F1 Winter Break
What is behind Alonso’s link with Red Bull?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Jul 2013   |  12:14 pm GMT  |  297 comments

The Formula 1 rumour mill was in full flow in the Hungarian Grand Prix paddock on Sunday with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso linked with a move to reigning world champions Red Bull.

So is this real, what is behind it and what happens next?

The suggestion is that Alonso’s management approached Red Bull on Friday in Hungary about the possibility of driving for them, with the Milton Keynes-based outfit having a vacant seat from next season as Mark Webber is leaving the sport to compete in sportscars.

Alonso told the BBC after the race: “Always in August there are rumours. It’s a good time for rumours because there are four weeks with no F1 race.” When asked whether his manager Luis Garcia Abad had spoken to Red Bull, Alonso said: “No I don’t think so. Not that I know of.”

A photo of Abad with Red Bull boss Christian Horner appeared in German tabloid Sport Bild (above) and this has triggered the chatter. Alonso’s camp say that Abad was talking to Horner about Carlos Sainz Jr, who tested for the team at Silverstone recently.

It’s not unusual for managers to speak to team principals, it happens all the time. For example, Richard Goddard, manager of Jenson Button and Paul di Resta was seen by this website coming out of a meeting with Horner in one of the back rooms of the Red Bull motorhome at the weekend. That doesn’t mean either of his drivers is going to Red Bull. But there is always a conversation to be had around this time of year.

Sources suggest that there has been a conversation about Alonso, but much like the one Lewis Hamilton had with Horner at Montreal in 2011, it is highly unlikely to lead to a marriage. Rather it shows a restlessness and desire to look around. Dangerously for him, Ferrari and the millions of tifosi, it shows disloyalty which doesn’t play well in Italian circles. And with four weeks for it to hang in the air, it creates an unsettled mood at the moment when the team needs to be united to find a competitive package for the second half of the season.

The fact is that Alonso has a five year contract at Ferrari, the team is based around him, he has a high degree of say on how the team is run and in major appointments, like incoming technical director James Allison.

However the clock is ticking for Alonso who celebrates his 32nd birthday today. All the signs are that Ferrari’s 2013 championship challenge is blunted, new developments have not kept pace meanwhile the momentum is now with Mercedes. Next year Mercedes is expected to have a title contending car under the new rules and Red Bull is certain to be the main opposition. The time for Alonso to get his third world title, the crowning ambition of this ambitious driver, is running out. There are question marks about how potent the Ferrari powertrain will be for 2013. Industry insight puts Mercedes ahead of Renault with Ferrari behind. Allison and his clever aerodynamics may not be enough.

It is very hard to imagine Red Bull, which has a very methodical approach to racing, wanting Alonso, for the same reason Ferrari don’t want Vettel alongside Alonso: It’s too inflammatory a situation. It would create great headlines but both drivers would be rattled and it would end in tears.

Raikkonen is a better fit because he is non-political. The problem Red Bull would have with Raikkonen is that he would want complete parity with Vettel on race strategy, rather than first call going to Vettel every time, as – judging from current qualifying form – he would be likely to be ahead on the road more often than not in the opening stint of a race.

Red Bull has a tried and tested formula, aimed at collecting maximum constructors’ points for the team and controlling the race with Vettel. Alonso would upset that formula totally while Raikkonen may ask for things they aren’t willing to give him. It would require them to run the team like McLaren, which has proven less effective than the Red Bull approach or the even more one-sided Ferrari approach.

So we are talking about some fundamentals about the way a team is run and Alonso clearly doesn’t fit.

However, what is interesting about this situation is 1) why has Alonso risked coming across as disloyal to Ferrari and its fans, creating a situation which destabilises Maranello over the long summer break 2) how the various parties have reacted to questions about it.

Ahead of the long summer break, Red Bull boss Christian Horner sees an opportunity for mischief, with no downside for him and his team. He said on Sunday that the team have not yet decided who will fill Webber’s seat, adding that several drivers have been in touch regarding a race drive.

“We are starting to get a clearer picture but then other options pop up. We are in fortunate position where we are not in a rush,” he said. “We have a great deal of interest in the seat and we just want to make sure we get it right.”

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel was asked by the BBC if he would like to race alongside Alonso.

Choosing his words carefully, the German said: “I’d prefer Kimi. I need to be careful now, but nothing against Fernando, I really respect him a lot as a driver, but I respect Kimi on track, off track because he has always been very straight with me. From that point of view it would be a bit easier.”

You don’t need a PhD in semantics to read between the lines of that answer. Vettel’s skill with English and the subtlety of nuance in his answers is always impressive.

Alonso started the season strongly with two wins and a second in the first five races, but his championship challenge has since tailed off and Vettel has been able to build a sizeable lead at the top of the standings.

If Alonso is not successful in winning the title this year – his first since 2006 – it would be a fourth missed opportunity with the Italian team.

The Spaniard has made a long-term commitment to Ferrari with his current deal not set to expire until 2016. He might argue that his loyalty over these last four seasons has not been repaid with competitive cars, despite competing for two of the last three world titles to the final race.

There will be get-out clauses in his contract if the car isn’t competitive enough, but Alonso has won twice this year and is third in the championship, with 77% of Vettel’s points, so we are unlikely to be in a position where he can action an escape.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali looked calm but irritated on Sunday when he said: “We have a contract with Fernando, Fernando is an asset for the team. “[The rumours] is part of the game in this F1 paddock. We are very used to it. Honestly it’s gone in this ear and gone out that ear. 

“For sure [Alonso will be at Ferrari next year] he has a contract.”

He will be at Ferrari next year, no doubt. But what will be the legacy of this episode?

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James, I understand that Vettel is the Numero Uno in Milton Keyness and has a very clear say about a lot of things. However, he has extended his partnership with RBR for only one season which I think is clear indication to the fact that he might be looking for a new home sooner or later.

Under the circumstances, isn't it possible that RBR would look for a potent leader for their team until they have next Vettel(Only if) coming through their racing ladder.?


This is possible, but then it makes sense to promote one of the young drivers coming through their program/STR. It would be difficult to justify having an expensive young driver program and a second F1 team if they don't use it. I'm sure their brain is saying Ricciardo while their heart says Kimi...


I thought Vettel would be wanting to see how the new engines and regulation pan out before deciding to stay or go. He has timed his contract beautifully for this.

The next big consideration would be where will Newey be.

Torchwood Five

Sebee, thank you for the link. Interesting read.


Milton Keyness, is that in Scotland?


All things are possible and teams like to consider all possibilities.

Vettel is giving himself room for manoeuvre because he is in a position to do so. He is the man to beat in F1, a three times champion and he can do things his way. He will only be 28 at the end of the contract, in his prime as an F1 driver and as a multiple champion is a huge asset to any team. Why box yourself into a corner by committing for longer. He will be mindful of linking his timing with Newey's plans too, of course

In contrast, Alonso committed himself to Ferrari for five years and he has made that decision, now he lives with the consequences, good and bad


Certainly, when you make a decision, you take the outcome of it with you.

But think about that - has Alonso ever thought that Ferrari could under-perform that much? I don't think so - it's a surprise for him, and he's running out of patience. This is absolutely understandable.

The 'team' mantra is already worn out - that has been the case for the last three and a half years.

Ferrari have to deliver, or they will simply lose him - one way or another. He might even stop racing in F1. Alonso cannot bring more destabilization in the team - they are already set apart, with no clear clue, again, for the 4 consecutive year, how to make a car capable of winning. Mercedes did that, through systematic approach, whereas Scuderia are just running around in panic, talking about "damage limitation" race after race.

This is absolutely unacceptable - just have a look at tifosi's writings, already asking about the head of St. Dom.

Bottom line - the team was wrong to slap Alonso - they need to take care of their own issues. Such urgent situations have happened in the past, with no results, however. Based on that, Alonso is right not to believe them.



2 Points come out of this:

1 - James your report is incorrect - Alonso's manager did not talk to Redbull - he spoke to Christian Horner - which as we understand is a no one in redbull - just ask SV this.

2 - Yes these drivers are paid lots of money - but their WHOLE life is F1 - so there is only so many years a driver like Alonso can stay positive about the teams poor performance.


Dear James

I know your a reporter and not a fan of Alonso's.

But in reality would Alonso really be interested in racing at RBR, when' if the F1 reporters were honest to the public one would question how Mark always seems to develop problems esp when there's a chance he will out qualify Sebastian.

It is well known to most long time F1 fans that Seb is RBB favourite son.

Alonso had this at McLaren in 2007 with Hamilton.

I do believe that Alonso will win the 2013 title against all odds.

Ferrari will be pulling out all the stops to get the F138

To match the Mercedes, Lotus, and Red Bull.

Not sure you will approve this but hope you do.

I have a lot of respect for you and your opinion and website, as its the first point of news report updates.

We all have our own opinions but should always respects others too.

Thanks rant over

B,regards mike


Webber's size an issue, what do you mean by that?

is he massive compared to little Vettel?

Would that hamper his setup of the car.


To be fair, the same thing has happened in the past. Rubens, at both Ferrari and Brawn had issues - which suggested it wasn't car. Then look at Rosberg this season, alrteady 3 car failures to Lewis' zero. If I were Nico I would be asking questions.

Good point by Jake about Webbers size causing issues with KERS packaging - I heard this mentioned at the weekend and it does make a lot of sense.


Nobody close to the teams would seriously believe that Red Bull are deliberately sabotaging Mark's car. You can make a serious case for poor strategy that may be deliberate and this would be the simplest and most controlled way to limit Mark if that is the Red Bull aim. There does appear to be a disparity between Seb and Mark on the failure count and that does need to be investigated. A few people have hinted that Mark's size is the issue exasperating an issue with the KERS packaging but equally it could be driver preference/technique. Lets see if it caries over to the new occupant.


Problem is Ferrari have been pulling out all the stops as you say for years now and 2013 will be Vettel's 4th WDC!

Alonso, ever political, is cutting his own throat this time with this nonsense.


After making a statement like this

"I know your a reporter and not a fan of Alonso’s.

But in reality would Alonso really be interested in racing at RBR, when’ if the F1 reporters were honest to the public one would question how Mark always seems to develop problems esp when there’s a chance he will out qualify Sebastian."

You now go on and say

"It is well known to most long time F1 fans that Seb is RBB favorite son."

Maybe the more people say this it would become true, as the saying goes as you make your bed so shall you lie on it.

Vettel joined Webber at Redbull not the other way around and has consistently beaten Webber no other team mate has done that bar Alonso v Massa. And really Massa not allowed to finish in front of Alonso!


I think it's kicking off big time in Maranello James http://wp.me/p2HWOP-hWz


Seems sensible.

I don't buy the whole Vettel wanting a slow team mate line that some people wheel out time after time. Looking at Mark Webber he's only slower than Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel and Kimi. So why would Vettel be as fearful as people suggest? I think Horner is desperate to get aother top 4 driver into Red Bull, because that could see them sew up the constructors for 3 or 4 more years.

Whilst I doubt it'll be Alonso, who I suspect is simply making Ferrari buck their ideas up, I do think it'll be Kimi. Seb & Kimi are on good terms, Webber & Seb never really were even pre-Turkey, and Kimi is proven to bring home points.

I think Ricciardo is a massive gamble, and was used pre-Alonso as a catalyst for the Kimi deal.

RBR with Raikkonen & Vettel? Sounds rather handy doesn't it !


Andrew - I don't. Apologies, I forgot to add the line about "in my opinion Webber is...". I would add though, that Ahmeds reply about Webber beating all team mates up until Vettel is roughly correct. I think even JB (and I primarily support Jenson) would have a hard time living with Marks pace.

Here's a list of team mates Webbers beaten:

- Davidson

- Wilson

- Klien

- Pizzonia

- Rosberg

- Coulthard (lost 1st season narrowly, but thrashed him in their 2nd together).

List of team mates to match Webber:

- Heidfeld (pre Nicks Monza test crash they were only 2pts apart, 24pts vs 26pts).

List of team mates to beat Webber:

- Vettel ('09 >)


Just look at Webber at this years Silverstone. Has the safety care come in 1-2 laps earlier, he would've overhauled Rosberg and won that race hands down.

Mark is a huge reason as to why they have 3 WCCs.


Webber is faster than Maldonado for sure. "Not bad for a #2" is no joke.



Webber has beaten all his team mates including Rosberg, who is doing a pretty good job against Hamilton. Webber has always out qualified all his previous team mates, and has a reputation as a strong qualifier.

Vettel is a class above...


How on earth do you know that Webber is faster than all the other drivers other than those that you mention?

You really think he's faster than for example Hulkenberg or Maldonado?


It may not be as much about speed as it is about politics. In my opinion, Kimi and Fernando are at least in the same league (i.e., top notch drivers). One can quibble about who is faster, but clearly both are very high caliber.

The big difference I see, at least from the outside, between the two is their approach to teams and teammates. With Fernando's history, if I were Sebastian, I wouldn't want to touch him with a ten foot pole. Fernando has a pretty clear history of playing politics and being rather good at it. Kimi, on the other hand, appears to not put much, if any, effort into the political side of things. He seems to just want to drive and not hassle with the other BS. I could see that being much more appealing in a potential teammate than someone that may be looking to play politics.

That being said, I personally think there's potential for fireworks with just about any competitive driver that would get a seat next to Vettel. I just don't think he would be able to handle a situation where he was not given preferential treatment and he had someone challenging him as much as either Kimi or Fernando would.

All the time you have to leave the space!

It's simple, Alonso is basically giving the option for Vettel to join Ferrari and Santander will make the move happen as a swap deal. Alonso for Vettel, but only if Vettel accepts this one time offer, NOW!

If not Alonso will hog that seat until the day he retires and Veto out Vettel every time he wants in. Alonso has talent as well as a Spanish bank backing him.

Santander are known to help buy out contracts, take Kimi for example being paid out a truck load to Kimi so Alonso could take his place. But unluckily for him Vettel doesn't care about wealth like most drivers and Vettel will hold his ground and refuse to partner Alonso.


I believe Marlboro paid Kimi's wages from Ferrari.


Not sure about that... today Ferrari (Montezemolo) issued a veiled threat to Alonso. Also, rumours are that Santander wants to pull out.

Read on TJ13 (http://wp.me/p2HWOP-hWz) Montezemolo said “all the great champions who have driven for Ferrari have always been asked to put the interests of the team above their own. This is the moment to stay calm, avoid polemics and show humility and determination in making one’s own contribution, standing alongside the team and its people both at the track and outside it.”

Seems to me they are getting tired of Alonso's threats and Alonso is getting tired of Ferrari.

May just be a ploy from RB as well, maybe to keep Vettel in check 😉


Why should Santander compete with Red Bull as a main sponsor on the same car? That's neither in Red Bull's nor in Santander's interest.

Why should Vettel be interested in a move to Ferrari? Just because of the "challenge"? He sees Alonso, one of the best drivers around, struggling with Ferrari, why should he like to follow the path?

2014 will see a whole new formula, of course Vettel needs to keep his options open - in case any team does a significantly better job than Red Bull Renault, he needs the option to bail out, but that doesn't mean he will.

Jacky Stewart didn't either.


I think Seb would have to be smoking some of that super strong stuff you have there mate.

Seb, Lewis and Co will be very happy to see FA "hog" that seat for a few more years, the only fly in the ointment being this "Spanish bank" ... A brief look at the Financial pages shows their future is about as solid as an ice cube in the Sahara.


Exactly my thought! It could even be possible for RB to have two new drivers in 2014.


Why would Red Bull swap drivers when Vettel is getting the job done. Even if they thought Alonso was a better driver they have seen that it can take half a season for a new driver to get back up to speed in a completely different car. Some drivers can be comfortable in the car quicker than that but it is still a big gamble for little benefit.


Or no drivers at all. Newey is that good!


Santander is a spanish bank operating mostly in latin countries, hence Alonso (spanish sports idol) and his brazilian sidekick. They have no investment in german speaking countries and the management wouldnt get backing for financing a german drivers wages in the way they do it now for Alonso. This is as much about politics and national pride as it is about sport.

Red Bull will use Alonsos interest in Red Bull as leverage in its dealings with Raikkonens management just like they did with Ricciardo at the YDT. They will milk it for all its worth but let Alonso stew in his own juice at at the end of the day. Raikkonen for a lot of reasons is the one they want to partner Vettel.


He’s got to follow the Schumacher development cycle . . .

Victory comes in the fifth year . . .

So 2014 should be it – maybe . . .


The key to Ferrari's previous success were Schumacher and Brawn. Alonso can't do it on his own.

Think back: all the winning teams in history have at their core a partnership between a top driver and a key management member with a unquestionably dominant role.


This is true, but one could argue that Schumacher would have won the title in his fourth season if not for breaking his leg.

2013 could be his best chance with the new regulations, Alonso could be long gone before Ferrari come to grips with them.


Or maybe in the 3rd... Spa 1998, the incident with Coulthard.... If which he accepted blame.. Could of been a hell of a winning streak, but I believe that things happened for the better in some respects. The team had so much aguish for missing out, it motivated them immensely... So became the Schumacher Legend....

Scuderia McLaren

Schumacher and Alonso should not be mentioned in the same breath.

One has 7 titles, genuinely competed for at least 10, has 91 wins and did that mainly in a team that was totally useless to begin with. He helped create the Ferrari we know today and he left the team the best team in modern F1. Also his early success was also building a Benetton team from scratch, which is the Renault team Alonso benefitted from and the current Lotus team.

The other has 2 titles, genuinely competed for at least 5, all in cars and teams that were fully functioning as true championship winning teams and experienced. Alonso builds and develops nothing. He needs the best car to win. He is a leech, sucking resource and not rebuilding.

Schumacher helped create, Alonso destroys. Teams were left better after Schumacher. Teams are left worse after Alonso.


Alonso has always been a better driver than Schumacher, regardless of statistics (influenced by many factors).


You exaggerate too much. Everyone knows that a large part of Schumacher's dominance was Ferrari and their strength relative to the other teams, as well as having effectively personalized tires from Bridgestone. That said his legacy will probably never be matched.

On the other hand it's kind of hard to blame Alonso for most of the tribulations he's had. Renault was destroyed by their decision to cheat, and no top-tier driver could have survived next to Hamilton at McLaren at the time (not because of Hamilton but because of the team).

As for his time at Ferrari, how exactly is a driver supposed to help develop anything in this era of practically no testing? Ok....now I exaggerate, but still Schumacher helped develop because he drove countless miles, on a real track....something drivers nowadays could only dream about.

Makes me wonder, total miles driven on track by Schumacher vs any other championship winning driver (yeah, gotta keep Reubens off the list because you know he drove even more than Schumie!)


Game, set, match Scuderia McLaren.


Schumacher didn't do all that single-handedly. You've got to factor in the invaluable teamwork contributions from Brawn, Byrne, and Mosley that together created an unbeatable package.


LOL. Benetton were left better after Schumacher left? He left them a year before the contract was over, and took Brawn and Byrne with him. Would you say that Benetton were "left better after Schumacher"? ROFL. Or, maybe you think he left Jordan before this "better off"? The only team left better off after Schumacher left, were Mercedes, because they had Hamilton instead of the old man. LOL


Yeah, Hamilton brought all that technical knowledge that Mercedes needed so badly to become better than McLaren this year! And see what has happened to McLaren. Hamilton is the greatest thing to have happened to F1


Well!!!!! Ferrari were left in very good shape, all being said I remember kimi wining the title in his first year at Ferrari in 2007 after Schumachers retirement and due to a last cruel lap engine failure in Budapest 2008 and the alonso shenanigans in Singapore Massa, some argue, would and should of won the championship......Coming back to Benetton those who worked with Schumacher craved the same challenge as him.. To bring the legendary team back to the top. The core structure with Pat and others were there to build on. If memory serves, Benetton came 3rd, 2 years running in the constructor championship...1996/1997


Hmmm quite correct


Maybe a bit harsh, but for sure your in the zone.

Alonso is a good driver but he's no Schumacher in terms of being the complete driver on and off track and in his attention to detail. I think those limitations are been highlighted at this stage and all parties are clearly frayed at the edges. To be fair Ferrari have done so much to benefit Alonso, Massa's enforced penalty in Austin just one case in point. Yet the success just isn't there. It's not all his fault too but they need a leader as much as a driver.

Now that Di Montezemolo has poured petrol on the fire and very publically chided Alonso it will be interesting to see how this pans out. This after all is the team that binned Schumacher and Raikkonen in recent times and before that both Prost and Lauda in the nineties and seventies.

To them Alonso is just a driver, and while the world is full of drivers, there is only one Ferrari.


Just one question in response to your comment "Schumacher helped create; teams were left better after Schumacher" - for his 2 WDCs, didn't Alonso beat Schumacher while the latter was still in the "better team he created"?

I do however agree with you on "Schumacher and Alonso should not be mentioned in the same breath" - one had access to private track + unlimited testing, custom-made tyres and All-Star technical team, while the other has a half-ar**d wind tunnel, and Fry & his ilk to contend with.

Scuderia McLaren


Agree with you Pete. Visi's arguments are deliberately missing the point. Truth hurts sometimes.

Have fun at MotoGp!


I do agree to disagree, but the Fact being the whole Ferrari F1 team infrastructure was optimized to maximize the "available options", be it unlimited testing or bespoke tyres. But the case being made was that it was a Fact that Ferrari was left in a strong position after Schumachers retirement. Maybe some complacency may of crept in, or maybe a lack of foresight has plagued Ferrari, from 2009 onwards. F1 has moved more to a era of advanced CFD and simulation technology also re-sized wind tunnels... areas which they are addressing now.

Alonso, will never achieve anything near what Schumacher did ,but....he'll get there "3rd wdc" maybe....

Good luck with the Monza visit, i'll be preparing my Motogp silverstone visit. 🙂



Guess I have to spell this out - the point re: the tyres is that one could do unlimited testing to provide feedback and get the specific tyre he wanted and the other has NO such recourse. No unlimited track testing, no customised tyres and an uncorrelated wind tunnel, so how is FA supposed to provide "feedback" at the same level as Schumi?

2006 and on... - 2006 they lost which is a FACT; 2007 they won, yes, but thanks to McLaren shooting themselves in the foot; 2008 they lost is also a FACT. Based such "almost won" hypotheticals - FA "almost won" in 2010 and 2012, despite the car largely not being at par with RB. One could argue that FA is in the process of creating a legacy of making SF look far better than what it's technical team are producing.

Finally - my comments were really to contrast the "embittered rhetoric" (as aptly described by John) of Scuderia McLaren. You and I will agree to disagree. In the meantime I shall prepare my paddock club visit to Monza in a few weeks' time 🙂



Two sides to a coin.. I have been watching F1 for a long time now and what the sport defines is the absolute pinnacle of technology, to ultimately find the threshold of perfection in any given area within set rules and regulations. Now you and many others speak of "bespoke tyres" that Bridgestone provided to Ferrari.

As F1 cars constantly develop, so does the need to push more limits, Ferrari gave constant feedback to the suppliers regarding parameters to which they could evolve and improve, of which tyres are key. So if the suppliers are willing to help the development and evolution of the car, would anyone not take that option. Put simply it was another element to make the car faster..

As for the F248 it was the beginning of a new design philosophy for them, which was very successful, they almost won the 2006 WDC and WCC, won in 2007, nearly won 2008.. All due to the team structure formed over those years.. So bar the stop gap which was 2005 that (2000-2008)would of been the greatest period of sucess for any f1 team in the history of the sport.

That's Schumacher legacy, moving the team to the top..

Hamilton WDC 2014........ 🙂


@ Pete.

There are always two sides to a coin, is all I'm saying. For instance, what of the bespoke Bridgestones that were key to Schumi's domination years? Tyres do indeed have a final say in an F1 car... no?

Re: "In 2006 starting from a new design after losing direction they didn’t get the car in the zone until mid season"... Heaven above no, how could that happen to a team that “Schumacher helped create" - considering by 2006 he had been "creating" said team for a decade already.

Even a brilliant driver is only as good as the tools provided to him.


Ok so you realise that 2005 was basically a no show for Ferrari, in that the Bridgestone tyres were totally uncompetitive, apart from Imola, Bahrain and possibly Spa. The tyres have the final say in f1 car dynamics. In 2006 starting from a new design after losing direction they didn't get the car in the zone until mid season... When Renault had a strong base and development platform to build another fast car from the season start.


I think you'll find that the Todt-Byrne-Brawn triumvirate had a big role to play there as well, whereas the current Ferrari team seems lacking in that department (though perhaps swooping for Allison is meant as a kind of Brawn-type figure).

Anyway, there is little need for the kind of embittered rhetoric above. To quote, it "builds and develops nothing" insofar as civic discourse is concerned.


This seems to be Horners brilliance putting Ferrari under more pressure. Just what they don't need. He's playing games with them simply because he can. To be very honest, these games are more interesting than the actual racing.


I think you're right. Horner had mighty trollface in the interviews.


Ferrari did exactly the same thing to Red Bull last year. But I think Mercedes is far more dangerous right now so Horner should be more worried about them...


Ferrari *tried* exactly the same with Red Bull last year, but not to the same effect.


He is, but was gifted an opportunity to ruffle a few feathers at Ferrari with no down side and took it, who wouldn't after Ferrari went out of their way to destabilise Red Bull last season. What goes around comes around. As for Merc his options are limited, perhaps it was a bit short sighted to not take Lewis when he had the opportunity if for no other reason than to stop him going to Merc. Now he has to deal with a resurgent Lewis and a reinvigorated Nico in a rapidly improving car.

Lucky for him Merc have left it too late for this season.



They were just discussing Sainz Jr...


Yes I guess you are right. The 'old' Carlos Sainz Sr. was also spotted at the time Luis Garcia Abad was seen at RB.

Matthew Cheshire

Does this not look like Alonso rattling his cage? World champions are driven, intensely focused individuals. If Ferrari are not meeting his expectations, this is only the start of the fireworks.

It can only be a wake up call to his own team- because he cannot seriously accept a similar scenario at Red Bull that failed so spectacularly for him at McLaren.

If Domenicali leaves soon, it will be this kind of pressure from Alonso that does it.


This is Alonso putting pressure on his team. Horner trying to destabilise Ferrari. And Alonso sending a signal to the world that Vettel is afraid to race him in equal machinery.

Ferrari and Red Bull's dilemma is that no top tier driver is going to want to drive for them unless they are given equal status. For all Ricciardo's quotes about gunning for the seat, would he really want to drive for Red Bull if he was a clear number 2 driver? I would have thought he was more talented and ambitious than that.

Matthew Cheshire

I'm wondering if Horner is putting Vettel in his place too. Still in the naughty chair for ignoring orders. Vettel was obviously not informed.

You are not indispensable Sebastian.

Ricciardo will jump at the number 2 roll. He took the HRT, that was always going to be last. He took the Torro Rosso that was never going to win. Of course he'll take the best car as a number 2 - Vettel won't be there forever.


totally agree. Alonso manages up and puts pressure on principals, teams and by definition, company philosophy. Look at Ron Dennis that could not get sustained success at Mclaren and his boy in Hamilton is gone. Domenicali now is being asked questions, fair enough. Briatore might have been a snake but he knew to get out of the way and let things happen when metrics were winning. Get some engineers and spend appropriately. Holding Massa, has been a bain on resource. Out spent, out thought, out resourced. Alonso is asking why. Also a real performance metric would be not alonso in a 2012/2013 red bull but vettel in a 2012/2013. Plot the 2 year data sample and apply the difference. Alonso the better driver IMO.


Might Fernando feel that Ferrari need a bit of a kick up the bum ? Just a reminder not to take him for granted. How can it be that after all this time, they still haven't sorted out the wind-tunnel ?

Who could say he's wrong ?


When you're the top paid employee of the team, you don't deliver a "kick up the bum" to those that work for you.


Well, they don't actually work for him. And over the last three years of failure he's been pretty relentlessly positive. This year they've started with the best car (relative to the others) they've ever had, and they've gone backwards since.


My thoughts exactly. He's clearly frustrated at Ferrari's failure to give him a championship-winning car, and feels they deserve a sharp kick in the rear to get them back on track. I doubt it's much more than that.


its all very typical silly season stuff.

But the following: "Industry insight puts Mercedes ahead of Renault with Ferrari behind." - where does this come from? what industry insight?

The teams are so tight-lipped about details for next year, so i find it amazing that anyone is able to have access to all three manufactures details in the first place, let alone be able to rate them relatively.... isnt this the sort of thing that leads to articles discussing rumours?


Seems Di Montezemelo doesn't think its silly season stuff.

Regarding your other point, what about Pirelli.? They have very detailed data from all three suppliers

It doesn't take much of a leap of the imagination to realize that more than a few people have an idea about relative performance of competing power trains.


At this stage of the year, you can imagine that teams have increasing amounts of data from their engine supplier about the 2014 unit they will be getting

So it comes from there..

Think about it


“Industry insight puts Mercedes ahead of Renault with Ferrari behind.”

Now, this is rather gloomy. At least we might see Mercedes fighting.

However, in this case I don't see Alonso staying...



We know that to date the Red Bull has struggled with KERS. Philosophically, Adrian has never been a fan of it, so the aero design tends to push the design tolerances of their KERS package and it has broken repeatedly. This isn't a problem seen with the other teams. Mercedes have a design philosophy that puts too much power through the tires at the wrong times, thus knackering them.

We may know in pre season testing who has it right (like we did with the Brawn) but truth is, we and the teams won't have a clue who has got it right next year until a couple of races have been completed. Powertrain... Aero... KERS... Tires... Balance... Fuel Consumption... Reliability. Lots' of new things to optimise for next year. Changing just 1 variable has caused all sorts of fun this and last year. Next year, they all change.


No doubt, but what the teams don't have - what nobody has at this stage - is data on *other* manufacturers engines. I can well believe that e.g Red Bull know a fair bit about the Renault engine, but not that they know much about the Ferrari and Mercedes engines.

And not even the engine makers will have a handle on engine reliability until they actually start racing next year.


Reliability better be good, as they're only allowed a max 5 engines (and that's engine and ERS system together) next year, before 10-place grid penalties. I guess if you have a super engine, and are seconds faster than other cars, that the "penalty" might actually become a price worth paying.


"And not even the engine makers will have a handle on engine reliability until they actually start racing next year"

They will have run the engine on a test bed that simulated the stresses generated during a race. They will have a very good understanding of the engine reliability.


Engineers move between teams and some information will move with them I expect.


What!!? These engines are built by big organisations - dozens and dozens of individuals on every side will have access to specific output and performance data. It might not be published etc but it's not beyond the realms of possibility for well connected individuals to ask similar questions to different people and make certain educated conclusions from the answers.

To your second point - they run every component on test beds to destruction, simulating stresses far beyond real life requirements. I expect impressive reliability out of the box from all of the new formula engine variants.


Hi James,

So are you saying teams are talking to each other about what their power train next year is going to be like ?

I thought not.


Think again Waseem.

James wrote: "...you can imagine...". "So it comes from there..."

rob in victoria bc

Not to second guess James, but what I believe he is saying is teams are learning about next years engines, from each teams own specific manufacturer, and that is filtering down to the drivers. In this case Alonso might not be hearing good things from Ferrari, and his spies might have heard far better from Renault/Infiniti. That would interest any driver knowing there is a seat open. In any case, I'm pretty sure James wasn't saying the teams are talking to each other about next years engines, any more than they are talking about next years aero packages.


Nothing in this at all i'd say. Alonso has only ever said he wants to finish his career at Ferrari, and also not 3 weeks ago said the only contract he'd want to sign is an extension at Ferrari.

All the time you have to leave the space!

He also once said McLaren was his dream to join and that he would never drive in Red.


What do you think he wants more: finish career at Ferrari or win his 3rd title?


Exactly. He races to win titles, and not to be a Ferrari driver


Yeap, Massa wanst to be at Ferrari...Alonso and people like him want titles.


The two aren't mutually exclusive.


Interesting analysis there James, could it just have been a chat about Carlos Sainz Jr? whom is also managed by Alonso's manager?

Horner's comments and refusal to deny could be a bit of 'revenge' for the perceived mental games of last year from Alonso.

One could understand that Alonso isn't happy with the performance positioning of Ferrari at the moment, but it would be hard to believe he would openly court RBR. Surely the point of being seen is that you want to be seen.


I doubt that Abad would go the Hungaroring just to chat to Christian Horner about Carlos Sainz Jr. Drivers' managers don't routinely turn up at Grand Prix events and they're certainly canny enough to know that being seen with certain team managers will set tongues wagging.

There is method in this. Ferrari look lost at the minute. Perhaps this is Alonso's way of waking the team up, as they don't appear to be all that minded about being anything other than vaguely in touch with Red Bull.


Abad goes to every race and is very visible at all times


There are some interesting comments with an entirely different twist out there regarding Montezmolo's "rebuke" of the comments FA made post-race. Didn't see that clip, but certainly a different "spin" on the situation. No wonder readers get confused when the pot gets stirred, eh?


Honer has planned this for sometime....sadly Ferrari is in no position to dispute this, FA has not been given a competitive car, with that said FA will be at Ferrari next year that will be the last chance for them and Fernando.

Ferrari will sign Kimi and RB will sign a young driver for one year...giving both teams an out for next year

rob in victoria bc

'Ferrari will sign Kimi', pretty sure I read in one of James Allen's books that the only driver Ferrari re-hired for a second go is Gerhard Berger?

Matthew Cheshire

Ferrari will sign Kimi? Again?

You don't think that would be a monumental embarrassment them? And what if he underperformed again after they ate all that humble pie?

There's more chance of the Pope signing up to be a spice girl.


How about starting a new rumour.;)

kimi goes to Ferrari, with Aloso. Ferrari's only concern with Kimi was motivation, not an issue now. Plus would give them the Constructors championship. ferrari prefer constructors over drivers championship.

Massa goes to RB, happy as a number 2. Would get more points than Riccardo.

Riccardo stays at Toro to give him more time 2 develop.

What do you think?

Matthew Cheshire

I'm thinking we'd be sent to the rubber room trying to float any of that 😉

How much did Ferrari pay Kimi NOT to drive instead of Alonso? And why would Kimi accept second fiddle, a probably cr@p car and a team that already kicked him out once?

Ferrari like points so that they look good. Desperate and Dateless enough to go to Kimi would be worse than losing.

Massa to RB is weirder again. PM is nearing the end of his career. And he has a reputation for bad patches that can last TWO YEARS. A pasture in Brazil beckons.

Without a promotion, Ricciardo is out or off to another team. He's graduated beyond driver training. Another year makes no sense.

Kimi will stay put. Riccardo will get his shot. Alonso will stay 1 more year for the new car but the Hulk will be a cheap alternative to Massa. They need a new driver with potential beyond Alonso.


He has already signed 🙂


Funny you should say that............


The Ferrari was the best car to be in the first 5 races of this season. People are very forgetful.


Ferrari best car in the first 5 races? After discounting Australia & Bahrain then yes.


China for sure, but Malaysia? They were good there (or would have been), but best?

So really just China and Spain for being the best car.


That wont work with the Vettel always has the best car!


Alonso link to Redbull? Perhaps just to nudge Kimi abit ha!


I think we should just call it what it is from both sides of this exchange.

From Red Bull:

It's clear who they want, and it's the Iceman. The Robertsons are notorious for tough negotiations. Getting the name of another elite driver out there in connection with the seat is their way of pushing back. In related news, this is an ominous indication for Ricciardo's chances at the seat. There is no need for Red Bull to make such loud noises if they are seriously negotiating with Ricciardo.

From Alonso:

The message is clear: get your act together, Maranello, and give me a championship car already. We all know Alonso knows how to send messages in this manner. I would even go as far as to speculate that, given the boldness of this play, Alonso may be seeking even more- such as major changes in the personnel of the team. The guy who comes to mind is the guy who James said was very annoyed by this move. Domenicali is in his 7th season and has yet to deliver a Driver's Championship, and surely this thought has crossed Alonso's mind. (What say you to this part, James?)


Sounds logical, good analysis.

Roger Blackwell

I'd like to think that Horner a really smart guy and is intent on having as much fun with the rumours as possible without putting his foot in it.

It'd be great to find out (when books are written years from now) that Horner and Newey get together over a beer each day and laugh about winding the press up over nothing.

Craig in Manila


I think the boys at RBR are quite expert at manipulating the media to ensure that "Red Bull" continues to get the most mentions in the media irrespective of whether the car wins or not. It almost seems like, everytime that they get beaten, something pops-up to continue to keep them in the headlines....

I would suggest that Webber would be in that beer-session too saying things like "How bout Seb passes me and then I throw a tantrum in front of the cameras? Or maybe I can do that thing in the press conference where I look real angry and splash water and stuff?".


Lol lol lol lol

Best comment of the year so far.....

On the same level as Fernando's dream birthday present answer!


Yes, this has nothing to do with RB next year driver and everything to do with mischief Ferrari.


I think its not too complicated. Probably Alonso's manager was there to talk about Carlos Sainz jr, but then uses this to put pressure on Ferrari about making the car a lot better in the next 4 to 6 weeks, otherwise Alonso might be looking for a new challenge 😉

And Horner simply uses this opportunity to put pressure on Ferrari to destabilase the team, by not denying or confirming anything whatsoever......

Its plane and simple F1 politics: just my 2 cents !!


I agree with James....

All this Kimi and now Alonso talk and in the end it is 99% going to be Ricardo. Alonso surely is locked in his Ferrari contract and even if he is not he did not play well with Hamilton the only time he had a top teammate. In fact Hamilton was a rookie and was not even locked into the McLaren F1 team yet. Whereas a move to Red Bull put him next to perhaps a 4 time Champ that is the very heart of Red Bull.

Next year is new rules and new cars across the board and Ferrari has tons of resources. There is almost no chance Alonso leaves, I think this is him getting Ferrari riled up and Red Bull loving helping him do it.

As for Kimi……. I think he really likes Lotus, but they gotta start paying him on time.


Lotus seemed to have tilted their focus on Grojean during the Hungarian weekend. Eric Boulier has commented a lot on Grojean's penalty but little on Kimi. Could that be a tactic to pressure Kimi as well?


Boullier's bigging-up of Grosjean was very noticeable. I thought this was more a sign that Eric knows he has likely lost the battle to keep Kimi, and that Grosjean is likely to inherit Kimi's mantle as their marquee driver - hence he needs to have his profile/talent brought to the fore.


No, I think it's fair to say GRO has been on great form lately and has raised his game. Fair enough


That may be so, or, they already know that Kimi is going to Red Bull. They cancelled his day at the YDT and obviously did not collect sufficient data on the tyres to make the proper set up in Kimi's car. A top notch team resolves such problems after the first hour of testing. Mercedes that did not have any data on the new tyres, had immense problems with them in testing but they were able to solve them in qualifying and the race. I think Kimi wants to stay at Lotus, but he has been let down on many ocassions by the team that does not seem to have the personnel to push for victories and a shot at the championship.


Thats what Kimi said before they dumped him 'I have a contract for next year'


Very true. F1 has proven time and again that contracts are only really worth the paper they're printed on without the will of both sides to observe them. If Alonso wants to go, he'll probably go.


Well, they certainly used one expensive type of paper with Kimi if that is the case. My understanding is that he didn't lose a single cent by not driving because he fulfilled all the performance clauses even with the slow Ferrari in 2009 (and by not driving for others in 2010).

Contracts without suitable exit clauses are either binding or *very* expensive when talking about top F1 drivers.


True, it will require a substantial payoff in most cases in light of it being a prima facie breach of contract. My point was more that if either the team or the driver decides they don't want to carry on with the contract anymore, it's very difficult indeed to enforce the drive as payoffs seem to be very straightforward indeed. In most other settings, you would be going to arbitration or a tribunal at the very least.


Exactly- pay me $54 Million for NOT driving a heap of sh..- is not a blemish on my record but a justification for the blemish on yours !


James, I think the legacy is not going to be any different than the one Vettel has after MULTI 21. In this sport the desire to win is everything. Alonso is not stupid and he knows that he has max 2-3 years to clinch his 3rd title, a dream that he always pursued. He would have loved to achieve this with the Ferrari and one would think that for the the number of years that he will eventually spend with the team, even statistically there was a very high probability that he can win at least one title.

It doesn't work for 4 years despite majority of people being in agreement that Alonso is one of the best drivers ever. His 2012 campaign was something spectacular! So what is next? What would we consider as right signals for him to stay and have a chance to win in the next 2-3 years?

1. Adrian Newey joining the team starting 2014

2. Ferrari becoming stronger and stronger this year, winning more and more races

3. Wind tunnel being the state of the art and allowing to produce clear winner for 2014

4. Ross Brawn replacing Domenicali

What do we have instead?

1. The team is lost when it comes to direction. They started strongly but are falling behind Red Bull, Lotus and Mercedes

2. Adrian Newey is not joining the team and no indications that Ross Brawn will replace Domenicali

3. Ferrari is off the pace, definitely not improving

4. Issue with the new Wind Tunnel, Ferrari still cannot get on top

So what is the reassurance that Alonso might win another one with Ferrari? None, I would say. Nothing is really indicating this.

So if he knows what we know and even more, then it is only natural that he wants to get himself into a better position to win the title. Both Red Bull and Mercedes are looking much more attractive than Ferrari for the next 2-3 years.

If Alonso is not going to move, he will not win his 3rd title. Unless he knows that Ross Brawn will replace Domenicali and that Adrian Newey will finally join the team.


Another reason why Alonso might think about Red Bull is because they are a very strong power in F1 these days. I am sure he wants to be with the team that wins on and off track. Just think about the recent saga with tyres. Red Bull eventually made Pirelli introduce tyres that they wanted to have, something that they used in 2012. Ferrari is a looser, Red Bull is a winner. Things changed. Ferrari was the major force, but right now it is Red Bull.


Such is the extend and complexity of change for next year, that a key innovation, by any team, could propel them to the sharp end of machinery performance.

We don't even know who the tire supplier will be.

With Allison coming on board, he is a rare commodity that can find that kind of innovation.

I totally agree that Ferrari are in the doldrums, and I have to agree that SD never has really seemed to be on top of it; he'll likely have to go, one way, or another.

What about a straight swap, Vettel for Alonso?

What about Kimi to Mercedes?

Roger Blackwell

"Vettel’s skill with English and the subtlety of nuance in his answers is always impressive."


It's funny that VET praised RAI for being a straight talker when VET himself was the complete opposite in the wake of the Multi-21 affair.

Vettel's tawdry "bad english" excuse after the race is something for his next teammate to take on board.


If only Ferrari would give him a car as consistently competitive as the Red Bull! Then the F1 world would be a far happier place. We'd finally get to see whether Alonso or Vettel is the better driver, and see a decent competition, regardless of the outcome. There are those who dislike Alonso, but he surely deserves a better car than Ferrari keep giving him. His performance last season must surely proof of that.


I've never understood why people keep going on about his performance last season. It was a good performance, yes. But nothing all THAT special. He benefited greatly from his cars reliability and Vettels misfortune. In some ways it was a replay of 2010, where it was only Seb's bad luck which kept things close to the last race.


Alonso is the anti-Vettel. Whatever car he drives, it keeps being dismissed as slow, while whatever car Vettel drives is always getting praised to the skies. I notice that even Seb's STR's have been posthumously awarded "excellent car" status!


that's why every Team is hunting Vettel and not Alonso. Because when Vettel wins in their car it's the car that won, not Vettel.


It's a funny old world. If only Ferrari had given Kimi a consistently competitive car he would probably have been a multiple WDC by now instead of all those rumours about his having lost interest and a big buyout from Banco Santander. Is it just me or was his performance in winning Spa in the hopeless Ferrari KERS dog any different than he's been turning in in the below par Lotus the last year and half?

It seems to me the problem with Ferrari post Schumacher hasn't been the drivers - both Kimi and Fernando are more than up to the job - it's the loss of Todt, Brawn & Byrne at pretty much the same time that's hurt them.


Bang on, people tend to forget ALL the players that were at ferrari: Brawn, Todt and Byrne with Schumacher = equals championships. Not Schu on his own. Driver championships reads individual but end of day its about the team BEHIND that driver. Vettel, Newey with Matesitch resource = Red Bull success. Key is keeping personalities in order Alonso, Raikkonen and Weber want fairness (and why they ALWAYS get the headlines, good copy) Schu and Vettel know what side their bread is buttered- so shut up accordingly. All other factors being equal,real performance metrics would not be Alonso in a 2012/2013 red bull. It would be vettel in a 2012/2013 ferrari and plot the difference. My money is on Alonso. De Montezemolo has really mismanaged the whole affair from appointing Domenacali, keeping Massa around to not fronting with good machinery for Kimi. Managing post GFC with a player in Red Bull who can toe to toe with you resources wise really tests your management team and capabilities. Ferrari (or Luca) want yes men who will not pay heed to management performance. Alonso kills that notion because his driver performance is exceptional DESPITE a poor car. People now touching down in other areas of the business.


Totally agree. FA has now some years in Ferrari and nothing the championship hasn´t come to his hands, it´s still hanging the one lost to Vettel when he couldn´t pass Petrov, which i still can´t understand, taking in consideration driver and team strategy skills. I think FA played the card with his manager to see Ferrari´s reaction, which i think turned the opposite he´s strong in the team but still hasn´t won all so he´s not in MSC league, today (on his birthday) he was rebuked by Montezemolo for apparently saying something nobody on the press heard...


>"If only Ferrari had given Kimi a consistently competitive car he would probably have been a multiple WDC by now."

You mean cars such as the F2007 and F2008? I could've sworn Kimi did indeed drive those very cars...


Ohh did you somehow forget he won them both championships in 2007 and was winning races in 2008 when they had already made the decision to drop him..

The song goes "..Its all about the money , money , money" in the guise of Santander and nothing else...


Something must've gone wrong with Kimi and Ferrari during 2007 or early 2008. No other WDC, ever, has been thrown under the bus less than half a year after winning the WDC, *whilst leading the championship* by questioning their motivation.


FA knows exactly how to play politics when needed. He can be giving Ferrari a wake up call to stimulate them working harder and not take him for granted. He needs a competitive package and they are not delivering.


Sounds to me like a case of Red Bull trying to even the score with Alonso for his destabilising tactics last year.

There are so many reasons why - logically - this won't happen. But this is F1, and the ridiculous sometimes does actually happen.

Although, only a matter of weeks ago Ferrari was the class of the field at Catalunya. Yet yesterday they were the 4th best car. Frustrations can start to boil over.

Moving teams between 2013 and 2014 with the cards about to be reshuffled is incredibly risky for anyone.


Fernando wants Sebastian as a team mate as much as Seb wants Fernando as a team mate.


It was very good observation by somebody who commented here a couple of days ago that only three drivers in F1 history were able to build something great at Ferrari - Ascari, Lauda and Schumacher.

There were a lot of great drivers for which Ferrari was a lost case... Prost, Mansell, etc

It doesn't look promising for Alonso either ...


Just because you agree with someone it doesn't necessarily mean it's correct.


Just might be on to something here! Starting to look like having more and not fewer teams might be good for the sport and provide a wider range of choice/opportunity. While there are a lot of things that one may not apprecate about the sanctioning body, NASCAR may be on to something in that particular regard.


I don't think it has anything to do with the drivers, is all about the staff.

Regarding this news, I think is smoke screen by RB to push Kimi.


I can understand Alonso's frustrations. F1 commentators can clearly see the Ferrari lacks grip/downforce compared to Red Bull and Mercedes, but rumours surface that Pat Fry has been criticising Alonso's qualifying performances. Maybe James Allison's arrival will signal some significant changes as the current excuses of wind tunnel correlation which we've heard for the past 4 years are now wearing thin


Exchange Alonso and Massa with Vettel and Hamilton, and the Ferrari would suddenly qualify near the front. It's important for Ferrari to have the fastest qualifiers on the grid, however the biggest benefit would be that RBR and Merc would lack the best qualifiers.


Hi James,

I find this situation (filling in the second RBR seat) so fascinating. RAI has been the prime contender for this spot for several months now, and the way in which circumstances have swung bargaining power throughout is worthy of comment.

1. It swung in RAI's favor when Mark Webber announced his retirement taking RBR by surprise. I don't think there was any intention of having him continue but Webber would have been a valuable negotiating tool in keeping RAI's salary demands to a minimum. This also forced Lotus F1 to acknowledge that RBR was chasing RAI and that it was trying to retain everything it could him in Lotus. Score RAI 1 - RBR 0.

2. At no point do I think the junior drivers were in real contention for the seat -- if anything it looks like Vergne has more long term potential, and I wouldn't be surprised if Ricciardo got the boot at the end of this year. I would venture that RBR got Ricciardo to drive at the YDT to suggest to RAI that they did have other options (now that the Webber card was played). Horner then went out of the way to state that the shortlist was RAI and RIC. Well played RBR. Score RAI 1 - RBR 1.

3. Fast forward to Hungary. RAI tried to imply in the Thursday press conference that he may end up choosing something "Stupid" in others eyes. Basically implying to RBR that if the right offer was not forthcoming, he was seriously considering staying back at Lotus F1 -- when in reality he may have no such intention. Not such a brilliant move by RAI -- because by Friday it was clear that Lotus was not even able to pay his current salary. Bluff called. Score RAI 1 - RBR 2.

4. On raceday in Hungary, Horner allows ALO to RBR rumour to fester, while knowing full well that there was zero possibility of that happening. Appeared to be a masterstroke, but nobody gave VET the memo -- he blurted out to the beeb that ALO was a no go in RBR. Score RAI 2 - RBR 2.

5. RAI puts in a fantastic performance in the last race before the summer break to keep VET behind in the race. VER outperformed RIC. Score RAI 3 - RBR 2.

All of this boils down to RAI's salary demands -- I think he will race for RBR next season. But he goes into the summer break with that much more bargaining power to get himself that mega salary!

There goes my speculation. But not far from reality, I think.


+1 Excellent. (Are you working in F1 or something?)


I wish -- just a boring corporate lawyer (and a keen observer of the sport), I'm afraid!


Great stuff, hope it is true.


I think that chances for Alonso to win his 3rd title in Ferrari by 2016 are no more than 30%(+/-).

Think about it this way. You are employed by a big company and have been moving up so far, but for some reason you are stuck, cannot move any further. Some people are going to be OK to accept it and will just enjoy the prestige and a very high salary. Some people would do everything possible to move to the absolute top, be is this company or some other company.

I think for Alonso his 3rd title is much more important. I, for one second, cannot imagine him giving up on his 3rd crown, I would never give up! I am sure this is what makes him wake up every morning and he should do everything possible to achieved it - first try make changes at Ferrari and if it doesn't work - join another team and win it. It will be hard to turn back time...

Thread the Needle

This doesn't look good for Alonso and no doubt Ferrari will be very unhappy if he is asking other teams about drives, so Alonso needs to be careful.

Plus Hamilton took the risk with Mercedes and it does seem to be paying off, really the best teams to be for the future is Redbull and Mercedes

Get Well Soon Murray

The important thing for the fans is who would be able to really take it to Vettel? Kimi or Alonso?

Gut feeling, but I'd rather have Kimi in there. He'd ruffle some featheres...


Alonso's negotiations are intended to put more pressure on the team and Ferrari management to maximize car developement. Alonso is team player only when he is #1 driver and RB already have theirs.

Then again anything is possible in F1 and this may open Ferrari negotiations with Kimi.


Ferrari are almost looking like 'an old home for drivers'-a marque that ALL drivers would love to drive BEFORE retirement.


I suggest RBR to take Schumi for 1 year, just for the development sake, and by the end of 2014 to say which driver they will chose.

Why ? If it's Kimi or Alonso -> I presume that there will be always questions about why some HW or strategy is not working as with another car.

murugan chellaiah

Yes,i would like to see Schumi in RBR and wins races.

murugan chellaiah

Yes,i would like to see Schumi in RBR and win races.


It does seem a bit of an odd development - I also thought Alonso had a binding contract up to the end of 2016 so this is somewhat out of the blue. I can't particularly see him as a Red Bull driver either - he and Vettel would probably butt heads even more than happened with Hamilton in 2007, to say nothing of the fact it's a major gamble given Vettel's current form. It's probably more an exercise in psychology than anything, assuming his manager was in fact speaking to Horner about him rather than about Sainz Jr, which again we don't know.

I do wonder, however, whether he might try and engineer a return to McLaren in time for when Honda rejoins in 2015? Granted, they're having a poor season by their standards at present, but they've shown themselves to have more potential in recent years (if not reliability) and he did say about it being a dream to drive for them. Maybe without Hamilton there it would be more likely to work. Then again, maybe not. But it's something that came to mind.

Silly season in progress...


I could not agree more, for 3 years the main culprit was the wind tunnel and now what?At the start of he season the car was supposedly far better...thanks to the Toyota facilities?!

You have to feel for a driver of his caliber and hope that there is more to the story as clearly Vettel fear him...I just can buy this story of Alonso s manager going at Red Bull for Sainz Jr, surely at Torro Rosso it would make sens but WHY a top team like Red Bull would want a rookie??!!!.....Or either Mercedes or Ferrari or Mc laren..


Vettel and Horner obviously believes that it would be easier to get another WDC who Vettel gets along with. And of course Kimi is not political.

But even so it might still be to difficult to work out, Vettel was only behind Kimi for a few laps and he already got frustrated. That could intensify if they become teammates.

Red Bull likes the publicity and the attention they are getting for the second seat, but at the end of the day they will most likely go with Ricciardo.


Never say never about anything. Contracts in F1 are not worth the paper they are written on and only work if both parties are willing to agree to them. If Red Bull and FA really want to work with each other they will find a way. Maybe the BBC should get Eddie Jordan onto this one.


It's sweet karma that keeps Alonso from winning the WDC. If you don't want to win, fire a Finn.

Ferrari should just get Kimi back, give him full backing and start dominating again.


I agree with the Karma point.

but Kimi would be nuts to go to Ferrari, but maybe that's what he was referring to when he said some people might think his choice 'stupid'.

Ultimately, I think Kimi is the best driver, and I'd like to see him in the best car possible; more options are better, if they are indeed, options.


I don't think it's that simple. Something must've gone wrong with Kimi and (presumably) top executives at Ferrari during 2007 or early 2008. Nothing else can explain why they would start to question their lead driver's motivation less than half a year into defending his WDC, whilst still leading the championship.

However, it seems finding a new MSC is not an easy task. ALO might not be that person.


This reply was meant for i.e. not Elie. 🙂


Yeah I know what happened :-

Di Montizemolo : - Kimi - how come your not winning all the time like in 2007

Kimi- The car is shit

Monte- you can't say that We are Ferrari

Kimi- No "you"are a wanker. The rest of the people are ok

3 years later and they are still saying the same thing. Ferrari is turning into a retirement village- they must wake up- they can't do things like when MS, RB Rory Byrne & Jean Todt where there.


Fireman, I have thought the very same thing many times myself, just never aired it...very astute of you. 🙂 Since you have put it down, I will second you. 🙂


I don't think I'd be quite so confident about who will be fastest next year! Maybe Merc and Red Bull, but anything can happen in the first year of new regulations. Look at 2009!

Newey is strong in new regs but nothing is certain. Who knows, maybe Mclaren will come back

Tornillo Amarillo

Great article James.

For me ALONSO is OK in Ferrari, he got and he will get always a serious possibility to be Champion again in Ferrari. We cannot say the same in the future with Red Bull or Lotus.

For me HULKENBERG should replace Massa and give good points and stability to Ferrari. If not, Hulk to replace Webber for being a reliable number 2 driver. But Red Bull seems to prefer Ricciardo, or Kimi.

Personally I think Red Bull want a number 1 and 2 driver and that's the reason Kimi is not a deal, I think Kimi wants equal treatment and that's a "deal breaker".


If there is to be a 'deal-breaker' between Kimi and RBR I suspect it will be about money. RBR have pots of the stuff and could easily afford Kimi, no question, but the mere fact they're so loaded might have made the Robertsons a little too greedy. I'm not sure RBR would appreciate it if the Robertsons were demanding a more lucrative financial package for Kimi than Vettel's current remuneration. Paying Kimi more than Vettel would have serious potential to destabilise their current 3x WDC. Vettel is not known for prioritising money but this would be a sharp and unnecessary slap in the face after all the work he has put into the team and the results he has accrued over the years.

I suspect the Alonso rumour has been propagated as leverage against the Robertsons, to ensure RBR look like they have 'options' (as Horner himself said on BBC TV), ensuring the Robertsons don't get too cocky with their demands.

Ultimately I expect this tactic to pay off and we will see Kimi as a Red Bull driver in 2014.


Honestly, may be should read to much into this...

In 2012(this time last year):

Alonso leads the championship from Vettel/Hamilton by nearly 40 points and we have rumours "Vettel to Ferrari"

In 2013(this time of the year):

Vettel Leads the championship from Alonso by nearly 40 points and we have rumours "Alonso to Red Bull"

It's political to me...a bit too obvious perhaps!


Edit: I meant we shouldn't read too much into this


There are too many great drivers who went to Ferrari and weren't given the right cars. I can't help but feel Alonso will just be another one of those.

As a big Ferrari fan, I'll admit he has carried the team these last 3 and a half years. In 2010 he shouldn't have had a chance, in 2011 he scored numerous podiums despite having the 3rd best car and last year was a miracle. The team need to get their act together and quickly.

That said, with the engine situation playing out how it is, I wouldn't move just yet. Wait and see how the engines behave next year and then move; no point in him moving this year if Ferrari end up being strong next year.


I've mentioned this many a times this year..Alonso's past record with Mclaren and his tantrums at Renault when Fisi briefly had the measure of him shows that he is "Team Alonso" first, and everything else is secondary.

Alonso is no Michael Schumacher. Schumacher despite his ruthless reputation, never once put his team under the bus when the going got tough. I wonder how many titles Michael could've won had he joined Williams in the mid-90s and Mclaren in the late 90s-2000s ? Is it any surprise that Patrick Head commented after watching Schumacher console his crew at Suzuka 2006 that there have been many a great champions who've driven for Williams, but he cannot think of a single driver who would have done what Schumi did after his engine gave up at Suzuka, and the championship was lost.

Torchwood Five

Martin Whitmarsh said the same thing of Lewis last year at Singapore or one of the Far Eastern races, when his engine died while in the lead.

Or, given that my memory is shaky, it might have been when Lewis was put to the back of the grid after a fuel issue in qualifying.

"We were expecting him to explode, but he said we win as a team, and we lose as a team"


Maybe its a German thing Vettel did same at Korea '10

Valentino from montreal

Your the best Zombie !!


interesting article and great responses but what is missing is that alonso was intensely smiling with a high sense of pleasure. sometimes action speak louder than words.

i strongly suspect alonso has not given the idea of joining redbull a thought. he only first heard of the idea when he was asked. secondly vettel normally smiles and pause before answering such questions but in this occasion he looked very serious presented his choice of raikkonen rather quickily and then decided to choose his words carfully to explain his choice. i suspect raikkonen has already been signed.


Personally, I believe the Alonso camp in that this whole affair is nothing but the media being devil's advocates by stirring up stories from thin air.

Yes after the just concluded young drivers' test, I think Alonso's manager was trying to put in a good word for Carlos Sainz Jr for maybe a Torro Rosso drive in case Ricciardo moves upstairs.

So no, I don't believe for a moment Alonso is headed anywhere especially with such a huge fan base with the tifosi.

If Alonso wasn't popular with the tifosi, I would have believed he could jump ship but as things are, it's no re-treat, no surrender situation.

Unfortunately for Alonso his future with the red team, doesn't look too promising for if you recall, Schumi was 30 when he won his first title for the team plus the only person Schumi had to worry about was Mika in the Mclaren >>> totally different story with Alonso.

It could also be argued that with Alonso not being a great qualifier and thus he can't give the needed feedback to help the team develop this particular field.

Anyway, Alonso could retire this very day and it wouldn't make a difference for with 32 wins and having ended Schumi's reign, his legacy is already set.

As for Kimi, it appears he has already signed on the dotted line with Red Bull.

For when you have Vettel putting in a good word for you, it's as good as a sure deal.


Could it be Jenson/Di Resta's manager was trying to get Di Resta Webber's seat.

I would blow off the meeting between Di Resta's manager and Horner as a coincidence if Webber still had a contract.


"It could also be argued that with Alonso not being a great qualifier and thus he can’t give the needed feedback to help the team develop this particular field."

LoL, Yea? Use your famous stats in comparing the qualy performance of ALO vs his team mate, as that is the only relevant way of comparing in this area (same package). Come back then and tell us the objective version of how poor qualifier ALO is. Good luck.


Minardi, Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and now, Red Bull? Alonso recently said,"I have no idea how long I'll be in Formula 1, but if I renew the contract beyond 2016, then it will be with Ferrari.“

It's a long time since Alonso won a world championship, could he win another championship?


For me this is simple. If Ferrari give alonso a good enough car he will win them the championship. They haven't and Ferrari can't blame him for looking around. However he will be in a Ferrari for a long time yet I think.

Ps James in your opinion how good is the current kimi? Is the savagely fast 2003-2007 kimi better with better Saturday pace or is the very smooth great Sunday driver we have now the best kimi yet? His qualifying pace used to be stunning. Now he seems to have lost a few tenths of outright speed but improved in other areas.


This seems to be common in drivers reaching their mid 30s - the aggressive one lap pace drifts away but they become better racers overall - one reason why I think Alonso will still race and be challenging in 4-5 years time - he may not rack up lots more pole positions but he'll fight for points and win (or come very close) past what some consider F1 retirement age.


kimis experience in rally brings heat to the table in that he has comparative analysis now. One trick pony (f1 only) does not apply to him. He seems better, smarter and more savvy for the time away. His set up was smart though by managing expectations at Lotus as they were not expected to do anything. Now begins the stripping by the big players: ferrari get ellison, kimi to RB, whats next? boullier to ferrari as team principal?


interesting Boullier to Ferrari; he'll take Grosjean.



I actually think Raikkonen is just as fast as he was before, but doesn't have the power steering exactly as he wants it. Also the Lotus isn't the greatest 1 lap car, so it is hard to say isn't it?



A tad slower on single lap pace than in his heyday 2005 etc

But incredible over 300kms - look at his record -30 consecutive finishes



Where does Dr Marko stand on all this?


I vill put Daniel with my boy Seb, because Sebee must keep winning. It is zee only way.


yes and so for how many years does the good doctor expect this reign to last?


when ferrari announced Alonso's long commitment to 2016 I couldn't help thinking of neville chamberlain saying 'peace in our time'

Scuderia McLaren

Alonso is such a political animal that it surprises me he isn't in government! Without Briatore directly pulling strings for him, he will never win another title whilst the speed of Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg WRC exist.


feels like an ad hominem attack here. The real issue is management performance. Alonso complaints have credence when you look at RB management team and Mercedes have just had a holy war to get their management structure right. Merc had a fantastic leg up as well by having extra tyre testing. Speed of Vettel, Hamilton and Nico conveniently forgets that their cars are faster as a unit already than ferrari. this is all about units and deliverables. Ferrari are being called out, and rightly so.


Even if there is a Senna/Prost type of collision course between Vettel and Alonso at Red Bull, Red Bull could still easily win Constructors championships as McLaren did in the late 80's.

Alonso might just leave F1 and go and win the 24H Le Mans with Webber. That would be fantastic. 🙂


Jenson's manager seen at R.B ? so that's Jenson to R.B.safe pair of hands to take over after Vettel leaves ready to ease in a new younger driver, Paul Di R or Kimi to Mcclaren, Jenson must be getting impatient with Mc plus team is not in such a stable position with Lewis, then Lowe leaving, I know , I know, get me sectioned...!!!


Jenson was in line to go to RB after his Brawn WDC. Bet he wishes he had taken a seat there rather than Mclaren now...

nicolas nogaret

not at all ..in my view jenson would be the perfect fit if they could get him , calm character , his smooth style would be perfect for a newey design , easily as good as vettel's

but there is the problem ...no way would he go there as number 2 , why should he ?...he went to McLaren against the fastest driver in F1

still , stranger things have happened I suppose


surely if Alonso was plotting a switch to RBR his manager wouldn't make the approach so blatantly obvious, exposing Alonso to the wrath of tiffosi and Italian media. It makes sense they were talking about Carlos Sainz jr or maybe about the global warming and after seeing the furore the whole thing caused, they decided to use it to give Ferrari a clip round the ears for producing yet another car well short of Fernando's talent


Alonso takes the opportunity to get at Vettel's and Raikkonen's heads a little while it costs him nothing. He's just stirring the pot and having a little fun.


James, You are ruining the sport 😉

I'm starting to like the political F1 game more then the racing itself lately.

Thanks to your ( great! ) stories.


"There are question marks about how potent the Ferrari powertrain will be for 2013. Industry insight puts Mercedes ahead of Renault with Ferrari behind"

Interesting. How reliable are those insights? And how much behind Ferrari is?


Okay, I have been looking at some stats of former champions.

Of the drivers who won more than 2 titles, Brabham is the one with the biggest gap between his 2nd and 3rd title >>> It took him 5 years

It took Schumi a 4 year gap to get his 3rd title. The only exception being Lauda who took 6 years because he had retired from 1979-1982.

On the other hand, those drivers that won more than one WDC title, It's Graham Hill with the biggest gap between his 1st and 2nd title >>> took him 5 years.

As for the rest of the champions that won more than 1 title (with the exception Graham), only Fangio took 2 years before clinching his 2nd.

Everybody else clinched their 2nd either back to back or at worst after 1 year.


So Kimi, Lewis and Fernando will never win another title? Now I know what "Infiniti" on Red Bull means. Go Vettel! 🙂


@ Miha Bevc

In sport, nothing is written is stone.

Anything can happen as you know.


James as Allison is joining Ferrari from Sept 1st is it too late to Improve this years car or will he directly be be working on the 2014 chassis ?


It's his responsibility.

He may have some quick fix suggestions, one would have thought. But there is lead time to test and build so..

He has to ensure that 2014 is as good as possible, though


Agree- (maybe .2 sec) but he has still out qualified the loose canon 9/10. I think we forget that these Pirellis are very marginal and starting with 150kg is no easy deal- This is never lost on Kimi and why is he is exceptional on Sunday


I can't see this happening either but then again you never know.

Red Bull may be Vettels team and he their top guy but for sure the incident at Bahrain was very embarrassing for the team and one way to put manners on Sebastian would be to bring an Alonso or Raikkonen on board. I just can't see Riccardo getting that berth, something doesn't feel right about it.

I think too that all the talk of Ferrari being Alonso's true home is nonsense, any drivers true home is where they can win races and championships, that's why Senna left McLaren and Mansell returned to Williams a couple of times. These guys are brilliant and selfish in equal parts and must be to succeed at this level.

Alonso is now in his fourth campaign at Ferrari, he's driven well, but has also been given enormous support and some outrageous strategy advantages over his team mate. Its more or less a team he's been allowed to shape, yet the results just aren't there.

So why wouldn't Alonso leave, he owes Ferrari nothing and if recent history is anything to go by they don't owe him either. After all this is the team that dumped both Schumacher and Raikkonen in '06 and '08 respectively and yet appears on the surfce at least to reward loyalty - Massa's been there since 2006.

Either way Alonso, who didn't go to the Silverstone test (perhaps unconnected) now appears to be courting the enemy and whether an innocent victim of Red Bull's trouble making or not - which I don't believe - skating on thin ice with Ferrari.

I am certain as Ferraris lead Grand Prix driver he had at his disposal many more appropriate, inspirational, passionate and loyal means to deliver a wake up message to his team.

The fact that both driver and management have allowed this story to gather speed, speak volumes.

Torchwood Five

I'm not sure why Ferrari "dumped" Schumacher after all he had done for them, it was clear at the time that they needed to clear Kimi out of the way.

As much as I hate what they did to Massa in Austin last year, it is clear that Ferrari needs a No 1 driver to be the centre of their team and operation, and when they promoted Kimi into the Schumacher role, he did not lead and direct them the way Michael did, the way that particular team needs.


That's why they switched Kimi for Alonso. However we will have to wait and see whether that move rewards a Championship.


I can think of a lot of reasons why Alonso would want to go to Red Bull, but zero reasons why Red Bull would want Alonso. Why doesn't he join his buddy/partner in crime Symonds at Williams? I'm sure Horner laughed himself to sleep last night.


Dear James Allen,

I'm really disappointed as how you the British media are conducting this. First we hear from Andrew Benson and other pundits, and actually not denied (even subtly suggested) by yourself in this blog, that Fernando Alonso vetoed Vettel to go to Ferrari, or at least he told the team he was not comfortable at all with that. Then, the same British media, and yourself in this article, far from denying it, are suggesting that Alonso has approached Red Bull.

Please, can you tell us how these two facts can coexist together? So Alonso doesn't want Vettel in his own team, where he has so much power even to bring Allison onboard according to you, but he is considering going to Red Bull, where everybody works for Vettel?

There is something wrong in how you are conducting all this. You wanted to leave the door open for speculation, but in the way you didn't notice that all this is not in agreement with previous suggestions about the Vettel to Ferrari move, and Alonso vetoing it.

This is the kind of thing that I really don't like, and seems like the british media (of course the German media too, but it is normal as Vettel is German) is trying to put pressure on Ferrari deliberately with an absolutely non history. By reading your article I can not say you are not doing it too. It would be nice a clarification so I (and probably others) can get rid of this idea.

So, you truly think Alonso is considering to drive alongside Vettel at Red Bull? If so, I assume you give no credit to the supposed Alonso's veto over Vettel driving at Ferrari in the near future. This is important because things like this mark Alonso's reputation among british F1 fans.

I have to say that I have been following every movement Alonso has done since he entered F1, and I can tell you (and all the readers) at 100% confidence level, he is not considering leaving Ferrari.




Dont be worried about Alonso's image with the British fans..fans from lots of different nationalities dont like Alonso, his posse and his antics..the British media have nothing to do with this


I never said ALO vetoed VET at Ferrari. It doesn't work for all sorts of reasons, but that's not one of my lines.

Don't get overexcited about "British Media"

I see F1 as I see it and F1 people will tell you I'm as Italian in my outlook and the prism through which I view the sport as I am British.


Interesting way to describe yourself +1


Was it you on the Italian national tv talking about what the British media say before/after races in 2007 or 2008 (or both)?

By the way, I think you're very much balanced in how you see things.



Neither it was 09 and I was talking about what was going n in the British teams in F1 on RAI


Thanks for the clarification about the veto thing. I had the feeling by what you write you were on that line of thinking, and probably I was not the only one to think that way. Now I see I was wrong. I apologize about that.

On the Alonso to Red Bull thing, I get you genuinely think, by what you heard, there might be some kind of tentative going on by Alonso's side. While I don't buy it, I absolutely respect your point of view about it.

Regarding the "prism through which you view the sport" I always thought you were very objective and unbiased, and it's clear you have tons of knowledge about F1. Maybe in the drivers side of things you tend a bit towards Vettel ;), and probably Alonso's way of being doesn't inspire you a lot. Everybody has to have his preferences!


Kubica, Kobayashi!!


I still don´t understand why we are talking about Alonso here. RB made it very clear that Webber replacement will be either Kimi or Ricciardo.

Beisedes, didn´t Alonso made it clear he didn´t want to be Vettel´s team mate in Ferrari? Why would he want to be with Vettel in RB?


If this is true then "why would Fernando risk his relationship with Ferrari and the Tifosi?" Simple: because the team has constantly fallen short in producing a car that is consistently fast.

It is true that on multiple occasions Fernando shot himself in the foot with unforced errors and luck also wasn't always in his favour, but the lack of titles in the past 3 1/2 years can be attributed more to Ferrari's mediocre cars and inconsistency as a team.


So James, (respectfully) why is it that the Alonso rumour has been given legs but no such rumour is suggested for Jenson and / or Paul? You state that their management was seen at RB yet this is 'insignificant'?

Nigel was seen eating with Christian and Adrian at Silverstone too. Lets just hope that nobody spies Schumi or Mika at the RB motorhome 😉


Richard Goddard is also David Coulthard's manager. So it's easy enough to explain why he might be at Red Bull.


james, minus a few things, that is one of the best articles you have done! on a different note, i think alonso is telling ferrari FIX UP! we know what happens when things dont go his way....toys out the pram


Kimi told James Allen this time last year that he has no hard feelings about Ferrari, and would not rule out a return. Of course now that he has an offer from the top team [currently] he may baulk at the idea of going back where he was treated with amazing stupidity by Montezemolo and others in the team hierarchy.

But if we apply logic: Kimi won the title for Ferrari straight out the box, he harvested the points galore, and he can do it again. Alonso will still have the edge, and can win the title himself if he maintains his focus.

But, of course, Ferrari, the greatest team in F1, hates logic and loves to follow silly whims instead.

It's a die-hard tradition.

Evviva il nostro grande squadra


how sweet it is

Long live our great team


this is all speculation , if we want answers , somebody just ask eddy jordan. . . .


+1 😛


I had always thought that you were in good relationship with Fernando Alonso, or at least better relationship than most of yours english journalist colleagues. But this article is quite hard on him (Alonso). This could have signed by any who participated in the press conference of Germany 2010. Well, live and learn. Live and learn, my friend.


For whatever its worth...

Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda, however, suspects the story has been planted to destabilise Ferrari. "It's the biggest nonsense I've ever heard, a stupid rumour," he said. "Alonso has a contract for three more years, 2014, 15, 16 -- everybody in the paddock knows that. It's absolutely not true."


One thing that seems to have been forgotten in all of this is the reason for Torro Rosso's existence in the first place. If Kimi gets the RB seat next year (personally, I think he will), then they may as well shut down TR as in seven and a half years it's produced one decent driver, which is a poor return on investment.


"There were a lot of great drivers for which Ferrari was a lost case… Prost, Mansell, etc

It doesn’t look promising for Alonso either …"

Miha Bevc, how about Kimi? When he was in charge in Ferrari everything was perfect (2007 and start of 2008 until Santander stuff).

Michael Prestia

With such drastic changes for next year how does anyone know who will have the best package? Rory Byrne is designing Ferrari's 2014 car... If I were Alonso I would stay where I am and bet with the best.


It could be mind games. I don't think that if Abad want to talk to Horner about the prospects of Fred joining RBR, he would choose the Hungaroring's paddock in front of hundreds of cameras. In this particular case, the whole situation could be disruptive for Ferrari and very beneficial of RBR...Horner one of the sharpest tools in the F1 paddock nowadays so let's keep it as a tabloid's news.

Regarding Fred, it sounds kind of nonsense to criticize him and even call him 'disloyal'. We don't know how he feels to be stranded in a dream team without a dream car, wasting his best last years without a team/car strong enough to win a DWC. He's worked his back off every year, when he's got the points to win it on the very last race, the team's strategy let him down. When he had a monumental points lead, both Lotus drivers bump him out of two races and the rest was Vettel's history. You may say you don't like him (even though you don't know him) but to say he's a team's destroyer or not an option for a winning team as RBR is simply BS. I still think F1 should have room for drivers from countries other than the UK or Germany or Finland to win DWCs.

The only thing I consider a huge error from fred was his decision to drive for Maranello in a time when some critical facilities were out of date and when key human components were not the best suited to challenge for a WC. IMO he has excel every single season at Ferrari and with a slightly better car he could have won 2 DWC in the last 4 years, easily. I don't think Allison is enough to turn things around and I still think Domenicali and Fry are not the right choices for Ferrari. I still think Fred is gonna to retire as a 2-time WC and his only chance is to move to a winning team...now! If you call that disloyalty, so be it. Great drivers in F1 did exactly the same when his chances of winning went below their level of expectations... and no one critizice them as much as some people here are blasting Fred for just a picture (of Abad) waling in front of Horner....What a crap!


Raikkonen is the obvious choice:

1) He is not fast as Vettel in one lap, even as Grosjean.

2) He is the quiet man. No complaints.

3) He likes money and parties and RB has all of them.

4) Kimi is the best number 2 driver possible, even far better than Webber, just give to him an icescream.

5) One more friend to Matheshitz, as Webber did.


Yes I would say Red Bull and Christian Horner are winding Ferrari and Fernando up!. I couldn't think of a "better" person to do it too either. Lest we forget big mouth Fernando and "We're racing Newey " dribble as well as the Hamilton is best opponent propaganda. When he was continuously beaten by Sebastian. But like James said it doesn't hurt RBR negotiation strategy either if they have several drivers guessing- even those not considered !

As a racer I have alot of time for Fernando but as a person - I can't stand the games he plays and his arrogance is astonishing quite frankly. I cannot believe all the stupid comments I keep reading about him "sending a message to Ferrari" - He is their no1 racer but does anyone think A team like Ferrari really need to be told such things anyway !- and what else is it they can do about it if Fernando huffs and puffs anyway ?. Come on folks please don't take this political joker so seriously. The pic is no doubt about Sainz Jnr- who definitely warrants alot of talk at the moment.

James like I said earlier on the subject it's clear Sebastian is saying exactly what I feel about Fernando he's a great racer but not a straight shooter where Kimi is both. This suites him and Red Bulls machinations as they do not always play by their own rules. The more I look at this the more I want Kimi to stay at Lotus and help forge them into title contenders- only if they prove to be on solid financial footing and pay him his dues! I think Kimi will make the right decision in the end- he's been around long enough to know and the last contract he signed was clearly spot on.


I think the point about the Hamilton meeting is spot on. I don't think you can underestimate how frustrated Fernando must be at the Ferrari situation. After 8 years of wasted opportunities (at McLarnen, Renault and now in Italy), it would be hard not to begin to become desperate.

In saying that, Red Bull I do not think will put Alonso in the team and upset Vettel. A bit of internal tension is good for productivity, but Alonso has proved before that he has the talent and ability to be destructive if he does not like the situation.

My guess is that they will still go for Riccardo. He is good enough, commands a much smaller salary and most importantly he reprents the red bull junior program. Kimi though remains a strong bet as he would pretty much gaurantee you the contructors championship. I suspect this is the trade-off they are now making, the risk that Daniel does not perform well enough to beat Rosberg and Hamilton paring in the Mercedes.


wasnt it last year that ferrari tried to destabilize Vettel and Red Bull with the Vettel-has-signed-with-Ferrari rumours.

I remember even Vettel referring to it at the end of 2012 as "dirty tricks".

Maybe Alonso manager spoke to Horner about Sainz JR or about Alonso, it seems that Horner decided to give it a spin, by using the "options popping up" language.

Me thinks Horner is paying back Ferrari for last year.

I say good for RB!


Whatever the deal is, Luca di Montezemolo definitely isn't a happy bunny about it:



This will not happen. Alonso had his opportunity but didn't take it. Besides, Alonso's history at McLaren and Renault is well documented. He is selfish; he doesn't think about the team but only about himself. At Renault he told Flvaio that they should not think about the Constructor's Title but the Driver's Title.

If it is true that Alonso has a high degree of say at Ferrari as James has suggested, then sadly that is the reason Ferrari is not winning.

For years it was Ferrari who were trying to unsettle Vettel and Red Bull by saying that Vettel will be joining Ferrari. Now Horner is just enjoying this moment. These are nothing but mind games.


Please, somebody Kimi a champ winning car and team. Kimi deserves to be a multi-year driver champion.

If Hamilton felt he was robbed of drivers championship while in Mclaren, I think Kimi would felt even worse.


BTW, Thanks again James Allen. You've written up another great article and done it pretty quickly too!


I get the feeling Alonso's biting off more than he can chew. Wouldn't have sat well with Ferrari last year when Alonso rubbished at every opportunity what was a strong car from Barcelona onwards. I guess all that Santander money backing Ferrari makes the samurai feel untouchable.

Maybe the thought of facing a Hulkenberg next year sends shivers down the spine of the samurai!


intellectual horsepower goes a long way: byrne, todt,brawn, schus collective heads have never been matched in F1 before or since they won everything. Looking now? alonso, domenicali is a washout, with Domenicali a bad hire. Alonso has been playing catch up ever since. I feel for him. Now he is the lone wolf against the collectives of brawn, wolff,hamilton,rosberg at merc and matesitch, horner,newey and vettel at RB. Samurai is probably apt, ferrari respond with Allison but still miles to go!!


Maybe Alonso's agent really was speaking about another of his driver's and the press has basically given the story its life?

Like you said, they have nothing else to do for 4 weeks.


Luca di Montezemolo warn Alonso!

"All the great champions who have driven for Ferrari have always been asked to put the interests of the team above their own," Montezemolo said.

It will be exciting to hear Alonso's reaction, what will this lead to?

Although Alonso is a driven and smart person and one of the very best drivers in the world, his comments about the car is often negative, sometimes his head is too big for the helmet! Tiresome to all employees who work hard to always be competetive.

All contracts can be broken, we know what happened to Kimi when Santander stepped in.

Thread the Needle

Luca must've missed 2007 then if that's what he's telling Alonso


james what do you make of this?! http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/23495111

its all falling apart!


James, Ferrari have warned Alonso over comments he made over the weekend. Do you know what he said?


Industry insight puts Mercedes ahead of Renault with Ferrari behind.

Dear James during the last seasons it has always been that mercedes powertrain was the best.Remember red bull protesting about the engine freeze a couple of seasons back. Still Renault has most titles and most clients. So it is funny to suggest that industry knows what is talking about.


Aero won't be as dominant from 2014 onwards, so Redbull will need driver who's NOT reliant on the car being perfect (as they'll be outside of their comfort zone).

So Alonso really makes for them for next year.

Otherwise they'll end up with a Button-Mclaren type situation.


The Red Bull car has never been "perfect" or "dominant". Those of you who just started watching F1 around 2007 are not aware of this, but by the standards of great F1 cars all the RB's have been pretty ordinary.


Ok, here's my view. Red Bull are disappointed in their young driver programme. Ricciardo is good but not great, Verne is too young, not showing enough promise. Red bull needs a young hot-shot, maybe possibly Felix Da Costa is the guy they have their eyes on and as such need to buy a year before he can come to RBR after a year at torro rosso. So... With Vettel looking to Ferrari for 2015, maybe its prudent to try and swap him for Alonso now to bed in a team leader before the new hot young guy comes in. Ricciardo could have a 1 year contract and everyone is happy? maybe?


To my amazement I see Luca has taken issue with Alonso's comments. FA is the brightest hope they've got. Who, including Luca, has punched more above their weight for Ferrari?

Luca is risking someone reminding him where the ultimate corporate responsibility for success/failure usually rests. Heaven forbid that he might find Ferrari better managed in his absence.


spot on, the real issue here is Lucas poor management performance. He wants compliance. That is not going to happen to characters like RAI and ALO whose whole being is based on personal performance and fairness that goes with it. Why? because they know with all things being equal and fair- NOBODY BEATS THEM. This is something that Luca misses dramatically, he has always had more information by his role and background, contacts and connections. Instant information assymmetry. No wonder we are seeing what ae are seeing.When this plays out one thing will be certain. the two highest paid drivers will be alonso and raikkonen. Thats a quantative measure thats about all things being equal who gets the most potential and performance. I think if we poll that there would be high probability that these two guys are the standard and disagreement on this would be small.


Niki Lauda got back in the car six weeks after suffering life-threatening burns (and being read the Last Rites, for that matter). I'd say that probably qualifies as punching above his weight for Ferrari more than Alonso, if I'm being honest.


And what about Schumacher jumping back in the car 6 races after breaking his leg to help win the drivers championship for Irvine?


Rumour has it that that was only after the boss caught him playing footie in the garden. Made it a bit hard to claim to be unable to drive. He had apparently intended to sit out the rest of the season...


Another very good example.


I see Ferrari have publicly admonished Alonso today. This is pretty unusual, the last time this happened was probably after Jerez 97 or when Irvine described the car as "brick slow" in 96.

Alonso is playing a dangerous game. Ferrari had no qualms about making Prost sit out a season and Alonso isn't as successful as Prost was at that time..

That said, Ferrari knew what they were in for when they signed Alonso. He has been a key figure in the near destruction of the reputation of his last two teams, although his involvement in that is up for debate.

What I will say is, Alonso has a very significant flaw when it comes to building and leading a team. It is something that has plagued him since 2005/2006 when he very publicly criticised Renault. Should he not lift the title again in his career, I think this is a flaw that will be more closely examined.

Who would have thought 3 years ago that the prospect of Alonso and Ferrari partnership not winning a title would be a possibility.


Hi James,

do you think Ricciardo's chances have diminished given his finishing position at the weekend ?

Was his result just a lack of race setup vs Qualy ?


The bad strategy started on Saturday when they decided to send him out and set a time in Q3. Torro Rosso made the mistake not to follow the same strategy as Red Bull/Webber. Setting a time gained them one place and a grid position on the dirty side.


Hi Dufus,

He's finishing position was a result of a bad strategy call to just do a two stop strategy plus he had a first slow stop. Nothing really wrong with his driving TBH.


Ricciardo's race last Sun was down mainly to him being on a 2 stopper which the team gambled on and it didn't pay off.

Vergne was on a normal 3 stopper and Ricciardo still had the pace to run with him at the end on 12laps older tires.

I still think Kimi will get the drive as RB are all about selling can's and as you could see from the podium crowd Kimi would sell a lot of cans of RB.


It boggles my mind that Ferrari takes this trashing from Alonso! Schumacher trashed & controlled Ferrari. Kimi came in, no politics, no trashing, just raced the car & won the WDC. Ferrari's only WDC in the last 8 years. They fired him. Alonso comes in & trashes & has taken over control of Ferrari & they let him!?! Why?!?! It boggles my mind!

Mike from Colombia

When did Schumacher trash Ferrari?

Don't ever recall him doing so.


+1 he was so magmanamus in defeat at Suzuka 2006 when he had a engine failure which ended a titanic comeback, could easily of scolded the team, if he was alonso. But he had integrity loyalty and most of all commitment. Schumacher was and is the bench mark of a true team member. Always putting the team first even to the cost of his family's relationship.....

Thread the Needle

Luca's not happy with Alonso, looking for a new drive and criticising the car, this may be Alonso's way of giving Ferrari a wake up call, but Ferrari don't normally stand for this type of behaviour, plus Vettel would prefer Kimi in the other Redbull, interesting times ahead in the driver market


Alonso constantly changes either he wins or not, he has been already with Renault, Mclaren and Ferrari, he´s recognized as one of the bests but for sure with two titles he´ll be far from the top 3 in the history were most sure he want to be. I think he´s trying to bull Ferrari and see if they raise their game and why not seing if there´s an interest from RBR in that respect. The santander sponsorship it´s good but i don´t see it going anywere from ferrari, maybe they will bring something extra to RBR IF that deal happens. Only drivers can see what´s going on in the teams and maybe Alonso it´s not seing something good in Ferrari for next year and maybe RBR will have the upper hand in this case. HAM played his card very well leaving his comfort zone in order to extract again the maximun from himself and it´s starting to show it was worthy


Some things just do not add up. I know this is most of the time the case in F1 but I still would like to point out a couple of things.

1.Why would Red Bull(RBR) maintain and pay millions of dollars for a young driver development program and Torro Rosso if RBR have absolutely no intentions in using these features?

2.Why would Alonso want to leave Ferrari who build the team around him? If he would like to leave why leave at the start of such an unstable season like 2014?

3.Why would RBR start trouble and stir their winning streak by getting a driver who will actually grab points away from their "Golden Child" who has proven he is fit and very capable to do the/this job.

4.Kimi's salary will be pretty high and he will have to play along in the RBR media circus. How long will Kimi be motivated? He already pointed out he has unfinished business with Rally racing.
It does not matter how great/good you are. Even if you have been a former champion it will take time to adjust to a new team. Sometimes it even takes longer as a year. Kimi is almost 34. Time is starting to count.

5.Ferrari is most of the time a team at the end of a champs career. I think Vettel will do 2 or 3 years more RBR and end his career with Ferrari as Hamiltons teammate.Both will end career at Ferrari I think. When Vettel leaves one of the young drivers they pick now will have matured enough to pull the wagon.

6.Why would an appointment with Horner be so in the open. If managers would have met for example at Horners house this media circus would not have been. Little strange to stir things up like that. Does not make sense to me. Just casual and friendly meetings..nothing fancy.

7. No way Alonso will be so harsh to Ferrari to pull a stunt like the media is claiming. I do not believe it for a sec.If Alsonso wants to make a point to Ferrari he wil not do it like this and especially not together with number one enemy RBR. It's a champ unworthy and he will NOT/NEVER do.

Disclaimer: I am just thinking out loud and I do not want to step on the soul of my fellow hardcore F1 fans. Please see this as my opinion and my thoughts are a response to the things I read and hear.

PS: I won so much money betting on Hamilton to win in Hungary. It's just sick how much....:) James, could we have a feature " James F1 insiders betting tips" I would be willing to share winnings if your tips are any good 🙂


Anyone else got visions of Redbull tossing Vettel out the pram and double swooping for Alonso and Kimi before Mercedes or Mclaren get a forth coming chance to sign them? easily the 2 best drivers on the grid makes a lot of sense especially with kimi being near zero confrontational!


Right. Red Bull would totally toss out their triple world champion who got them 6 titles in the last 3 years and never failed to deliver when it mattered for Alonso who does nothing but badmouth his car, underperforms in qualifying and chokes under pressure. Right. That totally makes sense. Not.


Just to say, if Fernando's agent wants to speak with Red Bull about Sainz Jr, he'll be speaking with Marko not Horner. So its pretty clear there is something behind this... + Fernando better hurry, Bianchi is on his way 😉


I don´t believe Helmut Marko will accept Alonso as Vettel´s teamate, too risky for Vettel and Red Bull. Red Bull doesn´t need Alonso at the moment, why risk everything??


I'm not why this is 'risky' as team orders are now allowed.

Whoever is ahead is ahead, at any point they can decide to hold station.


Hello James,

I enjoyed this article, but there is one name missing: Bernie Ecclestone. He brokered the deal when Schumacher wanted to break his Jordan contract for Benetton and ive no doubt -if- there will be a break between Alonso and Ferrari, hes the one that will mediate. I also think Santander and Mateschitz will compensate Ferrari bigtime. Also, they wouldnt want to have a driver who isnt commited anymore.

Alonso really must be scratching his head what to do. Allison wont have an influence on the 2014 Ferrari and so Fernandos earliest next title charge would be 2014, when hell become 34... Then there is the fact even if they produce a good car, how will Ferrari fix their endless in-season development problems? They have been recalibrating, reorganising since 2009. Domenicali has been saying 'we must stay calm' now for at least 300 times.

I think Alonso should count his chickens and at least try to get that Red Bull, Newey designed seat. Thatll take a lot of investing in relations with Vettel, Horner. No more comments thats hes not fighting Vettel but Newey but at least hell be in a proven title fighting team, with a great in season development track record.

For Red Bull the choice would easely be Kimi, no doubt, but Kimi has his own problems of being temperamental, not wanting to invest time in PR or testing. Alonso is opposite, and Schumacher-esque in devotion, and I think it must be tempting for Mateschitz to create a superteam Vettel - Alonso. The best line up since Prost - Senna.


You forgort about the Lewis/Alonso line-up.

Best of recent times....


How about a driver swap - Vettel and Alonso.

Horner finds it hard to manage Vettel and would prefer a more professional driver. As demonstrated by not follwoing team instructions repeatedly.

Well it is the silly season....


Vettel is fantastic to manage compared with Alonso. Just look at the reason for this article!

Notwithstanding, I'll enjoy seeing Vettel respond if Ferrari can't deliver a car for him, if the reports of his eventual move to Ferrari are accurate; but then again, the smartest driver in F1 will never go to the Red team, if they can't deliver.


Its kinda shocking that Ferrari and McLaren haven't won anything since the new regulation changes...


The current regulations were intended to do just that.

Newey couldn't believe his luck.


Last Ferrari Drivers Champion?

Kimi Raikkönen... Just sayin... 😉


First year, first WDC..... Cool as Ice

Go go Iceman..... 🙂


I'm left a little confused over one aspect of the article. I thought the higher ups at Red Bull always sang the same song about no team orders, and allowing the drivers to race, equal opportunity, love for racing and etc. The article seems to imply Vettel is the number one driver, fair enough it's difficult to argue against his trophy haul, but I still thought that RBR wanted to stick to that true racer, lets the drivers go at it image.



Well, they want to seen to be representing that, but don't really wanna....


This is the silliest of all silly season after reading the comments.

And after all Alonso is going nowhere.

Luca and Alonso will kiss and make up.

No way will Horner and Marko allow Vettel and Alonso to fall in love.

I suspect they've all ganged up to make us fans fume or whatever, cause four weeks to Spa is like forever. The power of media.



Last time Ferrari had a championship contending car?

2007/2008.... just sayin... 😉

Ferrari have the best driver in f-1 in their team, yet for 4 years THEY have been letting him down. without Alonso, Ferrari would have been a laughing stock these past 4 years, no one could've done what Alonso has done with the past Ferrari's. The only one to take the fight to the much much superior RBR's. It's about time ferrari hold up their end of the agreement and give him a championship contending car. It took Alonso 3.5 years to voice his frustration at Ferrari, it took Hamilton 6 months to be quite vocal about his frustration at mercedes.

bronwyn collier

My comment above might also be the reason Alonso has started looking at alternatives?!


Thanks JA for a great article.

I personally would love to see a Vettel/Button combo (impossible though it maybe).

Button seems to get along with everyone, he does the team 'thing' extremely well, knows when to keep his mouth shut, he is not good at qualy (so Vettel will usually start ahead and won't get frustrated), excels when he likes the equipment (and RB have great cars) and has out pointed two World Champion teammates.

I think he would be perfect for that team.

Though, no doubt, most disagree.


I think its about time people realised how much of a great Driver Sebastian is than Alonso. I mean to be honest the order in the grid now is






Just because alonso had 2 titles doesnt make him better than vettel or hamilton. I think Seb has been the greatest qualifier after senna and hamilton doesnt do BS with politics like alonso so I have respect for him in that way. Kimi would be the best fit for Seb or even JB if that is an option 🙂


James, I think you nailed all the reasons that this is not going to happen. I wont claim to know all his motives, but everything Alonso does seems to me to have a deliberate angle about it. I disagree that he wasn't aware his manager was talking to Horner...Alonso is a shrewd character. He would be aware of the risks of loyalty perceptions, but then HE hasn't been seen talking to anyone from RB has he?

One possibility is that this is all very hands off from Alonso's point of view. Plant a little seed during the silly season, let the media do what it does...create a little drama and stir things up. Let the teams and public mull over it and speculate. In the end it will do nothing more than give Ferrari another nudge to step up, meanwhile reinforcing that he is a valued commodity that isn't above looking over the fence at Maranello. I think Alonso is a master tactician on and off the track.

Meanwhile RB will not let the opportunity slip to milk this for every drop of PR they can.

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