September 11, 2013

Let's talk about Alonso and Raikkonen...and a bit about Massa.

Since the Raikkonen announcement, the only ones more giddy than Ferrari fans (and Bernie Ecclestone) have been the, mostly British, Alonso haters convinced the Iceman will wipe the floor with him and force him into a hissy fit.

Got news for you guys:   not happening.

Kimi and Fernando are now seasoned professionals:

Kimi will be 35 next season, Fernando 33.   They have been around the block.  It's not to say Fernando might not get impatient with the team but if he does it will be because Ferrari will not have been able to come up with a competitive car not because of Raikkonen hiring, an operation apparently a year in the making.

But, with Hamilton at Mclaren you say: 

Very different situation.  Alonso went to Mclaren in 2007 convinced he would be the #1 driver (he was a 2 time Champion after all) he found the team had other ideas to go along with stolen owner's manuals.    With Ferrari next year, it's clear the whole point of hiring Raikkonen is to change directions away from the champion and brazilian doormat driver combos the Scuderia had for the last 13 seasons.
Since the Mclaren days  Alonso had changed and matured tremendously, his never give up attitude now a model for Hamilton 2.0, you may have noticed.

Oh but Kimi will be faster than you Fernando, you say:

No,  Kimi will push Fernando hard but there is no doubt Alonso is, all else being equal, the strongest driver in F1 today.  If anything Alonso should feel measuring himself in the same car against one of the other three top drivers of the moment is much more satisfying than being faster than Massa,    Red Bull for Vettel picked an obviously "#2" second driver.

I also read comments from Brazilian fans lamenting how Ferrari ruined Massa's career, forcing him to be subordinate.  Massa  was touted as Schumacher's protege but then when the big man retired Ferrari hired Kimi as #1 and after Massa almost won the championship, Ferrari hired Alonso.
Did "Felipe, baby" stand up and leave? No, he (understandably) wanted to be a Ferrari driver so badly he accepted the subordinate role.

Ferrari for their part have been very loyal to him, perhaps more than any other team would have been, maybe because he was happy to wear the Santa suit at company christmas parties.

I don't see where he could drive next year,  Sauber perhaps if the Swiss team can find a way to keep Sirotkin as test driver for the first year.  There he would bring good relations with engine supplier Ferrari and a wealth of invaluable experience.


  1. Massa is a good driver, but not a world champ. Granted, Felipe had some smooth moves at Sauber, but I think the real reason he was hired by the Scuderia was because it met the wishes of Marlboro. Six or seven years ago Marlboro sponsorship was more prevalent and important to Ferrari, so, like Rubens before him, Felipe got the job. Think back to when Senna arrived at McLaren, or even Emerson Fittipaldi at Penske, almost all Brazilian drivers had some sort of Marlboro sponsorship. Unfortunately Massa has never fully recovered from his accident. He lost that edge. Like this past weekend in qualifying he has flashes of brilliance, but within the last two years those incidents have been few and far between. I think its hard to determine who is better, Kimi or Fernando. We shall see. I respect Fernando's girlfriend, and his intensity. Fernando is the more prototypical racing driver, but who knows, if Kimi takes a good shit and has a couple of ice cream cones in his belly Kimi could beat him. One things for sure this is gonna be the best inter-team battles since Prost and Senna. Go Seb!!!!

  2. I agree with most of your points. As much as I like Kimi, the Fonz is slightly quicker more consistently. I am hoping that Kimi does surprise us though, makes for good entertainment,... well, anything is better than watching a German win every week, boring as.

  3. ...can't wait for next season. At least if Vettel runs away with it again I can look forward to some interesting inner team competition.

  4. Your anti-Hamilton sentiment comes out yet again. Boring. You do realise that you drive people away from your blog by being - lets just say, less than even handed in your criticism?

  5. I would say Alonso and Raikkonen are about level in terms of latent driving talent. However, Alonso just seems more "on point" at times, particularly at starts. Maybe it's a clutch-bite-find thing, out of the driver's hands - or, maybe it's who has better clutch release timing. Alonso has been too consistently good with his race starts for me to really believe it's the former explanation. I agree with you on how Alonso has evolved, it could be seen as early as 2007. I, like many, expected to see him chew up his tires in the '07 Macca with his peculiar '03-'06 "Mr.Plow"-understeer driving style. But what he delivered was entirely the opposite. His driving style was almost exactly the same as Hamilton's. I'm not saying Kimi can't adapt... I think he can and will, but with the same level of conviction as Alonso? That remains to be seen, the outcome of which will be a genuine pleasure to witness.

    As for Massa, you've hit the nail on the head. Massa has been great to Ferrari and to Fernando. Indycar is his likeliest destination.

    Also, that is an astute observation of Hamilton 2.0. Hamilton and Massa have each been maturing light years since their debuts.

  6. What Anti Hamilton sentiment? Surely you have noticed Hammy rebooted his attitude in the last year or so...
    So sensitive.

  7. yet Massa was one refuelling hose away from being a world champion in 2008.

  8. You're talking about the same team who had stolen Ferrari's instruction manual?

  9. As an Brazilizn i wonder: where massa lost his speed, he defeated the icecreaman (I'm big fan of him) in 2008. Many people say that was in his accidenet, i don´t agree and the doctors who treated him also, i dont know but i suspect it is more related with his mind, lifestyle: motivation, marriage, son...

    Anyway i dont agree with your silly joke "santa suit", Felipe gave everything (almost his life in the accident) for Ferrari, as Ferrari gave everything for him, he drove in the same level as the best ones in the past, and is very sad that he could not drive in the same level of Nando Kimi and Vettel now...

    But for sure, i m not a sensitive and i will keep up with your blog rsrsrsrsrsr

  10. P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

    talking about the team principal and team who are famous for driver
    equality. alonso & lewis tied on WDC points in 2007. alonso
    expected to be treated as #1 since he was 2 time WDC. if wishing only
    made it so.

    "spygate" yes nigel stepney of ferrari went rogue and
    hooked up with coughlan. and in 2007 renault was found to have the
    instruction manuals for the 2006 & 7 mclaren. :shrug: IP makes
    the rounds by various means. but afaik alonso is the only driver to ever
    use such info as leverage in a hissy fit. dennis informed the FIA and took
    the punishment. alonso ran back to renault.

  11. You're glossing over the fact that Ron Dennis was aware. He had to be, certainly if Alonso and De La Rosa had some knowledge. I also doubt Alonso went to McLaren with false assumptions regarding his status. However, he was naive, and soon realized that he should have paid more attention to the Prost/Senna, Prost/Lauda and Montoya/Raikkonen struggles that preceded him.
    He played nice until a point and then went too far and it all came crashing down. On the Interlagos podium, he was not so much disappointed for losing his stake in the championship as he was elated that Hamilton also lost as well. When Fernando arrived at Ferrari, he went about things differently and in very subtle ways established his position within the team and dominance over Felipe from the outset. None of this applies with Kimi because Kimi just doesn't care. They respect each other probably more than any of their competitors, and Raikkonen's pace will only inspire Alonso to greater feats.

  12. I like Hamilton 2.0 after hating Hamilton 1.0 since he entered F1. Now that he is away from a team that treated him like the second coming of Senna he has become a better driver and a better personality. Those who liked Hamilton 1.0 were forced too because they were fans of the team. That's easy to understand, but don't pretend he wasn't a grade A D-bag.

    The problem with Massa is that he never understood his role. In spite of all evidence to the contrary he believed that he was equal. I truly believe that had he accepted his role has the #2 on the team he would have been a better driver.

  13. Yes, but rarely do world champions make mistakes like that. This was also a point in F1 when the grid was not as close as it is today so a few strong performances could propel one up the points standings.

  14. Whats with the 'British' Alonso hater's statement? I think you will find that most British motor sport fans are pretty well educated and respect Alonso for the great driver he is.

  15. Dennis did bring the matter to the FIA, but only after Hungary and threat that Alonso would expose what he knew. Specific to Alonso's crimes, it is too convenient to discount the Hamilton's role . . . I'd go as far to say that Lewis tried to capitalize on his Dudley Do Right image. I don't agree Alonso got off the hook and instead believe he's been paying a price ever since. Anyway back to topic, Alonso and Hamilton have since matured. I'm not suggesting that Alonso has forgotten how to posture himself, only that he now executes his objectives with subtle, surgical precision. Blocking Felipe's face with his Monza '10 trophy in the team picture is but one of the more sinister but almost funny examples which come to mind.

  16. During his last year at Ferrari kimi was also the best for starts

  17. As a Brit I find this post very reasonable. I have no great love for Alonso, but I think he will be Raikonnen's equal. Some days one will lead, other days the other. I suspect on his good days Raikonnen will thrash Alonso, ans vice versa, but across a season, Alonso will come out on top.

  18. Really? Hamilton 2.0 might be a nicer guy (Hamilton 1.0 couldn't even be honest about what was recorded on team radio), but he's gone from being a guy focused entirely on racing to having too many distractions, I and think they affect his results. Look at his bio on Twitter: "Formula 1 driver, Artist, singer/songwriter/musician, H.A.M till the day I die." WTF?

    Maybe Nicole has something to do with it. Whenever he crashes out I picture the guy getting an earful from her after the race, but that might just be my imagination! "Ham baby, you can't let Pastor do that to you. You've got to put your foot down and tell the team to solve it." Hahahaha

    I've read about one of the veteran drivers saying that she was a distraction for him.

    And in all honesty, I'd rather the old Hamilton. The new guy makes me cringe.

  19. don't forget Mclaren was hire Nige Stepney, the man who was caught putting a white powder in the Ferrari's tanks...

  20. he was never worried about hamilton until the hungary incident, whole thing was brewing from monaco, where while alonso was cruising hamilton was catching him, team had to ask drivers to maintain positions, As for Hungary incident it was agreement with in team that drivers will alternate last runs in quali between races, in hungary it was alonso's turn in hungary and hamilton disobeyed , and alonso reacted to that. Even ron defended alonso in steward's room.

    On top of that , mclaren being british team , whole team gravitated towards british driver their protege. Even whitmarsh later admitted, they could have handled situation better, what ever that means, they did not do it well is what i take from that.

  21. there's no evidence dennis was aware of the ferrari dossier. as above he was the one to inform the FIA of alonso's threat & allegations. anyway, as i said at the outset i hope alonso has changed and is capable of dealing with another #1 driver. if it was me i would have signed hulk over kimi. i just objected to the whitewashing of alonso's behavior during 2007.

  22. yes seriously ?? where is anything anti-hamilton here ?

  23. 2014 cant come soon enough! Strange that i thought they are evenly matched but now its oficial im starting to think Alonso is going to beat kimi

  24. your account of alonso's 2007 season follows alonso's narrative which isn't supported by anyone but him. i've never seen any quote from dennis or whitmarsh that alonso would be #1. lewis was a rookie fer chrissakes, what did alonso have to worry about right? ;-) alonso lost the plot in hungary when lewis didn't box when asked to guarantee alonso the last run at quali. he held lewis up from his pitstop and was penalized with a 5 spot grid drop. had alonso finished a few spots higher in hungary he could have been WDC for 3 years running... but instead he pointed a gun at dennis and the rest is history.

    is alonso capable of dealing with a driver of the same calibre? there's no evidence to support an argument in the affirmative. we'll just have to watch.

  25. I'm extremely interested to see what the rest of this season brings, honestly. I feel like most teams (excepting, of course, RBR) have given up on title hopes, which should change the emphasis from season-long arc to weekend-long explosions. And, remember that Massa turned his level WAY up at the end of last year, when he was fighting for his seat at Ferrari. I picked him up on my fantasy team, expecting him to do great things to try to secure a ride for next year.

    Alonso/Kimi (Fire and Ice Cream, as the media has dubbed) should make for a tremendous battle next year, provided that the Scuderia gives them a proper horse to ride.


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