all-round driver and that Hamilton is the flair and aggression-only guy.


The basis for Alonso's reputation needs to be renewed and reconfirmed.

This means seeing off Massa [not happening on this weekend's evidence] and winning the title for Ferrari this season [uncertain to say the least]....

Meanwhile let's temper all this hype with a nice pinch of salt.



Can you write an article on performance of Hamilton vs Alonso for 2007?

I think alot of people would be interested in your analysis.



I think that has been done to death. It certainly has in the comments section on this site!


Schumacher camping out in the Ferrari garage - now that is cheeky and mind games at its best. Perhaps that was a contributing factor to Alonso making a mistake on the first corner? Schumacher knows no limits.


Schumacher was beaten by the rule change in 05. The team and the tire supplier were not able to provide him with a competitive package.

06 was a gripping season where the advantage seemed to shift from one team to the other almost every week. Alonso proved what a difficult opponent he can be, rarely making the smallest mistake. Schumacher, who was no doubt crushed by the engine failure that ended it for him, was able to collect himself and make the rounds of the garage to show his appreciation to the mechanics and pit crew. Under the circumstances that said a lot to me.

Alonso is obviously still at the peak of his powers as a driver. I like the way he played the team game and made the sensible decision to not take any risks and secure important points for Ferrari in Australia.

Schumacher has driven two solid races without a wobble. He's re-acclimating himself to racing at the top level. It's going to take some more time for him to find that last iota of performance, and the team has to provide him with a bit more from the car.

Regarding where he eats lunch - I don't see any relevance. It's a complete non-story.


Absolutely agree with all the points you raised, Tom. I've grown weary of how many delight in saying FA beat MS in consecutive years while conveniently forgetting how Schumi's car(s) and tires let him down in 2005. The admirable manner in which Michael reacted to and treated his crew after the Suzuka DNF truly defined the man. - Great Post!


Alonso only won his WDCs because of the massive differential in tires in 2005 and 2006...

To me Alonso has done nothing with remembering yet...

He is nowhere near Schuamcher's level of talent and professionalism...


A contrarian view to Allen's here from Martin Brundle:

"My driver of the day is Hamilton. It was a stunning drive by the 25-year-old; his late braking overtaking, pure aggression around the outside of Nico Rosberg at 150mph and raw speed."

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