Ferrari put two roosters in their hen house

2014 F1 season

Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Melbourne, 2012Ferrari’s 2014 driver line-up of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso will be the first time in 60 years they have fielded two world champions.

The team’s long standing preference for having clear ‘number one’ and ‘number two’ drivers explains why F1’s oldest outfit hasn’t paired two world champions since they turned up at Monza in 1953 with half-a-dozen entries including Alberto Ascari and Giuseppe Farina.

Even as recently as last year, president Luca di Montezemolo insisted “I don?óÔéĽÔäót want to have two roosters in the same hen house”.

Montezemolo was referring to rumours that Sebastian Vettel might join Fernando Alonso at the team. But in rehiring Raikkonen – a world champion and winner of 20 grands prix – they have now done exactly that.

The need to get the best

As argued here previously, the move makes sense for Ferrari. The 2010 points system change made life harder for teams who don’t pick the two best drivers available to them.

This year’s championship contest has underlined that point. For the third year in a row, Massa has thus far failed to score as much as half of Alonso’s points tally. Meanwhile Ferrari find themselves under pressure from Mercedes who have a pair of race-winning drivers.

It’s not just the points system which impels Ferrari to increase the quality of their driver partnership. Car performance between the top teams has converged in recent years, making it imperative for teams to ensure both drivers are getting the most out of their equipment.

This wasn’t the case a decade ago. In the early 2000s Ferrari could count on building a car that would take pole position by a second and win by a minute. Therefore they could afford to partner Michael Schumacher with someone who wasn’t going to get anywhere near him.

The rules have tightened so sharply since then that no team – not even reigning multiple world champions Red Bull – enjoy anything like that kind of performance advantage. In Mark Webber, Vettel has a team mate who has usually put him under more pressure than Massa has Alonso. That is set to change.

For Ferrari, rehiring Raikkonen has the added benefit of throwing down the gauntlet to Red Bull, who passed him over in favour of promoting Daniel Ricciardo. But it does raise the question why Ferrari they let him go in the first place.

How will Alonso react?

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Sepang, 2013The most fascinating aspect of today’s news is how Alonso will respond to being partnered with a competitive team mate for the first time in seven years.

Alonso repeatedly made plain his preference was for Massa to remain at the team. Alonso described the pairing as a “very strong team” and reiterated his support for his team mate on the day before Massa’s departure was announced.

Alonso has not come under serious pressure from the other half of his team’s garage since he was teamed with Lewis Hamilton at McLaren in 2007. The explosive consequences of Alonso’s demands for preferential treatment not being met are well known. Relations between Alonso and McLaren deteriorated to the extent that he tipped the FIA off about the team’s use of confidential information from (ironically) Ferrari which he had been involved in.

Renault team principal Flavio Briatore was more willing to indulge Alonso’s ‘number one’ preference during their time at Renault. But it’s hard to imagine Raikkonen being willing to go to the lengths some of Alonso’s team mates have to support his title chances.

In his last Ferrari stint Raikkonen showed he was willing to yield to his team mate when his own championship chances were over – as he did at Shanghai in 2008.

But would he give up a clear shot at a race win while still in contention for the championship, as Massa did for Alonso at Hockenheim three years ago? Would he tolerate Ferrari purposefully earning him a five-place grid penalty so his team mate could gain a position on the grid, as they did in America last year? Or spend time trying to help his team mate in qualifying by giving him a tow, as Massa did last weekend?

Some Ferrari insiders apparently believe Alonso will easily have the beating of Raikkonen. But both are top-drawer drivers and there are going to be days when one is ahead of the other. And it’s hard to imagine a fellow world champion of Alonso’s, who fought him for the title in 2005, being as subservient as Massa has.

Over to you

How will Ferrari handle having two top drivers in their team next year? And which of the two will come out on top? Have your say in the comments.

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158 comments on Ferrari put two roosters in their hen house

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  1. zippyone (@zippyone) said on 11th September 2013, 13:15

    This is a very smart move by Ferrari and Alonso will just have to accept that he will be likely beaten by his teamate sometimes next year. I think it will be close between them, I’m so excited!!

    • It surely wil be harder for Alonso to win another championship now there is a world champion in the same car.

      • But then it is up to FA to raise his game, and what I like about the 2 rooster philosophy is that there are 2 of the best drivers available on this top team to help develope it and push each other. So there is a good chance KR’s addition will help the car development and from there it is simply up to FA to use it.

        Imho, if FA can do even better than he has been, by being pushed physically on the track and psychologically on and off the track, then when he does win another WDC having beaten a WDC in the same car, the trophy will be that much more sweet and meaningful. And same for KR if it happens to go his way instead.

        Also, I’m not convinced FA was insisting on preferential treatment at Mac. I think there is a chance that he legitimately just wanted to be treated equally at a time when he didn’t think he was. I think he would have been happy being satisfied by the team that he was getting equal treatment to LH, but certainly if there are quotes from FA during that year or after with him insisting on number one status vs. LH, then I will gladly stand corrected.

        • mina (@nusha200) said on 11th September 2013, 22:39

          I think u r absolutely right, I also think the FA did not win any WC cause he was so helped by his teammate not having to work hard for it. Think about its karma like

  2. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 11th September 2013, 13:17

    Alonso has a habit of making his once-highly-rated teammates (Fisichella before he came to Renault, Massa before Fernando joined Ferrari) look very ordinary. With the benefit of hindsight it’s easy to say (though harder to prove) that neither of those two were actually any good, but at the time they were very highly regarded in the F1 paddock.

    Raikkonen is slightly different in that he’s already a world champion, but it’s definitely worth noting that he was edged by Massa for much of the time they were at Ferrari together. Has Felipe really got that much worse since his accident, or is Alonso simply a much better driver? The exciting thing, now, is that we’ll get to find out – but my money’s on Fernando.

    • Roger Camp (@rogercamp) said on 11th September 2013, 14:11

      Red, just look what Kimi has achieved this and last year with a inferior machine compared to Massa. I’m a Brazilian by the way and never supported Massa. For me it doesn’t matter a driver’s nationality. I support a driver for his ability and personality. Kimi is far superior driver compared to Massa and I’m sure next year we can see two top drivers in the same machinery. Sure it’s going to be epic to see how those two will fight for the wins and my bet is that Alonso is going to crack under pressure.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 11th September 2013, 18:11

        @rogercamp

        inferior machine compared to Massa

        Actually in terms of one-lap pace the Ferrari and Lotus this year are probably the two most closely-matched cars on the grid.

      • Michael said on 17th October 2013, 14:29

        @Roger Camp i would agree with Keith Collantine. The Lotus and Ferrari are about the same in terms of pace. Alonso has just managed to wring out so much performance out of that car that it is near miraculous.

        Also I think people forget that Kimi didn’t really leave Ferrari in the best of terms. So Kimi has much to prove to the team as well. As for Alonso, I don’t know why people keep bringing up 2007. He’s not in his 20s. He’s a matured driver who I see has really grown into a complete driver. What Kimi lacks that Alonso has is consistency.

        Lets just hope that 2014 is a good year for Ferrari and F1 in general because I’m really tired of seeing RB unchallenged.

    • Much is made of 2008 season and the fact that Massa was the title contender of the Ferrari and the start of 2009. However, one should not forget the rotten luck of Raikonnen in the first half of that season which led to him being behind (specially after Spa where he was leading the race until the rain and challenge of Hamilton) and as such he returned the courtesy Felipe gave to him the previous year and supported him all the way.
      2009 was a year that Ferrari in the first half of the season was beyond terrible and Kimi was more affected by that. But after they modified the car a bit he had the greatest run of scores and podiums and even won in Spa with that crap of a car. Felipe in 2008 was indeed a class act, but that doesn’t mean that Kimi was bad.

      • DB Cooper said on 11th September 2013, 18:02

        Kimi got a lot of crap during the 2009 season. But people forget to compare his pace and results compared to Fisichella and Badoer, who both had a stint in the second car (after Massas accident). Fisichella and Badoer was nowhere in pace compared to Kimi. He more or less lapped them both. That really showed how good Kimi performed in an “undrivable” car. His achievements in that car was way better than many remember…

      • Roger Camp (@rogercamp) said on 11th September 2013, 19:00

        one should not forget the rotten luck of Raikonnen in the first half of that season which led to him being behind (specially after Spa where he was leading the race until the rain and challenge of Hamilton)

        Before that, Hamilton crashed into Kimi’s car in Canada, on the exit of the pit lane, Kimi was by the side of Kubica fighting for the win. In Monaco something went wrong with the tyre strategy which forced Kimi to pit again after few laps, sending him way back. Kimi started from 2nd that race and ended 9th. In France, Kimi was comfortably leading the race when his car’s exhaust broke. When I see people saying Kimi was beaten by Massa en 2008 I find it just ridiculous. Massa getting more points that season is due to other things, not ability or talent. If Massa is better driver than Kimi, why is he being replaces by Kimi? Ferrari knows better.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 11th September 2013, 20:10

          @rogercamp – Consider it a fluke season for Massa, but even with all that, Massa still would have beaten Kimi Raikkonen in 2008. (Though the analysis didn’t consider Kimi’s penalty in Monaco due to engineers working on his car too close to the formation lap, but even if he would have somehow won, this wouldn’t have given him enough points).

        • G Breese (@breesegp) said on 11th September 2013, 21:20

          You are also ignoring the fact that in Monaco Kimi was running 5th with just a handful of laps remaining before he crashed into the back of sutil, who was running a remarkable 4th, hence why Kimi had to pit again and finished much further back than he was on course to.

          • Roger Camp (@rogercamp) said on 12th September 2013, 1:42

            The pit stop I was referring to was before that crash of course. I didn’t say he finished way back, he was sent back. I don’t remember in which position exactly he returned after that pit. I’ve checked here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Monaco_Grand_Prix, but there’s no mention to this specific situation. I remember though that after the rain, many drivers changed to dry tyres, but Kimi came with intermediates and they were destroyed after few laps. Apart from that, Kimi was called into the pit lane for a drive-through penalty after failing to have his tyres attached by the three-minute warning before the race. It was messy race.

        • Massa is not the same driver anymore after Turkey. Alonso did no help him to recover his confidence. Kimi was probably a better driver in that period motivated, but is unfair to say that Massa was not fast. They were evenly matched. I think that Kimi after winning his first title, probably got more relaxed. But I think that right now he is in his peak of performance and motivation, especially with the idea of beating Alonso in the same machinery. I bet the iceman will be better than the crying baby.

        • thank you for elaborating what I meant by Kimi’s “rotten luck” in 2008. Was too lazy to gather all the details :)

    • Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 11th September 2013, 15:52

      @red-andy Alonso has to up his game just a little notch . IF ONLY they have a better car in 2014 …….

      Imagine merc , ferrari , Red Bull closely matched for pace . that would be a treat but highly unlikely .

    • DC (@dujedcv) said on 11th September 2013, 16:23

      @red-andy Kimi is mentally quite a lot tougher than Fisichella, Massa, or perhaps even Alonso. Coming back to F1 after two seasons in WRC, he was immediately on the pace. So next year we will probably have one of these two kinds of partnerships:
      1.) Alonso – Hamilton in 2007
      2.) Button – Hamilton 2010-2012
      Since Kimi has shown ability to be a team player in 2008 and Alonso seems to have matured since he came to Ferrari I am really hoping for the second option.
      And if the fire starts it will likely be Alonso who will ignite it although I think they will (eventually??) get along nice.

    • @red-andy as much as I love Kimi, I can’t see Alonso getting beaten consistently by him…

      That said, it is fantastic for Ferrari to finally have two guys that can take points off the others, like Webber did/does. Having a guy that challenges you for a win, makes the rivals fight for 3rd place or below. That’s what Ferrari need, specially when Vettel will have the whole team for his own next year.

      • Vettel will have the whole team for his own next year.

        I sincerely think Vettel has have the whole team for his own at least since he took his first championship.

        On the other hand, I agree with you that will be a big challenge for Alonso to have Kimi as team mate. But I am not quite sure Ferrari will manage this situation properly. They are not used to, and they already have their own leadership problems. We will see.

  3. snowman.john (@snowman-john) said on 11th September 2013, 13:18

    I’m very much looking forward to Alonso lighting some fireworks in 2014…. and Kimi ignoring them

  4. Why did Ferrari sack Kimi in 2009? I think Alonso’s behaviour in the past few weeks is a clue.

    • @sandy No, they just finally realized they could not make good enough cars to give Alonso WDC and make ordinary drive win sometime as well as WCC. Now they decided to use 2 top class drivers to win WCC with not-that-bad-car.

    • He was drunk way too often. It’s not a joke, he was drinking beyond tolerance and his last few tenth of a second of pace were lost. I have worked very closely for 5 years to a Ferrari Team member who worked with him and the thing that kept him going was his immense talent.

      • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 11th September 2013, 19:11

        Then it’s clear. Kimi’s the best of the two.
        If you drive that way when drinking too much (and smoking too, I heard…), then you got to be the best.

        By the way what I heard was this:
        Schumacher was the car development driver during that time. And he didn’t want Kimi to win, so he introduced another suspension without informing Kimi – and at the same time the team all of a sudden started talking about ‘motivation’. First ‘good motivation’ or ‘Kimi’s motivated’ but after they sawn the word, they used it against him. Combined with changing the car, ditching strategies etcetera they made the way clear for Santanders money.

        Oh…F1 rumours…

      • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 11th September 2013, 19:23

        I have to admit though, when Kimi got on the podium after winning his WDC, the way he first of all drank his champagne before anything else, made me wonder about his relation with alcohol.

        • It’s been reported also that the team doctor at the time claimed that his body was so acquainted to alcohol that a shot before the race may have made him faster. It was said as a joke but it was such a consistent problem that noone could stop it. I personally adore him as a driver. People who have worked with him at Ferrari told me that any time they put him in the car, in any condition, he instantly would go insanely fast. I doubt that Schumi didn’t like him. In fact MS pushed him at Ferrari. Surely many expert eyes, including my humble ones, consider him the purest, rawest talent of the last 10 years

  5. Can’t imagine Raikkonen agreeing to a deal that wouldn’t grant him parity – if he can’t win a championship it surely doesn’t matter where he cannot do that.

    As to Alonso being the quicker qualifier than Raikkonen – really? First lap and in the race in general, I agree, but one lap pace is where Alonso lacks.

    • I have to disagree on raw pace of Alonso: Massa is not slow at all on a single lap and Fernando has been faster most of times. He just hasn’t driven a fast enough car. Nearly all those 20 drivers with Vettel’s car car do a top 3 qualifying.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 11th September 2013, 20:17

        @nuvolari71 – How so? For Webber to qualify well in the Red Bulls, he has to draw on his almost universally recognizable great qualifying pace (which is much superior to Massa’s), which still doesn’t always get him in the top three.

        • Sorry but to compare Massa with Webber on different cars is not proper. Webber faster than Massa on which basis? If you read well I said almost all of those 20 guys can do it. Car counts far more than drivers. To tell you more, I have been many times to the F1 test days with the young drivers in Yas, where I work, and almost all of them, 2 days after the GP lap the same time or even faster than the official drivers and the difference between cars is the same you see during the GP. Webber is fractionally slower than Vettel, in many cases a couple of tenth, not 7 tenth like all other cars. It’s a huge difference.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 11th September 2013, 22:29

            @nuvolari71

            Sorry but to compare Massa with Webber on different cars is not proper. Webber faster than Massa on which basis?

            How can we determine that anyone is better than anyone? There are many drivers Hamilton and Raikkonen hasn’t been teammates with, for example, but looking at how they has perform, relative to their cars, we can figure out that they are clearly amongst the best. Can you honestly claim that Massa, from 2010-2013, scoring less than half the points Alonso, has seriously come close to maximising his car? The majority appear to believe that Webber has been better in recent years, too. And so does Keith, in his mid-season rankings.

            If you read well I said almost all of those 20 guys can do it. Car counts far more than drivers.

            Ironically, the performance of the top cars is actually much closer nowadays compared to 10-20 years ago, considering the ever-tighter rules and restrictions.

            To tell you more, I have been many times to the F1 test days with the young drivers in Yas, where I work, and almost all of them, 2 days after the GP lap the same time or even faster than the official drivers and the difference between cars is the same you see during the GP.

            If the differences between the cars were so significant, with drivers not really making a difference, then you would always have the cars qualifying next to each other on the grid, which you should know, is far from always the case. Hulkenberg last weekend, Hamilton in Germany, and Vettel in Malaysia being good examples of this. The drivers that are recognised as the best on the current grid (SV, FA, LH, KR) have proven themselves as the best under higher pressure conditions, on race weekends, that are completely different circumstances to hundreds of laps of testing on a rubbered in track.

            Webber is fractionally slower than Vettel, in many cases a couple of tenth, not 7 tenth like all other cars. It’s a huge difference.

            You have plucked a figure of 7 tenths out of nowhere. There is not a 7 tenths per lap difference between each of the front running cars. But there is an average 6 tenths gap this year between Vettel and his teammate.

          • i was talking about the speed over a lap…. you’ve lost the point. We are talking about speed, not intelligence, consistency etc etc
            As far as cars is concerned, Marussias stay with Marussias, Force india close to Force India. (RBR are what, a 3 seconds a lap faster than a Marussia???! you call it close?) If this does not happen, it means a driver is better than his team mate. (some drivers pay to drive, other dont need to because they are better) Simple as that. Massa has not been C O N S I S T E N T. His speed over a lap is a different story.
            7 tenth was an example. It’s a normal gap between a ferrari and a RBR in recent weeks. With a half second difference you dont win a championship.
            By the way Hulk is an experienced driver; his rookie team mate wont probably have a seat next year… that’s why they dont qualify very often on the same line.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 11th September 2013, 23:34

            @nuvolari71

            i was talking about the speed over a lap….

            Yes, and I gave you numerous examples of drivers who extract more over 1 lap than expected. Massa unfortunately, the eyes of many, has been the poorest of the experienced front-runners since 2010, in all areas, including one lap speed, by far. He is not a benchmark for the car’s pace.

            As far as cars is concerned, Marussias stay with Marussias, Force india close to Force India. (RBR are what, a 3 seconds a lap faster than a Marussia???! you call it close?)

            I clearly said “front running”. Marussias are not “front running” cars. RBR are usually rivalled by Lotus, Ferrari and Mercedes. Those four are what can be considered “front running” cars. That the fastest cars are 3 seconds ahead of the backmarkers proves little. Go back 15-20 years, and you’ll see how much closer in terms of speed the cars currently are.

            By the way Hulk is an experienced driver; his rookie team mate wont probably have a seat next year… that’s why they dont qualify very often on the same line.

            And Gutierrez is just one of many who wouldn’t qualify at the front, even with a strong car. If Webber doesn’t always get his RBR into the top three, with his qualifying reputation, what chance do the drivers who aren’t highly regarded have?

  6. Smedley: “Kimi, Fernando is faster than you”

    Kimi: ***** OFF leave me alone

  7. Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 11th September 2013, 13:28

    This is an awesome opportunity for Alonso to show everyone that judging his character based no a single year in 2007 is unfair. He’s going to get along with Kimi easily.

    • David Margono (@woshidavid95) said on 11th September 2013, 13:43

      Not just 2007, but 2004. Apparently Flavio wasn’t happy with Trulli beating his golden boy and looked for a reason to kick Trulli out. Yes, Trulli made a blunder that year that allowed Barrichello through for 3rd place on the final corner of the French Grand Prix but did they forget it’s the same driver who won their only race that year while their supposedly star driver crashed out trying to lap RSC? I don’t see them being in a rush to get rid of Fisi after he failed to defend 1st place from Raikkonen at Suzuka 2005 on the lap as well, or better yet Piquet Jr. despite massive underperforming in 2008 (He eventually got fired but it’s more of Crashgate than his performance).

      To show the margin of superiority Trulli had in the first half of that year, he led Alonso 46-45 upon getting booted out of Renault by the Belgian Grand Prix and failing to score points for 5 races in a row after the whole French Grand Prix incident… I suspect that if he hadn’t known that he won’t be retained after 2004, he’d beaten Alonso on merit. A shame he couldn’t wait one more year to unleash his potential, he’d probably had been WDC after seeing how dominant Renault was in 2005-2006.

      • While I was a fan of Trulli, let’s not forget the infamous Trulli-trains. The 2004 Renault was a good car and Alonso still a tad inexperienced, while Trulli had been in F1 for a while. I think Trulli was fired for more reasons than France 2004 and his non-points finishes, as he talked quite frankly about Alonso getting updates before he did and having more influence on the team. Exposing the inner-team workings is effectively what got Piquet jnr fired as well. I do feel Briatore made a mistake, but then, he never was a very rational team boss…

        I don’t think Trulli would have come anywhere near the WDC in 2005/6 even if he was retained. Alonso would have still gotten better updates, and with Raikkonen, Montoya, Alonso and Schumacher having better race skills than Trulli, I think he’d get a lot more poles, but not many more wins.

        • @npf1 -maybe unrelated, but IMO-
          Trulli train happened because the regulation was simply made that possible. with refuelling in pitstop, some guys can benefitted in a way or another. Trulli had shown that he’s got great defending skills at that time, sometimes with high fuel load he can prevent everybody pass. he’s also one of the greatest qualifier in 2000s, I should say.

          if Lord of the Rings producers need another person casted as Gandalf, Trulli is simply the one. YOU SHALL NOT PASS! :D

          • Trulli did what he could and rightly so, but with F1 cars’ difficulty to overtake at the time and his excellent strategy and defense (this continued at Toyota) his prime starting position usually meant the drivers in front of him could run away while any top driver unfortunate enough to be behind would have to revise their strategy or wait for Trulli to fall off, which he sometimes did late in a race. (The already-mentioned France 2004 incident being a prime example of that.)

            Trulli did what he should do, but for F1, it was a pretty boring and telling sight of the mid-2000s.

        • @npf1

          Exposing the inner-team workings is effectively what got Piquet jnr

          On the other hand, Alonso, a la Snowden, got his team $100 million fine…

      • @woshidavid95
        Alonso beat Trulli in points, position, or whatever you want to take it…just compare the data of Alonso vs Trulli partnership….Till now no one of Alonso’s teammate has outscore Alonso in their partnership.

        And Personally i think that no one has the ability to outscore him with the same car, that is my personal opinion.
        Instead Raikkonen could help him more then Massa did by beating Hamilton or Vettel in Ferrari provide a good car

        • marsianwalrus (@einariliyev) said on 11th September 2013, 14:06

          @nomore

          Till now no one of Alonso’s teammate has outscore Alonso in their partnership.

          Lewis Hamilton in 2007? He outscored him and took 2nd place in the WDC. That was despite Alonso’s antics.

        • David Margono (@woshidavid95) said on 11th September 2013, 14:12

          @npf1 I’d say 2004 was more of Trulli upping his game rather than Alonso being inexperienced, he was the better driver in 2003 after all. And basically, you’ve just conceded that Trulli never had the same opportunities as Alonso when you made the whole claim on Alonso receiving updates first amd whatnot, and as such never could fulfill his potential. Oh, and does it matter that those aforementioned drivers are better racers? Trulli’s then prodiguous qualifying allowed him to overcome that as seen from the first half of 2004. Basically, those Trulli trains are more of Trulli outperforming the Toyota in qualifying but only cruising along in races since nobody could overtake him.
          @nomore
          True, but that’s more of Trulli not being given the same opportunities as Alonso, as explained by @npf1. We have every reason to believe Trulli could have and would have beaten Alonso if he had, as seen from the first half of 2004.

          • Trulli trains were also telling of his inability to give everything in a race. Let’s not forget how destroyed he looked after one of his Toyota podiums and stated he did ‘all qualifying laps’ to get there. And it’s not as if Glock didn’t do well in qualifying with those Toyota’s as well. Again, I am a fan of Trulli, but he wasn’t that great, especially near the end of his career.

            And again, I do feel he could have done better had he gotten better parts and treatment at Renault, but Alonso improved a lot between 2004 and 2006. With Trulli being at his peak in the first half of 2004, I highly doubt equal treatment would have given Trulli the upper hand. Alonso is the better racer. Being a better racer means you can easily get by a good qualifier, which is what those guys often did when Trulli had a good qualifying.

          • David Margono (@woshidavid95) said on 11th September 2013, 14:51

            @npf1
            Yeah true, no denying that Trulli in 2011 was simply woeful but at his prime he was more than a match for Alonso of all people, which strongly suggests that Renault never let him fulfill his potential. But just wondering, what makes you think Alonso improved from 2004-2006? I’d say the Renault just got a lot better. Alonso was always an exceptional driver, but Renault were not WDC material until 2005.

          • To be honest, there’s not too much factual to those views, it’s how I felt at the time about them. Renault (well, Briatore at least) never tried to hide the fact they were supporting Alonso over anyone else. Meanwhile I kept and eye on Alonso since his victory in Hungary 2003 and from then until his second title, I kept noticing he improved. His raw speed was already there, but his strategy, tyre saving, dealing with traffic, all improved. He had some silly mistakes in 2003 and 2004 (Brazil 2003 and the aforementioned tripping over backmarkers in 2004) and in 2005 he didn’t always look very feisty in battles. Of course, the Renault improved significantly those years, but Alonso was growing as well.

            Trulli and Fisichella are two drivers I always mention as ‘lost talents’, like Alesi or Berger. Never at the right team at the right time. Trulli and Fisichella might have had the right car at Renault, but then, Barrichello had some amazing cars at Ferrari, but nobody would argue that was the right team for him to win a championship.

          • David Margono (@woshidavid95) said on 11th September 2013, 15:28

            @npf1
            Definitely Trulli, but I’m very skeptical about Fisichella. Favouritism or not, he was never really a match for Alonso unlike Trulli.

  8. Raikkonen would be much of a help for Alonso to win the WDC compared to what Massa was. So in this aspect Alonso must be happy, but anyway we don’t know how the competitive Ferrari will be…we aren’t competitive next year i have the feeling that Alonso may jump to Red Bull. and if Alonso isn’t just interested in beating teammates but winning WDC if Ferrari can’t deliver next year,i have the feeling that we may lose the best driver on the grid…hope that James and Rory make the right call.

  9. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 11th September 2013, 13:43

    As Martin Brundle has so rightly said, F1 needs this. Great drivers need to be seen to prove themselves, and a Alonso-Massa, Vettel-Ricciardo line-up in 2014 wouldn’t have allowed that to have happened. Ferrari can sometimes get stuck in its ways, so it is nice to this departure from convention.

    In terms of Fernando’s reaction, I think the assumption that Alonso is the same as he was 2007 and therefore will not react well, couldn’t be further from truth, and people like Jackie Stewart should know that, which is why his recent remarks are nothing less than absurd. I was shot down in flames a few months ago for daring to suggest that Raikkonen could mount a serious challenge on Vettel if he joined him at Red Bull, so on that basis surely the notion that Raikkonen could challenge Alonso at Ferrari is even more outrageous, initially at least. Alonso has nothing to worry about, and probably is pleased by the fact that his team will motivated by the return of an ex-Ferrari champion. Can we agree on these basic facts? Alonso is likely to outqualify Kimi, yes? Alonso is likely to get a better start, yes? And therefore Alonso is 9 times out of 10 going to be ahead of Kimi going in turn 1 next year, yes? Why then is Alonso apparently throwing some kind of tantrum? He’s why; he isn’t.

    On paper, Ferrari are the championship favourites in 2014. They have what is now unquestionably the best driver line-up, they have James Allison, a man second only to Adrian Newey, and the have the added advantage of making their engines “in house”, and are therefore able to integrate the torque characteristics with the chassis, something that “customer” teams like Red Bull will be unable to do. On that basis, cross-hairs in Milton Keynes, Brackley, Woking and Enstone will be set firmly on Maranello next year. However, there is another factor coming into play here; pressure. Undoubtedly, all eyes will be on Ferrari next year, and in the past, even when the elements seem to be clicking together for Ferrari, the Ferrari technical team have still managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. That’s said, my money’s on Ferrari next year…

    • @william-brierty

      something that “customer” teams like Red Bull will be unable to do

      I’m not sure if they’re a customer team per se. They seem to have a very close relationship with Renault. Even if Renault are forced to do the “divide and rule” policy enforced by FIA, Red Bull have a close relationship with Infiniti/Nissan, who might help develop their Renaults, seeing as the French manufacturer owns a big stake in Nissan.

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 11th September 2013, 18:11

        @wsrgo No, you’re quite right in saying that Red Bull isn’t strictly a costumer team, but they certainly are disadvantaged in comparison to Ferrari and Mercedes in that they don’t have the extensive access to the characteristics of the V6s that teams that build their engines “in-house” do. That may well be a noticeable penalty in 2014, and almost certainly will hamper the campaigns of “customer” teams like McLaren. And I highly doubt Infinity will offer much help in terms of engine development. They are handed standard Nissan cars with standard Nissan engines and “pimp” them so they suitable for a higher end of the market. End of. No engine expertise needed. And on top of that, since 2011 Red Bull have branded their engines not as Renault, but as “Infinity power”, and it is not a secret that that has not endeared Red Bull to Renault. Had the works Renault team not folded following “crash-gate”, then Red Bull would be somewhat compromised as Renault’s second team and facing a similar scenario as the one McLaren is now. And even though Red Bull are unquestionably the team Renault will put the most effort in, they still won’t be able to integrate the engine and chassis to a level that Mercedes and Ferrari can.

  10. As for any in-team fireworks; maybe Alonso will be less than happy about Raikkonen coming on board, but I can’t see a repeat of 2007 happening.

    In 2007, by many accounts, the McLaren team was divided between their garages. Alonso came in thinking he’d be the #1 driver, but McLaren had great interests in bringing Hamilton in, since he was their prodigy. There was a lot at stake for both Alonso and McLaren to make their cases and with Spygate also happening, things got very explosive.

    Alonso signed on to Ferrari when Massa’s star was rising. He beat Raikkonen on merit in 2008 and was doing so in 2009 until his crash. For all he knew, he was going up against a driver who beat a driver who equaled his win tally in 2005. It’s been a couple of years as well, so it’s safe to say Alonso has matured a little as well, being away from Briatore as a team leader since 2009 as well.

    Alonso is established at Ferrari, unlike he was at McLaren. Kimi has a history with Ferrari, but nowhere near the kind of connection Hamilton had with Dennis/McLaren in 2007. I think Alonso and Raikkonen will do fine in a team together and any fear Alonso might have about politics will be put down as soon as Raikkonen delivers his trademark shrug.

  11. Cornflakes (@cornflakes) said on 11th September 2013, 13:48

    This could also mark the end of an era in terms of great team-radio between Massa and Smedley

  12. bebilou (@bebilou) said on 11th September 2013, 13:51

    I think Alonso should not worry too much. Both Kimi and him are very good drivers: no question about that.
    But Alonso does work and does care about setting up the car and making it evolve. Kimi doesn’t, he’s a bit lazy.

    So between these 2 very gifted drivers, the work will make the difference.

    • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 11th September 2013, 16:35

      @bebilou +100 You sir have looked into the future.

    • This is a relly weird move by ferrari, i think that this wasnt a move that montezemolo whanted, but im starting to believee james allison wanted kimi, so maybe hes not the lazy developer you think he is.

    • @bebilou

      Kimi doesn’t, he’s a bit lazy.</blockquote
      Funnily enough, none of his previous employers have that complaint against him. What makes us think he’s lazy? Do we know his daily schedule?

    • Broom (@brum55) said on 11th September 2013, 23:38

      I don’t think he is lazy. He’s done a fine job at Lotus, getting them to perform far beyond previous years, with a smaller budget than others. He just has a more unassuming personality than Alonso and can be a bit of a joker.

    • bebilou (@bebilou) said on 12th September 2013, 10:20

      What I mean is all greatest champions in recent F1 history (Senna, Prost, Schumacher) worked hard. Very very hard.
      I read that Senna’s engineers, in the evening, sometimes feared to see him in the hotel: because Senna could very well spend a couple of hours with them to defrief once again.

      Does Kimi do that ? No. He does his job, and a damn good one. But that’s all.

    • bebilou (@bebilou) said on 12th September 2013, 12:58

      Interview from Cesare Fiorio on Autosport, about Kimi:
      “You need physical, technical and psychological effort and, from what I know and have seen, he’s the type of guy who takes his bag and leaves shortly after the sessions.
      I don’t know how much technical contribution he can bring.”

      http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/109828

  13. Suck it Alonso, You are a great drive. No doubt abt it … very complete in all sense but also get ready to get beaten by Kimi.

    Go Kimi Go …

    PS – For all those who think Alonso is going to beat Kimi etc … Will wait for 2014 for you to eat your words !

    • @Pankit

      Im a Ferrari fan and yes i think that Alonso will beat Raikkonen and if happens the opposite i will be the first to acknowledge that and say that i was wrong.
      I have only one question…
      Will you do the same as me if Alonso beat Raikkonen ?

    • MB (@muralibhats) said on 11th September 2013, 14:06

      More than the drivers, the fans are fighting :P

    • Alonso is not the fastest, Alonso is not the most consistent, Alonso is not the best developer but even a non-fan of his says he’s the most complete. This hype around Alonso is getting even more boring than Vettel’s constantly winning. He wasn’t able to beat a rookie LH and showed poor sportmanship yet he wasn’t booed and now he’s praised as “the most complete driver”. Mad world

      • David (@neiana) said on 11th September 2013, 18:00

        The most complete driver who can’t qualify…. :P

        • Michael said on 17th October 2013, 14:44

          Please tell me. If Alonso is such a bad qualifier than why did he out-qualify everyone on the field in 2005 and 06? In fact he had 6 pole positions in 05 and another 6 in 06. Same number as Vettel in 2012 and 2013 (so far).

        • Michael said on 17th October 2013, 14:48

          and oh, the guy out-qualified Jacques Villeneuve and Jos Verstappen in a freakin Minardi at the 2001 US GP in his first year in f1.

      • Eric (@) said on 11th September 2013, 22:14

        He isn’t the best in any of the respective fields. Hamilton and Vettel are better at Qualifying and I’d rate him at the same level as Hamilton and Vettel in terms of race pace but when looking at the overall picture I can see why people would call him the most complete driver.

        Although I do believe he’ll soon lose that title to Vettel. The way Vettel has been driving this year is nothing short of impressive. Very consistent, very fast and without (any considerable) error.

    • well bbc reports, when they spoke to engineer who worked for both, said alonso would win against kimi in both quali and opening laps of race.

    • DC (@dujedcv) said on 11th September 2013, 16:27

      @Pankit How about Ferrari giving Red Bull some proper beating and Seb finally crying with his finger down

  14. mrjlr93 (@mrjlr93) said on 11th September 2013, 13:53

    Is Rory Byrne designing the 2014 car

  15. That will be the definitive proof for Alonso to demonstrate if he is the best driver . Imagine that Raikkonen wins next year the championship…

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