Alonso: Ferrari covering Hamilton threat at Singapore

2012 Singapore Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Singapore, 2012Fernando Alonso says Ferrari’s strategy for the Singapore Grand Prix will be to cover off the threat of his closest championship challenger: Lewis Hamilton.

“There are many teams that are strong and are still contenders, with maybe five or six drivers that can fight for the title,” said Alonso.

“Lewis is second at the moment and since February, we have said that he is the one that probably I respect the most, because we know what he can do in good cars or bad cars.”

“In terms of strategy, it is almost impossible to cover five drivers, as they can make pit stops at different times, so in this race, we need to cover whichever driver is closest in the classification, which means Lewis at the moment.

“McLaren has won the last two races and so they are the favourites here as well. Hopefully we can stop their dominance: we have brought some new parts for the car and are optimistic that we can do well here and at the next two or three Grands Prix.”

Alonso added Ferrari’s performance at other low-grip circuits gave cause for optimism about their performance this weekend:

“We need to see how we perform on Friday, but our aim is to fight for pole and the win in this race. We were competitive in Monaco and Canada, which are similar circuits and so we are optimistic. We know how important is pole position here.”

As speculation continues over where Felipe Massa will be replaced as his team mate will be next year, Alonso spelled out what they team is looking for in a driver:

“Anyone who comes to drive here must be a driver that respects Ferrari and the tradition of this team and the fact that here, we work for the team, for the red cars as our first priority.

“I have been working with Felipe for three years now and we have a very good relationship and if the team decides to appoint someone different for next year, then that driver has to be better than Felipe.

“Looking at all the names that you the media have been putting forward as a replacement, I?m not sure if you realise quite how much Felipe has achieved in Formula 1, compared to the names mentioned.”

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95 comments on Alonso: Ferrari covering Hamilton threat at Singapore

  1. andae23 (@andae23) said on 20th September 2012, 12:44

    Responding to your nearest rival… isn’t that how they lost the 2010 championship?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th September 2012, 12:46

      @andae23 Yes, as the radio messages showed. But to be fair Alonso did also say you can’t expect to be able to do that if you’ve got five different rivals.

      • marcusbreese (@marcusbreese) said on 20th September 2012, 12:53

        Shouldn’t he (and the team) be deciding on the day who to cover, then? Or in fact they should be racing proactively, and let everyone else cover him.
        He’s got a big enough lead to be able to race like that, and is more likely to be on a strategy that can play to his strengths, rather than stuck behind some tardy one stopper.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th September 2012, 12:58

          @marcusbreese It may not just be a case of what they do with Alonso’s car, though – remember Massa’s “destroy Hamilton’s race” messages last year:

          Smedley told Massa to ‘destroy Hamilton’s race’

          • coefficient (@coefficient) said on 20th September 2012, 14:13

            Not likely Hamilton and Massa will be occupying the same piece of tarmac really is it. Also, for Alonso to cover Hamilton he’ll need to get in front of him and stay there. Not guaranteed to be doable either.

          • Switchbacker (@switchbacker) said on 21st September 2012, 10:35

            I find that whole approach to be totally unsporting, and shouldnt be allowed.

            Its a corruption of the essence and sprit of racing. I would have thought any championship won through such manipulation woould be totally compromised.

          • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 21st September 2012, 15:00

            F1 stopped being a “gentlemen’s activity” many many years ago. The commercial aspects have sucked most of that out already.

            Honestly, I dont really mind. I think F1 should be about the dirty tricks, about doing whatever you can get away with, with the exception of causing bodily injury to another. For my money, F1 is the modern expression of Darwinism. The Prey cannot complain about “fairness” when it is devoured by the Predetor. This is life, and the only real rule is “what a man can do, and what a man cant do”. Rules, and level playing fields are the structures that help dry the tears of the losers.

            Before flaming, understand this is an admitedly controversial opinion, and it is mine. I dont expect anyone to agree, so dont bother unless your aim is calm discourse.

    • marcusbreese (@marcusbreese) said on 20th September 2012, 12:47

      +1
      As soon as I saw the headline, I thought back to Abu Dhabi. It’ll be just like 2007, Alonso and Hamilton racing each other, with Kimi sneaking by…

    • @andae23 I think that’s the best strategy, you cover your closest rival but looking at standings you realise that your closest rival is very close to three other guys so…

    • sorin (@) said on 20th September 2012, 17:42

      “Ferrari’s strategy for the Singapore Grand Prix will be to cover off the threat of his closest championship challenger: Lewis Hamilton.” Massa will be very busy this weekend…

  2. Senor Alonso speaks like someone who plays poker….. just watching his back for damage limitations …. very clever Senor!

    I wonder what he says about the prospect of Lewis joining the red car brigade…. will he oppose that? Ferrari needs the WCC like hell.

    • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 20th September 2012, 20:53

      Ferrari needs the WCC like hell.

      Ferrari won every WCC from 1999-2004, and they won in 2007 and 2008.

      It’s Mclaren who need a WCC like hell if you ask me!

      • F1 Lunatic (@f1lunatic) said on 21st September 2012, 6:40

        …and yet, Montezemolo never misses a single oppo to ‘espresso‘ his frustrations of not having the wdc/wcc, even if Ferrari had won either/both the previous year!

        Maybe it’s the racing gene in Ferrari, or that the prospect of not winning translates into enormous dents on their road cars’ prospect, I dunno, but he sure makes one hell of a noise about not winning, way more than Tony losing his(has he ever?) patience over his PitBull’s not-so-impressive engineering designs, year-after-year!

        • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 21st September 2012, 15:08

          never misses a single oppo to ‘espresso‘ his frustrations

          Nice word play, +1

          I think the angst shown by Montezemolo might be surrounded around this one fact. Ferrari is a Big Company who makes Race Cars for the Road. F1 is their only corporate racing endevor.

          If they cant get it right in F1, they diminish the validity of the Brand and the entire company.

          Mclaren has no relevance in the commercial market, they dont make road cars (very often) and as an enterprise, they are a “Race Team” first…

          If they do poorly in F1, yes, it is bad, but it doesnt take down a commercial factory, or send its customers running to the nearest competitor. In this regard, Ferrari has a lot more skin in the game than any other F1 team. This will continue until, and unless Ferrari start dispersing the risk, and compete in other series officially as a constructor.

  3. Did Alonso just say Monaco and Canada are similar? .. All that tweeting has gone to his head

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th September 2012, 13:00

      @dj-xo2 In terms of grip level, they are, hence the identical super-soft/soft tyre allocation. But obviously Montreal requires a much lower downforce set-up than Monaco.

      • F1 Lunatic (@f1lunatic) said on 21st September 2012, 6:52

        …But quoting Canada in the same breath as his Singapore Optimism is like, well, feeling excited about the next blind date bcoz the previous one was so exciting – planning the candle-light setting, the romantic music – all up till the point where your worst nightmare showed up as your date, and his hoisted flag fell down! ;-)

        I mean, is Canada not the track where alonso was feeling all hunky-dory, till his tires gave out in an extraordinarily embarrassing way, much like Kimi’s in china, reducing him from a hero to a zero! So, he is optimisitic about Singapore bcoz it is similar to Canada(grip-level or whatever)??????

  4. He was wrong: McLaren has won the last three races instead of two. Hungary (HAM), Belgium (BUT), Italy (HAM).

    • Some other sources (the Beeb, Autosport, etc) seem to be quoting: “It is true McLaren are in very good form and are favourites after the last two or three results, …” which would imply that Alonso seems to regard Hamilton as a driver and McLaren as a team (with respectively two and three “results”) as the ones to cover. This does make strategic sense overall, to be refined if practice, qualifications and results turn out to be topsy-turvy for the “maybe five or six drivers that can fight for the title”.

    • He wasn’t wrong, technically McLaren have won the last two races, and they have also won the last three races.

      • claudioff (@claudioff) said on 20th September 2012, 15:53

        That´s reminded me that joke about the remarks of three different observers about a spotted cow standing in a pasture. The first one said: All cows in this pasture are spotted. The second: That cow is spotted. The third: This side of the cow is spotted.

    • @Laurentzi Garmendia: I think you are wrong. They won the last 2 races. Won the last 3 races as well.

    • OOliver said on 20th September 2012, 22:15

      He is right, Mclaren have won the last 2 races, because this is part two of the championship.
      He could easily have said Mclaren won the last race and he would still be correct.
      But you are not wrong either, when you said Mclaren has won the last 3 races, you are only wrong because you said he was wrong.

  5. Armchair Expert (@armchairexpert) said on 20th September 2012, 13:45

    “If the team decides to change Felipe, anyone who arrives has to be better than Felipe.

    “I’ve seen a lot of names written, and I don’t know if they have been written with the head or the heart.

    “With all the names you hear, if you compare what Felipe has done in Formula 1 and what these little names have done in Formula 1…”

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/102663

    Firstly we hear di Montezemolo saying Perez is too ‘inexperienced’ and now Alonso joins in naming Hulkenberg, Perez and others as ‘little names’. Well, as disrespectful as it is, it’s conscious PR strategy from Ferrari. I guess it means there is no one willing to play lapdog for Alonso and they have to justify keeping Massa for another year, who has no objections in doing his N2 job. Good luck Ferrari.

    • But will Ferrari be content with no constructors’ championships, which is a certainty if Massa stays???/(unless they make another F2002 or F2004)

    • In truth both Hulk and Perez haven’t won a single GP let alone challenged for a World Championship. Even if Massa isn’t the same as he was then, he still has those accomplishments to his name. On top of all that he has been apart of the Scuderia for almost a decade, so I can imagine why Alonso would say that.

      • Armchair Expert (@armchairexpert) said on 20th September 2012, 15:41

        Neither were Massa, Barrichello or Irvine joining Ferrari, Hakkinen or Raikkonen joining McLaren, Montoya, Villeneuve or Hill joining Williams.

        By this logic the only drivers, who could drive for Ferrari are Hamilton, Button, Vettel, Raikkonen and Schumacher. Even Webber has less pole positions and race wins, so I guess he is also ‘a little name’.

        • I agree, I think its a bit absurd that they aren’t considering Hulk, Perez etc. At the same time however I can see why they are “little names” as they haven’t had a long career and both have had their ups and downs.

          Ferrari has a tough decision, because Alonso is their guy, but you need a solid number 2 guy to win the WCC. What would do you do in that instance? I would take the chance on a Perez, Kova, Hulk, or Di Resta and see where the chips lie afterwards.

      • brny666 said on 21st September 2012, 7:08

        I somehow got this little voice in my head saying that while Alonsos points about Massa are valid he also really got attached to being so clearly No.1 which is something he has been fighting for all his life both at Renault and especially at Macca and he simply feels too comfy to give it up. In my opinion as much as Alonso plays team leader he really doesn’t care about getting Ferrari a WCC and cares about WDC only. Also imagine putting a young hothead into a Ferrari next to him, even if that guy doesn’t beat him more than 3 or 4 times a year I think it could seriously tick him off as young drivers have nothing to loose and everything to gain and if they believe they can beat him they might just follow through with it.

        • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 21st September 2012, 15:21

          With the exception of the McM period, I dont think FA has struggled much to exhert his intra-team dominance since he reached the fullness of his power with that first WDC.

          The LH/MCM incident was understandable. LH was/is(?) “the golden child” at MCM. They spent the time to groom him, and he has the skills that deserve the treatment. FA probably had out-sized expectations of equal team treatment when he signed the contract.

          I find it annoying that folks think LH and FA could never work together again. Remove the Golden Child aspects instituted by the team, and what is the problem really? I think we on the outside make a big deal of these things just to comment-fodder on the best F1 site ever – F1fanatic.co.uk

    • Could be that they have 2014 plans and therefore want to keep Massa for another year.

      Alonso has a conflict of interest. Massa is a known quantity at this point. A newcomer is a risk to Alonso. Worst case is if a “little name” makes Alonso look bad.

    • OOliver said on 20th September 2012, 22:38

      He also went on to say the person would need respect.
      Which implies to me, that it is a surprise decision. Someone like Heimi Alguesuari, fits the bill of needing respect. And someone else who you wont associate with Ferrari.

  6. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 20th September 2012, 14:10

    It’s about the best they can do really. Fortunately they have Massa who isn’t in a championship fight so if he manages to get himself in a position where he can make life difficult for one of Alonso’s rivals, he will. That’s a luxury that McLaren and Red Bull don’t have at the moment.

    • Bananas said on 20th September 2012, 14:28

      ‘For the moment’ being the operative words, see Whitmarsh’s comments after Monza: “There may well come a point (when we use team orders), but there are still many races left and many points on offer – things can change quickly”.

      Although I’d prefer a driver to win the WDC without help from a team-mate it’s going to be fascinating watching McLaren v Ferrari as and when Jenson is asked to support Lewis.

      Much more difficult for RBR though – if their drivers really are treated equally right now, it’s mouch too close between them for Horner to ask one to step aside.

      • Anonymouse said on 20th September 2012, 14:47

        RBR’s problem is that the top driver at the moment is the #1 driver. Also, if RBR had used team orders in 2010 Brazil, Alonso would have been the champion.

    • Anonymouse said on 20th September 2012, 14:43

      They* haven’t had that luxury since 2010 Germany

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 21st September 2012, 8:50

      That’s a luxury that McLaren and Red Bull don’t have at the moment.

      Disagree. Just look at the amount of points Button and Mark have taken off Alonso in the season already… and compare that to the number of points Massa has taken off Vettel and Hamilton.

      The biggest disadvantage to Alonso’s title chances is a lack lustre teammate.

  7. f12007v (@f1fan-2000) said on 20th September 2012, 14:33

    If it rain, maybe Alonso will win, and Hamilton would most likely slip out of control and crash into the walls. But if the weather is dry, things would be different, and Hamilton could become the first driver to perform a back-to-back race win.

    Despite the weather forecasts forcasting a race weekend with thunderstorms, it might still be dry, as the weather forecasts had been inaccurate at night these few days. It had hardly even rained. And none of the races had been hit by rain so far.

  8. I don’t believe in such an approach. They should always simply try to score as many points as possible, instead of focusing on a single opponent. Otherwise Alonso could lose places and points by focusing on Hamilton and afterwards find out that Vettel is going to be the man to beat over the remaining races. The fact that Alonso’s opponents are so close to each other in the overal standings makes such covering even less sensical.

    • For sure yes they want to win..but for sure yes they wil also cover the 2nd placed driver in championship.Mc laren being the form team, covering those mclarens may mean winning. So for sure yes I think they want to in. FOR SURE ;)

    • Unfortunately for Alonso, Hamilton is “pegged” to Kimi, Vettel and Webber so even if Massa is successful on his fight for a seat at Ferrari in 2013 mission by blocking Hamilton the gap between leader and second still can shortened in favour of Vettel or Kimi.

      However, I think Ferrari believes McLaren poises a bigger threat so a Red Bull win is probably better than one from Lewis.

  9. Ferrari wont sign Hamilton in a million years, hes quick and with two top drivers they can win the WCC, but with Alonso there he wont go to Ferrari. more to the point Alonso wont let them sign him even if they wanted to
    he should challenge a team mate who can come close to beating him, instead of beating a driver he knows he can easily beat, wheres the challenge man
    Ferrari Alonso and Hamilton would be mega for the team

    • Nirupam (@nirupam) said on 20th September 2012, 15:56

      Come on guys! Get over it!
      I am sick and tired of the whole talk of Alonso-prefers-only-rubbish-teammates kind of talk.

      …Alonso wont let them sign him even if they wanted to

      Could you please share a link with a reference? Please? You don’t have any? OK then please stop writing whatever comes in your mind.
      Same way I could have said: Hamilton wont sign for Ferrari while Alonso is there, because now that he has experienced the taste of beating by team mate (Button 2011), he won’t want another of it.
      Guys, before you get after my head, I am not saying this. Because I know that is not true.
      Probably each team exists there in the F1 world for two basic reasons, the WCC and WDC. Since in no situation can Alonso guarantee Ferrari WDC at the start of the season, can Ferrari afford to loose a position or two in the WCC? Which costs millions of $$$?

        • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 21st September 2012, 15:33

          Op-ed posts are not facts.

          Below are a list of words from the article on which you seem to be baseing your facts…
          Maybe, suggest, “The Truth, who knows”, perhaps, rumours, telling absence, off-the-record, “from the outside…”

          ALONSO LOVES HAMILTON, AND CANT WAIT TO HAVE HIM ON THE TEAM.
          There, I have put it in print, by your standard of truth and logic that should be sufficent proof.

          See how silly that is?

          • Oh, come on, only thing silly here is your reaction! You should better read before! The guy above asked for the link with reference. That’s exactly what I provided. Plus my own reservation. What else do you need?! I am glad to see you put on the same level your opinion and frustration presented here with somebody’s article – however weak you might think it is – published on the F1 related web site. Why don’t you then start writing and making money out of it?!

      • lluismf said on 20th September 2012, 21:55

        I suspect Botin (boss of Santander bank) wouldn’t be happy if the other Ferrari driver took victories from Alonso. So yes, I think Ferrari strategy favours WCD before WCC. Another hint: remember the infamous “this is ridiculous” sentence a couple of years ago.

        • I suspect Luca would be happy if he could win WCC . And i remember that, yes , it was riddiculous and petty what Massa was doing when he was already far from WDC fight.
          If you favour WCC you also increase the chances of WDC , all this theories are so petty, you don’t need them, i mean, we already know how is Alonso….. xD
          ¿If he win his 3rd WDC this year without the best car then what would people say? I’m already scared just thinking about it.

    • The power Alonso inherited from the holly spirit of Enzo aloowh him to decide what they do in Ferrari…..what a great plot fora movie… the evil Fernando!!!

  10. “I’m not sure if you realise quite how much Felipe has achieved in Formula 1, compared to the names mentioned.” Kimi, Lewis and Jensen are both former world champs…thats WAY more than Felipe has achieved.

    • Stagger (@stagger) said on 20th September 2012, 16:03

      Perez and Hul. are not. The two that are actually mentioned for replace Massa.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 21st September 2012, 1:48

        And they’ve achieved more than Massa over the last two years. Not Hulkenberg so much, although he of course got a pole.

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 21st September 2012, 9:16

        To be fair.. Perez and Hulk have both shown more potential than Massa did before he was signed by Ferrari.

        • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 21st September 2012, 15:40

          +1
          Lest we forget, FM was not born into Ferrari, he too was a lowly rookie from a back marker team.
          If I recall, wasnt he a stop-gap measure after RB decided to stop being MS’s lapdog and race for his own glory?
          I seem to remember thinking, “Massa, who is this guy, and why is he in the Red Car. I wount bother remembering his name because he will be gone soon.”

          Some how, he stuck in, had a suprisingly good run of it, but honestly, Ive always thought the #2 seat should have had a better pilot.

  11. It doesn’t make much sence to cover the closest driver in points. Your aim is always the same, score the maximum number of points. Is it really a good idea to, say, cover Hamilton’s pit strategy to stay ahead of him on the track when you know it will cost you a position to Vettel? It’s not like a kung fu movie where the hero is fighting the last guy to lunge at him while his 5 colleagues stand around wating for the baddie to get dropped.

  12. James (@jamesf1) said on 20th September 2012, 16:14

    Ferrari(/Alonso) need to be wary of everyone down to 4th in the driver standings this weekend. Whilst covering your nearest rival is obviously a good idea, the likes of Raikkonen and Vettel arent far off either.

    Really, Alonso needs to be covering everyone off and winning to be satisified and safe in the knowledge his leading the championship will become that little be bigger.

  13. William Brierty said on 20th September 2012, 17:41

    I don’t think Alonso can just “cover Hamilton” I think he can convincingly dominate the race. He’s awesomely quick at Singapore, Ferrari are traditionally quick at Singapore and the F2012 was the fastest car last time out. Please, let’s not entertain any fantasies that the McLaren was the fastest car at Monza, because the Ferrari, in Alonso’s hands, easily had over 2/10ths on the MP4-27 on a single lap, and the Ferrari, again in Alonso’s hands, was marginally better on race pace too. In essence I think Alonso and his F2012 will be a formidable and possibly unbeatable partnership at Singapore.

    • Wooolfy said on 20th September 2012, 19:03

      Dream on. Hamilton was the only driver to pass Perez in effect, and just remember that Perez easily passed both Ferraris. When the team asked Hamilton to pick up the pace, he responded by going faster than the fast going Perez, so how can you say that the Alonso was faster than Hamilton last time out in Monza?

      • brny666 said on 21st September 2012, 7:20

        No he didn’t. He set a few fast laps around Perez’s time but then dropped off which to be honest isn’t such a great feat in a pretty much perfect car. Also there was a yellow flag in the way of Perez for at least 2 laps.

  14. The best strategy is to try to cross the finish line as soon as possible.

    • Drop Valencia! said on 20th September 2012, 22:01

      not really, that strategy would come at a high cost to relibility, the best way is to WIN as slowly as possible.

  15. To be fair Alonso has always been wary of Hamilton. There have been instances where he’d been asking where Hamilton was. Focussing on Hamilton is the wrong way to ge considering the fact that the points difference between Hamilton, Kimi, Vettel, and probably Webber is negligible, considering the number of races left. He should focus on scoring maximum points and worry about Hamilton et al later.

    • JohnBt (@johnbt) said on 21st September 2012, 7:45

      Totally agree.

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 21st September 2012, 8:07

      On the other hand, he’s the points leader in a car that has been inferior to the McLaren and Red Bull for most of the races. Probably even inferior to the Lotus for many.

      He’s doing something right.

      Perhaps it’s more of a placebo. Worrying about a rival keeps him busy during the race so he doesn’t get bored and keeps up the pace.

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