F1 Winter Break
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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I would love to see what Alonso could do in that RedBull.


I would have to say that I think Vettel is just as talented as Alonso. If there had to be a choice you would take Alonso because of his experience but this gap is closing very quickly

In terms of results - Alonso should already be a three time world champion, albeit for a horrible strategic mistake in 2010. But while I am not sure if Alonso will ever get there, I think there is not much doubt that Vettel will probably win more than three championships in his career


I would love to see what alonso could have done to the mediocre team that was renault in 2010, oh no wait, he ran off to a more competitive team! couldnt do what schuey did!


Perhaps you missed what alonso did in his first speed at Renault?


What did he do?

Win thanks to Michelin tires and dumpener like Button did with the defuser?




Didn't he show you what he can do in a mediocre car in 08? Didn't he show you what he could do in the third fastest car this year. Not good enough for some people.




That would be incredibly boring... It already is with Vettel behind the wheel.


He would have already closed the deal by now.




He would win the ass of everybody else, but so would a lot of other drivers. The real question in terms of "worthiness" is whether Vettel would be number 2 in the WDC if he were driving a Ferrari. I am not so sure Vettel is at that level (yet).


How many more poles, races and titles Vettel has to win for people to start considering him a top class? I wasn't his fan at all but this year he's doing a remarkable job.


I mean... If You want to question driver's ability by using stats, will You then question Senna's abilities too?


Well, statistic-wise Ayrton Senna won only two races starting below top3 (from 4th and 5th position), so it's not that bad for Vettel, isn't it?

Also, Senna won 41 races from his 65 poles while Vettel already took 26 out of 35.


Hmmm... He hasn't won a single race starting below 3rd on the grid.




I would love to see what he would do if he had a competitive team mate, the car does not matter ! It only happened once and he got beaten, not a legend, just self promotion on a grand scale.

Playing the heroic underdog, constantly highlighting the weaker Quali pace while ignoring the great Race pace, making himself look all the more heroic, then dropping the ball and watching Seb take it again, another classic year for Teflonso watchers.

I am no great Seb fan, but this year he has put in some great fights and above all, stopped alonso from lucking into another WDC. Top Lad !


Well said PDiddly, couldn't agree with you more!


Insulting Alonso, as usual. Even writing his name not using capital letters, as usual.

It's so disappointing to notice that this fan boy comments always pass mod here...

DanWilliams from Aust



Thank you.

Yes, it doesn't look like he is getting a present he got in 2005.



You nailed it puff daddy! Alonso should stop the selective whinging and get on with it and win - moaning ain't gonna help at this stage.


I´ll have to say that i support Vettel, because i like him more as a person. Heś fighting spirit is just phenomenol, as has Alonsos. But i just feel that Alonso has more desperate person, more gimme, gimme, or else i will call you with bad names. Having said that, they both drive for the honour, to be champ. That fact only eliminates all the talk about, who`s got the better car. You can`t be in that position without a good car. There`s a lot of talk about Vettel`s supercar but you need hands to hold the spoon. Lately Massa has spoken to Brasilian newspaper, that in India he had maybe only half of upgrades Alonso had. These two cars are too different to compare them. Thats why i think that Vettel is just a littlebit better than Alonso. And the final result hopefully will show that. Thank you.


As the podium ceramony at Monza was taking place, if I turned to you and said - "Vettel will win next 4 races" you would slap me in the back of my head and say I'm nuts. You would also have given me serious odds on that bet.

Yet here we are. If that's not a testament to his abilities, I don't know what is.


So u believe the Finger Man was holding back all year long until this moment and only now is racing to win? Or perhaps only now has he found is "mojo ". Are you not able to correlate or connect the coincidence of an improved drive to improved finishes for the Finger Man ?


Super post sugar water

[mod]had one victory and drove erratic in many races prior to singapore. All of sudden vettel wins 4 in a row so where was he when RBR struggled for consistency earlier in the season

Before the summer break vettel was beaten by webber and trailed alonso, mark, lewis, kimi

Only when newey improved the quick RBR to quickest in the grid by a mile in singapore. vettel started to drive better and consistent


Take a deep breath! Great champions are always at the wheel of a great car. Fangio, Stewart, Senna. I feel a little sorry for Alonso right now. He went to Ferrari looking to repeat the Schumacher magic and found out that it's a team without Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne.


Very good point, yet many on here seem to claim that the Red Bull has been 'dominant' this year.

So many have such short memories.


It was reported that Raikk said those very words to Alonso as they stood on the podium in Valencia. He meant them in jest to help Alonso pull himself together when he had a fit of tears. Apparently it worked.


you mean Newey's ability?


Is Newey driving the car?


True. But Webber has the same car and he has been no where since mid-season. The best comparison is always to your team mate.


"I´ll have to say that i support Vettel, because i like him more as a person" It's very easy to come across as a nice person when everything continues to go your way and much easier to become 'desperate' when you are fighting for every scap in every race. This isn't just the case for Vettel and Alonso, it's largely the case for all of us.



I couldn't agree more. When the chips are down, our "true colors" show.




"Like in 2007, You mean?"

They say "brevity is the soul of wit". Congratulations for proving an exception to the rule.



Like in 2007, You mean?


You missed 2007 and 2008.


Agree 100%! Very well put.


-1 youve got it backwards


+1, you got that right!

Did you see Ted Kravitz's interview with Seb? It seems he may share our opinion of Seb's out bursts being a bit much over his radio.

He's a fantastic driver, but in he same car as Hamilton or Alonso he'd come a close second not first.


'He’s a fantastic driver, but in he same car as Hamilton or Alonso he’d come a close second not first.'

How do You know? It never happened so far. Or can You predict a possible future?


Great post James, it well explains the internet frenzy of recent days. I've been a bit bemused by the assertions that the last few races have been boring for serious fans (people who write posts on JAonF1for example). Winning four races in a row is the minimum that Vettel needs to have done to have a chance to win the championship. He's won four and he's still only 13 points ahead. I have to say I am disappointed in McClaren though. They haven't been able to stay in the chase this time, so if you're a Vettel fan like me for example, you have to hope that Vettel keeps winning or the math doesn't work. A late charge from McClaren to make things more complicated would be welcome.


Steve McClaren is in F1 now?


Yeah, he holds the brolly over Lewis' car on the grid when it's raining.


I think at the end of last season Alonso challenged Vettel to see who gets to be a 3 times WDC first, and I believe it's bugging him that Vettel has the edge now


He said something along the lines "We will see who will be the youngest driver to get 3 wdc"


It's funny when Schumacher takes on Newey, then Newey has a quiet spell, maybe it's because Schumacher made him quiet. 🙂




Or the fact he was at McLaren & we all know how good they are at messing up driver's championships!!


Well said.


i wud disagree with the whole special tyres for schumi bit that BBC likes to bring up so often. ok he got preferential tyres, but that was only because ferrari was the only front running team with bridgestone.. all the rest had michelin... if i was bridgestone.. and want to add ur name against a championship.. who wud u rather support schumi and ferrari or jordan and minardi.... people need to apply logic when makin comments on a legend... even before such tyres theres no denying the fact that schumi was a genius in the car....


Shuey had the genius of Byrne . James would love to see a post on the greatest designers in F1.


Byrne was involved in the design of the F2012







Yes, that's the correct order of design geniuses!

Who is fifth? Patrick Head?


Great point. Rory Byrne designed some of the most dominant cars in F1 history.

Has no one tried to tempt him out of retirement?!


When Rory Byrne was at Ferrari there was no Engine development freeze and unlimited

testing, you may remember when Shue stoped

3 times in Hungary for tyre change and still

won by 20 sec,result FIA changed half of the

rules to prevent Ferrari to dominate.

As for Vetel, he has a shining star in his

pocket up to now,he's leading simply by circumstance, yup he won 4 races in the row

but still leading ( wdc ) only by 13 pt, it

makes you wonder does it.as for Massa he is

waste of space,for the past 2 years he has not given 1 centimetre of help to Alonso, to be

honest obout it, Alonso is 1 men team.

in point of view Domenicali has not made the grade he should have walked in 2010 depraving

Alonso of Chapionship.

We all have our hero's as for me who have had

participated in Motor Sport very strongly I consinder Alonso one of a top five all time

great drivers.


...and fat money spent on development, and FIA's preferential treatment, and tailer-made tyres by Bridgestone. It wasn't just Byrne. Plus Schuey was better than Vettel.

Newey is a one-off, just like Chapman was, Murray and Byrne come second.


'Newey is a one-off, just like Chapman was'

True, but does that fact make Clark's and Vettel's titles less valuable than for example Ascari's, who had neither Chapman nor Newey to design the car?


I found this interesting:

"before the design genius had a quiet spell in his later McLaren years in the 2000s, allowing Ferrari to dominate."

Looks like Newey is such a good guy..."allowing" Ferrari to win. I guess Schumi and Ferrari had nothing to do with it, they were just there to pick up the championships that Newey decided not to win.


Fans are debating who is more worthy of winning the title? I thought everyone agreed that it should be Alonso!

If we have three clean races, then it's difficult to see Alonso regaining his lead in the Championship, but all it takes is one DNF for Vettel or a first lap puncture and the momentum could shift dramatically. How many people here thought that Lewis had it in the bag in 2007 with two races to go? Or that Fernando couldn't lose the title at Abu Dhabi in 2010?


Who is everyone, there are what, 2 dozen very active participants on this forum and then a bunch of occasional contributors. Hardly representative of the F1 viewing public numbering in the millions.

What does worthy mean? All drivers in F1 are worthy of winning, its just a matter of doing it. They don't just give titles away like a knighthood, championships have to we taken. Having a good car or a bad car does not make one more or less worthy, although a title does have more weight if won in an poor car, but I am not sure this has ever happened.


+1. well said.

Too many Vettel haters and blinkered LH & FA fans even on this site.

Whoever has the most points at the end of the season deserves it unless they cheated and that's the end of it.

IMO Vettel & Alonso have already done enough to be considered 'greats' of their era albeit for different reasons.

DanWilliams from Aust

Agree with Jimbob and JF.

Plus everyone harps on about how ALO can drag a bad car up the grid while VET can only do well in a perfect car from Newey, but everyone's forgptten that VET drove the Toro Rosso very well in his first year and even won a race with it, which is remarkable in itself before even mentioning that the race was wet and so was quali before it!


Nobody " hates " the Finger Man. The reality is many do not believe he is as food as Alonso. The evidence is plain to see. U just got to be willing to accept it......


How weird is it that some people want Alonso to win a title when another car has a DNF, maybe all the cars should break on the starting line, and let Alonso drive on his own and win the WDC.


Maybe you are forgetting that Vettel is only ahead of Alonso because of two DNFs that weren't his or his teams fault?


Alonso's Suzuka dnf was his own fault.


As unfortunate as being ran into is in racing, at the end of the day, the title goes to the driver with the most points. Words like "deserve"and "worthy" shouldn't be tossed around. Assuming all positions were gained (or lost) within the rules without any kind of favoritism on the part of the Stewards, race direction, etc., then the only "deserving" driver is the one holding the most points at the end.

This is racing, competition, sport. We don't hand out awards for who tried the hardest, but earnest, attentive, and unbiased fans will recognize drivers who had to give that extra bit.


Along with the two Vettel DNF's that were out of his control - Malaysia & Valencia...


They want a repeat of 2005.


Or 2006 (Japan).


Why should it be Alonso? Please tell me. With arguments. Not with gimmicks that he is outperforming his Ferrari. Every driver always tries to get the maximum out of his car, be it Alonso, Vettel or Hamilton. You cannot outperform a car.


I simply think Alonso is worthier of the title because he has made fewer mistakes than Vettel, received fewer driving penalties and beaten his team mate more frequently.

On a less factual level, it has been a joy watching Alonso press home a car advantage when he's had it, attack in races when he's needed to and limit damage when he's had to. At the same time, he has united his team around him and motivated them during the tough race weekends.

I have yet to hear anyone argue that Vettel is more worthy of the title than Alonso, which is why it doesn't appear much of a debate!


On your point "Alonso has beaten his team mate more frequently than Vettel", what do you think about the team orders to Massa favoring Alonso in not just one but two races? Does that still make Alonso a “better” or “good” driver and Ferrari a better team over RBR/ Vettel? How would had been points table if there were no team orders?


Or.. maybe its ALSO because Newey found it difficukt to work at Mclaren, as has been reported in the past


As a Tifosso if Alonso fails to win it this year it wont be for a lack of driving. Alonso has grabbed the F2012 by the scruff of the neck and pulled out whatever speed he could get out of it. Now the boys in Maranello need to step up to the plate and deliver updates that will be game changers! This is the time as well for Massa to reward Ferrari's faith in him by helping Alonso fight at the top. Right now Vettel has the advantage of having a team, car and teammate that can lock out the front row. To guarantee Alonso the title this year we need a perfect race from Domenicali & Co where they we will deliver a car that will deliver a Ferrari one two punch. Otherwise we Tiffosi will be sitting over Xmas reminiscing how Alonso drove but didn't win the title! A bit like a Gooner fan!


When Alonso was Hamilton's team mate, Hamilton gave him a hiding, the reason i say hiding it's because it was Hamilton's first year in F1 and he scored more points. So if his a regarded as a legend then Hamilton is a legend, then what does that make Button 🙂


It was same points for both drivers plus McLaren favouring Hamilton


Proof? How about the FIA appointing a steward to keep watch over Alonso's car to make sure McLaren were being fair?




Same points. Better results, though wasn't it?


I don´t think Alonso needs a 3rd title to become a legend, he already is.


Agreed. And Vettel could have 20 titles - if he's racing a car with such a ridiculous advantage it doesn't mean anything to me.


Ridiculous advantage of 0.1 in the race. Oh, wait.


This is the same Vettel who scored points as a teenager, and took Red Bull to its very first victory ever.

No one is disputing the car is great. But it isn't locking out the front row, now is it?

When the car wasn't the best, in the first half of the year, he scored the points to stay in the race (which some people seem to think he can't do). When it is the best -- he puts it on pole virtually EVERY time.

I'm Alonso fan, but I think it is time this "it's all the car" stuff stops. Is Webber pulling away from the rest of the field too? Does he have, what is it 35 poles already?

Vettel is a super-talent. Period. And anyone who doesn't think so should go back and watch his first full season in f1. He does what super-talents do when given the better car. He wins. In fact, short of one mechanical, and one mistake I can think of, he always wins when he has the chance. ALWAYS.

To me, he and Alonso, on track have to be considered in the same class. They score the most points possible with what they have. So if you are going to discredit Seb -- maybe you need to take away Michael's titles, maybe we need to dock Alonso a few points for what he didn't accomplish at Mclaren...etc.

The track, the results, the points, the poles... That is the only true measure of a driver. It's one thing to win a lot with the better car. But to win every time...?

I wonder how long 'til Vettel gets his due?


+1. A well balanced view point that was sorely needed


Webber is a poor comparison. Nice chap but clearly " knows his role". Give that seat to the likes of Hamilton, Perez, Kimi, MS and the story might be the same but the Finger Man would not be in it. It is one thing to have the pressure to win when u have been given the fastest car, it is all together another thing to ring out all u can from a less competitive car with zero margin for error while engaged in wheel to wheel racing in most if not all laps......


I could've agree more. I saw Seb winning in monza with the toro rosso, pure talent...just look at the diff between Seb and MW throughout the years as teammates.

I highly rate Alonso, hindsight shows what a huge mistake McLaren made when they picked Lewis over him (proof: R.Dennis in China: "we were racing Fernando"). Probably a couple of Championships...


Thank you. Some sense at last.


Beautiful post Dean, you regained some faith I lost with Alonso fans...


Sorry. But where is Mark Webber in the standings?

It is already time for F1 fans to consider that Vettel can be the best of his generation of drivers. He is able to break the 7 time WDC record set by Schumacher, only 25yrs old.

He will able to show it in 2014, when the rule of the game will change.


How about the fact Vettel has only had 5 full seasons in F1, never joind a team that could boast a grand prix win, yet has the most impressive stats of anyone for the number of races he has driven. 25% plus win ratio is nonesense (even if he had joined a team that could boast wins and many championships). Alonso is a legend, so is Vettel. Mansell is a legend to all of us, he won one championship in a car 2 seconds a lap quicker than anyone else. Don't take this the wrong way either, but vettel has always had to fight his team mates to.


You haven't watched the 2008, 2009 and 2010 season have you? Otherwise you would know how good Vettel is.


Trouble is, we all know that but it will be forgotten in years to come when people are just looking at statistics.


Well said !


I think we are beginning to see ALO showing his true colors at Ferrari. He has always been one to sulk and blame his team when things don't go his way. I recall him (i) accusing Renault of not wanting him to win the championship during the 2006 season when SCHU began to catch up on points; (ii) accusing Mclaren of sabotaging tyre pressures when HAM began outperforming him in the closing stages of 2007.

The last couple of years at Ferrari have been an exception. This is probably because he has staked his career on Ferrari and has no other viable team to go to if things didn't work out, and he knows that he needs to be on his best behaviour to get the team to work around him. ALO is also incredibly intelligent and knows that publicly criticising the team before he is fully entrenched will get him fired (as Prost learned in 91). This season's performance has made him somewhat indispensable to Ferrari for the the next couple of years, and so the slow (but inevitable) return to his true self. And finally, should Vettel at age 25 become a three time champion this year, ALO realizes history will no longer be considered the dominant driver of his generation. What's more, on current form Vettel would go into 2014 as hot favorite. ALO faces the unthinkable prospect of teaming up with a 27 year old four time world champion in 2014 while he (then 34 years old) will need to decide whether to hang around in Ferrari or try his wares elsewhere. This season is critical for ALO's legacy in the sport and he can see it slowly slipping away. Expect more fireworks in the coming weeks.


Don't forget that we have seen a few tantrums from Vettel as well when the car isn't the greatest.


And not just tantrums, but dangerous driving too (Italy). That's something Alonso never did.


Hey he didn't publicly blame ferrari for messing up the 2010 championship. It was an easy one that he lost because of a blunder from Ferrari. Otherwise he would be 3 times champion already. Moreover, the cars ferrari produced in 2011 and this year are clearly 3rd or 4th fastest. Looking at the situation he is in anybody will sulk. He is caught up in an inferior car till 2016 or retirement.


listen, the season's not over. you're probably right that Alonso is focused on his legacy, but I think many appreciate the fact that Vettel has done his achievements in a car that's blitzed the rest of the field. His season two years back was ladden with mistakes and car reliability issues, but the car itself was far superior to Ferrari or McLaren. We all know what happened last year. So at this point i think Vettel has wide recognition as a superb driver, but the jury's out there whether he is the best driver. Take the beginning of this season: his car was 2nd best and not that far from McLaren, but his season in the first half was pretty average: it's taken RBR front row lock outs for him to do the job; kudos to him, but i'm not surprised many have a soft spot for a driver that drags a dog of a car to undeserved places and is in contention for the championship. Brits with their inclination for stirling moss or Gilles Villeneuve (rendered "greats" without a WDC) should understand that. Then there's all the stuff about his "true colours" and all that jazz. I think it's a dull and boring issue: he has been sulky in the past (s by the way many others have been, including the charm boy, vettel). Can he drive? Is he a great sportsman? I think all of those details that you bemoan should be left with his current and past employers, who all have been seemingly, except for one... curiously one that has a long history of burning some of the finest talent in the field, the last one being a certain Mr Hamilton.


The Ferrari is not really 'a dog of a car' though is it.


Timo, you have to distinguish between drivers performance and "perceived character"; said that I think that you (and other Alonso haters) really having lots of trouble to cope with his performance.


Hi Oly,

My comment has nothing to do with ALO's performance -- I even say that his performance makes him indispensable to Ferrari over the next couple of years. My comment is all about ALO's state of mind as he weighs up current developments with his legacy in formula.


I only read your first sentence and I already disagree with you.

I think Alonso had plenty of chances to get upset with Ferrari in the last 3 years, but he was always supportive of the team and very optimistic. He could've blame it very easily on the team in 2010, but he didn't. He was very gracious, unlike Vettel who had a go at his engineer lately for not telling him that Massa was on the track 200m ahead.

I don't think the facts are on your side Timo.

DanWilliams from Aust

"I only read your first sentence and I already disagree with you."

Should've read the rest of it...



If you read beyond the first sentence, you will find the reasons why I think ALO's behavior has been exemplary over the last couple of years.



Then why would you say this?

"He has always been one to sulk and blame his team when things don’t go his way."

Thinks didn't go Alonso's way for 3 seasons now and he never criticised the team or his engineer. This in contrast with Vettel for example who recently had a go at his engineer. Or Lewis who showed on couple of occasions his frustration with the problems at McLaren.


I think we are beginning to see ALO showing his true colors at Ferrari. He has always been one to sulk and blame his team when things don’t go his way. I recall him (i) accusing Renault of not wanting him to win the championship during the 2006 season when SCHU began to catch up on points; (ii) accusing Mclaren of sabotaging tyre pressures when HAM began outperforming him in the closing stages of 2007.

The last couple of years at Ferrari have been an exception. This is probably because he has staked his career on Ferrari and has no other viable team to go to if things didn’t work out, and he knows that he needs to be on his best behaviour to get the team to work around him. ALO is also incredibly intelligent and knows that publicly criticising the team before he is fully entrenched will get him fired (as Prost learned in 91). This season’s performance has made him somewhat indispensable to Ferrari for the the next couple of years, and so the slow (but inevitable) return to his true self. And finally, should Vettel at age 25 become a three time champion this year, ALO realizes history will no longer consider ALO the dominant driver of his generation. What’s more, on current form Vettel would go into 2013 as hot favorite. ALO faces the unthinkable prospect of teaming up with a 27 year old four time world champion in 2014 while he (then 34 years old) will need to decide whether to hang around in Ferrari or try his wares elsewhere. This season is critical for ALO’s legacy in the sport and he can see it slowly slipping away. Expect more fireworks in the coming weeks.

DanWilliams from Aust

Yep, I think ALO has done a great job this year and is def one of the top driver's in F1 currently. He does have a tendancy to lay blame on the team (or at least mebers of the team) when things don't go is way over a period of time. This is not good when you're trying to build the team up around you and gain their faith and trust.

SHU is many things to alot of people, but no one can deny that any Ferrari team member would have taken a bullit for him while he was there. He was amazing at gaining their respect and building up the 'team spirit' where they win AND lose together.

And ALO being the personality that he is, I beleive you are right that he would be thinking about his legacy and his (and VET) short term future.

I do expect more fireworks!


While in pure theory anything can happen, even three DNF for VET, although extremely unlikely, Ferrari came late to the party. So were Mclaren.


Well after what I have seen of Vettel from Singapore and having given it some thought, I have come to the conclusion that he just might be the chosen one.

Yes it's true Vettel may not be (not yet anyway) as all round like a Lewis or a Alonso but when it comes to things going his way, he is a Wunderkid or the new Schumi thus the name Baby Schumi.

Now a 3rd title would mean the world to people like Alonso & Lewis because they were Senna fans & so equaling their idol would be surreal.

Whereas Vettel's idol is none other than Schumi so he has set his sights on a way higher prize and that's becoming the most successful driver EVER (which he just might pull off because top drivers tend to get dominant cars in the twilight years of their careers)

Right, I maybe be wrong but I think Alonso lost the title at Suzuka. Why I say this is simply because of a theory i.e. In the past we have seen Ferrari aces e.g. Schumi & Prost both have DNFs at Suzuka in 2006 & 1990 respectively then go ahead to lose the title by a small margin & worse still they never won another title with the team.

Plus if we take into consideration that the upcoming tracks, they do not favour Alonso for instance Abu-Dhabi is all about qualifying 1st or 2nd if you're to win it + Alonso has never been on the podium there, so it doesn't look so rosy for the lad.

Anyway whatever happens Fred shouldn't lose heart because in the fans, drivers & pundits minds, he's the true champion of 2012 because he has always been fighting against the odds to the point his greatest rival Lewis says, to him he's already a 3/4 time champion.

So yes, Alonso should sleep easy at night & avoid having conflicts with his team because he's already a legend in the fans estimation and we have already seen a similar scenario where by Schumi has bagged more than double Senna's tally of world titles & yet Senna is considered the best driver to have graced the sport.

Anyway having said that, the one I feel sorry for is Lewis Hamilton because he too deserved the title this year & it would have been fantastic if the 3 best drivers all had 2 world titles a piece.

But seeing as Lewis is no longer in it, I guess I will be rooting for Sebi because Fred is Lewis' real competitor in the greatest stakes so it would be a huge blow if Fred got double Hammy's tally.


goferet ..."so it would be a huge blow if Fred got double Hammy’s tally." ?!?!?!

Alonso already has double Hamilton's tally.



We cant have a world champion Fred maybe we Fernando goes to Nascar


Alonso finished 2nd in Abu Dhabi last year


Alonso was on the podium at Abu Dhabi last year?

Shankar Arumugham

"In the past we have seen Ferrari aces e.g. Schumi & Prost both have DNFs at Suzuka in 2006 & 1990 respectively then go ahead to lose the title by a small margin & worse still they never won another title with the team."

Prost won the title with Williams in '93.


I'm not sure Williams ran any Ferraris in 93?


The championship will be decided by reliability. This surge by vettel reminds me of 2006 when Schumacher hunted down alonso only to be failed by an engine in Suzuka.

If vettel has no reliability problems he will win.

As for the arguments about who is better. I think we have 3 drivers who all given good equipment will get the job done. My view is that Hamilton is the quickest but alonso is better at managing a team. I personally think vettel is in the middle. A better team player than Hamilton but slightly slower. This year though alonso has been the best driver because he has maximised his opportunities as he did when he won his previous titles. Alonso has had the reliability but he also has had the worst car out of the 3.

I think we are lucky to be watching this era.


Well I would probably say that Fernando is the best. Even Vettel last year in an interview called him complete.

But it should also be crystal clear that Vettel is the fastest driver followed by Hamilton in second.

Actually, the interview I mentioned, Alonso said the one word he would use to describe Vettel as is QUICK.

(Probably second fastest only to Senna)


@ Rach

The championship will be decided by

reliability. This surge by vettel reminds me of 2006 when Schumacher hunted down alonso only to be failed by an engine in Suzuka.


But here's the kicker!

Vettel's Red Bull has already had 2 reliability retirements whereas Alonso has had none as you say.

And on average a driver should have one mechanical retirement a season so what Alonso & the fans maybe wishing to happen to Sebi may infact happen to Alonso.

Life is funny like that.


I was taken back by Vettel words (I think it was after Singapore) where he said something like...

''We do not wish any bad luck to our competitiors, we just want to do the best job we can and whatever happens ~ happens.''

Now compare and contrast that to Alonso's statements were he has been saying after Spa...

''We have had bad luck today maybe tomorrow it will happen to the others.''



”We do not wish any bad luck to our competitors, we just want to do the best job we can and whatever happens ~ happens.” It's easy to say something like that after you've just cruised to a victory with the guy in 1st retiring. In Alonso's case he had been just taken out of the race. I'm sure Sebastian wouldn't have said something similar in Alonso's situation...


I am not stating it as my opinion, but I think a huge % of F1 fans will still NOT consider Vettel an "F1 great" even if he is a 4 time WDC.

Being given a car this quicker than the race which allows you to build a gap and maintain does not stir the mind or inspire the heart.

Senna won hearts and minds because of his clear talent and drive.

Prost won enemies but also fans because of his own driving style, personality and X factor.

Vettel doesn't have this X factor (in my opinion).

I am NOT an Alonso or Ferrari fan but I do consider Alonso one of the greatest drivers of all time because when in 'not optimal' situations, he does this which almost defy the laws of physics.

Ditto Hamilton.

But this article is about Alonso and Vettel and I just do not see them in the same category - and I believe that others (the impartial or non-partisan) will also see Alonso as a great, but not Vettel.


To defy "Laws of Physics", Alonso had backing of team orders given to Massa in two races and I am suspecting even in India GP.


Last time I checked Vettel was only 25. I'm not sure it's fair to pigeon-hole him as someone who does or doesn't have an "X Factor" when he has anything between 10 and 15 seasons potentially left in the sport.

Yes Alonso has been brilliant this season, just as he was during his title-winning seasons, but I don't remember him putting in too many great performances when he went back to Renault in 2008 and 2009. There was the odd inspired drive like Fuji in 2008 but most of the time he was anonymous in the pack, or making errors borne out of frustration after being in a 'non-optimal' car for the first time in a while.

It's all a learning process. Vettel has been fortunate with the car he's had, and done extremely well to make the most of it too. The law of averages suggests a few more difficult seasons are on the way...and in those circumstances he will have to learn more about digging deep to carve out a title challenge.


Cracking post this.

I remember exactly what people were like when I suggested in 2009 that Alonso was pound for pound the best driver in F1. I got laughed out of town, especially by Hamilton fans. I also got laughed out of town for suggesting that Jenson Button would get very near in matching Lewis when he joined McLaren; the media (and most fans it has to be said) thought he'd get hammered.

So when I think that Vettel is an awesome driver who will be remembered as a great because he's incredibly quick (more like Senna in qually terms than any other driver I've seen since '94), recent history suggests that those of you who don't think that now will probably do so in a few years when the media start saying that....


I remember reading the same stuff about Schumacher.

I don't think most of you feel this way about Michael now that you've had the benefit of time to think about it and put his achievements into perspective. Vettel is cut from the same cloth. I believe many fans will realize how great he is and how great this time was as Vettel nears the end of his carrier.


I agree. When the red bull has not been extremely good his driving was ridiculous. For example in Italy shoving Alonso off, or in Germany overtaking Button and then complaining about a penalty. It's only when he has the dominant car that he suddenly becomes great. In a regular red bull he was beaten by Mark much of the time.

Comparing it to Fernando Alonso, who drove his dog to some stunning podiums this year, hardly making any mistakes.


Vettel has beaten Mark every season they've been team mates.

Mark is fast as well... Why is it that suddenly people forget this? Put Mark and Jenson in the same team and who do you think will win? I think Mark. Vettel is beating Webber by a bigger margin than Hamilton is beating Button...

Does this prove that Vettel is better than Hamilton? I'm not saying it does but people should consider this.

Saying Vettel is anything other than spectacular behind the wheel of a racing car is just silly and I'll say it again, he's beaten Mark in every season they've been team mates.


Add to that whining about How Narain is a fool in Sepang and you will see how a sore loser Sebastian is.

I like the guy but I want to see how he reacts if he looses this championship the way Fernando did in 2010.


If the FIA were anything like a competent organization, that argument might hold some weight. As it is, most of us are going on what we saw with our own eyes.


Karthikeyan was penalised by stewards for causing that incident.


Fully agree


Couldn't agree with you more. I can't help but think a lot of the Vettel fans are like a lot of Manchester City or Chelsea fans... you never realised how many there were until they started winning, how odd. I actually do rate Vettel on par with Hamilton... I don't think either of them deserve 3 world titles. But life isn't fair, I can't feel too sorry for any F1 driver that gets paid millions to do something they love. They are each individually lucky but I think Mr Vettel has had significantly more luck in his career.


How much unrealiability had Alonso and Vettel. Compare the numbers for last 3 years and you will able to see the luck.


The advantage that guys like Vettel, Alonso, or Hamilton is having equipment capable of winning, most drivers will never have that, let alone a chance to win three. Is that fair or deserved?

What does deserve have to do with it? Titles are won, not bestowed from on high based on virtue. Any driver who wins three-- wins three, fair doesn't factor in.


"Bringing a faster gun to a gun fight isn’t fair.."

Go watch Indy then? That's F1.


Most drivers earn a seat in a top car. Getting the fastest car for years in a row, that involves luck. Bringing a faster gun to a gun fight isn't fair.. your argument only applies to a team. Red Bull deserve the plaudits but I don't believe Vettel has been the best driver over the last 3 years.


I also agree with you. After all, to be reckroned as a legend you just don't need any WDC. Some of the most revered drivers of any era never won the championship. For example, Sir Stirling Moss, without doubt is the most well known example, also the great, late Gilles. Ronnie Petterson or Jean Alesi comes to my mind.

Alonso will be remembered as one of the great talents on F1 history, no doubt, being two or three or any quantity of WDCs.

I think he is already there with Senna, Fangio, Schumacher, Clark, Prost, Stewart, Lauda, Moss and Gilles.


Can't agree more with you.


I'm not an Alonso fan either, but even if he never achieves to get another WDC, he's talent behind the steering wheel will never be forgotten.



Summed it up well.


Exactly my thoughts with Vettel.


Right or wrong, many people do feel this way. I certainly do.


Sour grapes.


-1. Like it or not many of us feel this way. The RB is clearly stronger than the rest of the field and that is hurting the Finger Man's acceptance by those of us that enjoy wheel to wheel hard fought wins. We want to see Racing champions....


All great Champions were not accepted in their Era. Its the same for Vettel. In time people will come to respect him. During Alonso's first Drivers World Championship Title, he too was just regarded as a young kid in a superior car. Its funny cause I too had the same opinion of him as most of you have with Vettel. All drivers need a fast car to win. WDC in F1 has always been won by the best Driver and Team combination. Put an Alonso, Hamilton or Vettel in this years Mercedes and they would end up doing no better than the current drivers.

A championship is not won over a single race but over the entire season. Vettel won the WDC in 2010 because of his performance over 19 races and not just because of one strategic pit blunder by Ferrari.

So whoever wins WDC deserves to win it. Every driver needs a fast car to deliver results. Vettel has proven himself in Spa this year by showing he is more than capable of fighting back from a bad position. I find it really funny that most of you can assume Alonso is a better driver than Vettel without seeing them in the same Machinery. We know Alonso and Hamilton were evenly matched because we have seen them in the same team together. But we should not pass judgement in haste when we compare Alonso to Vettel. If we are lucky and Vettel joins ferrari before Alonso retires we will have the right to form opinions on who is the better Driver.

Have you ever wondered what brought Hamilton to change his views on Alonso suddenly??? Its not that he is acknowledging Alonso as the best driver without a reason. Hamiltons management had approached Ferrari before Mecerdes and it was Alonso who vetoed his move to Ferrari to protect his no 1 status and because of the bad blood they had shared in the past. Now If things dont go according to plan for Hamilton with Mercedes he would rather join Ferrari than go back to Mclaren, after all its every Drivers dream to driver for Ferrari and he would want to go there to before Vettel joins Ferrair. I am sure Alonso too would prefer Hamilton to Vettel for the simple reason that he has raced Hamilton and they are well matched pace wise and Alonso knows he is more consistent over the entire season so beat Hamilton. He would however be a little hesitant to have Vettel simple because he wouldnt want to be beaten by him or if they are equal than Vettel's consistency would definitely scare him. Also most fans and experts considers Alonso to be the best driver currently racing. So if Vettel manages to beat him in the same machine, it would destroy him.

I am sure if that were to happen, there will still be idiots who will say Alonso is not in his prime or Vettel got special treatment at ferrari just as people say Mclaren favored Hamilton.

For me the best Drivers are those who are consistent over the entire season. That is why the win the WDC. Mistakes, retirements, and crashes even out over the course of the season.

In that context there are only two Drivers stand out this year Alonso and Vettel. Alonso because of his consistency and although his car has not been the best qualifier, its race pace has been better., and Alonso has been very consistent. Vettel because when he needed to deliver he has done just that with 4 back to back Victories to lead the championship. Some will say he benefited from Hamiltons retirement in Singapure but the same could be said of Alonso in Valencia.

What most Vettel [mod] should reflect is on the fact that Hamilton being a very fast driver driving the fastest overall package untill Singapure maybe even untill now is still 75 points behind Vettel and 62 points behind Alonso considering that all three of them have had their fair share of bad luck. So to say Vettel has only won because of his car and not his consistency is unfair. If it were only the the fastest package Hamilton would have been leading the World Championship by now. With 3 races left to go Alonso still has a very good chance at the Championship. If the law of averages catches up Vettel could have one or two bad races, just what Alonso needs to take it to the last race in Brazil. If however Vettel wins in Abu Dhabi and extends his lead over Alonso above 25 points. It would be extremely difficult if not impossible for Alonso to be World Champion. May the best man win


Finger Man has a name. Will regard your posts more highly if you remember his name one day!


[Agreed - no more of the name calling, please. It will be moderated out from now on - Mod]


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


Uh, I seem to recall Senna joining a new team at right about the same age as Lewis then go on a ridiculous run

Just a thought from an F1 fan.


As did Jacques Villeneuve...


Yeah he moved to a top team. Hamilton just downgraded team.

Just a thought from an F1 fan.


Seb is better than Webber, Webber was better than DC, DC was no slouch.

Seb's every bit as good as Alonso, and I'd rather have him driving for me than Lewis who is prone to inconsistent form and more than the occasional schoolboy error.

I'm tiring of the detractors saying Seb's success is only down to Newey. Lewis himself was bemoaning Seb winning only because he has the best car, has he forgotten that McLaren have managed to lose the odd WDC with clearly the best car? That was certainly the case in 2007.

Ok, fair enough, Seb would have won nothing in a HRT, but he's earnt his place in Red Bull and his performance is faultless at the moment. It's getting a bit too predictable, granted, but Seb's definitely deserving of a third title IMO.


What "schoolboy error" has Hamilton committed recently? Driving needlessly into Karthikayan? Overtaking Button off the track and earning a penalty? Running Alonso off the road?


" and I’d rather have him driving for me than Lewis who is prone to inconsistent form and more than the occasional schoolboy error"

There is no evidence of this what so ever this year.


Other than most of last season.


Yes, it's not like it's foolish to focus on a single season of one of the best reacing drivers the UK has ever produced (if the the best) just to make a point.

Hamilton came back at the beginning of this year every inch the driver that everyone said he should be: quick, sensible, measured and mature (on the track) and he had a great chance of winning the wdc until his team totally blew it for him.


"This year" being the key phrase (I'm a Hamilton fan BTW)


"Seb's every bit as good as Alonso".

When the red bull has not been extremely good his driving was ridiculous. For example in Italy shoving Alonso off, or in Germany overtaking Button and then complaining about a penalty. It’s only when he has the dominant car that he suddenly becomes great. In a regular red bull he was beaten by Mark much of the time.

Comparing it to Fernando Alonso, who drove his dog to some stunning podiums this year, hardly making any mistakes.


Italy: payback

Hockenheim: only way through, we have seen overtakes like this in la source quite a few times.

He paid for those mistakes though...but shows willingness to push, a trait of a great driver.

Again, won with STR....no small achievement


Payback for what?


Mmm, ridiculous. I mean look at how he drove at Spa. What a ridiculous drive, overtaking people at bus stop and coming second after qualifying out of the top ten. TOTALLY RIDCULOUS!


*I don't deny that he's been good sometimes.


Spa was a good race, yes, and I don't deny that he's not been good sometimes. But on the whole it has not been brilliant, especially comparing it to Alonso. Bear in mind in Spa there were very few very competitive cars left after they'd all been wiped out at the start (at least six cars).

Australia was not bad either, but on the whole...


@ AndyFov

McLaren have managed to lose the odd WDC with clearly the best car? That was certainly the case in 2007.


No mate, you're confusing the concept of having a championship winning car to concept of having a dominant car.

Look having a championship winning car can't guarantee a title at the end for you could find yourself with competitiors with championship winning cars of their own.

As for a dominant car, that's a different game all together, for here we're talking of a car that can easily pole it with fabulous race pace to match = title guaranteed.

So you will have to go back as late as 1998 to find a Mclaren (incidentally a Newey design too) that was as good as the Red Bulls (especially the 2010 & 2011 modes)


I'm afraid the comment regarding the domination is on rather thin ice with regards accuracy.

If anything the domination of Red Bull in the last few seasons has had one of the slimest margins I've seen for a long while in F1. In years gone by a driver in a top car could easily make an error and be 0.7s off their normal pace; and happily take 2nd or 3rd. That's not the case since Pirelli appeared. 0.7s and you're in 5th or so, 0.9s and you're not in the top 10.

To this end, the domination by Red Bull is on much finer margins than that by a team like Ferrari in the mid 2000s. That puts more pressure on them to get it bang on; and also on the drivers.

Vettels qualifying performances last year were pretty amazing, yes they had an advantage, but they made said advantage count at virtually every track. To do that consistently is tough, as McLaren have proved this season by often not turning a performance advantage into a pole and then a win.


If Red Bull's so dominant, why is Webber presently 4th in the table? He didn't come second to Seb in 2010 or 2011 either.


Oh didn't you know...Webber's doing it on purpose to make Vettel look much much better than he actually is...or at least thats what I think the primary argument is.


'If Red Bull’s so dominant, why is Webber presently 4th in the table? He didn’t come second to Seb in 2010 or 2011 either.' -

This argument can also be used to 'prove' that Vettel is getting special treatment over Webber.


Because he isn't bad for a number two driver...


Vettel will be a great of the sport if he wins 3 WDC against the best ever crop of F1 talent on one grid.

It's not all down to the car though; the average qually gap between the fastest McLaren and the fastest Red Bull this season is 0.074s in favour of Red Bull. That RBR advantage doesn't explain why Vettel has some 45% more points than the nearest McLaren driver, and also his RBR team mate. That's the level of his talent.

Alonso is a little different as his car isn't quite as quick; over the course of the season it's not as good as the McLaren either, but that's hard to measure as qualification isn't Fernandos strong suit, so his race pace always looks great.

The fact remains though; if Vettel or Alonso win the WDC this year they'll have beaten Hamilton, Button, Raikkonen, Schumcacher and whichever driver comes 2nd - so 5 WDC beaten. For people to suggest that the winning driver won't deserve that is absurd given that all the drivers I mention won titles in the best car...


Good post, although Raikonnen didnt win in the best car in 07.


McLaren's pitstop issues and Button's set-up woes have been well documented, so it's a little disingenuous to exclusively blame the drivers for not capitalising in the first quarter (Q3 speaks for itself). In fact, short of misjudging Maldonado in Valencia, Hamilton has been error free this season, I believe.

And by error free, I mean he hasn't cut across backmarkers, overtaken off of the circuit or pushed rivals onto the grass. Because errors like that are definitely driver-related...


Just to back up what I've said above here's a quote from Paddy Lowe talking about car performance (specifically exhaust packages) "you know the first quarter and probably the third quarter we have been the leading performer".

I'd say Paddy was absolutely correct. That also insinuates by default that if Paddy thought McLaren had the best car for the first and third quarter of the season that any underperformance in this time period was more driver related? No?

It puts an interesting dynamic on the reptative comments on this blog regarding how Hamilton would easily beat Vettel in the same machinery.


newey gets the rap but there's also morgan and promodou.

jackie stewart always seems under rated in all-time gp driver ratings. maybe you just had to be there at the time. Stewart contribution to f1 is higher than alonso's or vettels will ever be.


Chris.......and so is Sir Jack Brabham the most under rated WDC of all time especially being a 3 x WDC. Going on 'contribution to F1' then i would say he is near the top and i agree with you that maybe 'you just had to be there'.


Stewart never stops reminding us how good he was.


He does and it has always irked me, but ya know what, I remember those years and the truth is, he WAS that good. And from a cerebral raceing point of view, there has been none better.



These discussions about which driver deserves it most, don't lead to much. Of course I have my personal opinion about this. But F1 is a team sport and the best team will get it. Not the one with the best designer, best budget, best driver, best CEO...Surely each of them can make a difference, but only in a well balanced TEAM. Hail to F1.



standby for the sebee show.


Everything I wanted to say, I said ad nauseum here:


I'm excluding myself from this conversation and enjoying everyone's comments. Funny, they seem more balanced. 🙂


I've noticed the same thing 🙂


Say, isn't it old that the only Mclaren refugees to have won a title with Ferrari are kimi raikkonen and jody scheketer whereas the only Mclaren refugees to not have won with Ferrari are gilles villenuve, alain prost

Plus the only drivers to have won a title with another team & went on to win other titles at Ferrari are none other Fangio & Schumi.

Add to that, in Ferrari's history, only pilots who came from the neighbouring countries of Germany, Austria and Italy have won more than one title with the Italian squad i.e. The rest of Ferrari champions (one time champions that is) came from countries outside continental Europe (and this includes British drivers)

Grayzee (Australia)

Good Lord, Gofer! Where do you come up with all these stats.............. 🙂


Berger would be another McLaren refugee not to have won the title with Ferrari?


“now we are fighting against Newey and at the moment we cannot match him,”

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

I think the argument of being in Newey's car will still go on if Vettel wins the WDC. Whereas there's nothing for anyone to argue against Alonso's performances this year.


Only Alonso/Hamilton fans clutch at that "Newey" straw while drinking their sour grape juice.

Newey's cars didn't win anything since 1999 until Vettel started driving in them. Fact.


To be fair, Newey's cars were always fast as **** but unreliable. It's only the reliability that's changed.

I think that what most people don't consider, and it's really quite frustrating, is that Webber wouldn't have won a WDC in the RB yet but Vettel who has won two titles and will most likely win a 3rd this year is berated as someone who can only win in an utterly dominant car. If the car is and has been so dominant, why hasn't Webber finished runner up in 2010 & 2011?

F1 fans in general need to get a grip on reality.


In Abu Dhabi you could well see the Mclarens spoil the party for both. Lewis is a qualifying specialist there so we may well see a mixup on the grid behind him and Red Bull will be vulnerable, albeit with the caveat that the circuit is not an overtaking paradise even with DRS.

As you say, Red Bull's strategy hinges on pole and breaking the DRS in the first 2 laps otherwise they are compromised and other car/drivers can take advantage.


@DavidS. u r correct IMHO. strategy and design parameters are always a series of compromises. hence, the sheer brilliance of Seb in Q3, the first couple of laps followed by race-long management of the unfolding events to make their compromises work race after race and year after year... and that means Weber usually ain't too shabby either:)

other than some of the usual bonehead strategy calls up & down pit lane, this is no slam against any driver, team, or employee. they r all pretty damned special!

I find it frustrating in that is very difficult for me to attach "legendary" status in todays' situation. we seldom get the opportunity to see our heros' prowess and success also driving in the Indy500, the Daytona500, LeMans, V8, Can-Am, F5000, Trans-Am, etc. as the past legends did...

@chris green. mentioned Sir Jackie. he certainly had some raw speed, but not quite like some others. what I saw was he was the hardest working bull dog in the pit - driving every minute of every practice to fine tune the ideal lap, to find the best way to overtake and to defend. no millisecond decisions needed in the race - it was already pre-programed. it kinda worked out OK for him, don't ya think? 🙂


Hamilton was very quick there last year. Plus Red Bull are very slow,in a straight line where it has hampered Webber quite a bit.


The Red Bulls are not that slow in a straight line anymore (in quali anyway) since they introduced their double DRS system. They choose to add more downforce to dominate the medium-high speed corners (which makes them appear slower in a staight line) to ensure pole and dominate the race from the front.


Don't understand what you mean by appear slow in a straight line. The Red Bulls might be fastest over a lap, carrying great speed in fast corners, but at the expense of straight line speed.

Hence relative to the Ferrari the Red Bulls were slow in a straight line.

What do you mean by "appear slow" in a straight line?


I actually agree with this. Mclaren tend to run with a very stiff suspension and Abu Dhabi is notoriously smooth; I expect Lewis to fight for pole but to struggle on the soft tyres in the first stint.


Just read the whole words of this article, and anyone can see the name –sebastian vettel (9 times mentioned), fernando alonso (17)– that really deserves to be considered as "legend".

And I really believe this year will be remembered for Alonso´s hagakure spirit, the ultimate human warrior in this ultratech-F1 world. so inspiring even if Newey finally wins this unbalanced deus ex "macchina" fight.


Interesting comment about Neweys fallow period at McLaren James (apart from Mika's titles obviously!). Do you think he was off his game, the regulations didn't play to his strengths, or was part of the problem the corporate culture at Woking not allowing him to maximize his talents? It's starting to look like the latter to me


I think he lost his mojo after the 1998 and 99 titles in the early 2000s in that environment.

So he is fallible..


All Vettels titles have been compromised by the ruthlessness and favouritism that defines RBR.

From the finger waving gesture of Vettel after he ran into his teammate and the cowardly response from RBR as to who was to blame. From the "wing gate" to the sorrow on the pit wall when Webber win Monaco in 2010.

Am i a Webber fan ? Of course.

And as an aussie i can see through the BS at RBR.

I would rather see Alonso win the WDC any day.


If Webber is being discriminated against at RBR why does he keep signing on for them? Get real.


Ahmm, i dunno i guess if you have the opportunity you sign on when Newey is the designer.

Do you know of Adrian Newey 😉 ?

Seriously troll somewhere else.


I am neither a Vettel or Alonso fan.

I do not like Alonso's character, ever since 2007 and Spy gate when he threw his toys out of the pram and purportedly black mailed Ron Dennis. He seems to require number one driver status whether he needs it or not.

I think Vettel is only capable of winning a championship in a car that is dominant. The majority of his results come from pole and leading from the front. I know he has had some fighting results but I don't think he is capable of putting a marginal car on the number one spot or consistently fighting through the field.

However given the position the championship is in I believe Alonso deserves it the most. He is the better driver and has dragged that Ferrari into a championship position that very few others could attain given similar equipment. As much as I dislike Alonso I can respect his talent.

Lets hope the remainder of the season is more interesting thane the last few races and Alonso can take it to the wire.


It will be a tragedy if a driver like Vettel wins 3 titles in a row. A driver whos whole career has been spent driving Newey cars, a driver flattered with the best car for almost 4 years in succession with a middle aged journeyman number 2 team mate. A driver who relies on a perfect car to be fast, who was nowhere earlier in the season and getting beaten by his team mate. A driver who was destroyed by Hamilton in F3.

He will just go down as another in the LONG line of Newey champions. Really nothing special, but of course the hype will be unbearable by his fans and the clueless pundits like the bbc crew.

Its ok, he will eventually be exposed if he ever leaves markos roost and goes up against Alonso or Hamilton, and gets dominated.

He wont be the first driver in history be exposed. Alonso is on a whole other level to Vettel and he has proven it. Easy to look fast when you have the fastest car on rails. Just imagine vettel in the F2012? He struggled enough earlier in the season when the redbull was still a top car, just not 100% perfect.


Yeah you're beginning to sound like a broken record

DanWilliams from Aust

The BMW Sauber in 2007 must have been designed by Newey as well when VET drove it in his debut cos he drove that well. The Toro Rosso in 2008 must have been designed by Newey as well cos he actually managed to get pole and win a race with it...

2009 and 2010 were both seasons that VET had to fight for his sucess.

If a driver can put his car on pole and drive to a win, then why wouldn't they? I don't think VET needs to handicap himself just to prove to everyone else that he can drive. He is maximising every opportunity he gets in his current car, same thing he did as a rookie in F1.

WEB is also one of the hardest, most ruthless, and fastest driver's in F1 currently who's proven to be able to extract 1-lap speed and be able to drive a bad car through the feild, he has a history of this, BUT he also does have the worst luck F1 has ever seen. However VET is able to beat him on pure speed and consistency. Plus WEB has never been beaten by a team mate before VET.


Yea, all of those Newey champions like Mansell, Prost, Hill, and Hakkenen.


Please list the Newey champs. I can only think of two. Hakkinen and Vettel.


to me regardless whoever takes the crown at the end, will be a deserving and worthy champion. That being said I lean a little toward Fernando, whom I feel should have gain his 3rd crown in 2007 if not for McLaren choosing not to favor him. It almost feels like it is now long overdue for Fernando, but such is life, nothing is ever certain.

I know Seb is not the favorite of many contributors here, I fail to understand why at time as I feel he is a great talent. Sure he seats in a great car, yet he still has to bring it across the finish line, and I fell he does more than just that. If he wins it this year, it is difficult to imagine someone in the future doing better than him at an earlier age.

I want to see the fight go to the last round even if it seems unlikely right now. I guess we can always hope. Marc


Abu Dhabi has the potential to be a great equaliser in the championship. Whilst Red Bull has tremendous full lap pace the top end grunt of the Maclaren and the Ferrari will bring them into play. I'm very disappointed in Mclarens reliability since Hungary as I thought for sure Hamilton would be the regular winner.

Regardless of the outcome of the championship the question of Vettels speed will remain with each and every fan. Despite Mark Webber being a true competitor- the fact that he has beaten the young Seb in Quali and barring mechanical failure many times had been on Sebs race pace. Which tells me he is beatable in the same equipment. I'm really torn as I don't like the fact that Ferrari have put all their cards on Fernando for years and I don't want to see another smug German becoming a triple WDC. Perhaps We will see some wheel to wheel action this weekend which takes both guys out of the race and puts the 3 rd place guy back into contention!.. Otherwise it's seriously looking like that index finger is being stuck up the worlds cameras yet again!


Like James points out, the argument about "Vettel is only winning because of Newey" is a rather lazy one and rather shows more about our own biases than about what the situation is. How can anyone say it's not Vettel's abilities of communicating what he needs of the car that makes the big difference? I am sure many here who now say Vettel is only lucky to be driving the Newey car would be the first ones to say "Look how great Alonso is at developing the car with his engineers" if Alonso's and Vettel's roles were reversed.

Don't give in to your biases, acknowledge that Vettel is a great driver, just like Alonso is (as well as Hamilton, Räikkönen, Schumacher etc.)


Part of being a great F1 driver is making sure you've got the best car, it's something Alonso hasn't managed very well.

Prost and Senna both were like exocets towards having the best car, Mansell managed to get himself into a winning Williams - twice

You can't win without a winning car and people often forget that there's an art to making sure you are in one!


I would love to read a piece on that art one day from you James!


James, i´ve read this before from you, and I think that alonso has chosen quite well, considering what he knew of the situation at the time. It´s true he was offered a RBR seat but they were a completely unknown quantity at the time, and big budget does´t necessarily mean bringing the prize home. Vettel upgraded from STR to RBR which was practically the only way forward, unless I´m missing something, but that´s an inside move really, from team beta to team alpha. I personally like vettel, and think he has the potential to be of the greats... however i think fans concerns that he still has to prove himself against the odds are reasonable: that 2007 still floats around Alonso like a mark of his worse aspects, but we should be willing to forget all the fine detail around vettel and hail him superior when we all know that his machinery is far better than the competition: maybe he is, but the question marks will not go away that easy.

By the way, if Ferrari does sign vettel for 2014, that may go against your statement that "part of being a great F1 driver is making sure you’ve got the best car". Although i think a challenge between ALO and VET in the same machinery would put the issue to bed.

DanWilliams from Aust

Maybe ALO should join Jorge Lorenzo and represent Spain in the ROC this year. That way we'd be able to see ALO vs VET in the same machinery.


All this talk about RBR being a dominant car.... Webber proves the opposite. Vettel is exceptional. He also proved this earlier in the season when the RBR was 3rd/4th fastest car.

Fact is McLaren had the best car until Singapore (with 4-5 races as exceptions) and the Ferrari was level with RBR until then, minus Vettel having technical problems which flattered Alonso.

Alonso's performance is highly exaggerated and Fry knows it too.

The one who wins it, deserves it, period.

DanWilliams from Aust


And Fry remembers ALO from the McLaren days, so he aint gonna go along with the lies and polotics from ALO.

ALO likes to play mind games with everyone which usually results in people thinking he is the greatest. ALO is great, but he doens't have to play these games. I'm sick of everyone thinking the Ferrari is a bad car etc, its been consistently top 3 all season with the others like RBR, McLaren and Lotus all moving around in the top 5 with Williams and Merc up there as well.. But yet everyone stands back and wonders why ALO managed to get all these points and win in such a bad car... It is a good car, not the best, but it is good capable of winning, and being driven by a good driver as well. VET is also a good driver who happens to now be driving the best car in the last few races, but the Ferrari in Japan, Korea, and India has been 2nd best no doubt about it..!


The expected duty of a driver in F1 is to match on track (or get as close as possible) a car's potential performance theoreticaly calculated by engineers. That is the pressure on F1 drivers, which is not easy at all! Vettel clearly delivers that, so does Alonso. Massa doesn't, as an example. Webber only sometimes does. But greatness is something else, it's delivering race results (positions) beyond the car's potential (as calculated by the engineers) in comparison to that of competing cars. In this discussion some Vettel fans seem to ignore Red Bull's front row lockout (not just Vettel, also Webber!)in the past three races, which is a clear indication of the Red Bull car potential, happening to coincide with the championship's turnaroud. In terms of driver greatness, just compare two charts showing Vettle's and Alonso's a)qualifying position after each race this season and b) championship standing after each race this season. If not clear enough, add Webber and Massa to the qualifying chart. Or simply compare the driver's standings with the constructors' standings. F1 being all about data, the debate is ridiculous.


"Fans at present are debating who is more worthy of winning the title"

I dont think there is really a debate about who is more worthy. Alonso is clearly the dominant driver out there and he desrerves it more than Vettel (full stop).


Alonso is not as good a qualifier as Vettel (or Hamailton for that matter) and Vettel is just as good a racer as Alonso. Alonso messed up quali in India and blew his chances of winning the race. Don't forget that the Red Bull HAS NOT been dominant this year and that Vettel has also suffered from technical failures but he still leads the championship.

To be honest I'm sick of all this talk of the Ferrari being some terrible car that Alonso drags performance out of. It's simply not been the case. The car has been made to look worse than it is by Alonso's poor qualifying performances and Massa's poor form. The Ferrari's race pace has almost always been very competitive and the reliability has been second to none.

I think there is plenty to debate.


Funny that you all think the Red Bull has been dominant, I distinctly remember everybody proclaiming that the Mclaren was the fastest car at the half term report and after they won 4 races in a row.

How soon you all forget.

DanWilliams from Aust

Exactly right.


Don’t forget that the Red Bull HAS NOT been dominant this year and that Vettel has also suffered from technical failures but he still leads the championship.

are you kidding me??? The Red Bull has not been dominant this year... have you watched races for eg. Valencia,Singapore,Japan, Korea & India... The RED BULL has been ultra dominant in these races.. and WHY do you people always forget that Vettal claim the championship lead only after Korea and why was not he leading the championship before??? and why he only had 1 win prior Singapore.. you know the answer but you tend to have a selective memory...


Superb post manish you made my day really.

People do have selective memory, i do not simply understand few people praise vettel for nothing

He has not been outstanding not even exciting

(Germany was the most obvious example where vettel not started on pole and even with quick car he simply failed to overtake alonso during the first stint. Then button beats vettel in pits and vettel drove in Erratic way & overtook button illegaly)

It's quite simple when RBR improved in singapore vettel started to drive better. Before the summer break vettel was beaten by webber fair and square


To be fair - Vettel would have been leading the standings after Valencia rather than Alonso, had his alternator not gone.


Sorry but the matter of fact is that Alonso has been the best driver this season. His car may not have been bad but it has been no better than 3rd fastest. He is the best driver not because Massa has been bad but because he will win races even from 11th on the grid and he will do what the best driver does.... inspire with his ability to fight when the odds are stacked against him.

Vettel is clearly not at Fernando's level yet, he is still young. He can win in a Newey car starting from the front row but that's all that he has achieved so far. As he matures as a driver and mentally he may get to produce inspiring drives and wins that will make him more accepted as an F1 great between the fans.

DanWilliams from Aust

People forget that RBR is a drink company... VET, and you can even throw Newey in there as well if you, are defying the odds by winning and doing so well with a drinks company who have been in F1 for a few years.

If anything McLaren and Ferrari are the ones that should be dominating. they are the ones with big names ,a rich history and $$$. People are going to wonder why ALO hasn't won a WDC since joining Ferrari after SHU's dominace there and RAI's 07 WDC and MAS's near miss 08 WDC... 😉


The Red Bull has not been that dominant huh? The discussion is about triple world champions and the red bull has been the best car 3 years in a row as their constructors titles will show. You may be tired of what people say but we don't need to take two steps back and deny the obvious. [mod]

DanWilliams from Aust

VET did not have the best or most dominant car in 2010, nor does he have one in 2012.

In both seasons he has driven well to be consistent in picking up points where he could, then lucky for him the car came good when it mattered and allowed him to win and become so called 'dominant'. In 2010 this was in the last race, in this season we're yet to see how long this will last as ALO may still win the WDC.


If Vettel wins 2 more races this season, it's over. Even with one DNF (2 wins + DNF = 50 points)

If Alonso gets 2 second places (behind Vettel's 2 wins), and wins the race Vettel does not finish, he scores 61 points.

Which is not enough to bridge current 13 points deficit.

They both deserve to be 3 times WC, and I think they will be sooner or later, but I hope Vettel does it this year.


Vettel's results are 80% car, 20% driver. Alonso's are 90% driver, 10% car.


And your post is 100% the worst I've ever read on this site!!


Exactly which is why when in poor cars Alonso dominated Monza in that awful Renault where as Vettel needed his team mate to crash on purpose in order that he win in Singapore whilst driving the Torro Rosso

....oh wait

DanWilliams from Aust



I tried to refrain myself from posting here for a while (partly because I am partly disappointed with Lewis moving to Mercedes, partly because McLaren threw another genuine chance for championships), but I simply cannot stop myself from posting to this article.

I might be the only man in the world with such an opinion, but I strongly believe neither of these 2 drivers deserves a 3rd title (not to mention any of the first two).

I won't start word wars with anyone and won't provide reasons for my opinion.

DanWilliams from Aust

No no, this is the worst post I've read on this site!!


Sorry, we live in a cruel world.

DanWilliams from Aust

You can have an opinion (neither ALO or VET are fav driver's either), but give some info to back your opinion otherwise your post means nothing thats all.


"I won’t start word wars with anyone and won’t provide reasons for my opinion."

Then why bother to post at all :P.


Why everyone else post here? To express my opinion.

I just wanted to express my opinion without offending anyone and to show that not everyone is happy with Alonso and Vettel.


Alonso has had the best season out of all the drivers, for him to be the only one close to Vettel speaks volumes of his talent, especially in a car that is probably no quicker than the McLaren this year. I've always felt Hamilton and Alonso are in a class of their own in F1 but this year Alonso has transcended that to become probably the most complete driver on the grid. Hamilton should maybe have capitalised on the pace McLaren had earlier in the season to still be in the hunt.

What Alonso lacks is a team mate as strong as Webber. Webber took vital points off Alonso plenty of times this year, even taking a few races/poles. Maybe Massa could pull something out of the bag in Brazil as he has done in the past.

James, we know Bernie can work magic in F1. Any chance of him putting Vettel and Hamilton in the same team? That would make compulsive viewing!!


"Hamilton should maybe have capitalised on the pace McLaren had earlier in the season to still be in the hunt"

You clearly missed the comedy of errors that the Mclaren pit crew performed earlier in the season that most believe cost Hamilton 40+ points. Then you have the numerous gearbox failures, suspension failures, puncture at the start of the German GP and being taken out by Maldonado in Valencia (not to mention sharing Alonso's fate in Spa) - and you might start to get a better perspective on Hamiltons championship position.


Triple world champions are a rare breed, and deservedly so.

Assuming Vettel wins his third this year, the only thing that could detract slightly from his achievement is that it would be consecutive championships with the same team. This in itself says something about the team, their desire, ability etc. It is not just about Vettel and Newey.

The only way you can really compare drivers would be to have a competition such as the Race Of Champions whereby they drive a circuit in several F1 cars, even then there would be arguments about car set, familiarity etc.

As for Hamilton, I don't see him as being equal to Vettel or Alonso. A racer he is, and fast with it, but he brings too much baggage with him. Considering the amount of money he's paid, he needs to be more professional.

For each gp, you need to turn up with nothing else on your mind apart from winning. This hasn't always been the case with him and it's shown in some of his results.


Before the accolades are doled out we need to examine:

- Does the Iberian granite rock have a fault line or two running through it?

- Does the column of fine German steel have a hairline crack?

- Can the Finnish iceberg destroy both if allowed near?

I only ask, having no clear answers. We'll see in due course.


I think this season needs to wrap up quickly, as the Alonso love is getting a bit cloying. Great driver, great great driver, but Vettel is just as good.

The RB has really only come alive since Singapore, and Vettel has done well to be in a position to challenge. It hasn't been easy, neither was 2010. 2011 was a romp ... bit like it was for Alonso in 2006 😉

And me, I'm. a fan of AussieGrit. Webs for the title! Lets get Grosjean on the front row!


I think the most annoying thing about the Alonso love in for me is that all of a sudden now that Vettel is ahead by a mere 13 points many are suggesting the season has become "boring".

I didn't hear much of this when the tables were turned. Still plenty of racing left for either of them to seize the title.


But previously it was a lot closer, and with a long way to go. Now RBR are dominating, and are un-touchable...


This year has shown in quite a clear way that Seb's results rely solely on the performance advantage of an on-song Red Bull. From the start of the year the RB was significantly faster than the Ferrari on both Saturdays and Sundays, but it was Alonso that pulled out a WDC lead whilst Vettel couldn't even beat Webber - and this was in the car that led the Constructors Championship.

Jump forward five races and Red Bull have sorted out their downforce issues, making their car clear fastest in the field. Voila, Seb takes the WDC lead (with three straight pole to flag wins, no less) and is the clear favourite to hit three titles first.

He's undeniably doing the job now that he has the car, but the feeling pervades that he's a one trick pony. And I'd also say, given the amount of media speculation suggesting the same, that all but his most devoted of fans are seeing it too.


And one more thing - James, can you please do an article on the definition of 'dominant', both from a racing and dictionary point of view? It's been bandied about incorrectly so much this year, it's starting to do my head in a little bit. Thanks!


You really to feel for Alonso!

At the end of it all it comes down to the fact that Ferrari are poor!

The only reason they still fight for the title is entirely down to Alonso!

Ferrari excuses are becoming un acceptable!

The wind tunnel issues have been going on since last yr!How much longer are they going 2 use that as an excuse?

Its now 6 yrs since Schumacher , Brawn , and Byrne have retired and Ferrari still lost they still finding their way!

For the most part of 2011 Ferrari worked solely on 2012 and when they piched up at the first test they were still no where!

They then fixed a car that shouldnt have needed fixing in the first place and then everything just stalled months went by havent improved @ all! They blame the wind tunnel but personally i think Ferrari just ran out of ideas on how 2 make improvements.

With the probly half the budget of Ferrari, Lotus and Sauber built brilliant cars imagine they had the budget and recourse Ferrari did!

Surely they would be challanging Ferrari!

Fundementally both teams have a better car then Ferrari!Which says alot about what a poor state Ferrari are in!

Whether or not Alonso wins this title or not Ferrari have long term issues!Next yr they probly going to be worse of then this year!

Theres probly not much hope for 2014 either!

The fact is Ferrari simply dont have the ppl to cut it anymore! They need a new aerodynamsist , they need a new technical director and they need a new team manager!

Stefano is a great guy and he maybe be able to run Ferrari on a daily basis but he lacks ambition he lacks vision he lacks drive!

Jean Todt was ambitious he had a vision and he knew what he needed to do to make Ferrari successful! Eg hiring Schumi, Brawn and Byrne!

Ferrari are in a crises and they not even willing to accept it!

Ferrari want 2 beat Red Bull but Stefano has no freakin clue how his going to beat them and thats is the saddest part!

its going to be a very very long time before Ferrari win titles again!

Certainly not with the current ppl in charge!

Ppl may rubbish merc and Hamilton for moving there they current performance is poor yes!

But when u look and Brawn he has a plan he has vision his building a team for the future and they will get there they will win!

Remember it 2k Red Bull 5 yrs before they won anything!

Im a long time Ferrari fan and have stood by them thru thick and thin but their excuses and their studity @ not will to recognise they have fundemental long term issues and simply are not doing anything to address it is just unacceptable!

As a Ferrari fan they letting us all down badly!


Excellent summary aadil

Ferrari were too poor ever since 2009 and not willing to face the reality of being a midfield team now by blaming or pointing finger at wind tunnel

Alonso has saved ferrari from masssive embrassment with his incredible driving skills otherwise we can easily see the fact ferrari are only a midfield team


Thanks! 🙂

Exactly the worst part is they dont even want 2 admit they have issues!

They need 2 be realistic! with the kind of lead Alonso gave them this year and they still cant win it then really i would like to know what the freakin hell makes them think they can win it next yr?

Stefano and Di Montizemolo also need 2 get over

the fack that Alonso was bumped out of 2 races!

Yes he was and yes it was unfortunate!

Yes he would be still leading the title but

it happend and his not thats the reality of it!

But they still have 3 races to go crying over what happend isnt going 2 make that go faster it isnt going 2 make Alonso champ and what if's dont count!

They should take learn from their 2 former drivers always have to say!

Schumacher: What happend in the past doesnt matter its what you do in the future!

Raikkonen: Theres no use crying over spilt milk!

Finally Stefano's dump comments about the 1982 world cup!Soccer and F1 are entirely different sports they are not remotely in anyways similar! There is absolutely nothing @ all they share in common!

In soccer is entirely depended on humans and their ability to perform and sumtimes humans have the ability 2 rise above the their ability and do special things!

in F1 its a scientific fact that the Ferrari is slower then Red Bull! Alonso is driving out of his skin and even he cant bridge the gap no matter how hard he tries!

So if he some how thinks Ferrari can some how magically just beat Red Bull he must be out of his freaking mind!

The only thing that can stop Vettel now is fate!


Dear Aadil,

Please stay calm and keep the faith. A single DNF of Vettel and suddenly everything would looks really bright, so still there is no time to panic.

Is true that the Scuderia has been cathching for the best part of four years, but they have been in contention for the WDC three of the last four years, that is not an easy feat.

I remember my frustation from 1980 to 2000, without any single WDC. Those where the years of Gilles, Didier, Michele, Alain, Nigel, Jean... and the Scuderia could not make them champions.

These days things looks bright, they are there and while there will be hope I will believe in it.




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

I wouldn't consider Brabham and Piquet as greats, and certainly Gilles Volleneuve ro Nigel Mansell rank above those two. Not to mention Jim Clark!


@Mike J

This is only my opinion on Brabham and is based solely on assessing him as a potential top 10 ot top 15 'great' driver. Not for his contributions in F1 and motorsport in general. From that respect the man is a legend.

Also, the fact you didn't mention Piquet, I take that you somewhat agree with my assessment there.

Re Villeneuve there will always be varying opinions. He wasn't the most consistent driver, but he did have that 'something' that makes you a great.


I take your points. The use of the word ‘great’ sometimes can get misused nowadays when assigning it to people.

Your original post stated that Brabham was not considered a 'great', not that he didn’t fit into your top 10 or 15 ‘great drivers’, hence my response. As I said no matter how you look at it whether it be for driving or contribution, he is a great. (I saw him race in the 60’s).

In regards to Piquet I thought my original post was long enough!!....but any 3 x WDC is a ‘great’. Always hard to place them in Top 10 or 20 and their road to success varies 'greatly'.

DanWilliams from Aust

Brabham is the only F1 driver to build his own car and then win in it... That's pretty awesome.


@McLaren78…… ‘I wouldn’t consider Brabham and Piquet as greats, and certainly Gilles Villenueve or Nigel Mansell rank above those two. Not to mention Jim Clark!’..

Normally I try and refrain from criticising ones opinion on sites like this however your post really needs immediate attention. Your statement is one of the most amazing I have seen on this site for some time and believe me, there are plenty ‘out there’.

Sir Jack Brabham is a great of F1, the motor racing world and a true legend. He is arguably the most under rated WDC ever and I feel that if he was either British or Italian that his status would be held much higher. But then that’s why he is different. Murray Walker always expresses his ‘mystery’ as to why Brabham never got the accolades he deserved.

A link to a nice documentary piece is


Maybe became he didn’t have the flamboyant approach, that he didn’t show the emotional sides of his personality or he didn’t have that scintillating one lap speed. Maybe it’s because he is a ‘survivor’. His % record alone is much better than Gilles in wins/podiums /poles and matches Mansell (if you take out Mansells 92 year when he was in a different formula!). But statistics aren’t everything unless you are a MS fan. I agree that you don’t have to be a WDC to be great.

In death Gilles was lifted by ‘emotional’ views of people that took his status to a level that in life we never know what he might have achieved. He was flawed in that his emotional side may have led to his downfall. Don’t get me wrong I loved watching him drive and he truly had that special ‘something’ with all the attributes of greatness.

But this is more of that you don’t consider Brabham as a great.

Brabham did more in motorsport and F1 that he will ever be credited for including his work with John Cooper, moving engines from the front to the rear and taking a young Bruce McLaren under his wing. (which for you being a McLaren fan should note). He should have won a 4th title in 67 however he chose to use his developmental parts in lieu of giving them to Denny Hulme who won that year.

He beat consistently the likes of all the ‘greats’ from Von Tripps to Clark, Stewart and Rindt.

His 1966 results as both WDC and WCC will never be beaten and that alone makes him one of the greats. As a ‘thinking’ driver he was one of the best.

Clark is a different story…


Great piece & better than I could have said it. I was tongue-tied and kept re-writing my post 'til I saw yours.



Alonso should already be a 3 or 4 time champion by now. It really is a pity his time at Mclaren didn't work out for him and Mclaren. I beleive they both would have more titles now had the relationship been better.

No matter, I'm sure Alonso is already considered a great by many and his drive this season to me has confirmed him as the best driver in F1. But a third championship would be well deserved and cement his place in the record books among the greats of F1.

But it is Vettels championship now. Given Red Bulls dominance, he's too good to mess it up from here. It would be harsh to say Vettel is undeserving. He's made best use of the equipment at his disposal. Can't ask much more, but it does all seem a bit too easy.

There's no doubt Vettel is a fantastic and dedicated driver. I don't dislike Vettel, but do find his victories somewhat uninspiring. So it's hard for me to consider him a 3xchampion among the greats of F1. And there will always be the question as to how he would perform without a Newey designed car.

However, at the end of the season if Vettel has his 3rd championship, he won't care whether us armchair experts considers him a great or not. He'll already be focusing on his 4th world title, while Alonso will be hoping Ferrari can give him a car to confrim his place among the greats next season, and I for one hope they do.


I agree!Eventually Vettel will deserve to be a 3 x champ or maybe but now at the moment!

The last its been abit all 2 easy for him!

As for Fernando im afraid his patience truely going to be tested!

If doesnt win this year its going to be afew years before Ferrari give him a car thats truely challenge for the title!

If Ferrari spent all of last yr preparing for this year and they still so poor and still cant beat Red Bull even with the lead Alonso gave them @ 1 stage then it makes u wonder how competent the the ppl working @ Ferrari!

So i guess it leaves it too Mclaren , Merc and Lotus to stop Red Bull next year!

Lets hope between the 3 of them 1 of them can do it!


He who lines the right pockets shall be champion.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe they are both also battling to become the youngest triple world champion in the sport's history. I believe the current record lies with Ayrton Senna, who was 31 in 1991 but a few months older than Fernando Alonso would be were he to win it in Brazil, say. Michael Schumacher was also 31 when he won in 2000, but at the time would've been a month or two older than Senna was in '91.

Admittedly, were Alonso to win, Vettel - aged 25 - would potentially have a full six seasons to go and beat Alonso's record in the end anyway. And even someone like Lewis Hamilton (one-time champ, 27 years of age) could gatecrash the party. But it's still an interesting icing on the cake of either driver if they manage to win that prestigious third title this year. If Vettel were to win, you'd be brave to bet against the new record standing for quite a long time.


It would be a shame for Alonso not to win this year. He is long overdue this 3rd WDC.

Like it would be a shame now if Hamilton or Raikkonnen had not been crowned WDC.

Lets hope the universe conspires for it to happen like these two cases...


I don't get this "who is most worthy" debate. The driver that has the most championship points in the end of the season deserves to win the title. Plain and simple.



I agree with you, it's exactly the same point Kimi made . It's plain and simple . Arguing over this doesn't change anything.


Actually, I have to agree with you in a fairly simple way. In the same logic it is hard to consider anyone except Schumacher to be the Greatest F1 driver.

Woulds, could's and maybes don't matter, only the final result.


Why watch the races then?

Just look at the points table after every race. That would be so much fun!!


It's possible to enjoy the races and still recognize reality. I could pose the same question you ask to those who are acting as if a 13 point gap means the championship is now a forgone conclusion.


The problem is, it's not the 13 point gap - it's the car that created that 13 point gap; and that other level of performance the RB8 is attaining is unlikely to change... So, unfortunately, much like 2011 after the third race, it is looking like a foregone conclusion.


My point doesn't invalidate watching races. It simply states a fact.


I think the row between Alonso and Ferrari has been coming for a long time.

It is remarkable that a team as prestigous as Ferrari lets some ego maniac driver constantly undermine their equipement engineering ability and have the team principle do the same.

The Ferrari HAS NOT been a terrible car this year. The race pace has been extremely competitive and it has been one of the most reliable cars on the grid; compare the technical failures of Hamilton and Vettel to Alonso. The Ferrari team also have been operationally excellent, I can't remember a single pitstop error and their race strategy has been top notch. The qualifying performance of the Ferrari (not always the cars fault, as in India) has been negated by the cars outstanding launch system that has seen Alonso and Massa consistantly gaining places of the grid.

I'm surprised to see Dominicalli acting like Alonso's lap dog masaging his ego with the repetitive and false narrative of 'the awful car saved by it's Godly driver'. If I was di Montezemolo I would be furious at having by company, one of the worlds most prestigious brands undermined to ensure that your driver doesn't through a tantrum.

I can see why the Vettel at Ferrari rumors exist, I would replace Alonso for Vettel in a heartbeat.


You have hit the nail right on the head. In my opinion, Alonso is not that clever. Yes, he won two championships but all thanks to Bridgestone bringing square tyres for Schumacher. Ferrari has been one of the best cars this year winning races and even getting a pole.

Ferrari has been praising Alonso for no reason because they have invested so much on him and portray him as the best driver out there. Now they can't go back and say he is not as good as Vettel or Hamilton.


I don't agree with your last paragraph.


Kimi Raikkonen


i think you will find that the reason montezemolo does not do any of the things you claim he should do is because he does not agree with your reasoning.


Excellent words, I could not agree more. Alonso is a good driver that is not debatable. However he is in a Ferrari for goodness sake which has been in the right place at the right time on race day. I am a LH fan but you have to give credit to Vettel he has done the business!


Thank god your just an [mod] arm chair expert and not a team manager then. Maybe you should offer your services to the F1 community? When they hear your logic I'm sure Montezemolo will fire Domenicalli and hire you immediately Andrew. To infinity and beyond!


Three titles or not, I say Alonso has well and truely put his stamp on the list of greats. The others have a way to go yet until they reach his level. Really hope he takes this WDC, but its going to be tough. Those two retirements in Spa and Suzuka dented his hopes big time!

Hmm, I wonder if any of the remaining races will be wet. Seems unlikely but if any of them are, advantage Alonso.


If Vettel keeps flawlessly converting poles to wins with Alonso continuing to keep his chances alive with sterling drives of controlled aggression, then the argument of who has been the better driver this year won’t go away. In my view they are both doing what is required of a worthy world champion at this stage of a season, performing consistently and delivering the best possible result with the machinery they’ve got.

As a Ferrari fan I would love to see Alonso take the title, but I have the feeling that Red Bull are just out of reach and the trend of the last 2 races will continue, with Alonso possibly going to Brasil in the same position as Schumacher was in 2006. Nevertheless it will be exciting and I can’t wait for the last few races.

Just to reminisce a little bit, I starting watching F1 in the late 90s and I still hold dear the memories of those first few seasons I witnessed, watching mesmerized as Hakkinen and Schumacher ascended together to another level at the season’s climax in ’98, ’99 (OK, for Irvine) and ’00. They were in a different league to anyone else on track, including their teammates, and it made for the most thrilling viewing. I wouldn’t mind to see something like that again, even though it won’t have the same effect on me now as it did when I was a excitable young lad (back in those days, during the tense final races, when the first red light came on and the revs rose my kneecaps would knock together and I would almost crap my pants with nerves!)

I think either of these guys will be a deserving champion, but I want to see them earn it, and I hope us fans get to see them battle it out in Brasil. Bring on the finale!


The debate about who is a more worthy 3 time world champion should not be confused with who are 3 time world champions.

To me - Hakkinen, Kimi and Mansell are worthy 3 time world champions - but never had the car, or the engine, or the tyres, or were kicked out of the team by a crafty professor.

Senna is a worthy 7 times world champion - and not the cheat Schumacher. Alas - fate intervened.


Yeah, compared to Schumacher, Senna's record is spotless... Apart from, for example, running Prost off the road at 160 mph to win a championship at Suzuka...

DanWilliams from Aust

Yes I mostly agree with you.


How stupid does Fernando look now when that Red Bull drive was on offer a few years ago?


That time Red Bull had not won a single race.

Lets wait and see who will look stupid after Brazil.


And who won Red Bull that first race? 😉


Please stop sympathise Alonso- we know how much energy you put in to this fight- you should be the champ. How do we know that? It`s because we hear him wining all the time about Newey, about Seb not leaving him space, about Raikkonen not backing off, about his own team, not bringing new parts, about weather not being rainy, about Massa being too close behind him or being too slow ahed of him, about anything to leave a expression, how monsteress job he is doing.


As a RBR Fan and also a F1 fan I would like to see Seb screw up qualifying this weekend. Maybe 2nd or 3rd row would add to the spectacle. Only then will we see how badly he really wants it and what he is prepared to do / capable of doing to achieve it.

Maybe a grid like:




I put Grosjean back there to mess with Seb's head a little.

Ah, I have a new plan. Use MAS to baulk VET in Q1 or Q2 and have him start in the 2nd half of the field 😉


Pat Fry is having a go at Alonso? He would have probably been sacked by now if Alonso hadn't dragged the F2012 way beyond it deserves to be. I think Fry should remember that Alonso is better at his job than he is at his.


I agree that a lot of people underestimate Vettel's help, James.

To me, saying Vettel is only winning because of the car, is like saying Bill Gates is only rich because of Microsoft.


So Vettel designed/made the car did he?


Yadda, Yadda, Yadda.....

They both deserve it, but whoever has the best team, and the best luck behind him, will win it

Its a team sport, and the bloke at the wheel, the drawing board, the pit wall, are just parts in a big wheel


I think people might need to refresh themselves with Seb's history. They might see him for real talent he is. There are some telling quotes on this page. Including about how he seemed to unlock new levels of his own talent early in his f1 career...

Without Seb, do you think Webber and Redbull are going for their 3rd WDC? You do? Really?



thanx 4 the link!


Alonso has already won the people's champion title and probably the journalists/pundits champion title too.

Val from montreal

To Holly , wrong .... We are living in a world with over 5 billion people .... Formula 1 has millions of fans all over the world .... The reality of what your saying is a figment of your imagination .... This website has maybe a few hundred dedicated regular posters , its not in the thousands nor on the millions .... Do you seriously believe people in Deutchland ( Germany ) will tell to themselves after this season that Alonso is " the people's champion " ?? Their driver Vettel will be next driver to become the first triple world champion ( a threepeat ! ) since that last one who won 5 in a row , Schumacher , the original German kaiser :-)) ... It does not matter what the author of this website writes in his blogs , nor does it matter what Alonso's fans what to believe .. Facts are facts .... Newspapers are more important than internet websites .... When Vettel wins his third WDC soon enough , whatever gets printed by Reuters will be very simple and straight to the point : Sebastian Vettel is the new F1 king and 3 time world champion ....


Something tells me he would still prefer the real deal.


True, something that some people is finding really hard to cope with.


I'm big fans of both seb and alonso but I think Fernando deserves it more. When u think of what he has done in the Ferrari as past 30 months it really is remarkable. The last 3 times he has retired it has been because of other cars taking him out of the race. If seb wins this year I really think michaels 7 titles are within reach for him. But I want Fernando to win. Seb will get many more titles and Fernando hasn't got that many more chances left. Lewis is probably sick that seb could end up with 2 more titles than him at the end of this year and with the merc deal next year seb could have 4 before Lewis has 2.


I would prefer one to say I hope Fernando wins - than he deserves it more. whomever has the most points wins. there is nothing in the rulebook to give credit to who deserves to win. hell, there is not even a stipulation that one has to win a singular race to be WDC (it was a remote possibility for awhile). I will personally have a bit of a celebration no matter who wins the WDC this year.

I have tremendous respect for all these guys and have since 1962, but really, it is just a game, sport, entertainment. it will have no foreseeable affect on my life, nor those contributing here.

maybe u r wondering who I DO like and dislike. easy: my very top guy is Seb. my bottom 2 are Shumi & Maldo, but with respect and well wishes to all!


I think both drivers are worthy. The RB is not as great as everyone thinks because all you have to do is look over onthe other side of the garage and you realize Webber has not delivered the same level of results or Webber is, as usual, underachieving. Alonso has shown his greatness again. I think the fans are being treated to exceptional driving. That said, all you have to do is look down the pitlane to watch the struggles of Honda (Mercedes) and you realize that there are some cars that cannot be ressurected from the dead.


By 'dead' you mean Brawn, right?

(the team, not the man)


It's a bit of a laugh that Fernando thinks he's racing Newey as well now. Newey is beating him without even driving the car! All the rule changes banning things are mostly things that Red Bull, as a team, have perfected. The rules are changed to bring Red Bull back towards the field ie Ferrari and McLaren. I'm not a Red Bull fan but I will not discredit their success. The problem lies in the word team, Red Bull is a team, Fernando Alonso isn't.


Well I suppose the only way we would see which driver is the best is by having a centralised design and manufacturing company such that all the teams get basically the same car. Then there would be some upsets, but it would be up to the individual teams to come up with the right set up, and may the best driver win. There are so many imponderables and variances that it becomes impossible to judge, but personally I think Alonso is the most deserving driver this year. Lewis Hamilton has been very consistent only let down by his team and potentially could have been leading the championship had Mclaren got all their ducks in a row. Unfortunately there is only one Adrian Newey and Vettel is very fortunate to be in that particular team. That said Vettel is a very capable and consistent driver given the appropriate equipment can produce some of the best results we are likely to experience in recent years. In the end there's no such thing as deserving or fairness just simply the team/driver with the most points gets the prize


Well I agree with something James told the Spanish TV the other day: Vettel will probably win the championship but it would be better for the sport if Alonso wins it. As to who deserves it more? I'll wait to the end to see how each driver acts under real pressure.


If Vettel becomes champion this year, he will be the first driver to clinch its first three titles in a row. This will be something quite remarkable.