Insight into the competitive heart of F1 champion Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Aug 2016   |  8:24 am GMT  |  180 comments

Fernando Alonso has been treading water at McLaren for the past two seasons, unable to compete at the front of the field where he belongs with the other champions. There are some clear signs in performance data from recent races that McLaren is moving quickly forwards now, but how long it takes for them to reach the level of Mercedes and Red Bull is still open to question.

They will be hoping it is next season, when the new aerodynamic regulations, which they helped to formulate, come into force. It’s a fair bet that, if Honda also takes the steps necessary to close the gap to the best power units, then McLaren could once again be in the hunt for podiums and maybe the odd win.

Fernando Alonso

Alonso has a contract for next season, but beyond that he will be concerned that he does not run out of time on his career before he gets a winning car in which he can compete again for that third world title, which he so craves.

In the mean time, McLaren has posted a very flattering portrait of Alonso on its website, to entertain its loyal fans during the long summer break.

This one struck me for a number of reasons, but mainly for the parallels with Nigel Mansell in what is revealed of Alonso’s character from the piece.

Fernando Alonso, Ron Dennis

Entitled ‘Why I race”, which is exactly the same as one of the chapter titles in the 1995 Nigel Mansell autobiography, which I ghost wrote, Alonso says that he always had to compete with everyone including his grandmother on the school run when he was a kid. Moving on to reveal the darker side of that character, which Ron Dennis famously described in his phrase about Alonso at the height of the 2007 controversies, “competitive animals know no limits”, Alonso says,

“You need to have no heart. You are not enemies with the other drivers, but you have to focus on yourself to win. If you can ‘hurt’ someone by getting an advantage over them, that’s even better.”

Nigel Mansell

Mansell always had to compete with everyone all the time, whether it was on a tennis court with friends or on a golf course. And on the F1 track in his time he was up against some ferocious competitors in Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, in particular. One of the most astonishing revelations from that autobiography is what Senna said to him on the podium in Hungary 1992, when Mansell clinched the world championship at last.

“Congratulations, Nigel. Now you realise why I’m such a bastard. I don’t ever want anyone else to know the feeling you are enjoying right know.”

It is the idea of the pitiless champion, who has to win, some would say ‘at all costs’.

Fernando Alonso

I once asked Alonso in his early F1 days what he wanted other drivers think of him and he said, “I just want them to look at me and say, ‘He’s the best’.”

In the McLaren article he goes on: “I am a competitive person and competition is important in F1, but I don’t race in F1 for the competition. I can get that in other areas of my life, like cycling and playing tennis – or racing my mother to the supermarket. The reason I race in F1 is because the cars give me a feeling that I can’t get anywhere else. It’s unique.

“The driving styles in karting and F1 are quite similar, but nothing unexpected happens in a go-kart. Your brain is never taken by surprise. You can predict everything that the kart is going to do. That isn’t the case in F1, where you’re taken by surprise all the time. When you hit the brakes, your brain takes 0.2s to catch up. That’s a very nice feeling; that is the feeling.”

Alonso has gone on record many times in the hybrid turbo era since 2014 to complain that the current cars, with their extra weight and on the Pirelli tyres, do not feel responsive and fast enough. The lap times now in qualifying are low in historical terms, but once the car is filled with fuel for the race and then the drivers have to protect the tyres, the lap times are up to ten seconds slower than in qualifying and that’s not the feeling Alonso lives for.

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i wonder what happened to sam michael, the mclaren engineer?


This often keeps me up at night too


strange how he left f1 as soon as news broke that he prevented best f1 driver ever to have driven an f1 car from entering the mclaren garage in 2013. a clear indication of how he was disliked by some at mclaren.


you too?
what a surprise!


Hamilton and Alonso are legends. Their fanboys on the other hand … Sigh!


Totally agree with you there.

The same few Hamilton poster’s heaping it on Alonso here would be crying in their milk and cookies if it was the other way around.

I’ve just come to expect the different standards that are applied to certain driver’s in these threads.

It really is quite pathetic really..


Alonso is an undoubted talent on the track. His results in the Ferrari to me were more impressive than his wins in the Renault of 05 and 06 which owed a lot to a very dominant Renault and a poor Ferrari and unreliable McLaren.

Sadly off track he has continually shot himself in the foot. His very poor behaviour at McLaren in 2007 made him seem a disruptive force at a time when teams began to start pulling away from the No 1/No 2 driver model. Why would a team like Red Bull or Mercedes take such a big risk in putting him against another driver on an equal footing. I also think Spygate and crashgate leave quite a nasty stain on his reputation with a lot of fans.

Having said that, publicly he was pretty much exemplary whilst at Ferrari, rarely speaking out about the team. Same has to be said at McLaren in his current stint. He has had every reason to publicly blast the team but has remained almost saint like in his conduct. I guess this is a mixture of maturity and having pretty much run out of options in terms of competitive drives.

I maintain his current project at McLaren is all or bust. By the time he has finished his deal, what major team would take such an expensive punt on a driver who in all reality is approaching the twilight of his career? There is, unfortunately for Alonso, a plethora of young talent coming through which will be peaking around the time of the 2018 season, I don’t see Alonso having the star power at that point to secure a drive somewhere like Mercedes or Red Bull who will be looking at longer term prospects.

Alonso has often been called the best overall package of a driver, but I have never felt this has quite been the case. On track, I could see the argument that he is the best in terms of raw speed. However, being an F1 driver seems to be far more involved in terms of the off track aspect, and for me that has always been his major weakness.


I have always thought Alonso is one of the best drivers around, alongside Hamilton, although Lewis has been brittle mentally at times. All the drivers can be quick but the thing that separates the very best is that they never give up and always believe they are better the other bloke. Senna had it and, although perhaps not quite as gifted, Mansell had it – he was the one driver – and I include Prost – who believed deep down that he was as good as Ayrton. Incidentally, I first came across James as the writer of Mansell’s 1995 “autobiography”. Nigel last year wrote another one himself and it was not a patch on the book ghost written by James. If you see it in the charity shop, buy it!


My understanding after the multi million dollar mess of 2007, was that Alonso showed up at McLaren HQ and Dennis told him to f%*+ off or he would sue him for his part in costing his company millions. So Alonso slunk off to any team he could get with. Correct me if I am wrong James. As for Schumacher being able to gather the team around him…..according to Eddie Irvine that wasn’t the case at all. Supposedly what got Schumacher his WC was the days spent hammering around the Ferrari test track. When he went to Mercedes that was no longer available, hence his poor showing in his three years with them.


I have seen two interviews with irvine and he said that michael was so unbelievably quick and thats why the team got around him because with schumi in the car the driver was not the problem. I thought it was a great insight. Also that story of mugello 1999 , first test after he broke his leg, was on the pace of irvine and salo immediately.


Hammering around the test track

Isn’t that what makes champions. Dedication to make things perfect. Doesn’t practice make perfect?


Alonso told Dennis to make him number 1 or he’d go public with the “Ferrari emails”. Dennis said no, and went to the FIA himself. That kicked off the whole Spygate thing, which ended up with the ridiculous fine which made Alonso’s time there untenable.

Renault were caught having info from McLaren less than a year later, downloaded from McLaren’s servers, and only received a wrist slap.


Alonso told Dennis to make him Nr1

Says it all really, doesn’t it. ” I can only beat Lewis fairly if you only back me” or ” do I really have to race to be WDC! That’s not how they do it at Ferrari!…. Mummy!! Can we race to the supermarket again. I need to prove something to Mr Dennis.

Oops! Did I really just write that😂


Alonso went back to Renault after the McLaren 07 episode.

He could not go to Ferrari while Todt was still running it as they had fallen out over a ‘deal’ before Alonso started testing for Renault


alonso fell out with ron dennis mid season of 2007.


Unfortunately his existence was/is held in the times of [Mod] – Schumacher and Vettel – and [Mod] Lewis Hamilton.
Being fast or the fastest is not enough to win most WDC.
IMO Schumy is responsible for one of the biggest feats in F1: ending Ferrari’s title drought hiatus. Schumy has shown to be a big leader and team motivator, overcoming frustration after frustration until achieving the ultimate glory.
Vettel as the youngest WDC wasn’t the team leader, but expressed countless times his love and gratitude for the team, win after win. Recognition and retribution.
Lewis as a rookie and on a direct confrontation as team mate was faster than F.Alonso, had more raw talent.

Remembering that when F.Alonso won his double WDC he had a technical advantage with the Mass Damper and the Michelin tires.
After that F.Alonso never had a clearly superior equipment.
And that’s another source of criticism and doubt: is F.Alonso a good car developer to steer the technical staff?

IMO F.Alonso is [Mod].
F.Alonso promoted the Ferrarigate while he was ta McLaren.
Back to Renault ordered Nelsinho to do the Crashgate in Singapore so he could get the Safety Car in to provide a strategic pit-stop and win the race.
In the end F.Alonso left the team to Ferrari and Renault had to apologize and pay and indemnity to Nelsinho. Briatore and Simmonds where banned from F1.
At Ferrari he kept criticizing the team until the bitter end and ultimate fail in mimic Schumacher, the saviour.

So F.Alonso is not a loving leader, car developer and most gifted of all.
Simply not the best, it’s just a mith.

jonathan powell

I posted on here a while ago james about your book on michael schumacher titled ‘driven to extremes’ which funnily enough im currently enjoying reading again at the moment.its amazing to read you write about the decline of the german grand prix in popularity in the mid 90s before michael single handedly turned its fortunes around but how its in decline again some 20 years on…
I asked you previously which other driver you would write a biography on and you said the only driver would be fernando alonso.
I assume this is still the case but would it require the fairytale ending of an alonso championship with mclaren for you to put pen to paper or would you still write it in the sense of what could have been if he is unsuccessful?

Keep up the great work and i hope you do write another driver biography soon as the schumacher book was and is excellent and a must for all jamesallenonf1 readers!




Alonso the only currently but Ricciardo could make an interesting subject if he wins a title

Verstappen in future years too


Pumping Ricciardo again!?
A big ‘if’ now that the new golden boy (read: dominance in the media) is fully in the spotlight.
The biggest battle we’ll see this year is the jockeying for media and team resource supremacy at Red Bull.
As this has become the greatest spectacle in F1, the days are numbered.


Anyone see Ricciardo’s recent tweet re Lewis?! lol


Yep seen tweet would do expect from [Mod] ?
Messes up his accent to a reporter which was as cringe worthy as politician kissing a baby.
Then tries to sling shot a Lewis tweet.
Must be trying to avoid the huge Pro Max audience at Spa and start using Lewis as his foil for now. Red Bull will be doing everything to get Max on the podium even if it means usurping Ricciardo from a podium place if Lewis and Rosberg are in the top two spots.


Defensive much. Even Hamilton was laughing.


The messed up accent episode was great! That was hilarious.

I’m sure James would concur that it’s far more enjoyable to chair a conference like that, than one where every driver is just giving out the stock answers.


Or….he’s just saying what 99 % of us are thinking.

Danny Ric, helping keep F1 real by slaying one Lewis tweet at a time.


He’s not keeping anything real, his “car dancing” everytime hes on holidays looks staged & cringe worthy- stuff of little girls. Will appeal to the young ones but hes lost me. Hes just trying to hard to get hits !


& if its not staged (which Im pretty sure it is) it makes me even more sick – Dan & his hommies rapping in front of a cam makes me wanna puke.. Guess its a generational thing, don’t work for me..


There’s nothing staged and manufactured about Danny Ric whatsoever.
He’s as genuine as they come and if the day ever arrives when he posts ‘ staged ‘ half naked pics on twitter like some wannabe Kadashian I’ll change my tune quick smart.


He seems genuine to me. It’s how he comes across. I nor you will never really know if he is or not. Lewis seems genuine to me as well, as do Seb and Jenson, pretty much all of them.

Kardashian comment is just stupid. I don’t want everyone to be like me, or sorta like me. Different is good. If you start out looking for things not to like about anybody, you will surely find something.


Slaying? Really?!? It was a funny tweet, a bit of ribbing. Ricciardo and Hamilton is almost a bromance … they certainly have fun together when they’re in the podium press conferences together, always talking about the ladies. Last race when Ricciardo was on with Sky, Lewis flipped off his hat as he strolled by. All in good fun.

For those reading far too much into this, on either side, you seriously need to chill out.


I obviously needed to put a smiley emoji at the end to truly ram home the fact my ” slaying” comment was in good fun…


He’s just having a laugh biffa. Lewis and Ricci get on well together. It’s just the media trying to make into something that it’s not.
And don’t let our Australian friends dig you in the ribs😄


Out of interest, why not Hamilton or Vettel?


Vettel is a wonderful character to deal with personally, but for some reason he doesn’t come across to the public via mass media.

Hamilton would be a very different kind of thing nowadays


*greater Importance


Vettel doesn’t bother about being correct in the press all the time just like Kimi. They let their driving do the talking rather than worry about being politically correct all the time.
I’m surprised that this (press Part) is being given greater importance!!


Hes a father of 2 – I dont imagine he has time for social media. Besides hes learned from Kimi the more he gives you guys the more possibility he will get mis quoted by others or get pasted when he doesnt succeed. Hes also rebuilding since 2014..


Kimi misquoted?!?!………what he said “I dunno what happened” compared to “I don’t know what happened” or the other thing he says…..”not really” or did he say “normally”?……who cares


Not kimi?

”Yeah…I mean….uh… the race was good, and finishing first is always better than finishing second, yeah..uh..”


When Kimi does one on ones with reporters/journalists he comes across very well, almost jovial! Polar opposite to when he’s surrounded by them in pressers etc.


Not sure about jovial, but he did crack a few smirks when filming his fuel-saving driving bit with Brundle a few races back. There were some more when they did the trivia with the Sky UK and Sky Italia crew at Monaco.

Bwoahhh is the best addition to the F1 lexicon in quite some time.


It’s probably not a surprise that Alonso and Mansell share many similar traits considering they share both the same star sign, the roaring Leo!

(I await this to be shot down by others 😛 But I do think there are similar consistencies among drivers with the same star signs)


Good point Jimbo……..Perhaps James should consider an article from Russell Grant who could (presumably) tell us who is going to be Fernando’s partner next year. Jenson and Stoffel would appreciate it I’m sure. Or he could tell us whether the 2017 McLaren will be a good car…….in which case Jenson AND Stoffel could be there.


Great article James, good stuff. I have watched Alonso since he arrived in F1, from the perspective of this humble fan on his couch I don’t think anyone on the grid matches his intelligence and race-craft (and political skill). He is a very shrewd, clever driver.


The difference between Fernando Alonso & every other WDC with this mentality is his unrivalled ability to exaggerate. Sure many drivers do it but none better than him.. Is it a strength?, maybe for a while but sooner or later you get found out like in 2007 and it will happen again in 2017 when Vandoorne comes in.I have/will always question any sportsmans true ability if he demands/gets every advantage possible over others (car design/ set up, engineers, strategy, new parts)– often to the detriment of the team.


I like you😄👍




I would argue that Alonso’s 2012 season is the most complete I’ve ever seen. That Ferrari had no right to be anywhere near the title, yet Alonso took it right down to the wire.


I get your point Elie, but I don’t think Alonso is any different from the other WDC. From the early days Senna vetoed Warwick joining Lotus, Mansell asked for clear nbr 1 status before returning to Williams, Schumacher never had a competitive team mate during his championship runs, even when clearly they had the fastest car, talk about nbr 1 status for life! Same with Seb and Webber, remember front wing-gate? F1 is a selfish sport, always has been and always will be.


Those WDCs who are happy to race any team mate are few and far between….Especially the ones who have won 3 in two different cars.


I think you can include Schumacher in this category. No one else compares to those two in the selfishness stakes, and the demands made on their teams [legal or not!]


Absolutely Phil , but ask yourself this.. Did MS ever have the mouth that FA has??.. Not even close


Schumacher wouldn’t slate his own team in public.


More importantly I never recalled him talking himself up anywhere near as much “6tenths”, “110%”, “Im better than”.. Etc the list is endless.. Guys a £><€¥*^ joke.


Been through this Nick, easy to keep a lid on the team criticism when they revolve entirely around you.


I’m pretty sure Ferrari were totally revolving around in Alonso.


Yeah, and he still took a dump on them😉


Exactly Tim


I was always a big fan of Schumi and what was truly great about him was his ability to galvanise the Team around him – and always being a team player. Fernando has lacked that ability and has often been a divisive influence – he certainly seems to have mellowed out now though, but I doubt he still has the raw speed to win again?


During Schumacher’s time, his team was not stuck in mediocrity.


His team was stuck in absolute mediocrity when he arrived there.


They consistently game him a car capable of competing for the title from his second year at the team (bar 2005, by which time they had already helped him become the statistically most successful driver of all time), he had veeeery little to complain about.


Schumacher took that team from the basement to the penthouse like no other driver of the last 30 years was capable of ( Senna excluded).

Without him that car doesn’t get to the front, full stop.

As much as I didn’t like him personally at time’s, there can be know doubt whatsoever that he himself was the determining factor in Ferrari’s renaissance of that era and your deluded if you believe it was all about them giving him a winning car.


Huh? Schumacher’s whole core group from Benetton moved over, Brawn and Byrne. Without those two, the story would’ve been very different. So it wasn’t Schumacher himself. You can say as a star driver he was able to pull great people to the team, that’s 100% true, but never needed them for his success.

Schumacher was surprised at how decent the 1995 Ferrari was, when he tested it. 1996 he scored 3 wins, against a dominant Williams car. It was equivalent to Ferrari last year vs Mercedes. Then in 1997 he was challenging for the title, with a very decent car (though still behind the Williams). 1998 Newey got the new regulations right, out of the gates, but Ferrari got on terms by the end of the year. 1999 Schumacher likely would’ve won without the leg break … the car won the WCC, the first of 6 straight WCC cars for Ferrari.

Vasseur from Renault was quoted this week that they’re looking for the next driver to build a successful team around. He mentioned Schumi-Ferrari, Alonso-Renault, Vettel-RBR, and Hamilton-Mercedes as examples of successful team-driver partnerships, that he’s looking to emulate.


Then call me deluded. I’ve always thought that two narratives were overblown – (i) that Schumacher somehow through the force of being a good leader somehow propelled the car to the front of the grid through force of character where Villeneuve, Prost and others had failed, and (ii) Schumacher was given more credit than other drivers for developing the car. I’m happy to rank Schumacher as one of the best drivers in the sport, and he was the best driver for the majority of his career, but I think his personal contribution (and indeed all driver contributions) to how good the car was is overstated in the extreme.


Very true Nick, good point 🙂


What has Alonso actually achieved in the last decade? 2007 he was in a car good enough to win WDC…he was beaten by his rookie team mate. 2008 he had a contract to be in THE WDC car….but he blew it because of his temperament. 2010 he stepped into a Ferrari which was good enough to allow him to win his first race. Over 5 years he helped ‘develop the car into one which didn’t win a single race…..and then he moved down with the back markers.

He lucked into his first WDC. He crashed out in Canada while Kimi suffered 3 mechanical failures….two of them from the lead and handing Alonso a win in each case….so he got that WDC on mechanical reliability rather than skill.

I think he is and always has been over rated


Since Fernando was the only factor in car development, a thousand engineers were getting seriously overpaid just to twiddle their thumbs in Maranello.


The engineers can design a car which will be within a couple of % of the best car. Then they need decent feedback so that they can extract the other 2%. If they get good feedback from the guy in the car they can turn a dog into a race winner… McLaren in 2009. If they get bad feedback they can turn a race winner into a dog. Merc inherited a brilliant car from Brawn…..but they couldn’t get that extra 2%….until they signed up a bit of talent. Ferrari provided Nando with a race wining car in his first race. It wen’t downhill from there….did all the engineers just get a bit stupid or were they not getting accurate and useful feedback?


You just can’t take the truth.


When I look at that photo of him and Ron and just think 100,000,0000 euros. Well at least all involved got their comeuppance in different ways for making bad decisions. Even Lewis suffered because of it all. The inconsistent form he suffers from comes from not putting in the hard yards under Alonso. (Alonso would not have ended up in the gravel trap in China) Mclaren, Alonso and Lewis would now all have more champs and money,……….. no one benefited from the whole mess. At least we saw the myths being made and for that I thank them.

Ferriri should have booted Massa or Kimi for 2008 and put Alonso in the car. Bernie should have made it happen for the show.


I’ve heard the “Lewis should have waited his turn under Alonso” plenty of times, and I’ve aways thought it was nonsense. It certainly would have benefitted Alonso and probably McLaren, but how would it have benefitted Hamilton? He would have lost in 2007 AND 2008, and damaged his reputation and marketability massively. He saw his chance and he took it – even with the Shanghai DNF he beat Alonso, and would have been champion without the engine misfire in Brazil (which everyone conveniently forgets).


“how would it have benefitted Hamilton”

He would not have spent 2007-2013 crashing and posting setup data on the internet during a race weekend. What a pro.

Two years under Alonso would have made him. Then let them fight. I’m looking at this from a team management point of view but loved what we got. Lewis is only starting to settle mentally but that’s only because he’s got a teammate 0.3 slower than him and a rocket-ship to drive. If he finds himself back in the pack over the next few years, Twitter might be worth a watch for free team data. He’s all about the fans.


2007-13 ‘crashing’ funny I thought he won more races than anyone else bar SV during those years. In cars that were nowhere near the best? Oh and beating all his team mates inc Alonso and JB?

Never mind let the pain flow through you 🙂


Needless to say everything you say is highly subjective. What isn’t subjective is that if Hamilton had dutifully followed Alonso home in 2007 and 2008 he wouldn’t have been a world champion at McLaren until 2010 at the very earliest, and that’s under your very sketchy supposition that deliberately letting Alonso beat him for two years would somehow have made him stop having accidents. Meanwhile, Alonso is probably a 4 time world champion and nobody even cares who Lewis “Barrichello Mark 2” Hamilton even is.

Also, thanks for the shock revelation that drivers unchallenged at the front have fewer accidents than those in the field, never would have figured out that correlation without your genius insight.


Needless to say. I was not pointing out drivers at the front crash less. I was saying Lewis is in a better place mentally because he’s got the legs on Nico and the other cars. Put a driver into the team that can get close to him on either speed and/or consistency, then you’ll see the twitter posting. His twitter posting was because of Button just steadily pushing him from about 0.2secs back for a few seasons.

Oh and in all fairness he’s had a few crashes this year.


I think the twitter posting then, was because he felt duped into a bad setup, at a race that he felt he needed to win, to have any chance at the title that year. It’s my sense that Lewis was frustrated at the amount of support given to Button’s flailing campaign, when in Lewis’ mind, they still had a shot at the title with him.

As for crashes, they are not all the same of course. There are bad crashes, when a driver goes off all on their own. Kvyat at USA15 for example … bad crash. Lewis in qualifying this season in Baku … bad crash. Then there are crashes which happen because a driver has their car in a higher position than it should be, or they’re reacting to a racing opportunity. Lewis’ crash in Spain, or at SIN10, were because he was attacking a car ahead that had made a mistake, giving an opportunity. In those cases the pass didn’t come off, but there are more comparable situations where it did. It’s the difference between the hard charger, and the hold station type of driver.


Actually the Twitter fiasco was because his team mate had been at the back all season and the team worked tirelessly to help him at the expense of Lewis. You know the guy with a real chance at the championship that year at last..

Worked out well for them all round in the end did it not?


You can’t take a single critisism on lewis. Rightly or wrongly you dont put data on social media.. how earth can you say otherwise.


Your theory just doesn’t hold water at all – Rosberg has been closer to Hamilton than Button in terms of speed (even though their head-to-head qualifying record flatters Rosberg because of outside influences) and *gasp* no twitter posting. Not to mention when he posted that he was comfortably ahead of Button in 2012. Yes he has had some crashes this year, but the fact he’s had them undermines your theory even more.

And let’s not distract from the whole point of your original post (which you didn’t even mention in your reply) which is that somehow in your world letting a driver who he was already an equal to beat him for two years would somehow make him a better driver, no amount of “hilarious” retelling of an incident that happened four years ago is going to make that rather nebulous theory become any more realistic.


I don’t even know what you are on about now.

There was no twitter posting this year but there was using the media/implying that Merc were sabotaging the car. Do you remember all that at the start of the year? That’s what he does when it’s not going his way. He has many ways to throw the dummie, not just twitter. Put a driver in beside him on his pace and he would rip that team apart.


Sorry, I know I used a lot of big words and complicated arguments, I’ll try and tone it down for you. What I’m saying is that the premise of your original post (that Hamilton would have benefitted from doing the “hard yards” under Alonso at McLaren) is absolute rubbish, and to try and link the fact he didn’t to any subsequent faults Hamilton has or has had (crashes, Twitter posting) is absolute rubbish. No amount of snide shots at Hamilton (which seems to be your only rejoinder) is going to change that.

(And needless to say, when Alonso was on Hamilton’s level, it wasn’t Hamilton who “tore the team apart” but the Spanish Samurai. And when Rosberg was beating Hamilton and had a chance of the title in the last race, he didn’t tear the team apart, he knuckled down and beat him.)


Well said. 👏


Raikkonen had more car failures than both of them (which everyone conveniently forgets) both times running in 3rd place I believe.

Spain mechanical DNF.
Nurburgring mechanical DNF.

And at the Nurburgring he was reeling Alonso and Massa in at a vast rate of knots before he stopped.


Fair point, but the point I was making was that it was so tight between the top 3 that you can make a case for any of them being the “deserving” champion – when discussing 2007 plenty of people say Hamilton “threw it away” in China without any counterbalance.


The team through it away in China 2007. Lewis was just driving round waiting to be called in. To me that proved that he should not have been in the position. He had the skill but not the brains. It’s a different story now………..


He was a rookie. He has to trust the team in that situation. Meanwhile, the Bridgestone rep was imploring them to bring him in. McLaren was too clever by half there.


I know I’ll just get shot at for being a [Mod], but the more time passes the more I blame McLaren for that, they could have brought him in two laps earlier and still been champion. In 2008 they learned their lesson and got Hamilton to hold station in key positions (like Singpaore 2008) and consolidate the advantage (and even then they nearly lost it…).


Exactly. Bag decent points (4th or 5th were easy pickings), and eliminate Kimi from the title fight. It would also mean Alonso would need 1st or 2nd in Brazil to win, before even factoring in Hamilton’s points. Given how it shook out, with Ferrari fastest at Interlagos, Lewis would’ve won comfortably.


think 100,000,0000 euros…

Dollars, not euros – although at the current exchange rate that’s pretty much the same thing 🙂


you guys got an extra “0” in there. I’m sure the FIA would have liked that.


He’s right about the current cars in race regulation mode. They are too slow. 2004 race cars were daunting to watch. The hybrid engine should remain.

I also think DRS should be scrapped next year. It is an another example of politicking by charlie whiting and the FIA.


A competitor always competes at everything. Americans remember Michael Jordan.


Alonso is a very complete and intelligent driver, but I do feel he has lost a couple of tenths that he had in the early part of his career.

I see parallels to Lauda’s career – two titles in the early part of his career where he was fantastically fast, and perhaps a final 3rd title towards the end of his career where he can utilise all of that experience and intelligence to perhaps beat a faster driver.


I think it is very dicey comparing anybody to Lauda.
He satnds alone as someone who was right, but wronged, and then by force of will, brought himself back from the brink.
Now that is true grit, and NO OTHER DRIVER has these credentials.
The state of the ‘sport’ will not likely produce it from their treadmill turning-over of maximally coddled boy-band ‘stars’.
Alonso is no Lauda.


Great comparison!


It’s fair to say all drivers and all athletes are competitive people by nature and will always compete with people they meet even in everyday life

I guess what is also needed in F1 is you have to be politically ruthless thereby getting the backing of the team bosses which in turn means getting favourable treatment in the team.

As for Alonso, I believe he sleeps well at night as he achieved his long time F1 goal because the drivers all consider him the best because when it comes to consistency and dragging performance from a difficult car then Alonso is very good

Unfortunately time and age catches up with all sports people so not even new regulations may help Alonso in his quest to add on his F1 successes

On the topic of the slow hybrid cars, it’s ironic because the reason the cars were made slower is because the drivers back in 2004 were concerned that the cars were getting too fast and hence were worried about getting involved in a big accident.


Goferet , Im pretty sure Lewis, Sebastian, and Kimi dont believe Fernando is the best. Im sure they all know hes “one of” and many other drivers may think he is. But 3 things for certain, every drivers ego will prevent from saying so, at least two of them have more titles than he does (yes I agree thats no symbol of greatenness), and one of them has finished ahead of him in the same season!. Finally some of thise have called him less than great things on track recently and you wouldnt do that for someone you consider “great”.

For me most people that revere Alonso do so because he is aggressive and has that never say die attitude that most appreciate in sport but when you really look at it– that agressiveness is not always smart, just like Australia this year, many near misses where other drivers have “backed out” would have ended the same way. Suzuka 12, where he clipped Kimi and put him on the grass actually may have cost him the title. Hes done this many time over the years and many think its great – I actually think its stupid but its very clear to me many fans like biff and barge more for the drama than the actual skill and in this regard Alonso is without doubt the biggest drama queen in F1 – both on & off the track, spygate/crashgate these are by products of his own “belief” that he is the best..goodluck to anyone that believes- I never will.


Nice how you tried to throw Kimi’s name in there along with multiple world champions. One things for sure.. no one cares what Kimi thinks about Alonso because he was absolutely destroyed as team mates. I remember you proclaiming when they became team mates that Kimi would win… then your excuses came in inevitably. Yawn.


@ Elie

Actually Lewis considers Alonso as one of the best drivers to have raced in the sport

Also I don’t agree that Alonso’s aggressive moves and tenacity is why he is considered great but rather he came close to winning the title twice in a car that wasn’t as good as the Red Bulls in addition he ended Schumi’s winning run


@GF- “One of the Best” is what I said, but its not The Best, is it!. Further to this Lewis can say this & be comfortable with the fact he finished ahead of Alonso as a rookie, so that suggests he is “the best”😏.

Also by you saying he “came close….”, implies tenacity and aggressiveness – otherwise how did he come close and fight for position if you say he didnt have a competitive car.

What also ticks me off to no end is people commenting about how close he got yet totally dismiss Raikkonen almost beating MS in 2003 (2pts) in a car that failed more times than others and did not enjoy half the advantages that Ferrari had . Also 2005 he was by far the best driver on the grid winning the same no of races 7/15. Yet had 3 eng blowouts whilst leading & No USA GP as Michelin failed to contest! Alonso was never that close and in fact would never have won his titles if the F2006 was any good and MP4-20 /1 had been half as reliable. In the end Ferrari chose Kimi to replace Michael for his 2005 brilliance- Not Fernando & not anyone else that was very telling.

The Ferrari was quite good in 2010 and the fact Felipe was 1/3 track ahead at the German Gp before he got those fateful orders was quite telling. There were 1 or 2 other races too I think Istanbul where the car looked as fast as any. In 2012 The Ferrari started as good as the RB & Mclaren but fell backwards after summer- Felipe was quicker on at least 3 occasions :- India?, Austin, (gearbox seal for 3rd On grid) and when FM gave let Alonso through at the start. So the truth be told Fernando was not as close as people think– certainly nonwhere near as close as others before him. He thoroughly deserved 2006 but enjoyed a reliable car with the advanced mass damper suspension and had no competition due to a poor Mclaren and Ferrari.

Finally the one telling thing for
Me is Alonso this year saying ” I might not be the fastest qualifier” “I might not do the fastest race lap” but I cant beat anyone in the GP.

Like I said hes “one of” but no way is he amongst the best this sport has seen. I could say that about Lewis, I might have said that about Kimi in 2005-7. But despite his better consistency I could never say that about Fernando- hes never had that level of raw speed & imho you must have that to be considered a great.


@ Elie

Oh no, Lewis meant that Alonso is one of the best in the history of the sport

And yes Kimi did a great job finishing close in 2003 and 2005, the guess the difference between Kimi and Alonso is that Kimi was not able to keep up this good form post 2007


“the drivers all consider him the best”

I don’t think that’s true…


“Consider him one of the best” would’ve worked.

I think a good epitaph for Alonso’s F1 career would be “he was too political”.


Very nice article James on the inner psyche of what sets the real winners apart from the also-rans. I don’t necessarily approve of that behaviour but I do believe what makes a true winner such as Alonso stand out is his ability to deliver under pressure. I can see the same thing in Max, Ricciardo and Hamster. These guys deliver when it counts. My favourite comparison is that of Joe Montana the former QB of the San Francisco 49ers, he always shone on the biggest stage of them all, the Super Bowl.


do you think he was ever under pressure in 2007?


Great article.
Brilliant quote from Senna to Nigel.
Alonso will be back on former if Mclaren get a good engine package from Honda. The car itself is aero dynamically sound as is it’s chassis. Next year will be the litmus test.
If it’s not up to scratch then Alonso will head to another team. Renault ?
Honda will have to do something as the big wheels and heavier car will need an engine that will cope and not stutter around at the back of the field. Bigger test will be against a superb young guns like Stoffel. Will he do a Lewis on Alonso?


Very illuminating Freudian slip, for ‘form’ read ‘former’.


Auto correct fault should be “form”.
So not really Freudian, rather more gremlins in the software 😊
But I can see what you mean.


James how many books have you ghost written?


He won’t be able to tell you until he leaves for the other side….


James T 👻👻👻👻👻👻👻is there any body out there ? 😄


You won’t find them here.



Although the latter part of his career has not proven to be so fortuitous, it can easily be argued that the first half of his career was very fortuitous as he lucked out in 2005 and to a lesser extent in 2006 with Schumi’s engine exploding at Suzuka.

Fernando 150% Alonso

Which balanced Alonso’s engine who blow out at Monza


Alonso can blame only himself not running at the front of the field. Who told him to get sacked from Ferrari. He had everything there. Although Ferrari hasn’t been real championship contender after left the team, it is still much better to fight consistently for top six positions of the races (and perhaps take some random wins like Vettel did last year) than collect those whatnot positions at the back of the grid if your car doesn’t let you down.


Well, Alonso has responded to that by saying 2nd means nothing to him. Whether he’s fighting for P2 or P14 in the championship is redundant. If one team can return to winning ways before the other, nothing else matters.


All this im happy because you are sad mentality intimated by senna is all well and good for them but who are the champions that have won without it?
There must be many well adjusted winners in F1


Kimi may be?



”Kimi you missed Schumacher’s farewell”
”Yeah I was having a sh*t”


Really is there any need for this low brow post from Pistol Pete?
Especially with Schumacher in such a bad way.


It was a funny bit of F1 banter on the grid walk. I’m sure Schumacher would’ve thought so too, and still would. Nothing to be put out by.


Not sure where the offence is.

Divisive as he was, no one can reduce the might of Schumi’s achievements, especially what a nobody like me says or posts.

And this post was in reply to Sri’s excellent and cheeky post regarding well-adjusted champions and I provided an example of Kimi’s well adjusted behavior as he answered Brundle at the Brazilian 2006 GP

This is the Internet, lots of low brow posts everywhere but this isn’t one of them. If this post offends you then don’t leave the sanity of this website to trundle elsewhere….


rosberg learning the secret trait of a champion two months ago has morphed into alonso complaining about hybrid technology, the same man who could see into the future and claimed he’ll compete for the 2017 championship. wrong choises have certainly led him up the right path..


Rosberg has zero race craft. Cannot fight fairly on track. The only way he will be a champion is on the back of engine penalties on Hamiltons car , but even with the penalties Lewis will win, he is too good a racer .


how about alonso? he’s not called the samurai for nothing you know..


He called himself Samurai – what a $&¥€er. If you are great people give you great names.


many are born with great names before they get the chance to prove that they’re great.


Samurai – pah. We’ve all seen how Indiana Jones dealt with the ‘great’ swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark.


Alonso is a Samurai in his mind he’s on Mount Fuji looking outwards to the days of The Shogun. He wouldn’t last a second in full Samurai training in that time. He could never follow a Master. As he thinks he is already The Master.
But still.
He is an entertaining racer. His radio messages are pure class.


he chose to call himself that and who am i to say he is not that?


Don’t live in the past Aveli.
Samurai went out of fashion at the turn of the 20th Century and before WWII the family just past the sword on to the eldest Sun.


alonso has brought samurai back into fashion.


Come on Aveli just cause he has a Samurai tattoo on his back doesn’t make him a Samurai.
Firstly a Samurai obeys his Lord.
Selflessly obey and not question his Lord. (Tattled to Ferrari about spygate. Basically gave Ron the two finger farewell)
Secondly he must obey the ways of the Warrior. The Bushido Code.
Reading the Book of Five Rings and taking a tour around temples in Japan does not create a Samurai.
Thirdly an honourable death in battle. That is not the way to go in F1. Nor should it be.
Fourthly if he embarrasses his master or fails in battle he must commit Seppuku.
I have yet to see any of those ideals play a part in Alonso’s way of life.
Rich Moody and Desperate at times with great talent.
If he’s a Samurai then I’m a Ninja 😂


i’m confident that you introduced yourself to all of us on here as hugo weaving so we address you as hugo weaving. alonso didn’t name himself samurai, he said others didn’t call him samurai for no reason. even if he named himself samurai and likes being referred to as samurai, there’s nothing wrong with anyone calling him samurai..


i call you hugo weaving because you introduced yourself as such. alonso said he ia called the samurai so i call him as such. what’s the point in me telling you you don’t live up to the reputation of a hugo weaving?


I didn’t call myself Hugo Weaving.
My parents did 😆
Therefore your idea falls flat.
Alonso is Alonso but a Samurai is a servant of his master. A rogue lordless Samurai is Ronin. But even they are set to follow the rituals of Bushido . Honourable Death in Battle.
I fear the only thing a Spanish Samura👺 can battle is on a Donkey is chasing windmills who he deems are dragons👹. Yes Alonso is jousting with windmills. 😨 😆


Hugo (20160819.10h15)… nice.
Alonso is a great race car driver, however, both his world championships included half a year with the (for some strange reason) banned mass damper (second half of 2006, first half of 2006), which no other team had, giving him a great, unique advantage.
More recently, it might be suspected that he is not a good driver to develop a car, since, if there was a problem with the lap, it wasn’t Alonso’s fault! So, technicians and mechanics have to chase all sorts of blind alleys down, when it might have been just that Alonso didn’t have the greatest lap.
I’m a fan, but tempered by the extreme media bias that he has enjoyed for a large part of his career.
Oh and the samurai thing, it might be best for everybody if that was just left to … fade away?


The story is about Alonso and he partnered ruthless racers like Lewis.
Similar to Nigel vs Senna.
Everything is linked. Think you need to realise that. All drivers have their clinks in their armour. You have drivers that will not bow down to anyone however great they are. Mclaren give equal weight to both drivers which offended Alonso as a Champion.
That’s what makes team dynamics interesting. Alonso has had every opportunity to go to teams (he was even offered a place at Mercedes, when they became Mercedes after Brawn, but he declined and stuck with a hobbling black horse).
I’ve always thought Alonso as a great driver and still do. He has just made some absolute clangers in his team choices when the time was right to take a leap of faith to a upcoming developing team.


Mercedes rejoined at the start of 2010. That was when the Ferrari was the best during his five year stint. It was hardly a hobbling black horse then.


‘Mclaren give equal weight to both drivers which offended Alonso as a Champion.’

“Lewis we are racing Fernando” 🙂


Proves they were allowed to race, doesn’t it?


It proves which driver Ron Dennis wanted to win.


Did Ron say those words??


Well said Jamesk 👍


NickH, do you really believe that McLaren were favouring Lewis over Alonso in 2007?


I only jest!

Although, I do seem to remember something being up with Alonso’s tyre pressures during qualifying at China.. How much truth was in that I have no idea. I have no doubt someone on here will shed some light on it though!


Scratch that 2003 Renault bit … got my years mixed up. That was 2004 when Trulli was ahead before getting the boot from Flav.


It was a risible theory from the start. Alonso expected to be well clear of his teammate, but wasn’t. So he went for the easy – but lazy – explanation of “I’m in an English team with an English driver”, to explain away the challenge.

I wonder if he thought the same thing last year, when Button outscored him?

Symonds said in 2007 that being beaten by his teammate drove him batty – witness his paranoid outburst accusing Renault of sabatoging his WDC bid in 2006. So Alonso had form on this, but some were still happy to buy what he was selling.

It is interesting to note that in his 3 seasons in “equal opportunity” teams (Minardi 2001, McLaren 2007 & 2015), and even first half of 2003 at Renault, he’s never beaten his teammate.


In 2007, Alonso went running to the FIA for an official to check his car was identical to that being driven by Lewis Hamilton. The poor feller has been paranoid for years.


I think you’ll find every team engineer in every team has said about their racing drivers,fellow team mates. So it’s really an open ended message directing the driver to his opposite number. Though you may find varying degrees of conspiracy into its reading. If we are hoing your way…Then again who was the one that tipped Ferrari off about The Spying …Ermmm Alonso ?
So maybe some payback from the Mclaren lads 👍
Besides all teams spy on each other no doubt some have staff on the inside of some teams. Who knows how far it goes NickH.


The article is about Alonso and discussion turns to Hamilton and Rosberg. F1, its supporters are messed up


Well, Hamilton did play a big part in showing the fans Alonso’s real side.


Like it 😂


Goose has been tapping his like button 😀 he is on 13 already I reckon he will be lacking a 99 with a flake in it soon 🍦 😄


Think whatever you want to mate. Some of us have more important things to do then tapping on a like button or trying to reflect on others behaviour.
Just wondering If I had the opportunity to increase the likes on my post would I leave that to 13?


13 Lucky number for a Mason 😉


Goose, roll back through the last 100 articles and you’ll find this happens in almost all of them, and it’s usually the same names over and over again….


Roll back
Roll back a sweeping comment .Aston Martin Article seems rather Lewis free. As is a lot of other articles. So me thinks the lady doth waffle too much.
LFKE has just observed and posted.
Let me guess in those 100 posts no other drivers were mentioned. Think you will find its the same posters who take a sideways dig at Lewis fans or come out with a whopper to create the reactionary comments


Very gallant Rupert…you just might make the club yet


You may be flapping about on the wrong thermals. Both The Lewis and Rosberg posts are merited by what they are addressing. Ruthless driving and focused drivers win championships exactly what Senna and Nigel fought for many years back. Alonso may have the hunger but he needs a solid package to race at the top. “Ruthless is what Ruthless does!” as they say on TV show “The Wire!” .
Good Team Good Driver Great Success. That’s about the sum of it.


No matter how many articles like this I read about Alonso I remain unimpressed. Generally he gets favorable reviews from most F1 pundits but I keep returning to the fact that he has essentially been fired by two of the sport’s biggest teams, McLaren and Ferrari.

Perhaps if he was smarter in the way he channeled his undoubted will to win he would have long ago secured the third title he so craves.

I still recall him shaking his fists at his team on the pitwall during the 2007 US GP because they refused to order Lewis Hamilton to let him past. In the end I think he is his own worst enemy and will most likely leave F1 with a record much less stellar than his raw talent deserves.


hr, has Alonso been fired from Ferrari? Really? Please do revise your sources. He left the team with two years of contract to go. I don’t remember the way he left McLaren.


I remember that 2007 USGP. Brilliant defending from Lewis down the straight … that is how you do it, proactive, force the attacker to go ’round the outside, then hold him there ’til you take the corner.

Alonso was short-fuelled for that second stint, so then he also got the undercut chance, and he says the team was against him?!?! The team radio afterwards to Hamilton was something like “You owe one to Ron, requests were made but denied”. Wonder if anyone has the exact words?

Apparently Alonso’s side of the garage was already not sharing strategy and data with Hamilton’s side, at the time of that race (7th race that season).

It’s my theory and belief that Alonso was ruined by his first stint with Briatore and Renault. There he was the no. 1 with Fisichella his rear gunner. He was given preferential treatment, and he could see that Schumacher and Ferrari were set up the same way. For him, that was how every team was set up.

So once at McLaren, if he wasn’t being overtly favoured, then it must mean that Hamilton was, etc. That also dovetailed nicely with the racing driver’s defensive instinct to believe they’re the best, and only outside forces could possibly beat them. Alonso of course took this to its most extreme. It sure as hell was entertaining.


Dennis said after China 2007: “We weren’t racing Kimi, we were basically racing Alonso”. Nothing more to say


Except even Alonso didn’t make too much of that comment. Just like Smedley’s “destroy [Hamilton’s] race!!” comment to Massa during SIN11, this is how racers talk in the heat of the moment.

The questions to ask are 1) why would McLaren sign up Alonso in late 2005, to race for them in 2007, and then sabatoge him, putting at risk his services to them, and also his sponsors? And 2) do you really believe if McLaren was sabatoging Alonso, that he would be anywhere near Hamilton in the standings near the end? McLaren operationally have been bumblers for awhile now, but even they could easily wreck an engine or gearbox to get some desired result.

Just imagine if the gearbox gremlins that ruined Lewis’ race in Brazil had happened to Alonso?!

It was and remains a very convenient excuse, for Alonso and his fans, to explain away a very inconvenient year. Nothing more.


He leaved both McLaren and Ferrari on his on will. Ferrari wanted to extend his contract until 2019 a few months before he signed for McLaren-Honda.


I don’t know about Ferrari, but I’m pretty certain that his parting from McLaren was not entirely his own choice.


Fernando left both teams by the back door, speciually Ferrari after doubting the performance of the car à la Prost. Not much difference between that and being fired…


Leo Turrini, a well know italian journalist who is a “Ferrari guy” since the Enzo Ferrari days, already confirmed more than one time that Alonso chose to split from Ferrari in late 2013 if next year car was not competitive, and it was the case. Also Magnussen was told before the summer brake he had to fight for the place at McLaren with Button since Alonso would have joined the team for 2015, he said it in an interview a few months ago.


I don’t doubt Alonso’s ability on the track – but he’s made some awful choices off of it . I suspect those poor choices will mean no further championships will he added to the two he already holds . Time will tell….


Now in terms of money, his choices were not that bad eh! 😉


Sure he’s got pots of money – but it’s that elusive third title which he craves. Its not like he’d have been on minimum wages if he’d joined a different team and in addition to a fortune he might also have a 3rd WDC by now.


His only real poor choice was picking Ferrari over Red Bull


did alonso have a real chance of joining redbull and opted for ferrari instead?


Hind sight is a beautiful thing. I’m pretty sure when Alonso made the Ferrari choice, most of the F1 world called it a dream move. So, it was a safe, obvious, logical choice.
If he had a choice of Mercedes in 2015 but picked McLaren, then that would have been a bad choice.


I don’t disagree with you regarding hindsight – but, being in the right team at the right time is undoudetdly part of the game for an F1 driver. Red Bull had Adrian Newey on board for several years by the time Alonso joined Ferrari and they [Red Bull] were well funded – they were also very well connected. I’m certainly not suggesting it was an obvious choice – and who could resist the lure of Ferrari – but maybe it wasn’t such a leap in the dark as it first appeared.


His only real poor choice…

I disagree. If he had handled the situation at McLaren better [in 2007] he would quite likely be a 3 x champion already. Unless McLaren can pull some serious rabbits out of the hat then I can’t see Alonso adding a 3rd title to the 2 he already he has. As I said, time will tell.


can the samurai inspire mclaren into presenting a special car for 2017 like hamilton has done with mercedes?


Well Said. As you say, there’s no doubting his ability. But there will always be a dark cloud hanging over his reputation. McClaren, Hamilton and Ferrari. All episodes which have tarnished his career. I can’t see him being WDC again. Wrong decisions or not, he’s blown his chances Imo.

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