Alonso: Life at Ferrari better without Schumacher
Scuderia Ferrari
Alonso: Life at Ferrari better without Schumacher
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 May 2010   |  6:48 pm GMT  |  106 comments

Fernando Alonso has been speaking about life at Ferrari in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. The Spaniard has claimed Michael Schumacher’s decision to turn his back on Ferrari in favour of a return to Formula 1 with Mercedes GP has helped him settle in more quickly with Italian team.

Alonso: Feels Schumacher's absence makes more room for him (Darren Heath)


Alonso, who won the season opener in Bahrain and currently lies third in the championship with 49 points, is clearly enjoying competing at the front again after spending two relatively uncompetitive seasons at Renault and feels the absence of Schumacher, both as a driver and Ferrari team consultant, has helped the atmosphere.

“Now, maybe, we’re a little freer,” Alonso told the Corriere.

When asked about whether life at Ferrari was as he imagined he said, “No, it’s different. It’s even better. I expected to come to the strongest team, being able to benefit from the potential. But Ferrari is much more: it’s a passion, a philosophy, a way of life. I’m contaminated by this emotion.”

Ferrari were disappointed by Schumacher’s decision to leave them and discard all the brand value they had built together in favour of a new programme with Mercedes, for whom he will advertise and promote competing road cars. It is easy to see how this would work in Alonso’s favour, far more than if he had come in to a team where Schumacher was still a consultant, especially given their history.

So far this season, Red Bull has looked like the fastest car in terms of outright pace, with pole in each of the four races, however Alonso still believes Ferrari are the team to beat in the race for the championship.

“Red Bull is stronger in the qualifying and they are very fast; but we can catch up in the race,” he said. “McLaren knows how to develop its cars very fast, but we’re not joking either. Ferrari favourite for the championship.”

The relationship between Alonso and team-mate Felipe Massa will be closely monitored in Spain next weekend after Alonso pulled an audacious move on the Brazilian in the pitlane at the Chinese Grand Prix. It is bound to draw a reaction on the track from Massa, who has seemed sub par in the opening part of the season. He knows that he needs to raise his game and maybe that move will be the trigger for him to ‘get angry’ and take the fight to Alonso. I suspect it will. However Alonso is adamant the two have a good working relationship.

“Felipe and I are complementary,” he said. “While I’m missing something in the corners he has, while I am faster in some sections. Learning from each other is a secret. Who could create problems? [Jenson] Button and [Lewis] Hamilton.”

But when asked if he would repeat the move on Massa if presented with the opportunity again, Alonso stoked the fire saying: “Absolutely yes.”

And you know he means it. It was ruthless, but it was also the move of a champion.

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1

Alonso will be hit by nemesis soon enough. His arrogance will finally destroy him

2

Some of you cry for ‘good old fashioned racing’ but it seems as along as it isnt alonso whos doing it.

Hamilton: Tough, ruthless, selfish = Racer

Alonso: Tough, ruthless, selfish = Cheat

I would rather listen to Alonso say it like it is than listen to Schumacher bare face lie during his many interviews were he was handed victory or pushed rivals off track. MS was given many presents like in 00, 01 02 03 when montoya was getting drive thru’s just for being close to him. The many mid season rule changes like 03 when tyre rule was changed with 3 races to go and 06 with mass damper. Even this year with his childish number request, chassis change etc..He was still one of the best but would have been on the same pedestal with senna and prost if he ‘won’ 3 wdc and wasnt given the other 4. Villeneuve said when michael retired that he will never be spoken of like the other greats and people laughed but i think he was right. But thats just me, whatever you can stomach i suppose.

3

Alonso will never be remembered as a “great” champion, just a cheating, whining baby. He’ll end his career in disgrace.

4

Massa has been given the green light by Alonso, to push him off the track, if tries anything like that again…

Massa will get Alonso – revenge will be a high priority…

An intelligent driver would have calmed the situation, instead Alonso, has told his teammate, I will cheat again… so do what you can to stop me…

5

How about Vettel’s payback to Hamilton?

Hamilton did the exact pitlane pass on Vettel that Alonso did to Massa. However, I do not see any concerns for Vettel’s “revenge”.

Is Vettel going to show Hamilton who is boss? Is he going to crash against Hamilton to prevent a pass? I doubt it and I also doubt Massa will do something that stupid as well.

6

I think he got his revenge when he squeezed Hamilton while exiting the pitlane.. he almost had to park in the sauber garage 😛

i couldn’t stop shouting and jumping with joy ……

7

I hope to see more of these types of moves from Fernando Alonso as he tries to move himself to the third drivers world chamionship that many of us feel he richly deserves.

He strikes me as one of the most inventive and self expressive drivers on the track and a joy to watch when he’s on song: the exuberant, arcing overtaking of Schumacher in Japan, plonking two wheels on the grass to overtake Webber in 2006 (I think) which I believe, James, you greeted with a shout of “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life!”. The inexorable advance on Massa in Germany in 2007 followed by the famously knuckle- whitening pass in the final laps (which in turn led to the famous row in front of the cameras between the two), the swerve of frustration towards the pit bench Mclaren team in Canada in the same year, even the infamous sitting in front of Hamilton, supposedly arguing with his engineer over tyres in Hungary, as payback for Hamilton’s refusal to obey team orders, has its funny side and is,in its way, ingenious.

There has also been the celebratory dancing on the car (deemed ‘undignified’ by Bernie), the original singing of “We are the champions”, the thumping of his Renault car with his fists when, again, it failed him (2004) and the little pat of farewell he gave a similarly unco-operative Renault at the end of 2009.

Just as an antidote to some of the very unpleasant stuff written above (e.g.’parasite” ???) I will happily raise a glass to the future success of one of the most entertaining, original and talented drivers on the track today and hope to see a lot more of his inspired driving in a worthy car for a change.

If that means being disobliging to Massa, or anyone else who appears to have forgotten momentarily that they’re in a race, (we Brits are only too happy to appaud it in Hamilton) then so be it!

8

And I will join you in raising that glass! Very well put.

9

He’s not a gentleman racer, just a thug.

10

VicWeir, I will happily raise my glass too, well said! Cheers!!

11

Mr G is right, Alonso will connect with the italians with his ability to speak the lingo and the fact that he understands the culture of Ferrari. I lived in Italy for 6 yrs. Schumacher did not even speak the language. He was popular because he won. However this brings up the point that all seem to avoid but will go along way to solving all the debates we have. Drivers in equal equipment. We better get used to the fact that its a utopia. The car to driver ratio is probably 70/30 in favour of the equipment. We all evoke arguments on the premise that it 70/30 in favour of the driver. Thats just wrong Schu would be nothing without ferrari engineers and the team he had (todt brawn de montezemolo)its the same reason why alonso has been nowhere for 2 years- a crap renault, and the same reason why schu is dying out there-a crap mercedes. alonso is stoked now because he has a decent car and schu blew the play by thinking he could roll out the same with mercedes. Schu needs to understand that it was not ALL him at ferrari. He was great but he had good help. Alonso will just do the same thing now all over again but he has a poorer mgmt team to work with …

12

The reason why Schumacher is loved is because he won Ferrari a drivers title after 21 years of hurt. Now why on earth would they want a man who used stolen Ferrari data with their mostly deadly rivals. If Ferrari can hire Alonso, then Nigel Stephney should be welcomed back to Maranello, no? Otherwise its all hypocrisy, isn’t it. Ferrari are in a stronger position then they ever were back in 96. The management are the direct undestudies of the “dream” team so I don’t see how they are weaker. If Alonso loses the title this season, then he’s nothing but a failure.

13

Sorry but I think some of you are getting what Alonsa saying wrong.

I am Italian and very passionate about motorsport and now I live in the UK.

For an Italian loving motorsport, Ferrari is a way of life.

If there is any testing in Fiorano, hundreds of Ferrari fan will go to a bridge near the test track, park their cars and watch the car goin around, I have been there.

In the days when F1 testing was free, every year before the season, hundreds of people will stand on the bridge to listen to the new F1 car, then they will go to the local bar and spend days discussing about if the car is competitive and what will the season bring.

Now Alonso is a Spanish and understand what Ferrari means to the people of Maranello, Modena and the surrounding area.

It is a cult over there and I think James knows all about this.

So we shouldn’t judge comments made by Alonso without the knowledge of what the reality is and believe me Maranello is something else if you are talking about F1.

14

Regarding the audacious pass Alonso made on Massa entering the pitlane, Massa himself said it was his mistake and that if the roles were reversed, he would have made the same move on Alonso. (Joe Saward reported this on his blog. He had been on the same flight as Massa and other F1 people returning to Europe.)

15
marques de portago

he is better than massa, but he is not a match to hamilton on equal equipment.

16

Honestly Alonso must be such a nightmare to have anything to do with, but he sure is the sort of guy that makes F1 worth watching.

I agree with you James, that move in the pit-lane was the move of a champion. I think it’s an interesting insight into the human psyche as to how far one will go to win.

It seems to be more than a coincidence that all the world champs on the grid (except Button) have employed incredibly dubious tactics to win on more than one occasion. They all seem to flout the rules, push the boundaries etc. more than any of the other drivers.

17

I disagree with this “move of a champion” statement, beat the man on the track, overtake him, out race him, out qualify him…..

Crashing into him or forcing him into the gravel in the pit lane etc is not…manly, parking in front of him in the pit box to scupper his chances to get new tire’s for quali, its not …..manly.

Mansell, now he was manly and he only won one championship – and non of this off track nonesense – Thats how real champions do it, on the track.

18

Hey, you should rememeber also all those manly maneuvers that Hamilton’s team (it including Anthony and Ron) did to out race Alonso that season. Was not the team boss who stated on the radio that infamous “Louis, we are racing Alonso, don’t forget it!” Just to keep it fairly and balanced.

19

If, as some people here suggest, Massa takes Alonso off the track to avoid being overtaken, then that would be the last thing Massa does in Ferrari.

Massa knows that, and he earns more money in Ferrari than any of the Alonso haters together. That’s why he wont do such stupidity. Keep dreaming.

Ferrari knows where they put there money, not like Ron Denis.

20

Alonso needs to tread warily given the highly political atmosphere that always exists at Ferrari. If Massa can gain the upper hand over Alonso in the championship then Alonso will have to be a good team player. After the McLaren debacle I’m not sure whether he has learned that lesson.

21

Looks like Alonso brought his 6/10th with him to Ferrari and isn’t sharing them with Massa.

For Massa to pay Alonso back, first he has to catch him, or maybe he can wait to be lapped.

22

lol… i was praying that nobody mentioned the “6/10th” and I would be the first one to do so… lol… THE “6/10th”

23

I can understand Alonso not wanting a 7 times World Champ around for ANY reason, but every comment Alonso makes since his arrival at Ferrari seems contrived to make him a part of the fabric of Ferrari – I stress the “contrived” as nothing seems genuine or comes from truthful passion. Whilst I can understand Alonso wanting to become No 1. ( If he hasn’t done this already !! ) I realise that it’s part of what MUST be expected from a top line competitor but I don’t have to believe his self hype or him when he’s shouting how Ferrari’s a wonderful team. ( Hmmmm … they have 6 engines all under control … Yeah Right ! )

24

And here we go !!! He must not forget the fact that he is walking on the path that Schumacher and the dream team created. Schumacher didn’t join Ferrari because they were the strongest team. He joined to turn the team around unlike Alonso who was singing exact same tune about Maclaren 4 years ago.

25

What a nasty [mod] little man Alonso truly is, everybody is looking forward to seeing Massa dealing out some rough justice very soon.

He sounds rattled, suffering the realisation that in 2010 he is very likely to be beaten by Button, Hamilton and Vettel. Personally I really hope Massa beats him as well and look forward to hearing how he has suddenly discovered a passionate lifelong attraction to Silver and Blue and sugary Energy Drinks.

26

I feel that it is absurd to question Alonso’s quality as a pilot. He is solid, consistent, fast and have the shark instinct that I used to love so much in Ayrton Senna.

To me, the problem with Alonso is himself as a competitor. He rot the environment in McLaren when a rookie made him look ridiculous, he fed the spaniard press and let it go ahead with a shameful racist-stained campaign against Hamilton, and went back to Renault to plan with Briatore how to benefit from a programmed crash from Piquet.

As a pilot Alonso already gave us (me) great moments on the track. But to me, for the sport as a whole that little man is a disgrace.

27

Consistent? Please…. last time I checked he messed up 3 or 4 starts and has been spinning on the track. Felipe is the more consistent one of them, bringing in points.

It’s weird how this ‘consistency’ is still linked with Alonso as well as his marvellous job as a car developer. He did wonders with Renault, didn’t he?

A big mouth, bragging and acting like he is the only one on the track and now he has his best friend Flavio in the papers telling how Ferrari needs to make him driver number 1.

Excuse me for not being impressed with him.

28

“he fed the spaniard press and let it go ahead with a shameful racist-stained campaign against Hamilton”

To say this is to take way too much for granted. Don’t buy all Briton journo stories, my dear. 90% of the time they are more chauvinist than the Spanish ones.

29

I agree. For what I heard those people in Barcelona who painted their face in black, did so only to make a joke: that even Hamilton’s family were among Alonso’s fans. Then British papers blow everything out of proportion.

Why should Alonso step into that stupid game?

30

Je, je, so Alonso is now the brains behind the allegedly racist behaviour of a few fans in Barcelona. As we say in Spain: sooner or later someone is going to come up with the idea that Alonso was the bull who killed Manolete*.

* Obviously a famous bullfighter killed in the arena.

31

No, I am NOT saying that he was “the brain behind” that shameful campaign. No: I am saying that “he let it go ahead”. He NEVER said ONE WORD to stop it and used it to reinforce his position inside McLaren. He tried to benefit from a more than questionable trend, and that (in my opinion, of course) was a shameful behavior.

32

When you say “everybody”, don’t count on me. 😉

33

I think that Ferrari made the best move when the hired Alanso . I couldnt wait and so far am pleased with his progress. He is by far the best driver there and I get the impression that unlike Massa and KR he is making the team his own wich is a good thing because it gives the team direction , he is a leader and thats exactly what ferrari need , its something that Massa , Kimi and dare I say Domicelli cant offer Ferrari.Sure he comes across as arrogant and as far as him talking up the team I believe its all good for the team as it can only boost moral. All in all I think he has grown , and is doing a great job concidering its his 1st year there and if he wins this years title it wont be by fluke like Kimi did

34

what exactly do you mean kimi won the title by fluke you have to look at the season as a whole and not the final day and p.s kimi won the most races in the championship as well

35

I pesonally think that because of spygate , it was important that Ferrari win at all costs , I mean could you imagine the outrage if mac won with a car that had been develloped with ferrari dna come on they had to let kimi win for the sake of the sport.

36

I think you have your facts wrong on that they didnt let him win he actually won the races and had he not had problem in the first half of the season it would have been very fine and also he was the strongest competitor in the second half of the season scoring the most points.

37

Four words for Alonso: SHUT UP AND DRIVE

38

Wow!, so next time he should ask for your permission to be interviewed, right?

It amazes me how some people will criticize Alonso (or anyone else they don’t like) whatever he says, if you hate him just don’t read the interview…

39

FEAR is the main issue for those who don’t like Alonso. But he brings excitement to F1 FOR SURE! Come Spain we’ll know if Ferrari’s engine problem has been solved, if so Nando will dominate.

40

I like his comments, like others said, colorful. I even like the controversy he generates! F1 needs more Alonsos and Hamiltons and less corporate robots. Actually most of the drivers on the top teams are nice, this is going to be a year to remember…

41

You are right. I don’t like Fernando much but we don’t want any more PR drivers full of corporate mumbojumbo.

On a second bite at the cherry so far as Felipe is concerned – he may well have been caught napping on this occasion but – if something like the same situation occurs again – then don’t give way and if Fernando doesn’t back off we will see what we will see Felipe!!

42

James,

I always felt Michaels presence at Ferrari as a consultant unsettled Raikkonen, even from day one. He was tutoring Massa, Luca and everyone at Maranello loved him, he was a legend and was really beyond reproach. I couldn’t understand how Ferrari allowed this to happen given how much they were paying Kimi. What do you think?

43

alonso is full of it. first off, ferrari was ALREADY moving MS to the road cars division and out of the f1 consulting role because the primadonna couldn’t handle someone with more clout than him. So fernando, nothing would have been any different. Secondly, MS turned HIS back on ferrari? what a load. they forced him out early for massa and made him leave f1 consulting for alonso’s fragile ego. who turned their back on whom? the two best cars in the field aren’t taking advantage early on and macca and mercedes are 1-2 in the WDC even though they are behind in terms of performance. alonso and his weak engine won’t be winning anything this year. sorry amigo.

44
Robert Higginbotham

I think it was Raikkonen rather than Massa who Schumacher was pushed aside for.

45

I thought kimi had a contract in place. If MS stayed, it would have been massa that was moved either to 3rd seat or not renewed. I thought i had read somewhere that while he felt burnt out, MS stepped aside to ensure massa’s seat because of their friendship.

46

I don’t get all this negativity towards Alonso. Massa has failed miserably to match his speed so far and has stymied FA’s progress in two races. No wonder Alonso forced his way by.

I like Massa but he can be such a baby some times. He seems streched in terms of capacity and seems overly reliant on his engineer. The bromance thing they have going on is quite bizarre…

47

Massa has a relationship with his engineer which works for him, as long as it delivers results there is nothing wrong with it. Alonso is the attention seeking cry baby. We all saw that at McLaren

48
marques de portago

his self confidence is one of his strongest points. Kimi had some problems when schumi was around in his debut year. Let’s see how everything unfolds.

49

Don’t you think F1 is more exciting with drivers like this?

Give him a chance folks, no matter what he says it will never be good enough for some fans as I see

50

ha ha you have a point! I don’t like him but F1 would be worse off without him!

Every pantomime needs a pantomime villain!

51

F1 doesn’t need characters like him. F1 will breathe with fairness when he leaves.

52

He’s hardly the only driver to have had… questionable altercations in F1. If F1 should breathe in fairness, they’d have to get rid a lot more drivers than just him. And team bosses too. I’m not meaning to offend or anything, just putting forward my opinion.

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