The fight for the right to be a three times world champion
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Oct 2012   |  7:33 am GMT  |  355 comments

At the end of this season we know that Formula 1 will have a new three-times world champion; either Sebastian Vettel or Fernando Alonso will win this championship and with it will acquire the mythical status of drivers like Ayrton Senna and Sir Jackie Stewart of being a triple world champion.

Becoming a three-times champion means being considered one of the “greats” of this sport.

Fans at present are debating who is more worthy of winning the title; Alonso has had an extraordinary year dragging results out of a less competitive car, but Vettel kept notching up the points and stayed patient early on when the Red Bull was struggling, then worked with his team to bring the car up to the dominant level it now enjoys. His part in that cannot be underestimated, even if Alonso and many fans dismiss it as all Adrian Newey’s work.

But it’s worth pausing for a second to reflect on the value of three world titles, because it is a very special thing in our sport, a remarkable threshold which few have crossed and as a result there is far more at stake for both drivers in the next few weeks than simply winning the 2012 World Championship.


In Singapore I spoke to Alonso about this subject and he confirmed that the main goal of his career is to become a three times champion, like Senna. Lewis Hamilton has said the same thing in the past and he is now trying something different to try to make that happen, although it looks like he may have to bide his time. I think the fact that it matches Senna’s achievement makes it so attractive for the current generation.

There is therefore a huge value for both contenders riding on the outcome of this season. For Alonso it feels slightly more desperate than for Vettel; the chance was there but it’s slipping away now. Red Bull has had a significant performance advantage since Singapore and the 100 points scored by Vettel in Asia these last four rounds has knocked Alonso down onto the canvas, changed the face of the championship.

Although Alonso talks about being 100% certain he will win and the margin of 13 points with 75 to play for suggests that it is still all to play for, Vettel’s task is easier; he has 13 points lead over Alonso, so he just needs to increase that by another 12 or 13 over the next two races and he will be champion in Austin. Alonso’s best chance will come at Interlagos, but it may be too late by then. The Ferrari driver needs a win either in Abu Dhabi or Austin and with a car which is not capable of matching Red Bull’s qualifying performance, let alone surpassing it, that will be very tough indeed.

The Ferrari was half a second behind the Red Bull in qualifying in India, although it looks like Alonso may have let slip a couple of tenths, so third may have been there for the taking, which is where the rumours of a row with Pat Fry have emerged from. The Englishman said after qualifying, “We needed to be perfect today and we weren’t.” While both he and Stefano Domenicali said that the target had been the second row of the grid.

The new diffuser on Alonso’s car only last weekend was a good step and there clearly was some frustration that they didn’t get everything out of it. But they cannot really blame Alonso, who has made the car look better than it was on countless occasions this season.

Over the weekend Alonso made reference to fighting not just Vettel, but Adrian Newey for the championship, “now we are fighting against Newey and at the moment we cannot match him,” he said.


That has always been the case for drivers not sitting in a Newey car during one of his “hot” spells. Michael Schumacher raced against Newey in the 1990s, before the design genius had a quiet spell in his later McLaren years in the 2000s, allowing Ferrari to dominate.

Now Newey is fully on song again and the formidable team of engineers around him is working perfectly together to give Vettel the car to go out and do what he does best; claim pole, make a clean start, get clear of the DRS zone, build a gap, manage the gap, win the race.

Alonso’s race pace on both the hard and soft tyres was strong on Sunday and if he had been able to start the race on row two with the mood he was in for racing, he might well have been able to challenge Vettel in the opening exchanges, but the Red Bull still had something in hand.

Ferrari has wanted for qualifying pace all season, so suddenly finding it now is going to be difficult.

“We are not fast enough, especially on Saturday, but we can improve the situation in Abu Dhabi or USA. I think we need to bring some new parts to Abu Dhabi and hopefully improve a little bit the competitiveness of the car and get closer to Red Bulls on Saturday and hopefully Sunday as well,” Alonso said.

“There are three races remaining and the championship is the main target. We need to recover some points. It would be nice to finish in front of Seb there and if we win even better. For that we need to make a step forward as at the moment we are not able to win.”

After Sunday’s race Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali’s words sounded like those of a competitor who knows he’s got little chance, but isn’t yet going to admit defeat, “It is clear at the moment that Red Bull has a better car,” he said. “But what can we say? We cannot cry. We need to work hard, full stop. By saying that they are stronger we don’t have to change the approach we keep in house.

“I have said to my team, ‘Listen, in 1982 in the World Cup of football, our team (Italy) was not the strongest, but we won the title.’ We have the luxury of having Fernando with us, who is the Number One driver, so it is something we will do and fight up until the end.”

And at the end one of them will become a three times world champion and a legend of the sport.

For all the latest news in the build up to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, click HERE

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1

I think Lewis has settled this argument for everyone:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/20192741

2

….. which is also an indication that F1 is more than sports. It is business, big business. Due to the financial crisis names as Honda, Toyota and BMW left the scene, a scheduled IPO in Singapore got postponed…..

And so while we, ordinary fans here are discussing abt. the current fight of the WDC 2012, other people think and act in totally different frames and especially digits.

One can´t believe that Greece seems to plan a F1 track, while the Nürburgring might not be able to host the 2013 race.

Sorry, but F1 is after all still a $$$ ruled occupation……

3

Two key moments of Vettl that darken imho his worthiness of such a title :

1. Turkey 2010.

2. Monza 2012.

Mano a mano Alonso never pulled that number, not even in Abu Dhabi 2010.

But ramming your way through -Ben Hur style- seems a proven german system and good for 7 titles ….

4

It seems some of the relevant factors are forgotten here:

1. The F2012 was a piece of sh… at season start.

2. The RB8 was fast, it was illegaly fast more than once. No DSQ …..

3. Alonso had 2 “strange” DNF which robbed him abt. 35 points. His lead would be abt. 20 points now without those ….

4. Alonso – Scuderia manage to fight despite their poor F2012 for the title.

5. Alonso in the RB8 and the WDC would have been decided by halfway season. RBR – Vettel and Webber just delivered a poor job so far.

The most relevant three :

6. Alonso paid heavily for his Mc Laren and Renault “troubles”. At least 2 wasted years and one title at Scuderia, but he fought his way back to the top and improved his image.

7. Over 80% in the paddock agrees today that Alonso is the best driver on the grid.

8. Alonso made the racing season 2012 alive, whereas Vettel just enjoys decisive §§§, Newey and BE back up.

=> The WDC should go to the best driver of the season. A triple title should go to a very special driver worthy to join legends as Sir Jackie Stewart or Ayrton Senna da Silva (RIP).

So the WCC may go to RBR again, but imho only Fernando Alonso deserves fully this 3rd WDC in Brasil. The real Red Bull will win.

5

Good post senninha

Your comments makes a complete sense

Oh God This F2012 is simply a RED tractor, whereas alonso has performed beyond excellence and imagination

Alonso Deserves the 2012 WDC

BRAVO alonso

6

Fernando alonso all the way deserves 2012 WDC

Bravo Alonso

Alonso made the 2012 season a interesting and meaningful one to watch

Thank you Fernando

7

I would have to agree Senna was very special, but these are different times with cars so aerodynamically dependant. I actually think Hamilton is the closest to Senna in style, but silly tyres, and second rate aero can nullify a naturally gifted style. I also have not forgotten the stunt Vettel pulled on Webber which was more akin to some of Schumachers controversial moves. In the past Alonso has personally not handled himself so well, but on the track he is fair.

8

It’s easy to see why people don’t value the Vettel years as highly (or the dominant Schumacher years for that matter), looking at the bigger picture, going back to 2001:

2001-2004- Ferrari domination. Championships = devalued.

2005-2008- Golden period. No one-car domination. Championships = Extra Value

2009- Brawn half season domination. Championship = half value

2010*-2012- Red Bull domination. Championships devalued.

*The 2010 Championship was spiced up by Red Bull’s slightly ’05 Mclaren reliability. But they sorted their act out in time. So perhaps 2010 gets full value for Seb.

9

2005 Renault introduced the tuned mass damper. They benefitted from early adoption during 2006 until it was banned. Much like Brawns double diffusor.

10

In all fairness to Alonso, I think he actually said he was 100% sure he would be in contention to win the championship until the very end.

That said I only read the Autosport report…

11

The great Fernando Alonso, the one who always goes on about how poor his car is. The great Fernando Alonso, the one who insists on number one status in a team or cries about it. The first time he had a competitive team mate it was a rookie Lewis Hamilton who wouldn’t back down, wouldn’t move over, and beat him. What did he do? He changed teams rather than face up to Hamilton in the same car the following year.

12

I think F1 has changed so much in the last 20 years that it is largely incomparable in terms of how many title wins each driver has. Careers tend to be much longer, the risks are much less and the technical restrictions these days make it much harder to break periods of dominance.

People thought Schumacher’s 7 titles would take ages to repeat. I predict we will have one or two drivers also at that level within 10 to 15 years.

It is nice to get all misty eyed and want certain drivers to match Senna’s record, but it was achieved in a far different era where the criteria for success was at a completely different level.

13

Im Sorry, Alonso is a great driver but please do not compare him to Senna. I know they’ve won the same titles, but Senna is the greatest of all time. Statistically yes but in my opinion NO!

14

You know, all we here who posting comments about whatever subject can`t do much about the outcome of the championships. We can only assume that this or that guy thinks this or that way and deserves this or that.

If you blow a candle out in your home, nobody will not know about that never. That`s something similar here posting comments, hoping that it changes something. No. But i will just hope that all this manipulation that is going on right now in F1,- tires, rule changes, drs, kers, different penalties god knows in what reasons, and so on, because sitting in my home, i suerly miss most of them anyway- does not hurt people, who really are capebel challenging at front. And i mean people who are sitting in top cars.

15
Andrew Flemington

Most of you are missing the BIG picture, including the so called experts.!!

The F1 playing field has never been so level as it is today. Yes Adrian is a great designer, but Vettel & Webber are driving the cars. You didn’t hear them critisising their team at the begining of the season when Adrian was at a loss to catch the BIG two teams. What RBR has done in it’s short existance is remarkable but Vettel & Webber have played a large part in their success.

I wonder what you Adrian worshipers & Vettel haters will be saying when Vettel is winning his 7th championship in a McLren or a Ferrari.???

Not to mention your underestimation of Webber, who has remained close to the performance of the greatest driver F1 has seen since the death of Ayrton Senna.

Please stick around for a few years so you can admit you were wrong and appologise.!!

16

Alonso’s words are interesting: his team is fighting Newey and Vettel. Actually that is true even with RedBull, who is fighting Alonso and Pat Fry. Only difference is RB is winning and Ferrari is not.

I support Vettel all the way. He has such a great personality, fantastic role model, underneath is a very competitively sportsman with wisdom well beyond his age and youthful appearance.

Alonso is a very manipulative politician. The way he made Vettel get a penalty in Monza. How he tries to downplay continuously with the car’s performance. Moreover, he complains too much. And he is not those genuine fast drivers. He is great at collecting points but not purple time sectors.

17

Champions, please excuse the corrector

18

One of the big expectations of this year was that there were six world champiñón on the grid. Vettel is winning and the people dismiss that, I can not understand that, never in the F1 history this was happening, please respect Vettel he is one of the greatest driver in history and he is showing it this year.

19

Who deserves to be a triple world champion?

In my opinion simple “Alonso” hands down.

Why?

Because HE IS THE BEST, AND HAS BEEN THE BEST FOR A FEW YEARS, simple.

But if only it was that simple, as its not. I dont rate Vettel very highly, he does have the talent, but talk about being in the right place at the right time. Its bad enough he is a double, but a triple!

I am no Alonso fan at all, but the fact that he should already be a triple and maybe more, when he is stuck on 2 then this kid breezes in and claims 3 on the bounce, that has got to hurt. I remember the other year, something along the lines that “Hamilton” wanted to be a double before “Vettel”, and “Alonso” wanted to be a triple before “Vettel” and it looks like he will trump them both as there is no question that HE WILL WIN THIS YEAR.

I would like to finish off by saying that “Alonso” is a great already, and “Vettel” is not, and after this year he still wont be a great, but the record books will show he is. In my eyes you become great only when you have learnt by your mistakes, been around the block once or twice, had your good patch as well as your bad patch and still come through for the better, and that is why “Vettel” is not a great. (Yet)

Its almost been handed to him on a plate.

20

Very well put wishart ” being in the right place at the right time. Its bad enough he is a double, but a triple”

Your comment makes complete sense

Few people who say vettel deserves 2012 WDC have simply not seen the entire 2012 picture.

Vettel should have led this WDC from the word go (From australia to India) which he simply failed to achieve given the mighty RBR machinery at his disposal

Vettel not only trailed alonso until hungary (Summer break) he trailed webber, lewis, kimi as well

RB8 is simply too quick for rest of the grid. ok prior to the summer break RB8 was quick car not consistent though because of pirelli tyres, ever since singapore RB8 is consistent and quickest

Vettel drives well when RBR has enough performance margin over rest of the grid

21

You are dead right, especially in your last paragraph. Not a fan of either but to just quote Queen: “And bad mistakes

I’ve made a few

I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face –

But I’ve come through”. Alonso for WC 2012. The end of the ‘Weltmeister’.

22

My two cents on this: MSC won all of his titles in a dominant car (sometimes not only dominant, but also with questioned legality), so if winning championships in a dominant car does not count for being labeled a “a great” does that mean MSC can’t be deemed a great?

23

I don’t think he had a ‘dominant car’ in ’94, ’95, 2000, 2001, 2003…

24

Webber is an average driver, why do people keep using him as an example of Vettel’s dominance?

Massa has more wins and poles than Webber, despite Webber being blessed with one of the most dominant cars in history, Felipe hasn’t even really had a properly dominating car.

25

The reality being that the RB7 was actually one of the least dominant of the supposedly untouchable cars of recent f1 history.

26

And Webber has (I believe) gone on record about how the high downforce/blown diffuser effect negatively affects his driving, as per 2011 and this season since Silverstone. Add that to the numerous KERS issues and poorer strategy decisions, and I agree, it’s hard to see where that argument comes from.

27

This one is easy, if the questions regards drivers.

RB is definitly more worthy of the constructors title, than Ferrari – no question which design team has designed (once again) the fastest package.

When it comes to the drivers title, you have to take into consideration what tools each of the two drivers have had to work with, and how well they used it. Had not GRO taken out ALO in SPA, he would be AHEAD of VET in the standings today – this despite the fact that he was driving a car up to 1.5 seconds PER LAP slower than the one VET had, in the first quarter of the season, and have througout the season had a slower car (up to 8 tenth) on low fuel. Has this ever happened in modern F1?

It is as if you had two 100m sprinters A and V, both compete for the same prize – world champion title. The only catch is that A is always forced to start 10 meters behind V, so he runs 110 meters. He always finishes half a meter behind at the end…

28

Very interesting subject. I don’t want to say who deserves it better but I just want to highlight something else I noticed.

There are F1 drivers who don’t want Vettel to win the championship. The reason is nothing but jealousy. Just like Alonso, Hamilton and Webber, many drivers can’t stand that a younger driver has done a better job.

From the beginning Alonso was buttering up Hamilton saying Hamilton is the best and he will be his closest challenger in 2012 and no one else. On the other hand, Hamilton was praising Alonso and saying Alonso is the best. What Hamilton doesn’t realise is, Alonso is playing mind games expecting Hamilton’s help to beat Vettel. Anyone who watched the 2010 Abu Dhabi race will remember what Alonso said while stuck behind Petrov. ‘Can Hamilton do something?’ The answer came back ‘no’.

My point is, Vettel is one of the best, probably the best at the moment and people will have to accept it and live with it.

29

Four races back, Vettel was behind Kimi, Hamilton and Alonso in the championship. Contrast how Kimi is minding his own business to the kind of comments Alonso and Hamilton are making. This when he has the worst car of the lot of them.

Like it or not, F1 is a team sport where every member has to do their job and Vettel is doing his beautifully. If he wins again this year he will fully deserve it.

Alonso and Hamilton are making showing themselves to be poor losers with their comments.

30
Val from montreal

Cry me a river ! Where was all this “support” and ” deserving” arguments back in the late 90’s ?? How come Schumacher never had this sympathy in 97 , 98 and 99 ?? At that time Everybody knew Ferrari could not hold a candle next to the almighty Williams Rothmans Renault and the West Mclaren Mercedes but never was Schumacher talked about being ” more” derserving… It was the opposite !! He was the reason f1 wasnt so boring throughtout the mid to late 90’s as no other himan being could of challenged those mighty teams ….

31

@Val……….Whether we agree or not, Schumacher never got the ‘support’ or the ‘deserving’ arguments in the late 90’s due to two primary reasons:

1. Adelaide ‘94

2. Jerez ’97.

There was absolutely no reason to do what he did in these two races except knock off the track his main rival to win the WDC. (even though he didn’t achieve it in 97). His ‘97 penalty from FIA was little in worth when compared to how the ‘wider’ public viewed him. It took a long time for him the get back in favour, some public he did, some he never will irrespective of what the statistics show. It did detract from his achievements at that stage of his career.

32

There was little or no internet then. Now everybody has an opinion, some keep repeating it over & over, just because someone disagrees with them.

Only a few are prepared to accept that another persons ideas are worth considering, so the ‘discussion’ element is diminished.

The X-Factor personality cult is alive & sick.

How about a reasoned discussion?

You only have to read the headline to know how it’s going to turn out.

200 hits is the target.

33

Probably the lack of an internet forum to talk about it on, meant no debate!

Schumacher’s image was still suffering from Adelaide 94 and Jerez 97. I was a Damon Hill fan (adopted him after Senna’s death) and had no sympathy for Schumacher during those years. But greatly admired Schumacher and Ferrari’s achievements during the 00s and probably hold Fernando in great esteem as he broke that dominance.

I look back now and know that Hill was not in the same league as Schumacher and Newey’s cars propelled him and Villeneuve to Championships.

The two teams you mention dominating the mid to late 90s had a huge Newey input. The man is just a genius !

34

I have to agree. I also can’t help but think about how Michael was regarded during his string of championships (and all the conspiracy theories) versus how he is regarded now (or at least before his most recent comeback ;)).

To me it seems likely all the brow beating about who “deserved” WDCs right now will be forgotten in the course of time.

35

I find it funny when people say “Oh wait driver A deserve more because of xyz he did”.

I mean, it’s funny that people watch F1 to find out who is the best driver and they know that it doesn’t have the ability to produce a legit champion.

For me, it’s simple the best combo win. Whether who is actually the better driver is irrelevant. You can have that the driver of the year you want, but it just a popularity contest.

But win or lose, I felt Alonso’s performance nothing short of legendary.

36

I m not sure how much credence should be given to the tweet element of the report in La Stampa. I fully believe that the rest of the report is possible. Any team in any field, be it business or sport, will experience strained relations at one time or another.

Alonso’s public image still suffers from a time when he was much younger and foolish at McLaren in 2007. He seems to be continually judged on this in much the same way Vettel’s achievements are questioned due to him driving a Newey designed car. From watching F1 since the late 80’s I think most of these guys are the same as each other in nature and those that dont appear so are very good at hiding it or not challenging for titles.

Alonso’s action is similar to a football manager publicly appealing to his chairman for a bigger transfer kitty. His Newey reference was double pronged message. One as a message to Ferrari that they need to address their design issues, DC in the BBC coverage alluded to as much, the other mind games to unsettle Vettel. Mind games are as much a part of sport as the skills required to do the job.

(PS I found it mischievous to say the least that Jake Humphrey twisted the Alonso quote in a tabloid manner, conveniently leaving out the fighting Vettel portion. I will not really miss him from the BBC coverage, as he forgets viewers tune in to see F1 racing and not him.)

Alonso’s frustration is borne from the fact that giving 120% per lap is not bringing him closer to the title. The man is driving at the peak of his powers and far above his 05/06 title winning years.

Personally I rate Vettel highly, think he is quick and undoubtedly talented but loving an underdog and fighting spirit I hope Alonso goes out and wins this title. He is deserving of a 3rd World title before his career ends. Vettel has time on his side will more than likely challenge Schumacher’s record. I think this is demonstrated in alot of people hoping that Alonso claims this year’s title. It is not an anti Vettel sentiment its just they want Alonso to be rewarded for his efforts for the last 3 seasons. Both Alonso and Vettel will go down as greats in the sport. Alonso has cemented his place there with his performances since joining Ferrari.

You cannot but admire RedBull’s performance since mid 2009 and of course Newey is a key element in that success and to downplay his contribution to the current results in any way is plain wrong but it is up to the rest of the field to step up to the challenge.

Crazy to think that Newey nearly dropped out of Uni during his first year !

http://www.southampton.ac.uk/alumni/alumniprofiles/adriannewey.html

Looking forward to a great run in, just hoping for a little more action up front !

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