#F1 Features: Fernando Alonso – Saint or Villain?

Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler: BlackJack’sBriefs

Editors note: This article was submitted as an OTD however, after reviewing it, it was felt that it warrants to be moved to a feature article.

On 5th August 2007 . . . Lewis Hamilton takes his third win and 10th podium finish of his debut season at the Hungarian Grand Prix. McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso finished second and the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen completed the top three – interesting that the same three drivers are still at the top of the heap along with, of course, newcomer, Vettel.

However there was controversy during qualifying when Alonso deliberately waited in the pit box to prevent Hamilton from changing his tyres and completing his final flying lap in Q3, denying him the chance to take pole position. But Hamilton had the last laugh as Alonso was given a five-place grid penalty, handing pole to the Englishman.

Lewis Hamilton Hungaroring 2007 © F1Fanatic

Alonso had remained stationary in the McLaren pit for just long enough to delay his team-mate, and the provisional pole sitter, to prevent Lewis from doing another ‘hot lap’… and Alonso went on to claim pole. McLaren boss, Ron Dennis, asserted the team had got “out of sequence” when Hamilton did not allow Alonso to pass earlier in the qualifying session.

As well as Alonso’s subsequent five-place grid penalty his McLaren team were docked the 15 constructors’ World Championship points they would later earn in the race, the stewards punishing Alonso, ‘for baulking Hamilton,’ and McLaren, ‘for failing to provide an adequate explanation of what happened.’

Fernado Alonso © AutoblogAlonso now found himself at the centre of an acrimonious dispute with the McLaren team with opinion divided over whether he was the instigator or the victim, depending (allegedly) on whether you were Spanish or British. There were signs early in the season that Alonso was unhappy with rookie Hamilton’s early run of success and he became increasingly vocal with his demands that the team concentrate on backing his title bid, even as Hamilton took the lead in the championship.

Clearly ‘rattled’ by Hamilton’s supreme talent, Fernando began to believe that the team was favouring the English youngster. Though every effort was made to convince everyone that all was rosy, nobody was fooled, and the situation deteriorated. Hungary was thus the beginning of the end, as Fernando began a cold war within the team, apparently never talking to Ron Dennis again.

Meanwhile, the ‘spy-gate’ saga was due to raise it’s ugly head and on the Sunday morning in Hungary, it was later revealed, Fernando had threatened to use incriminating e-mails which showed McLaren’s role in the spying affair should it not give him outright number one status. Not a man to accept blackmail lightly, Dennis went straight to the FIA himself.

Fernando Alonso 2 © AutoblogThe resultant FIA investigation, revealed some McLaren team members, including Alonso, were aware of confidential Ferrari information. This information had been passed to Alonso by McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa who had received it from McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan.

The emails contained text suggesting Alonso was surprised, and doubted its authenticity, but it was clear that Alonso knew about Ferrari’s pit strategies for Australia and Bahrain. In a televised interview Dennis claimed there had been an argument, and that Alonso had said something in the heat of the moment but immediately apologised… and thus Dennis learned about the Ferrari data. Dennis subsequently (and immediately) informed the FIA. It has been suggested that the argument was prompted by the fact that there was no stewards’ investigation regarding the qualifying pitlane incident until Anthony and Lewis Hamilton made a formal complaint on the Saturday evening.

Nelson Piquet Jnr Singapore © RadioaustraliaShortly after the season ended
 McLaren terminated their contract 
with Alonso who returned to 
Renault for 2008… Alonso however was not to 
be away from controversy for very 
long. After ‘spygate’ had been dealt
with, along came the very ugly
 ‘crashgate’ when, ironically at the
 very next Hungarian GP, Renault
 opted to drop Nelson Piquet from 
their team…

In retaliation, the
Brazilian informed the FIA that
 some members of the team had felt
 they needed more than performance 
to win races and he had been 
ordered to crash out of the 2008 Singapore GP in order to help win the race for his Spanish teammate…

Nelson Piquet Jnr © theguardian

All the above I have tried to keep objective and uncoloured by my own feelings or favouritisms but… I was in Singapore that week (and incidentally can really recommend attending this night race for anybody who fancies a change) and recall watching the event on TV the morning after (for all the bits missed by being at the circuit). I was very aware that Piquet crashed, deliberate or accidental, at that point in the race, was without question a ‘lucky break’ for Alonso.

Yet, afterwards, when a TV reporter asked Flavio Briatore whether he thought Alonso had benefitted from the crash, Briatore looked flustered and quickly asserted that Alonso would have won anyway and, by answering a slightly different question (that had not been asked) he made himself look as guilty as hell…!

It was thus no surprise to me when the facts came out.

Flavio and Nelson © DailyMail

I was surprised though that Alonso was able to maintain such a low profile, claiming he had no knowledge of the ‘plan’… Maybe he knew nothing when the plan was being realised and activated, but it does seem unusual to me that Alonso would have remained ignorant after the event…

Briatore and Pat Symonds were punished by the FIA but, again, Alonso seemed to be let off… It was never proved he was in any way involved but, as far as I am aware, he was never actually asked if he had known about the crime afterwards…?

One of my least favourite commentators, Martin Brundle, created the nickname: ‘Teflonso’.

This year, 2013, at the Hungaroring, Alonso was again involved in controversy when the Ferrari team discovered that they had ‘omitted / forgotten’ to “click the correct button” and switch the DRS from practice mode to race mode allowing Alonso to operate the system illegally. Ferrari have been fined €15,000 by Hungarian GP stewards. Alonso escaped penalty.

Fernando Ferrari © TelegraphBack in May stewards considered penalising Alonso for stopping to accept his national flag from a marshall on the cooling down lap after winning his home GP…

His glorious moment was actually a breach of a regulation about “receiving an object” prior to the post-race weighing and scrutineering procedure, and Alonso and Ferrari were summoned to the stewards.

Ultimately, and correctly, the FIA
officials let him off without penalty
 “to be consistent with a previous decision made under similar circumstances“.

Is Fernando Alonso just unlucky…?

Fernando Ferrari 2 © Telegraph

At the 2003 European GP, David Coulthard and McLaren managing director Martin Whitmarsh accused Alonso of giving Coulthard a ‘brake test’… when Coulthard was trying to overtake Alonso, who was holding him up. Coulthard had to swerve off the track… and into retirement. The FIA stewards decided that the incident did not warrant any “further judicial action”.

There were several times during the 2006 season when the Spaniard seemed to lose his cool. At the Hungarian GP, he was stupidly involved in another ‘brake test’ with Red Bull Racing test-driver Robert Doornbos during practice, believing the Dutchman had ‘deliberately’ spoiled his previous lap. The stewards decided Alonso’s actions were “unnecessary, unacceptable and dangerous”, and yet merely awarded him a one-second time penalty to be applied to his fastest lap time in each of the qualifying sessions.

During a separate incident from the same race, when Michael Schumacher was asked whether he thought Alonso deliberately slowed down so that Schumacher had to pass him under red flags in practice, Schumacher replied, “You said that, I didn’t.” [Perhaps another case of the pot calling the kettle, black… 😉 ]

Flavio BriatoreIn the 2006 Italian GP, after stewards ruled Alonso had potentially blocked Felipe Massa in Saturday qualifying and relegated him five places on the starting grid, Alonso stated “I love the sport, love the fans coming here – a lot of them from Spain but I don’t consider Formula One like a sport any more.” – while Flavio Briatore hinted that the championship was being manipulated – quickly withdrawing his comment lest the authorities impose further punishment. Alonso was perhaps being penalised by the ‘tifosi’ who, later, would do their best to support him, in similar circumstances…

In the 2010 Spanish GP a Safety Car was deployed onto the circuit, but too late to pick up first place Vettel. Hamilton, in second, after first hesitating, also went past. Alonso was thus first to be held behind the safety car, while the rest of the field had enough notice to divert to the pitlane for their first stop. Alonso and Ferrari complained, and Hamilton was awarded a drive-through penalty.

However, it took the stewards twenty minutes to settle on a verdict, and Hamilton suffered no change in position; Alonso complained to his pit, and Ferrari concurred. Afterwards Alonso claimed the race had been ‘manipulated’, which seems rather odd – in Spain…

Fernando and Felipe © FerrariIn the 2010 German GP at Hockenheim, Alonso became involved in a controversy with team-mate Massa, as Ferrari were accused of using team orders during the race. The incident started when the Spaniard made it clear that he thought he was much faster than the Brazilian and should therefore be leading the Ferrari steamroller.

Massa engineer, Rob Smedley, said: ‘Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message?’ Massa slowed down and was overtaken by Alonso in what appeared to be team orders, and Ferrari, Massa and Alonso were summoned to the stewards.

The matter was then referred to the FIA World Motor Sport Council and Ferrari were given a $100,000 fine… but the result of the race was left unchanged. What should have been a great moment for the team instead became a source of utter embarrassment, reminiscent of Schumacher’s and Barrichello’s humiliation eight years before… after which the ‘No Team Orders’ rule had been instigated.

At the 2010 British GP, Alonso was given a drive-through penalty for an illegal pass on Kubica when he went around the outside at Brooklands and was forced off the track by Kubica on the exit as the Renault driver legitimately defended his position… but Alonso passed Kubica as he rejoined the track at the next corner.

Stefano Domenicali claimed they had checked with race control whether Alonso had broken the rules and should give the place back but, by the time they received an answer the ailing Kubica had dropped back, and retired shortly afterwards.

Charlie Whiting claimed he had three times suggested Ferrari told their man to relinquish the position before having to issue Alonso a drive-through penalty, which he had then had to serve just after a safety car period, dropping him to the back of the field. Hoist by one’s own petard, one might think…

Alonso was apparently so piqued he ordered his pit-crew not to talk to him for the rest of the race… but later ‘explained’ this was because he could see all his rivals in front of him and had no need of information…

It is perhaps not unusual for teams to accept penalties served to other drivers when it is to their advantage, but to conversely argue the point when it harms their own drivers. In 2008 Hamilton had overtaken Raikkonen in similar circumstances and a similar penalty had allowed Massa’s Ferrari to win…

When asked why Ferrari happily accepted the earlier decision but considered the recent one harsh, Domenicali said they were different scenarios and couldn’t be compared.

Well… Hamilton at least gave back the position briefly while Alonso right away refused to do so, and Ferrari were told on three occasions to give the position back… while McLaren asked the stewards if Hamilton’s slowing down was enough and were told that that was acceptable.

After these two incidents Alonso was strangely bullish… Now trailing his nemesis, Hamilton, by 47 points, he declared,: ‘I am more convinced than before this race that we will win this championship.” Apparently, in the paddock, in the press room and on the message boards, many began to think the Ferrari driver was losing the plot.

And I haven’t even touched on Alonso’s collision with team-mate Massa on the first lap which ruined the latter’s race and about which the normally calm Massa vowed, to ‘talk’ to his team-mate…

Alonso Abu Dhabi

“Alonso, Petrov is faster than you! Can you confirm that you understood that message?”

In the 2010 Abu Dhabi GP, Alonso was seen gesticulating furiously at Vitaly Petrov on the slowing down lap in front of TV cameras, and initially it seemed that he was blaming the young Russian for costing him the world crown as he had been unable to find a way past the Renault driver, for over 40 laps(!) while race winner Sebastian Vettel became World Champion.

At the end of the race, in a pointless and cynical move, Fernando gesticulated to Petrov, signalling his frustration, as if he had had a divine right to be allowed past. However, Alonso later denied accusations that he had accused Petrov of denying him the title.

Ferrari had simply made a disastrous strategic call, causing Alonso to emerge in heavy traffic, against which he seemed to make no headway – almost as if he had given up… On this showing alone perhaps Alonso is not quite in the same category as his three main rivals.

For the 2011 and 2012 seasons Fernando seemed to overcome his problems / bad luck / immature petulance – whatever you chose to call it but, this year, 2013, he seems to be drifting back again.

After a lot of nonsense about his new samurai ethic – the ‘way’ of the warrior – bushido – of which (in my opinion) Alonso does not conform to even the most fundamental precepts – ‘honour, loyalty, courage, veracity, and compassion’, which are important, above all else…

I am left to see him, the man, as hypocritical, immature and petulant… though this is partly due to his age and youthful experiences, and is not so different to many of his peers. I don’t wish, nor, I’m sure, do I need, to draw up a list… but this saga seems to suggest either Alonso is naturally manipulative (which is not the same thing as, for example, Schumacher’s ‘control’…), or is easily swayed by others, who perhaps lead him astray.

I have no axe to grind with Alonso, Spain (where I sometimes live), nor Ferrari and, although I am about twice Alonso’s age, I also have no problem with youth. For those who might now be wondering what is my problem… no I don’t have a problem with men either… I am not a retired feminist who believes half the F1 drivers should be female, though I would have no problem if this one day comes about either.

I simply came across this story (of Alonso’s petty, dishonourable and grossly unsportsmanlike behaviour in 2007) and thought it might be suitable as an entry for ‘OTD’ but, whilst researching the story, all this other stuff came pouring out. Just to show my lack of bias maybe I will now have to write similar articles about ‘all the others’… although I much prefer to write stories about people who have achieved something in their lives – without it being at someone else’s expense…

LdM © Ferrari


42 responses to “#F1 Features: Fernando Alonso – Saint or Villain?

  1. Thank you for this fantastic article!!!:):) Saint??? Hahaha… LOL

    So,why does everyone go praising about Alonso as “the best driver in the world currently”???

    • I think there are plenty of reasons. And it’s also a question that is pointless to argue 😉

    • Because it’s the “best driver in the world” not the “most morals driver in the world”

      • That is true and each great driver has his crosses. To win you need a ruthless streak… you may rub some people up the wrong way but at the end of the day a win is a win …

  2. Really has been targeted with article?, Because I honestly do not think so.

    Have a nice day

  3. Regarding the illegal DRS use:

    There was also an incindent earlier this year at the race in Bahrain, where Alonso had activated his DRS way too early (clearly before the DRS-line) in a battle with Rosberg.
    See http://www.f1technical.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=428078#p428078 Curiosly that never got any attention, which probably had to do with the rather shamefull ECU-problems, that at that time made policing DRS use impossible if I remeber correctly.

    Still it makes me wonder whether this has been going on for more races.

  4. Nicely penned article, he has led something of a charmed life hasn’t he, he ‘s rather like my dear old (departed) grandpa who on his daily drive to the shops “saw” hundreds of accidents yet was never “involved” in any of them. I feel the wheels are coming off Mr Alonsos axle and will never forget his 1000 yard stare when Seb won his 3rd title, I have no doubt though that the petulance will surface to even greater effect in the coming months.
    Frankly i find him a thoroughly distasteful person, the word manipulative just doesn’t suffice, Rumours up & down the paddock suggest he’s more than able to peel an orange in the pocket of his racesuit.
    But there’s a greater force, which sees justice and a natural balance applied, perhaps its even working this season.

  5. An excellent article. I can only wonder how the sparks would fly if Alonso and Vettel drove for the same team. Webber and Massa must both be saints or else have very good self control.

  6. The stewards stated that Fernando’s DRS has been illegally activated 3 times, is there any way to know the lap’s number associated with each of these actions?

  7. Great article Black Jack as always. Appreciate the antidote to the current media hagiography. Alonso is a complicated creature, and It’s nice to see him represented as such.

  8. What put me off Alonso (for good) was his attutude after Mark Webber’s huge crash in the 2003 Brazillian GP. He kept his foot down whilst there were double waved yellow flags and subsequently hit Webbers tyre. The potential for fatalities and severe injuries was there, and it was lucky that there wasn’t any.

    His punishment? Kept his 3rd place!

  9. Alonso is what he is, an driver that needs a lot of attention, with a complex character, often enigmatic.
    You could almost see him as a symphatic bipolar, going from dispair to joy in a very short time.
    But an amazing driver, very intelligent and able to read a race like no other.
    I love Ferrari with all my heart and i’d choose Fernando over any other driver, complex or not.

    • Enzo, with all due respect I think you’re sugar-coating the pill here, Alonso is not a bipolar, he’s a very canny, clever, manipulating individual. SImple as that, not the best character around. He’s in the same mould as Schumacher and Prost.

      • Guilty! Being objective about Ferrari or Alonso is not my strongest point.
        But you are right of course, almost all top drivers are cannibalistic omnivores, with a ruthless, manipulative and egoistic streak in them.
        Alonso is no exception.

  10. I fall somewhere in the middle between the author and Alonso in age and have been fervently following F1 as a hard core tifosi for over 23 years…and those have included some long barren patches. I had every Ferrari victory taped and stored, bar none, till I had to relocate out of US so storage woes meant losing that collection. And I would turn TV off if Red cars weren’t winning. And Red’s signing of Alonso made that disappear in a second. I still root for Massa but nothing ever materializes.

    As for Alonso’s performance, his ethics (or lack thereof) have been well summarized here, final race of 2007 epitomizes his shallow goals. Both Mac drivers were ahead of Raikkonen and stood a better chance of winning the title. Yet he could not drive to gain enough positions to be ahead of Raikkonen in final standings. One would have never seen a happier face than Alonso’s on the podium for someone who had just lost the championship…seemed he was more pleased that Ham hadn’t won. What a performance….

    • All so true. Before Alonso joined Macca I was jubilant that we would have the reigning double world champion and a rookie of Hamilton’s calibre. My word how one year changes everything. I thought I would never dislike another driver as much as Schumacher…boy, was I wrong!?
      Yet, I still respect his skills as a driver.

  11. Thanks for the great article. But you have left out some important stuff. His tantrums at Renault against Fisichela and Truli really need mentioning. An update may be …??

  12. Brilliant article on one of the most overrated drivers ever.
    Is he good? Yes. Is he incredible? Not a chance, not even close.
    The guy is a driver (not a racer, note the difference) who needs Santander to pay for his Ferrari seat because no other team would have him at this point.
    This article is a great collection of Alonso facts, although, trust me, if you search more, you’ll find more… and more… and more.

  13. Ha,ha, you guys just love to hate Alonso don’t you?
    People having ADHD attacks, tripping over each other just have a go at him.
    Sorry BJB, always enjoy your articles, but this one is a little over the top imo.
    Hypocritical, immature and petulant, come on man, really?
    And who are you to say the he doesn’t conform to honour, loyalty, courage, veracity, and compassion ?
    Your lack of bias? Yeah right. what a joke

    • Do you think so Enzo? Perhaps it is just him being a victim of his own success? Ask Danilo, Vettel gets just as much, and so did Schumacher. I would put money on it that if Senna was alive today he would have had his fair share of criticism as well.

      You cannot fault Alonso for his driving abilities. Neither can you do Schumacher, Senna, Vettel, Prost and a few more. However, all of the ones I’ve mentioned have had things they did that really irked people and none of the instances BJB mentioned in his article was made up.

      Alonso is by no means a saint but then that is what you want. A ruthless and fierce competitor. Love him or hate him, he is a competitor and he will do anything he can to win… 😉

      • I don’t now your age Don, but I’m guessing you weren’t watching back in the 80’s when Senna was the dominant force in F1.
        My original name on here was “herowassenna” so that may give a clue to my allegiance. In fact, because I sometimes post on my iphone, I still have my display name as HWS.

        Senna was a divisive personality. He probably experienced a greater dislike as a driver than anybody since.

        I am first and foremost a Ferrari fan, so I remember well the level of dislike that Schumacher suffered, but I think with the advent of the internet, it seems he suffered more. There is more news columns to fill, more TV replays and sadly most of the F1 publications use the same sources for all their information. In other words, lazy journalism.

        Senna has become, as mattp55 so eloquently wrote, subject to hagiography.

        I have been going to Grand Prix since 1982, and I have never felt so sickened by a crowd as I was in 1994 at the British GP.
        Every stall was selling Senna merchandise as it’s dominant article. Many fans wore Senna T-shirts, caps and other hastily manufactured rubbish. All to cash in on the death of this man. That in itself didn’t offend me, it’s a commercial materialistic world we live in.

        What saddened and appalled me was the people who just 6 months previously had hated the very ground he walked on now believed they had always been fans.
        I have no doubt there are psychological reasons for this, in much the same way that Britain came to a complete stop after Diana was ki.. sorry, died in an accident in 1997.

        When Villeneuve was killed in 1982, his fundamental fan base didn’t increase, they mourned and rejoiced that he had been part of their F1 experience.

        I had never liked Nelson Piquet, I didn’t particularly rate him as a driver, felt he was manipulative and downright crude with his humour at the expense of Mansell and Senna amongst others, but my respect for him went stratospheric when he was asked why he hadn’t attended Senna’s funeral.
        To paraphrase, “I didn’t like him in life, why would i be hypocritical and pretend to like him in death”

        BJB, as always a great article, contentious and provocative in equal measures. I may well write an article about Senna, one that is not so blatantly biased as the Senna film that was released a couple of years ago.

        I went with my wife to watch it on the big screen, imagine 80’s F1 at the cineplex.
        She loved it and gave her an insight into F1.
        But I can hand on heart admit, that if I had gone by myself, I would have left before the credits.
        I had read enough articles in the F1 press and read enough reviews to know that permission had been sought via Bernie from the Senna family.
        I have no problem with Prost being cast as the villain, I myself despise him. I remember those years as a Senna fan, watching Balestre blatantly disregard rules and regulations in support of his fellow Frenchman. I also remember Nigel Roebuck’s 5th Column always supporting his friend Prost against Senna.
        If you ever watch the film, you’ll see Roebuck talking to Prost as he walked down to the Stewards office that Prost said he didn’t go to after the 1989 Japanese GP!

        What angered me was the family saying they spoke to Senna the night before he died and he said he had opened his Bible and God’s message was that he would receive the “Greatest Gift”
        To a devout Christian that means only one thing…

        In 17 years of articles, books and interviews with different people, that one snippet of information was never reported.

        The fact was, Senna had left Brasil, and for the first time ever he was to spend the whole season in Europe with his girlfriend Adrienne.
        His family hated her, and sent his brother to talk him out of the relationship. They had an argument on the Saturday afternoon and Senna left the circuit.
        Hardly likely that he then called his family for a “chat”. He spoke to his friend from Globo television, Frank Williams and Adrienne that evening.

        When his family blatantly use film to promote an image of a ruthless driven individual as the Second Coming, an image that is wholeheartedly supported by the F1 media, frankly I switch off.

        • Hello Carlo… thanks for the compliment but… might I be permitted to offer one thing to you…?
          I don’t have your Latin passion and therefore wouldn’t deign to assume I know how you feel… but I can sympathise with your beliefs…
          I just worry that your anger might be more invasive than you realise. Tranquilo, dear friend… Remember Buddha…

          • BJF, thank you for the peaceful remarks. I do appreciate them.

            I was quite an angry individual back in those days for a number of reasons, and I had lost my father only just before Senna’s death, so I imagine my views were slightly selfish and coloured…

            I haven’t quite got to the point of adorning orange robes and chanting to Buddha, but as my doctor always says, my blood pressure is textbook. In itself quite an achievement in an Italian family!

            I guess time, age and my children have mellowed me, but I believe my cynicism of the press, media and corrupt governments will always need an outlet.

            As I said, I loved the piece, and didn’t agree with everything, but wouldn’t it be boring to agree with every word?

            I look forward to your next piece,
            Saluti mio caro amico

        • I was just coming out of diapers in the 80s Carlo… well almost. Where I grew up TV was a thing that brought the news and not much else. I can remember Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna fighting in 1992 in Monaco. I can also remember how I wanted Mansell to win but Senna did. Then I remember when Senna died and although I’ve not followed F1 for that long, knew we lost someone great. After that Schumacher was my man and when he retired… I now support the sport without bias (I keep on telling myself that 🙂 ).

          I look forward to reading your article on Senna 🙂

  14. I’ve only discovered this site about a week ago and was already appalled several times by the unrestrained anti Ferrari and anti Alonso bias, but this really takes the biscuit. It is very clear who drew first blood in Hungary ’07, Hamilton wrecked the sequence by not passing Alonso (not by disallowing Alonso to pass him as you claim). Alonso merely reacted to his teammate’s breaking the team agreements and was punished for it. This has been documented enough. Case closed. If you’re going to talk about spygate you might want to insert the word ALLEGED before blackmail. The Alonso blackmail story originates from “objective” British sources and has been repeated so many times that some consider it common knowledge but that doesn’t make it a truth. Dennis must have been aware of spygate long before, and probably was actively envolved. It is beyond common sense that the boss of an organisation such as McLaren, and a known control freak, wouldn’t be aware of the fact that his key personnel was using a 76 page technical document, obtained from a rival team. If you’re going to drag in crashgate again be aware that Alonso never was in any way implicated in this, and saying that he was is slander. You may suspect that he was aware of it (as do I), maybe only after the race, but again that doesn’t make it a truth. Are you really going to mention trivialities like the national flag incident and DRS use in Hungary ’13? Are you that eager to thrash him? Shortly after the Euro ‘03 race telemetry has clearly shown that the whole break-test allegations are bogus. Get your facts straight. If you are going to discuss the ’06 season it may be worth mentioning that the FIA suddenly outlawed the tuned mass dampers (in an attempt to advantage Ferrari?), what seriously damaged Renault and Alonso’s chances. It’s rich that you dare to mention the 2010 Euro GP safety car incident (not Spanish GP as you say)! Hamilton broke the rules, got an ‘non-penalty penalty’ and finished second. Alonso respected the rules and finished eight. One might argue that Alonso lost the WDC there. Had he broken the rules as Hamilton did and served a similar ‘non-penalty penalty’ he would have finished third an won the WDC. Who’s the victim here? Ah yes, I knew Germany 2010 teamorder-gate would come up. Anyone who knows F1 realises by now that outlawing team orders is both uncontrollable and inapplicable. Anyone who knows F1 realises that in certain circumstances team orders are common sense and Germany 2010 was the perfect example for this. Of course, those who hate a certain driver would rather see him squander 7 much needed point to someone who is without chance for the WDC. Why bring up GBR 2010? Alonso was punished and finished outside the points. What are you going to blame him with here? Since when is a driver not allowed to express disappointment after losing a much deserved WDC? That’s all the Petrov gesture after Abu Dhabi was. The lengths people go through to blacken someones reputation is staggering. You have amassed quite a list here. Do you keep notes after races or did you just enjoy yourself looking this all up? By calling Alonso hypocritical, immature and petulant, petty, dishonourable and unsportsmanlike you only show your outright hatred towards one particular driver, not to mention a total lack of objectivity. Alonso arguably is the greatest driver of his generation and one of the greats ever and by claiming that he “is not in the same category as his three main rivals”, you prove yourself to be unworthy of a F1 enthusiast. Is this because he has thrashed Lewis –the much hyped British hero- Hamilton three years straight with inferior material? Do you feel so threatened now he’s shown that Hamilton can only tie with the help of sugar-daddy? Or do you simply hate anyone who threatens your misguided idea of British superiority? Talking of hypocritical, immature and petulant, petty, dishonourable and unsportsmanlike the name Hamilton springs to mind. Should I compile a list, too? I won’t bother. After reading this spiteful piece of garbage I shall not visit this site again. I have read enough rubbish. You can keep preaching for you own parish and your words shall be believed by the sheep. Note that I’m not Spanish, nor a Ferrari fan.

    • You should have been here when multi 21 was kicking off. We were very critical of all things Red Bull and their civil war.

      I love Ferrari and they in a way represent the ‘old ways’ but at times they are bang up for a good amount of stick.

      Facts are: Car at least 3rd if not 4th quickest: President and lead driver at loggerheads. Wind tunnel is useless….

      What more do you need to criticise the team?

  15. I am not an Alonso fan, but this article seems to be straight out of the forums of PlanetF1. I liked this site so far, and would like to think one sided fan fiction like this is below it.

    For example, don’t leave out stuff like Hamilton actually starting the 2007 drama by disrespecting made agreements (pretty much what Vettel gets flak for today). Or perhaps the desperation of the entire Renault team when Carlos Ghosn would not officially commit to another season.


    • TJ13 is also a forum for debate. We publish articles designed to create conversation. We recently had over 100 comments on a particular articles where all sides of the issue were represented.

      We are not Autosport who report ‘he said, she said’ kind of news. We allow writers from all F1 backgrounds to express themselves and the defend their position.

      This is not a place for mere intellectual, ‘on the one hand… But on the other hand…’ F1 Writing. So you are right to disagree but at least say why, rather than merely complaining about the writers polemic position.

      • I don’t think anyone who is unhappy with the way Alonso is portrayed in this article needs to now enter a long list of reasons why, as the comment from Pearlsmash seems to sum it up pretty well 😉

        Alonso is the veteran of over 200 starts in formula 1, considering his drive and talent, it’s not that surprising that he’s been he’s been involved in a few controversies. As has already been said, guys like Prost, Schumacher, and my hero, Senna, were also all ruthless in their own way, it seems somewhat par-for-the-course for F1 drivers from the mid 80’s onwards.

        It’s worth pointing out that F1 of the last 20 years especially is drastically different to the “old” days. Not only is the commercial and political aspect much more prominent, the visibility and transparency of both team and driver is far greater, with every word that comes from a driver being eagerly put out on a multitude of websites and magazines, newspapers etc. I dare say that F1 has had, even back in the 50’s, plenty of characters who’ve at times been very controversial, it’s just that the greater public rarely, if ever, heard about it.

        The only specific comment I will make to the article is in regards to the DRS issues. Surely if this system is so flawed that drivers can use it when not allowed, it points more to the failure of the device than it does to the morals of the driver eking out every advantage available to them. Teams bend the rules to breaking point whenever they can in terms of car design, and drivers do the same when it comes to something as simple as staying within the confines of the track, so to single Alonso out for taking advantage (deliberately or accidentally, who’s to say) of a faulty gizmo smacks of a witch hunt to me.

        Personally, I love this website, I find it far more interesting and reasonable compared to the two main places I visited previously (JA and JS), but I must admit the tone of this article comes off as somewhat biased. Oh well, can’t please everybody I guess.

      • Fair enough, I guess I just found it a bit too polemic for my taste. Most F1 forums seems to degenerate into fanboyism, which I find tiresome, and I was hoping this would be avoided here. Perhaps future publishing of similar articles about other drivers will even it out. As for creating discussion you are right, it was a success as I joined the discussion.

        I honestly thought my examples of Hamilton breaking the agreement and Renaults total desperation was clear enough examples of my issue with shallowness, otherwise I refer to the lengthy post by Perlsmash for more examples.

        Thanks for a great site otherwise!

      • With all due respect Judge, than the article should leave room for debate.
        This is more like a personal vendetta, and after reading it (and the words that were used to describe Alonso), i didn’t feel the need to mince my words.

  16. Excellent article! Personally I do not forget that because of crybaby-so a world champion was out of F1 for two years. That by the whim of his sponsor, that ungrateful red team has kick to the ass to last driver gave them a championship.

  17. Super article to read, don’t necessarily agree with everything but there’s a reason why it’s called an opinion.

    Regarding Spy-gate, I think Alonso was right to use it to his advantage and corner McLaren, or rather Ron Dennis. He was the reigning Double WDC, wanted to make it 3 in a row, and I will dare say he felt threatened enough by Hamilton to want him out of the way.

    The better drivers will always polarize opinion. Senna, Schumacher, Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel, they all do it pretty well. Obviously some drivers in that group have had more success relative to others but their talent remains unquestioned. I was too young to experience the Senna years, but I vividly remember the weekend he died and I was really sad that day. Schumacher made me hate him like no other driver did. He was so good at ridiculing the rest of the F1 world, and deep down I wanted him at McLaren, haha.

    Alonso is a superb driver. He hasn’t lost anything on that front. But since he moved at Ferrari, I think he has let his political side take over the driver. Perhaps there are things happening at Maranello, that we aren’t aware of, that forced him to become this way ? I won’t ever like Alonso for the way he behaved during his time at McLaren, but as a driver he deserves full respect.

    He is said to be fully in “Bushido”, but he might just have forgotten the core lesson : to overcome adversity by doing what’s right :p

  18. I was looking for new data on Alonso/McLaren 2007 when the Internet search brought me here.

    After reading it, I have to say that I believe the author when he writes that he feels dispassionate and neutral in making his case. Unfortunately, it is easy to see he is deluding himself.

    While the title of the article is “Evil or saint?”, he only brings arguments for the “evil” case and leaves virtually no space for other possible interpretations that could favor the case of the “saint”, specially when they exist if you care to look. Additionally, he brings up controversies which have their origin in the team in order to give weight to the “evil” case, when in fact Alonso is not the direct source of such controversy. In other words, he is reinforcing his own believes with views and conjectures that fit this set of believes, leaving out the ones that don’t. In psychology, this is known as “cognitive bias.”

    The people who thinks this was a fantastic piece need a crash course in critical thinking. For anyone who has followed all the arguments in favor and against is easy to see this is a compendium of recycled arguments repeated over the years. There is nothing new to learn here.

    Disclosure: I am Spanish. If you feel that makes my opinion weaker, then I feel vindicated 😉

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