The Sorrows of Fernando Alonso

alonso_macca

When Fernando Alonso shows up at the Circuit de Catalunya, it is the same as the Cherubim playing a home game at the Pearly Gates Stadium. The Spaniards have been through hell and back to save their country from economic collapse and through those trying times, they’ve held on dearly to one of their national heroes as a sign of hope.

But hope, is frankly a commodity that is sorely lacking for the double world champion. His second visit to the Catalan track in 2015 didn’t see him wind up in hospital like last time; though by the sounds of it, it wasn’t for any lack of trying on behalf of his car.

The carefully crafted façade that Fernando is where he wants to be and that he hopes to emulate his childhood hero Ayrton Senna in winning a third championship with the iconic McLaren-Honda combo – is beginning to crumble. He didn’t return to Woking because he really wanted to.

He joined the team that he once infamously blackmailed because Alonso had nowhere else to go after Ferrari showed him the door. This version of events of course emanates from non other than Ferrari HQ.

Given the Sky Germany and Sky UK frequent collaborations during an F1 race weekend, we Teutones had the dubious pleasure of listening to Crazy D and Johnny H broadcasting this weekend from Spain. Both are convinced that Fernando Alonso has an exit clause in his contract, should he receive an offer from AMG Mercedes, because that’s where he really wants to be.

Sebastian Vettel was aware when he jumped from the sinking can of Red Bull, that his new Ferrari steed was not about to takes its place in the hall of fame wit other legendary Cavalino Rampantes. But Sebastian has time on his side. Alonso does not.

Fernando is edging closer to being forced to consider seriously beginning his journey to Le Mans. If he wants to win that coveted third title, the Spaniard needs to be racing in a Mercedes soon.

There is no denying that Honda have made great progress in sorting out their disaster of an engine. Renaults have exploded this year far more frequently than the two Japanese units in the back of the MP4-30. Yet Fernando is now on his third ICE, turbo and MGU-H, so one additional change and after that grid penalties loom.

To a MacHonda driver at present, this would mean starting plumb last – then being forced to take time penalties also in the race.

To make matters worse, the MP4-30 is fast developing a reputation as a potential killing machine. The mysterious Barcelona crash during testing is yet to be satisfactorily explained.

Now we understand that Alonso’s accidental ram raid on his pit box during yesterday’s race was caused by a tear-off visor getting stuck in his brake-cooling duct. However, the random nature of such an event precludes it being the cause of a similar problem suffered by Jenson just one day before. The sceptics will be adding this explanation to the increasing scroll of half-truths in what is becoming an entertaining and an eclectic list of misinformation which McLaren has been dishing out since the start of the year.

To cap it all, the usually phlegmatic Jenson Button described his own MP4-30 as downright “dangerous to drive,” adding, “the first 30-odd laps were the scariest 30 laps of my life.”

This is not what the team would be hoping their drivers would say about their lovingly crafted racing prototype which is set to be ‘dominant’ – one day.

But for now, Fernando smiles and his winning charm and brave face are almost believable. Though it is hardly surprising he saddled up his horse and rode off into the Catalan hills, wanting no part in this weeks test at the circuit de Catalunya.

Meanwhile, Jenson is prepared to take his life in his hands once again behind the wheel of the MP4-30 this week on Wednesday – but not before McLaren guinea pig Oliver Turvey gets to taste it first.

33 responses to “The Sorrows of Fernando Alonso

  1. This is exactly why I don’t buy Hamilton’s “too cool for Mercedes” attitude in the media. He knows he has what all the other driver’s want, a Mercedes seat, and should Mercedes not give into his demands, they could sign Alonso for less $$ and then Hamilton can cruise to finish 10th. I’d rate Alonso better than Rosberg though, will we ever see Lewis and Alonso in the same team?? Now THAT would be a season

  2. “To cap it all, the usually phlegmatic Jenson Button described his own MP4-30 as downright “dangerous to drive”.”

    Clearly you heftily indulge yourself into half-truths, too. Button’s comments were almost surely about the throttle application and power delivery at high speed, i.e. driveability of the PU. If you’re somehow trying to tie up Button’s “dangerous to drive” with the imagined truths of Fernando in Barcelona being “incapacitated” or the Honda engine showing “scorch marks” or the Honda engine delivering “gushes of toxic gases from the poorly sealed MGU-K”, you’re doing a lousy job at that.

    And before you point out that you didn’t say it outright, which although true, you clearly imply and didn’t make an effort to make it clear. It looks like the McHonda witch-hunt hasn’t stopped yet…

    • > It looks like the McHonda witch-hunt hasn’t stopped yet…

      Nor has your application for being McLaren’s chief apologist. Button is not known to be too outspoken, but when he complains as often as he did this weekend and even calls his car dangerous to drive and scary. Wouldn’t you agree that there are more things wrong in the state of Denmark than only the engine? It’s not the first brake problem they’d had and this weekend they had them on both cars.

      • Many other cars have had incredibly mysterious brake problems beginning 2014, from Merc last year up to Red Bull two GPs back, yet I can’t remember hippos getting up in arms in how dangerous and unsafe those machines were, and how scared the drivers were to set foot in those machines (guinea pigs?) and how reckless the team bosses were to put said drivers in oh so mortal danger…

        Brake problems were undeniably present on the McLaren’s this weekend, but this is old story with this generation of the regs… Hard to understand this particular fixation on McLaren…

        • McLaren are getting more flak for it, because unlike other teams, they have a history of outright lying to the public about their problems. Just remember that shambolic press conference during the second Barcelona test.

          • Yeah, you’ll need to come up with more than just the Alonso’s Barcelona testing accident and associated brouhaha…

    • … there is an element of ironic humour I see in this piece. I wouldn’t describe it as setting out to be a scientific treaty or systemic analysis – mind you McLaren appear incapable of this too.

      It’s more – some kind of ‘art work’.

      And you have to admit having two world champion drivers unable to score a point after more than a quarter of the season is gone – is…. well….. pointless…. and worth a snigger.

      Yes we all love Big Ron for taking on those nasty cheating Italians and copying Enzo by building his own car company to fund the F1 project… But its just so….. damn serious – and so completely…. nowhere???

      MacHonda are making Renault Red Bull 2014 look like championship contenders… judge us not Landroni. I confess I too have a soft spot for Macca from way back – but I do feel a moment to indulge in some child like humour… is not inappropriate.

      Sheath thy sword brother…

      I know we shouldn’t – but farts do make funny sounds 😉

      • “And you have to admit having two world champion drivers unable to score a point after more than a quarter of the season is gone – is…. well….. pointless…. and worth a snigger.”

        All too true. The Honda pooping machine isn’t pulling any punches…

        On a different note, the McHonda experience is a living testament to the importance of the car to any one winning driver, notwithstanding the raw abilities of said driver. No car, and even Alonso can’t do anything better than… what we’re seeing right now.

  3. Agree with all of it except for the fact that Alonso himself choose to leave Ferrari as James Allison recent interview shows. But yes, it is a living nightmare being an Alonso fan right now. Only comfort is he wouldn’t win the WDC in the Ferrari anyway by the looks of it.

    Also, I think much of Mclaren deficit is down to the chassis. Looking at cornering speeds and especially driveability the MP30 looks bloody awful although much of it can probably also be explained by the power unit.

      • May I ask how you know this? Because Alonso himself has directly said many times he choose to leave Ferrari. Allison has openly said (both this week and last summer) he tried to convince him to stay.

        • Because Fernando’s version doesn’t match what just about every media outfit reported on the Thursday before the 2014 Japanese GP.
          Fernando was seen storming out of the motorhome swearing at Mattiachi and a few hours later Vettel was announced.
          It might technically be a ‘mutual agreement’, but Ferrari let him know in no uncertain terms that he would no longer be welcome.

          • I see. With all likelihood they disagreed regarding Alonso’s salary. Alonso himself was certainly not overly enthusiastic to continue at Ferrari anyway – despite reports of him being angry with Mattiachi in that meeting.

            I guess it comes to semantics in the end. Yes, given Alonso’s demands and refusal to comply with Ferrari’s demands, he was fired. I think that if Alonso really wanted to continue at Ferrari – with his existing contract – he would have. By that I mean Ferrari didn’t ‘fire’ because of his dark mood or whatever but because of his additional demands and his lack of willingness to continue/comply with Ferrari.

          • Add into that LdM’s recent comments that Seb’s contract was worth far less than what Alonso wanted to renew his contract.

            So clearly there’s some truth to the rumours he was pushed rather than he jumped.

          • Alonso did not choose to leave Ferrari. Ferrari got rid of him simply because, when the top management changed, they realized that the whole team revolved around him and not the other way around. Alonso cannot set up a car: the Fiat 2014 was made for him: it sucked. He had had 5 years at Ferrari with the whole team obeying his every command, building a car around him and virtually killing any chance of winning the WCC because they forgot they had a second driver in the team, and he did nothing. And now Ferrari is winning, or at least much better than last year, because Arrivabene said when he arrived to build a car around Kimi, and around Vettel at the same time as they have apparently the same preferences. Alonso is a great driver, don’t get me wrong. But way too much politics… Look at this career: how many bosses have ended theirs directly because of him? How many scandals has he been involved with? He’s as good as he’s an ass. He’s getting what he deserves. Karma hit him. And that’s for the best.

        • It is Ferrari who have said this – Alonso acknowledged their comment this weekend by responding, ‘it is irrelevant what they say’.

          • Do we score that making it more likely to be true or less likely? 🙂

      • Fully agree with that one oh great wollower in mud. I do believe he was removed from the team once Luca demob hit the door on the way out. However,I feel that this was not only done because of a clash of wills but also my beloved team needed a complete fresh start with the car. Alonso could drive around problems just like MS could in the day and so the team feedback was lacking. As a driver he is right up at the top but as a development driver his skill didn’t help as he masked what was wrong with the package. I do stand by what I wrote earlier in the year, one more year with the team would have been great,I follow Ferrari with a passion but I have to admit I really didn’t like how he was removed, it could have been handled way better

  4. Is it possible that the reason Jenson is finding the car increasingly scary to drive is that McLaren are trying to develop it based solely on Fernando’s preferences? It would not be the first time that a teammate of Fernando’s ends up having their confidence destroyed by a twitchy, highly strung car that Fernando then miraculously “drags into contention”, proving once again that he is the greatest of them all!

    • When Alonso joined McLaren, the MP4-30 was basically already designed. So if anything, this years car would be developed mainly on Jenson’s input.

      • Yes, and at the beginning of the season, Button wasn’t describing it as the scariest car he’s ever driven. I am talking about the direction they have taken +since+ then.

    • I this particular weekend the car was much more undriveable – probably because of the Honda PU and software mapping. Alonso excels at driving undriveable cars while Button is extremely sensitive to the behavior of the car. Looking at both Button’s and Alonso’s onboard footage throughout the weekend you can clearly see this. Nobody likes a car like that.

      • Does he excel at driving “undriveable” cars or does he excel at influencing development until the car is undriveable for his teammate? Even if it compromises his own results? I wonder what Ferrari would say.

      • I seem to recall that, during the initial tests, Button said several times that the chassis is fundamentally good. I’m no expert but it would seem that the PU is developing Renault-like problems with the power delivery as they have gradually turned up the wick.

  5. If Alonso was fired why didn’t they pay him off like they did with Kimi? Do you take Alonso for a fool who would just accept being fired with no compensation? Do YOU take us all for fools?

    • Not only the drivers do have exit clauses in the contract. In fact, the employer usually has several of them and for instance his rather unflattering comments in public (birthday comment for instance) could have easily be used by Ferrari to fabricate charges of misrepresenting the team. If you work for Coca Cola, you can find yourself out of a job quickly, if you announce publicly that you want a Pepsi for your birthday.

  6. I am soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo disappointed with McLaren. They have always been my team, since I was a small boy, I thought ‘Big Ron’ was an F1 God, engineering careers of great drivers, whilst running a tight ship, never deviating from the one goal, to WIN!

    I had real genuine excitement about this year. I always knew that they had very little chance of coming straight out of the box hot to trot, but I didn’t envisage them not even making it into the points after a quarter of the season. Honda may have massively underestimated what they were taking on with these new Hybrid power units, but something is definitely not well within the beating heart that powers the MP4/30, be it the entire ERS system, BBW, torque mapping, the MGU H or K, what ever it is, they need to buck their ideas up. They would look super silly, if perhaps Audi came in and produced a better PU. I read somewhere that Audi are working on their own formula E power train for next season, whith all the regenerative braking and energy management involved there, combined with the WEC technology they have access to with the Porsche and Audi entrants. They could quite feasibly show up Renault while they are at it.
    Until we see a fully functional PU in the back of the McLaren, there is virtually no way for them to really know just where the chassis is aerodynamically. This is going to be a long road for McLaren/Honda, I wonder whether Lewis might be contemplating trying to do what Sebastian is aiming to do at Ferrari, at McLaren, both sides have said ‘never say never’ in the past (I’m just indulging my self now). Unfortunately, one thing I am sure of is that neither of the current drivers have got enough time to left on their careers to wait for the magic to start happening. Sadly I think Alonso had painted himself into a corner career wise and it was McLaren or nothing. I really believe he will retire the 2x champion he already is.

    On a side note, I’m going to the bookies on Saturday to see what odds I get on Lewis retiring at the end of the year, I think he will announce it the moment he gets the points he needs to win the title.

    You heard it hear 1st 😇😵🔫 I will post what odds they offer in the comments section when I’ve done it. If I get 500-1 it’s gotta be worth £10?

    • I’m not so sure the chassis’ up to much either to be honest. Watching the onboard of one of Alonso’s laps it looked a right handful. This year’s a right off I feel unfortunately. Let’s hope they can get it sorted for next season eh.

  7. At least Mercedes aren’t wasting Hamilton’s talent in the same way as McLaren have for 5 seasons. All McLaren do is frustrate their supporters in any possible way and even now they just carry on season after season. They can keep sorting it out next season, I’m more than happy to watch them do that.

    • Any Decent Performance Inside MCLAREN Have Just Stopped Since LEWIS Abandoned That Sinking Ship In 2012.

      GO, 44 !

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