Paddock reaction to Alonso’s new five year Ferrari deal
Scuderia Ferrari
Paddock reaction to Alonso’s new five year Ferrari deal
Posted By: James Allen  |  19 May 2011   |  6:05 pm GMT  |  125 comments

The news today that Fernando Alonso has signed a new five year contract keeping him with Ferrari until the end of 2016 has been met with an interesting reaction in the Barcelona paddock.

Alonso himself appeared in the press conference and said that the whole process of contract renewal had taken only two weeks from start to finish. His reason for committing the rest of his career to the Scuderia was very clear, “I think the intention is to keep enjoying racing, ” he said. “For sure, I think I’m in the best team possible to fight for World Championships. I think some other teams go up and down. They have good years and bad years. At Ferrari, in the worst season you finish third or second in the World Championship, so this is something that Ferrari can offer to a driver.”

There have been a range of views on this in the paddock this afternoon from drivers and others. There is speculation about what might be linked to the deal, Santander’s long term funding, for example and one wonders what engineers from other teams Alonso might have identified as targets for Ferrari to hire, as team and driver opt for stability and growth.

There was also speculation about whether the contract specified what series Alonso would be racing in with Ferrari, the threat of a breakaway lurking quietly in the background as the negotiations over F1’s commercial future continue.

It is clear that there is quite a statement being made here by Ferrari and there is a political dimension to it as well; it says to Bernie Ecclestone, CVC and the FIA that Ferrari is in control of one of the sport’s leading drivers, another leading F1 asset under its control.

Michael Schumacher was unaware of the news until he was asked about it this afternoon in a press briefing. As a man who had a 10 year love affair with Ferrari, did he feel like he would if another man made a long term commitment to his former girlfriend? He said, “Not really, I believe in continuity for success and I’m sure he feels very comfortable there”.

Lewis Hamilton’s reaction was fascinating; asked if he was sad that this meant he wouldn’t driver for Ferrari he said, “Why not?” He added that he would have no problem racing alongside Alonso again, although he doubted that the feeling was mutual. “I’ll beat him in a different car,” said Alonso’s 2007 McLaren team mate.

Nico Rosberg, whose name is forever being linked with possible deals at all the top teams, was asked whether he could imagine himself committing to a five year deal with a team if the circumstances were right. “I could..” he said, thoughtfully. “But it is a very long time.”

Jenson Button, who is now 31 years old, agreed that five years is a long time when you do not know what is around the corner, “How does he know what he’s going to want to do in five years? That is the thing I can’t believe. Why does he need to sign a five-year contract?” said Button.

“Five years is long. We don’t know what’s going to happen in five years’ time do we? I’m not very good at planning that far into the future.”

Ferrari is, however and the news has been received with rapture in Italy; the team that is always there or thereabouts has secured the driver who is always there or thereabouts.

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This means nothing. Unless the Scuderia makes sweeping changes, Alonso will be the longest serving Ferrari driver without winning anything significant.


I think it’s a real golden era with such quality drivers to converse about. Top three of Hamilton, Alonso Vettel with class acts like Button, Kubica, Rosberg in close attendance.

Keeping Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel in different teams makes for great racing as long as all their teams can get them in cars of near equal performance. It will be very interesting to see Vettel perform without the car advantage that he currently has enjoyed for 18 months.

With a clear performance advantage last season title fight still went the end I don’t think Alonso or Hamilton would have allowed that to happen

Ricardo Consulini

‘I’ll beat him in a different car’. I tryed my best to like Hamilton, but I don’t think I can.

Alright..That’s the mentality a WDC driver should have but, before saying thinks like that, he should make sure he can actually beat the other guy. As far as I can remember..Alonso BEAT him in 2010.


Too bad you failed to understand this very sentence.

“I’ll beat him in a different car” means that he would beat him not only in McLaren who Alonso thought were conspiring against him but in any other team, say, in Ferrari.


I would have thought that an objective survey of knowledgeable F1 fans would place Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel as the three top drivers currently on the grid.

They have relative strengths and weaknesses but it would really be impossible to say any one of them is definitely “the best”, whether it be judged on speed or racecraft.

All one could say is that, of the three, Alonso has more F1 experience and therefore the other two are more likely to improve their strategic thinking and racecraft over the next year or two.

I have a favourite but I enjoy watching all three.


While the WDC is the glamour title, what a team really wants and needs, is the WCC. That’s where the money is for the team and to achieve this you need two drivers who can finish consistently well and bring home the points.

Ferrari do appear to favour the No 1 driver situation and maybe with their great backing they can afford to concentrate more on the driver’s title. It’s certainly this that the Tifosi appreciate most. Most other teams need to consider their finances more.

At the moment, RB and McLaren have the best pairings to get points and I think they’ll always have this in mind when filling their seats.

A final reflection: what a loss Robert K. is to us. Please let him regain his full strength and ability.


+ 1


pert time viewer

history has shown us that contracts in f1 are only as strong as the love between driver and team. However I agree with many on here in that Alonso is prob the most compleat driver on the grid, and not getting younger, so it makes sence for ferrari. I wish them all the best, he seems to be the man to help ferrari back to the top


I have no doubt that Lewis would be perfectly happy to drive in the same team as Alonso or Vettel, for that matter, as long as he were guaranteed equal equipment and service.

We all know that this won’t happen at Ferrari : Alonso will never allow himself to be on equal terms with a top driver again. He just can’t hack it.

This also suits Ferrari who always seem to want one top driver : They need the no 1 driver to give them direction but, more important, the number 2 to give way whenever ordered to step aside to maximise their chance of winning the WDC.


“Alonso will never allow himself to be on equal terms with a top driver again”.

2007 season were not exactly what I would call “equal terms”…


Of course, you’re right about the drivers not being equal :

A double World Champion was spooked by the speed of a rookie driver in his very first season…………….

As far as I am aware, nobody in a position to know has ever accused McLaren of providing Alonso with inferior equipment or incompetent engineers.

A driver of Alonso’s experience should have been able to settle into the team and make at least half of it his own.

Great driver though he is, Alonso’s need to be an outright number one is a weakness not displayed by Vettel, Hamilton or Button.


I think Ferrari made a solid move here, not only do they have one of, if not the best driver on the paddock, this assures that he won’t go elsewhere and become their competition. Not a surprise at all, but what shall be the story is how they will build on Alonso’s longevity with them.


Any idea what the salary is? £25 million a year? £125 for 5 years. Not bad for a Sunday afternoon drive 19 times a year!


Overall, I think it’s a good news, means stability and consistency. But what’s more interesting to me, as James mentioned himself, is whether Alonso is going to race IN F1 or other series, that is, whether Ferrari are really considering the possible breakaway if the engines are 1.6L in 2013. Time will tell, I guess, but I don’t see Alonso racing in a car, different than F1.


A few or your recent posts have hinted at Rosberg and/or his managers attempting to stir up media speculation as to his future with top tier teams. I infer that some may think that the amount of interest from teams is significantly less than reported?


Not really. He’s doing a good job, but the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about, as Oscar Wilde observed.


Parenthetically, some Premier League players might disagree with Oscar on that point!


Ferrari being a Latin team values a “family environment” – something Anglos have trouble understanding due to cultural differences. Alonso is also Latin and matches better with Ferrari than any other driver on the grid. He’s not the fastest driver over one lap – Lewis or Seb are – but is relentless over the course of a season. No team understands longevity better than Ferrari.

The English teams are more transactional and are more than willing to change personnel like investment banks in London. Hamilton is more like a City banker and will drop McLaren if he sees a better deal. Right now, that means Newey. I’m pretty sure Lewis will end up in RBR if RBR decides they can handle a LH/SV pairing. Horner may be unable but Helmut Marko might be. If RBR decides they want Hamilton badly enough – Horner may be sacrificed. He would be more dispensable.

If LH leaves Macca, I see Hulkenberg as a possibility. The only young driver with a success rate in lower formulae comparable to Lewis is Nico H. People seem to be forgetting about him.

Mercedes is going after Di Resta or Hulkenberg after Schumacher. Rosberg might even be a possibility for Ferrari, Macca or RBR if Mercedes does not get competitive.

It would be great to see Kamui in any of the top 3 teams. I think other than Alonso and Hamilton, I see him as the only driver in F1 who currently “drives better than his car.”


Your response seems quite Anglophobic.

It didn’t take Alonso too long to ditch Renault did it and the last time I checked Alonso was not an “Anglo”!

Was there also something “Anglo” in the way Ferrari dispened with Kimi’s services???


“Ferrari being a Latin team values a “family environment” – something Anglos have trouble understanding due to cultural differences.” <- that's quite an interesting opening line! Really? What brings you to that conclusion?


I think that right now only Alonso can halt Vettel’s charge and if Hamilton thinks Alonso’s Prost then he’s been smoking dodgy stuff, Button is more Prost.


Come on Prost is one of the greatest, comparing with Jensen is a bit insulting


Hamilton trying to get into Alonsos head with the response, haha!!


How sad that a story about Alonso turns into YET another Hamilton knocking festival. Why are so many people obsessed by Lewis? I’m afraid some of them need to get over it. He’s a top level driver and he’s not going away any time soon. Their petty whinges are not going to worry him one little bit.

Hamilton must be sick and tired of being asked if/when he will be joining Ferrari. By replying “Why not?”, he’s throwing the question back at the journalist.


It would seem that Lewis is dammed in the eyes of some no matter how he answer’s the provoking questions from journalists seeking a headline.


Sickening isn’t it. He gets to the top on ability alone. He didn’t go to the right school or have plenty of family money to help through his early years.


I thought that JA announced that the personal remarks & ‘hate’ comments about individual drivers were to be srictly moderated.

Well,it doesn’t seem to be working. The bulk of this stuff seems to come from from the Iberian peninsula, unfortunately, although it would not be PC to discuss why.

Most people have a driver they prefer, but this should not mean making unpleasant remarks about any other driver.


Now they just need to get Kamui in the 2nd car and they will be set!


This was a great move for Ferrari, Alonso is an outstanding driver, the best all round on the grid. We just want to see him winning now, it’s up to Ferrari to give him the tools to win.


only problem is Alonso is hitting the age where performance is going backwards slightly but steadily.


Jo, Age is not barrier for alonso

Fernando is the best driver, i have even seen in F1 thus far

Iam not very big fan of ferrari, although i admire them a lot

However when alonso joined ferrari in 2010, i became a huge fan of ferrari

He nearly delivered ferrari the title in his first year with a slower car than RB6

Iam more than 200 % sure ferrari will surely win atleast 4 titles in the bext 5 years and iam praying and wising ferrari should provide him competitive machinery

All this hamilton and vettel jibe’s are rubbish

They are not as good as Alonso is

Ferrari should feel comfortable and relieved now since they have alonso for next five years

Come on Fernando you are always the Best


I’m an Alonso fan, but winning 4 about 5 championships seems impossible at these days with such radical rules changes each 2 or 3 seasons.


In his case I hope there will be no loss in performance. Any drop in physical fitness should be compensated by an increase in mental strength and experience. As long as he is remains highly motivated of course.

Something like Ryan Giggs 😉


Hitting the age? I am not sure man. Michael was very close to at his peak from 30 to 36 and five titles backed it up.


Peak is 27-34 in my view, after that depends on the motivation


I like the way James Allen articles tend to look at things from unique perspectives and look at ‘the bigger picture’ which can only come from years in the F1 world. I found this a fascinating insightful article. The Ferrari/fia/cvc food for thought.

I doubt Lewis should go to RedBull unless the contract requires Newey to stay there. 

I also doubt Alonso would allow Ferrari to let him join him there (how much he would have a say I am unsure of).

Ferrari seem to operate better with a number one driver. Would Vettel fit in better there? No doubt a good driver and getting better but probably not as good an all rounder as Alonso. 

Difficult position for Ferrari too. Easy option would be to keep a Massa/ number 2 driver. 

Also add in Di Resta who definately seems the real deal and Rosberg. Kubica is a good driver but has historically been beaten by Quick Nick.

Or things stay largely as they are.. 


I Just wonder whether there might be a certain well respected tech director joining him next year. Watch this space.


Presumably the contract contains a veto over any possible no. 2 driver….


And hopefully this contract is honoured unlike the contract he signed with Fair uncle Ron.


I don’t believe in a written veto but an oral understanding between them.


is this them officially crowning him as the new Schumacher then? I suppose now they can completely build their team around him and get some continuity going. I’d be most interested to hear Massa’s (honest) opinion, but that’s unlikely for a few years I reckon


What do you want him to say? What do you expect him to say? No driver in F1 will agree that his teammate or any other driver for that matter, is better than them.

But as everyone knows, there are very few ppl who can hold a candle to Alonso, and Massa is not one of them.

In some weird way, its good that the three best drivers on the grid are in 3 separate teams. Hamiltons dream of a ferrari drive might all but be over now, but he is still in a very competitive seat at McLaren. Nico wouldnt complain i am sure.

Vettel is on a high right now and its difficult to feel sorry for his chances.

Ferrari have done the right thing and secured the services of the greatest driver on the grid at the moment. In return, Alonso gets to develop and race for the greatest F1 team in history. Its a perfect combination.


I don’t see Alonso ever wanting a top teammate after what happened to him in ’07… he prefers to call the tower and have Fisi or Massa move over on command. So from that standpoint it is sad Ferrari will be like it was when Schumi called the tune for the next 6 years.


The biggest blow to Alonso in 07 was that Hamilton wasnt considered a “top” teammate yet, he was just a rookie


Was Massa called to move over for him in Malaysia and China?


Sad? I think Ferrari would disagree with that, they seem rather pleased with their trophies.


Hamilton strange declarations


I don’t see why Hamilton said what he said. What is clear is that he’s getting fed up with McLaren relative lack of competitiveness. I remember Hamilton declaring how he wanted to do all his career at Woking, not anymore.

He sees his career through the Senna/Prost prism. He said that he saw Alonso as his Prost but history rarely repeats itself and Vettel is ruining Hamilton’s scenario.

From a simple story with the good (Hamilton) and the bad (Alonso) it turned to be “the good, the bad & the ugly”. And Vettel has been very ugly in Hamilton eyes so far, he is 2 year younger than him and he is very likely to grab 2 titles before him which will put a shade on Hamilton’s achievements. He stripped him of the youngest F1 world champion title. Not only that but Vettel is youngest pole & race winner.

The emotions of China victory were telling of how Hamilton fortunes have fallen recently. He is in a situation where he doesn’t know what he should do to achieve his aspirations of being the best of his era and one of the best of all time.

In that respect, his declaration was either made to annoy Alonso or because he seriously considers Ferrari as a future alternative to McLaren. In that case, Alonso’s contract is a big blow to his aspirations. I don’t see Ferrari putting them in the same garage, they’re not fools.

As thing are shaping up right now with Vettel committed to RBR and Alonso married with Ferrari, Hamilton best choice is to stick with his fiancée and stop flirting with others.

The problem is his new manager who is as close to F1 as Briatore to Ethics.

Wait & see….

P.S : Alonso seems annoyed with Vettel too as he just declared to tom cary (Telegraph) that he sees Hamilton as his main rival in coming years. Alonso doesn’t want to be matched as double world champion. This Vettel is fast becoming “the ugly” of the story.


Completely agree Jo, if Vettel takes another WDC he’ll have won it twice in 3 years of having a car capable of winning it, that’s a good record. Again is a better stat than Hamilton who has thrown it away a couple of times with driver errors and surely would put him as the best young driver on the grid bar none.

The RBR team do have a very fast car but you still have to go out and win races to get championships. It’s also worth noting how unreliable the RBR was until this season, an issue that McLaren haven’t really had for years.

Lewis likes to compare himself to Senna, and fans who perhaps didn’t watch much of Aryton then regurgitate this. Realistically Ayrton was a far harder more focused guy than Lewis will ever be, and the only real similarity was that they both drove/drive for McLaren. Senna was absolutely ruthless, and I mean absolutely. The only drivers I’ve seen who have an ounce of that are Schumacher and Alonso, and they (much like Senna at the time) when performing such ruthless moves get/got a lot of abuse about them.

If I was to suggest an older F1 driver Hamilton reminds me of it would be Nelson Piquet without question, a 3 time WDC I might add, but one who’s sole goal perhaps wasn’t winning as many races and loved a good party with the ladies. He like Hamilton also had a bit of temper when things didn’t go his way and when paired with Mansell the atmosphere was similar to that of when LH was paired with FA.


Great comment, Paul. I found Senna’s focus and intensity almost frightening, which is what made his races such a rivetting spectacle. Hamilton has prodigious talent, but he isn’t in the same league in regard to character and passion. And if he stays in the ‘comfy chair’ of McLaren, he’ll never have any real incentive to develop to his full potential, IMHO.


Alonso as ruthless as Senna? Senna would have imposed himself on Mclaren if he came to them as a two time world champion with a rookie team-mate.


Sadly I know nothing about Piquet besides the bitter season with Mansell.


Totally agree, Hamilton is no Senna and Alonso is better than Prost, but Vettel is fast emerging as the new Schumacher though.


Err, why is it so confusing Jo? Hamilton fears no-one or rather, he would back himself against any driver in the field in equal equipment i.e., he feels he is as good as anyone else in the field (plenty of other drivers feel this way too – Rosberg for one). So if Ferrari said “would you come and drive for us alongside Alonso, Lewis?” Lewis would say “sure”; if the roles were reversed and Lewis was at Ferrari and they asked Alonso to join them, we all know what the answer would be!


Very well put. I love the way RedBull and Vettel have got in the way and screwed up so many F1 narratives.


Interesting view, Lewis was thinking about Senna and Prost and the new Schumacher came along and spoiled the party. History does repeat itself, may be slightly different version.


Posts like that are why I come here 😀


Great stuff Jo!


but not when “you’re doing it again Jo!” 🙂


Is it that Vettel is the “ugly” of the story? Mmm… so Alonso will be what? …

Totally agree about L. Hamilton’s new Hollywood management.


“The problem is his new manager who is as close to F1 as Briatore to Ethics.”

Very good…


As a forever Ferrari fan I wish them to win many races and championships. But! I have a friend who doesn’t think that Ferrari is going to win a championship as long as Alonso is there [mod] A sense of justice….

Who knows…I wish Alonso was different…


I agree with your friend Alex. I was shocked when Alonso was hired by Ferrari, especially considering Alonso’s involvement in the spygate scandal.It was sheer idiocy to hire a driver who had conspired against them.

As an Italian I am honour-bound to support the prancing horse, but I simply can’t bring myself to with Alonso in the team. My friends get upset with me, especially when I jumped in the air when Ferrari cocked it up in last year’s final race.

Maybe I’m wrong…I haven’t met too many who share my views. But until Alonso leaves, I will not support Ferrari. And, evidently, that’s going to be a long time now…


Thanks for sharing. I thought I was the only one. I was hoping to support Ferrari again when Alonso is gone. Now I am trying to like Alonso so wish me good luck with this one.


We shall see. I think that equity of a driver…equity of a person in general is extremely important.

People are mostly hungry for success and as long as Alonso is there to bring glory to Ferrari and fans he will be loved. Question remains though..what is the path people chose to reach success and how many moral rules are broken on the way to achieve it.

We tend to bound the meaning of the truth based on what suits us and in the world we live today there is no single version of the truth. This, however is a fake reality…there is always going to be a single version of truth and there is always going to be a mark on your equity for everything you have done.

How Alonso is going to be remembered? That is the question!


I have a friend who says he doesn’t believe in Santa Claus.


I have a friend who says they will win three with FA 🙂


Hamilton – ‘why not?” What an answer.

It would simply be amazing to see an Englishman at Ferrari.


Prefer to see an Italian

“Englishmen are not good drivers and are viewed as jokes.” Quote by Scotsman Jim Clark.


with 8 english F1 champions (2 scots are excluded) compared to 2 italians (and none since 1953) i know who i would prefer…..


John Surtees? Mike Hawthorn? Peter Collins?


Nigel Mansell had a go in a red car. Even if he gave Prost and the Scuderia some troubles in 1990, in Italy he was highly, highly rated and still remembered as one of the greatest. Hungary 1989, enough said. Nationality is not a problem, as far as it’s a great driver.


Il Leone…


Indeed he was! And Ferrari was (indirectly) considered to be the FIA’s victim by certain journalists and fans at that time.

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