Alonso feels he has “whole new level of respect”

2012 F1 season

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Valencia, 2012Fernando Alonso believes he has gained “a whole new level of respect” in Formula One this year after narrowly missing out on the drivers’ championship.

“Ever since I?ve been at Ferrari, I think I have grown a lot, especially this last year,” said Alonso at the Ferrari World Final event in Valencia.

“Before, the people had a more or less good opinion of me, but now I notice a whole different level of respect. And then, to be one of the greats of Formula 1, it?s not enough to win titles, you must also tackle seasons like the one just ended.”

He added: “I think in terms of strategy, pit stops, starts, reliability, this has been a perfect year. We all agree the one thing lacking was the car, which meant we could not match the best teams for most of the year.

“It?s the only thing we need to improve, but it?s also true that it?s the hardest thing to do. With all the difficulties we had, I?m thinking for example of how far behind we were in winter testing, to be able to fight right to the very end for the title means we are a great team.”

Alonso said he supported Ferrari’s decision to query Sebastian Vettel’s overtake on Jean-Eric Vergne during the final race in Brazil with the FIA:

“There were a lot of video clips on the Internet and we knew our fans were asking for an explanation and so it was right for Ferrari to turn to the Federation for a clarification,” he said.

“We got a reply and I think everything has now calmed down. I did not pay much attention to all the uproar this incident caused, but I felt we owed our fans an answer.

“Frankly, I?m not that interested in what the opinion is of me in Germany or elsewhere. What I know is that people who see me in the streets hug me and call me gladiator or samurai. What matters to me are the 1200 people in the Ferrari family, who gave me a standing ovation at a dinner.”

Asked about his target for next year, Alonso said: “I hope to score three or four points more.”

2012 F1 season

Browse all 2012 F1 season articles

Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

Advert | Go Ad-free


148 comments on Alonso feels he has “whole new level of respect”

  1. John Harkins (@vettelviper) said on 2nd December 2012, 19:13

    @RBAlonso You can not deny that Jorge Lardone makes a very valid point about Alonso’s somewhat questionable past. He may believe he has gained respect in the Formula 1 community this season, but maybe he has just gained respect in the so called “Ferrari Family”. There is no doubt that his performance this year was incredible however I feel that from the casual fans right up to the people working on the racetracks week in week out the man who gained a “whole new level” of respect was in fact Vettel.

    • Brace (@brace) said on 2nd December 2012, 23:11

      I think you are wrong. All past and present drivers were praising Alonso’s performances whole year. One (I think it was Lauda or Stewart) who said that if Alonso drove Red Bull there would be no point in anyone else showing up.

      • @brace – I’m not so sure about that. Vettel had shown us what he can do when he has a car he likes (his four wins on the trot and 200+ laps lead are a testimony to this). Alonso does best when everyone else is faultering: for example at the season’s beginning when the Ferrari was a tricky beast to tame. That’s where he thrives and Vettel likewise thrives when he has faith in his car – when that is the case he is all but unbeatable, even by Alonso I’d say.

        • Brace (@brace) said on 3rd December 2012, 19:31

          You mean, Vettel is unbeatable when he has to floor it, but when driver’s skill, adaptability and versatility come to play, Alonso is better.

          If you want to see how Alonso can dominate, take a look at 2005 and especially 2006.
          Out of first 9 races (before removal of mass dampers) he had 6 wins and 3 2nd places. For the rest of the season, when they controversially had to remove the mass dampers, he had two 5th places and all other were 1st or 2nd when he didn’t retire.

          It’s pretty much like Vettel’s 2011 campaign but with a much tougher opposition and less dominant car.

          • @brace – 2006 wasn’t quite the level of dominance that Vettel achieved in 2011. Alonso did face some stren competition from Schumacher and he managed to take the title down to the wire, whereas with Vettel in 2011 he never lost the championship lead and wrapped it up with 4 rounds left in a car which as you said enjoyed a greater performance advantage than Alonso’s R26 but he used it to greater effect.

            I think we have differing opinions on what defines “dominance”: I call it when a driver wraps up the championship with time to spare and is comfortably the best throughout the season, for example 2011 or 2002.

          • And what I was saying is that Alonso is indeed a more adaptable driver and is more able to handle a fighting car but when Vettel has a good car I doubt even Alonso could beat him. In out and out pace I genuinely think Vettel is faster (which by the way doesn’t mean I think he is better as of course adaptability is a key skill – Ayrton in Donnington ’93 for example where he blitzed the Williams in a much slower car).

  2. Dimitris 1395 (@dimitris-1395) said on 2nd December 2012, 19:36

    And that’s the kind of comments that made me to support Vettel in the championship battle this year. Alonso is a fantastic driver. But a bit more arrogant than I want a champion to be…

  3. Gary Yogurt (@gary-yogurt) said on 2nd December 2012, 19:48

    I am no Ferrari fan but I really respect Alonso’s abilities and I generally see him as the most complete driver on the grid. However, the lack of a WDC trophy on Alonso’s shelf this year seems to have necessitated an ugly and unrelenting ego-boosting campaign from Alonso and Ferrari. Patting yourself on the back for a failed 2012 is not going to make you any faster in March.

  4. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 2nd December 2012, 20:19

    Jackie Stewart,Emerson Fittipaldi,Niki Lauda, Ross Brawn ,Helmut Marko, Christian Horner,Bernie Ecclestone ,Jean Todt ,Martin Brundle,Mark Webber ,Lewis Hamilton,Jenson Button……..all these people recognize Alonso as the reference driver on the grid and this didn’t come from nothing but there is still people on this forum criticizing him on every occasion and with no reason they just forgot that he is human and he has also his defects i mean what they want him to say that his car was 1s per lap faster ??? This year Alonso has been always realistic when he says that he will finish on a certain position before the race he rarely fails to finish in that position
    It was clear that Alonso has matured in those three years i don’t know if he has matured as a man or a driver but that’s normal for a top driver like him when he is the leader in a team like Ferrari , i expect the same for Hamilton and Vettel (if he will be the leader of another top team)

    • @tifoso1989 – very few of us are criticising Alonso’s driving – we are criticising Ferrari and his persistence in exaggerating the F2012’s lack of pace when clearly it is not as bad a car as they’d like us to believe. I don’t want him to say “the car was 1s per lap faster”, I want him to tell it as it is – which is that the car was arguably the 3rd fastest on the grid this year (and for sure the most reliable which aided his championship effort considerably).

      I’m not sure what you mean as “reference driver” but I doubt Christian & Helmut would willingly say Alonso is better than Vettel, likewise Bernie and Mark. There is also a common theme with all but one of them (Stewart) that Vettel is a great of the modern age, which is hardly deniable, as well as Alonso for sure.

    • Sunshine said on 2nd December 2012, 23:34

      Niki Lauda also acknownledges Vettel as the best driver this year… He got the championship so he is the best driver…

  5. uan (@uan) said on 2nd December 2012, 23:22

    Brazil sums up Alonso and Ferrari the entire year, along with their strengths and weaknesses.

    So so qualifying (but solidly into Q3), then a car in front of Alonso is penalized and FA gains a spot. At the start he (along with Massa) have brilliant starts compared to everyone else.

    Alonso then makes one good pass based on the Ferrari having excellent top end speed compared to the RB8 (in Brazil getting a tow then passing Massa and Webber into T1).

    Now Fernando’s in 3rd. His “no mistakes” ends on lap 3 when he bakes it into Turn 1 under a yellow flag and allows Hulkenberg to move up to P3 and Alonso slips to P4 and needs does some good defending to keep Webber off of him.

    That’s where Alonso should have finished – P4. But he has come to expect that other drivers in front of him will make mistakes. And why not, it seems to happen more often than not – Hulkenberg takes out Hamilton and then is given a drive through. Moving Alonso back up. He stays out on slicks a lap too long (another mistake) and almost loses it before coming in for Intermediates.

    But Massa is P2 and concedes the position to Alonso.

    P7 to P2. A great result, but objectively not great driving driving.

    Then he and Ferrari sang the praises to themselves about how great they did and how great they are and how Fernando never gave up (like the races where Vettel gave up or Lewis gave up … er, no, they didn’t give up on any of their races). And because they finished P2 they should be the deserved champions.

    Then after the race, and with video they already knew would show that Vettel passed Vergne under a green flag, they went into spin mode to call into question the results to leave doubts as to who really should be the champion.

    That’s 2012 in a nutshell.

    Fernando was very consistent with a car that didn’t fail. He looked good this year not so much because he drove great, but that McLaren and RB both under performed with reliability issues and poor team performances, either with pit stops or fueling. Personally I think either Vettel or Hamilton would have done the same with that Ferrari, possibly better as both are a little better qualifiers than Alonso. And Vettel and Alonso should be thanking their lucky stars because really that McLaren should have dominated 2012 the same way the RB7 did in 2011.

    Hat’s off to Alonso for sure, but at a certain point, when he leads the choir in singing his own praises, after a bit, it just wears thin.

  6. Rui (@ruicaridade) said on 2nd December 2012, 23:24

    At least from me he has. Maybe not as a person (the person he portrays let it be said) however as a driver for me he outclassed Vettel (imho). Alonso may have lost the championship, but to still be in contention considering the how Ferrari was at Australia and all the way till Barcelona is a testament of how good he drove. For me it feels like Senna in 93,memorable drives, remembered today even if he didn’t win.
    And considering how Vettel drove in Brazil, his words on Ayrton after….

    • +100000

    • uan (@uan) said on 3rd December 2012, 0:56

      And considering how Vettel drove in Brazil, his words on Ayrton after….

      Vettel drove a champion’s race to go from last on the circuit after turn 4 (and if you want to blame him for the collision with Senna, fair enough, though Alonso made his share of mistakes in the race, including running wide in T1 under yellow and getting passed by Hulkenberg) to finish where he did-with a severely damaged car and no radio.

      As for his words on Ayrton Senna:

      “To win that third title here, where one of my greatest idols Ayrton Senna was from, is unreal,” Vettel said. “It’s very difficult to imagine I join him and other great names in winning three titles.”

      Perhaps we are coming from different cultural perspectives but I cannot for the life of me see where Vettel said anything negative or untrue about Senna or that being on the level with him in terms of titles won (an objective fact) is anything but mind blowing, nor is he saying that he is as great as Senna was.

      Of course today we have Alonso saying he’s one of the greats — “to be one of the greats of Formula 1, it’s not enough to win titles, you must also tackle seasons like the one just ended.”

      Vettel is humbled (not just humble) and only noting how he accomplished something the greats of the sports have, whereas Alonso proclaims greatness for himself. Forgive me if I refrain from joining in.

      Though I do wonder if Alonso may feel, perhaps subconsciously, that his opportunities to achieve another title or titles are slipping away and this may have been his last shot. It does sound like he’s trying to shape his legacy.

  7. RB8 has been much faster than Ferrari most of the season. Alonso is the driver of the year like many pole shows.

  8. Asked about his target for next year, Alonso said: “I hope to score three or four points more.”


  9. Asked about his target for next year, Alonso said: “I hope to score three or four points more.”

    A bit of a pessimistic approach to 2013. Or is it realistic? Either way, I doubt 280-odd points will be enough to win the 2013 championship, considering that it will be the most static year in terms of rule changes since 2007(w.r.t. 2006).

  10. Marcos (@marcos) said on 3rd December 2012, 9:24

    Man… I’m not an English native speaker. But as I have understand it, Ferrari has praised any other aspect of the car/team except its speed. So yes, they agree with you about its reliability.

    They haven’t exaggerated anything. They haven’t said that their car was the last of the grid. They have just said that “it wasn’t the best” (which with everybody agree for what I’ve read here), and they are praising themselves to fight for the tittle without the best car. That’s all!

    Seriously, it’s just the fact that they are constantly saying it that you people have made it bigger in your heads. Statements are not accumulative xD. If I repeat 1000 times “x = 1″. At the 1001 time, x is still 1, not 1001. You can check it yourself ;-)

  11. He is full of praise with the ferrari team yet keeps bagging the “car” the team built… Blaming the tools as always. If he wins its because of him, everytime he loses its always the car.

  12. Teuvo said on 3rd December 2012, 11:56

    I was the best, but my car was bad. I win the championship for 100%, but how it happened, when My car was not good enough. Insignificant talking and emphasizing own ego…wake up Miss and start to give us more reasonable comments to earn our respect. When something goes well, I did the job fine, but as something goes bad the team has not done the job good enough.

  13. matthewf1 (@) said on 3rd December 2012, 12:01

    At the end of the day, no one will remember who finished second.

  14. Teuvo said on 3rd December 2012, 12:02

    Kimi+Massa 1+2 Championship titles, Alonso+Massa 0+0

  15. Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 3rd December 2012, 13:16

    Does anyone know how many positions on average Alonso jumped in race because I would imagine it’s a F1 record of some sort?

    • Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 3rd December 2012, 13:55

      Actually, I calculated it and excluding SPA and Suzuka where he retired, Alonso moved up an average 3.22 positions per race. In all honesty, I expected that number to be 4 or 5 but he had pole twice and started 2nd another time which brought down that statistic.

      Still do we know of other seasons where a car gain 3+ positions on average?

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.