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Edited by Andrew Huntley-Jacobs
With the impending announcement of ‘Fred’ Fernando Alonso being re-united with his long lost… love/hate… McLaren, one has to wonder why anyone in their right mind would want to hire Alonso given his incredible home wrecking skills. Let’s take a look at what the self-confessed “I am a team player” Asturian has been up to in his past 10 years or so in F1.
Having been with Renault since 2003, Alonso became a newly crowned WDC in October 2005. With his trophy still warm, he unapologetically signed for McLaren in December 2005 for a drive in… 2007. After winning one more title with Renault in 2006, Fernando, ‘for the good of the team’, Alonso discarded his beloved Renault team and switched to Big Ron’s McLaren.
Sebastian by comparison must be considered a devotee to Red Bull having stuck with the Austrian team throughout the disastrous 2014 season – which by the way saw them romp home 2nd in the F1 constructors’ title behind the über-dominating Mercedes team; along with scoring the only race wins other than Mercedes AMG F1.
However, back in 2007, Fred the shining new 2x WDC team-player quickly found himself matched by a diapered punk, also known as Lewis Hamilton, who couldn’t even clean up his nose without the help of Big Ron. So in despair and anger he decided in Hungary 2007 to throw all the toys out of the pram, and upturn the applecart, attempting to blackmail Dennis his boss – presumably, ‘for the good of the team’.
Alonso, in his mind had a clear #1 status within McLaren. “Who is that guy? I am a 2x WDC! Tell the damn kid from the other side of the garage that he is to respect his superiors, i.e. me the team-player, and make damn sure that he always finish behind my gearbox in races, as was originally promised to me when I signed the contract in 2005!” This is in actuality a paraphrase of mine 😉
So we all know what happened at the end of 2007: Fred slammed the door loud and clear at the MTC — shattering a few windows —, left Big Ron with a hefty $100m cheque to honour while McLaren found themselves disqualified from that year’s Constructor’s Championship. Ultimately, a year later following years in the sport, Dennis appeared to be ‘removed’ from F1.
The way was paved for the Martin Whitmarsh revolution which itself began inauspiciously with the recruitment of Heikki Kovalainen
Moreover, it has been suggested that the unwelcome $100m (reduced on appeal to $50m) write-off was one of the triggers for Mercedes withdrawing from their long-term partnership with McLaren, ultimately ending in an acrimonious, public split in 2014.
No happy ending here as Fernando ‘for the good of the team’ Alonso leaves, heads roll and the team is in tatters. Take 1.
Depending on your choice of analogy, the dog returned to his vomit OR the prodigal son returned home to Pappa Briatore and his Enstone home once again.
The team’s lack of competitiveness and a frustrated Briatore (or maybe even Fred) decided to put Nelson Piquet Jr on the line in Singapore. This paved the way for a contrived first win for Renault in 2008 as at the time Fred marched victorious to Victory under the lights in Asia.
Briatore, Symonds and possibly Fred, necessary pressure on a less than ballsey Nelsinho, and the theatrics were set in motion. Piquet Jr duly spun out on lap 14 of the 2008 Singapore GP triggering the Safety Car, which was co-incidentally immediately following the decision to pit Alonso in what was an abnormal tyre strategy.
Felipe Massa, had been leading the race and was in the thick of the championship fight, complained that the spin appeared somewhat fishy. As time would tell this was in fact the case.
Following Briatore’s unceremonious ditching of Piquet Jr mid 2009 season, Nelsinho discovered his balls, and revealed the Singapore crash—and by extension Alonso’s win—was indeed stage managed.
Massa later astutely observed, “It was the team and Nelson – but Alonso was part of the problem. He knew. We cannot know it [but] of course he knew. [It’s an] absolute certainty.”
What happened next? Following these revelations, sponsors ING and Mutua Madrileña removed their hats from the hat stand and headed for the hills removing their stickers from the Renault cars by the 2009 Singapore GP.
The CEO of Renualt dismissed both Briatore and Symonds despite their obvious abilities to manufacture underserved results. He then offloaded the Enstone team to a pair of somewhat… unproven investors… who acquired some paint and a couple of Lotus stickers – placing them atop the Renault badge.
Surprisingly, or not, Alonso decided it was once again time to jump from the sinking ship and head for pastures new, thoughthis time they were to be red.
Fernando ‘for the good of the team’ Alonso again exits stage left, a team boss’ head rolls, and the team finds itself in tatters, Take 2.
Having left behind two devastated lovers, Fred’s womanizing was in no way in decline.
This time the prize was the red-haired beauty going by the name of Ferrari. She was forced to jilt her current partner – Kimi Raikkonen – as Fred marched into the house in time for the start of 2010.
Yet Fernando could in no way have envisioned the fate about to befall him as over the next five years Ferrari gradually slumped from championship contender to race win contender to merely a podium contender.
Yet Fernando’s star was still in the ascendancy as despite the ‘trucks’ being built in Maranello, he almost managed to clinch two WDC titles, each time being just beaten to the tape by the clinical German upstart that was Sebastian Vettel.
With each passing year of failure, it was inevitable; the letting of the Maranello coloured blood began.
Interestingly, the designer of the all-conquering 2014 Mercedes AMG F1 car – Aldo Costa – was dismissed for failing to deliver a trusty steed for Fernando to ride.
The promise of the new 2014 engine era gave hope to the tifosi, that Ferrari could spend their way to glory. Yet so catastrophic were their efforts that following a couple of races, Stefano Domenicali could take no more – and was off.
Most incredibly, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, was ousted later in the year and swiftly followed by his nomination to replace Domenicalli – Marco Mattiacci. This is most unfortunate for the writers of TJ13 – as the M&M pairing is no more.
Yet despite requesting to leave, Fernando walks on water – fails to breach his contract with Ferrari – and in all likelihood departed the fields of Tuscany with a big fat cheque.
Most incredible of all, Ferrari is now to be sold in all probability to non-Italian owners. Could this be the end of the Scuderia – once and for all?
That would appear an appropriate epitaph for Fernando the Home wrecker.
Fernando ‘for the good of the team’ Alonso leaves, multiple bosses heads roll, and the team finds itself in tatters, Take 3.
In the meantime, Fred is talking double-dutch and once again pondering pastures new. Once he salivated at the thought of being inside the curves of a Newey creation, but his dreams of that outcome appear to have been shattered – once and for all.
Fred also eyeballed the grey but feisty and muscular Mercedes, but no room at the inn was the cry from behind the shuttered windows.
Now it appears, Fernando is out of choices. What is left is the unproven and possibly unstable creation from the nuptial bed of McLaren and Honda.
Yet should any team boss in their right mind entertain inviting the Asturian – Don Juan – anywhere near their lovely daughters?
Doesn’t his track record demonstrate he will court them, abuse them and their family, casue mayhem amongst the blood relatives and then head for the highway when the going gets tough?
For many, it is most puzzling to observe Honda’s unbridled passion for Fernando. Isn’t the pretender’s history worth considering prior to committing to the marital bed?
Of course, as every introductory statistics class teaches you, correlation doesn’t imply causation. It may be hard to argue that Alonso was the cause of this trail of destruction. But it is just as difficult to ignore the ship wrecks bestowed upon the teams unfortunate enough to fall for Fernando’s charms… And since Fred loves to get his hands dirty in the inner machinations within the bowels of a team, it’s even more difficult to dismiss the Alonso influence.
So if I were Ron Dennis or Yasuhisa Arai, I’d be having sleepless nights for some time to come. Or is this a secret plan by Big Ron to exact revenge on Fred – and teach him a lesson, once and for all?
On the bright side, Mercedes fans looking to how Toto Wolff may one day be removed from their team – rest assured; Fred will be sniffing around your daughter too, just as soon as the terms for his future divorce are agreed at the shrine of the MTC.