Fernando Alonso, Ferrari. Silverstone, 2013

Alonso did consider Ferrari exit – Coulthard

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Fernando Alonso, Ferrari. Silverstone, 2013In the round-up: David Coulthard believes Fernando Alonso was considering leaving Ferrari for another team at mid-season.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

David Coulthard: Plenty to ponder as an F1 era draws to a close (BBC)

“I can’t know for sure but I do believe there is substance to the reports that his management were looking around other teams in the summer.”

Pirelli hurt by Red Bull criticism (Autosport)

Motorsport director Paul Hembery: “If the sport does not protect you from it when you are asked to do something then you have to do it yourself.”

Jean-Eric Vergne’s Christmas Wishes (Toro Rosso via YouTube)



Comment of the day

@McKenzie looks ahead to 2014:

Hopefully no single team will dominate in 2014, despite Vettel?s prediction. Red Bull will possibly stay at the top for a number of reasons: car development, Vettel?s skill (and the continuity factor) and, not least, a whopping budget. But I do hope as many drivers as possible score good points.

I don?t throw my support behind any team or any driver; I like to watch the racing, that?s all. I have misgivings over Maldonado, but that?s simply because I can?t warm to the man, rather than anything to do with his driving. My like or dislike of any driver is neither here nor there though. As long as the teams and the drivers do their level best in 2014, I?ll be happy. Even though I don?t really ??support? any team or driver, I?m hoping Force India, Marussia, Sauber and Williams can all take points off the big boys. I also hope Grosjean continues to develop as a driver.

Regardless of who wins, F1 will still keep me riveted to the television. The only real downer will be if no-one can challenge Vettel.

From the forum

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On this day in F1

Four years ago today Michael Schumacher announced his comeback to Formula One.

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  • 42 comments on “Alonso did consider Ferrari exit – Coulthard”

    1. Four years ago today Michael Schumacher announced his comeback to Formula One.

      I’ll never forget Keith’s prediction of 3 wins for Schumi in 2010 :P.

      No doubt his management team was looking somewhere else given how lame Ferrari performed since the first year together. Everytime they hitted back, they went down the slope the week after… A racer like Alonso surely felt annoyed with all that, just like Hamilton at McLaren I suppose.

      1. He may have considered leaving Ferrari but he really had no good options available. McLaren may have taken him though.

        1. Lotus. He knows them well. Good car too.

      2. If I remember correctly, Keith even predicted Schumacher would be WDC. He wasn’t alone; a lot of people thought so, too. I remember how baffled I was about half-way through the season when Rosberg was trouncing him in points. I think my professed befuddlement over that was my only COTD.

        1. it could have been: MS was a leyend and the team was the reigning champion of the wcc and the wdc!!!! but im glad it wasnt the case! i never was a MS fan! too bad jenson left…

        2. I’m not as sure about Keith, but I do know that Brawn had MS as 2010 WDC…no surprise there really, given their history. I was only surprised that Merc didn’t throw everything behind MS, ala MS/Ferrari, and was highly impressed with NR taking having MS as a teammate in stride and that only seeming to invigorate him, when most would have understood if it intimidated him and automatically put him in a secondary status mode. He has now held his own against LH as well. Once I saw that NR was not just automatically bowing down to MS, it became more apparent than ever to me how much MS depended upon the endless resources at Ferrari, as well as a guaranteed non-competing teammate, and without that and instead a more normal F1 situation akin to what most drivers experience in their careers, he looked far far less spectacular, and even ragged and amateurish too often.

    2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      23rd December 2013, 0:21

      Ooohh, Rossi in a factory Ferrari LMP1, would love to see that!

      Seriously though, I do hope there is more to this Ferrari LMP1 rumour than just F1-centric politics.

      1. It’d be a bold step for Ferrari to take though.

        There are still considerable doubts over whether the ACO can ever adequately balance the performance of diesel and petrol powered cars – particularly given that Audi has been accused of manipulating the regulations in their favour in the past (for example, the minimum weight of the LMP1 class was suddenly revised upwards less than a week after it emerged that the R10 was overweight).
        There would then be the issue of facing the financial might of VW – an outfit that is rumoured to spend more than the rest of the field combined – not to mention that VW can split their development between Porsche and Audi whereas Ferrari would have to do everything in house (Dr Ullrich did hint that there had been some “unofficial” transferral of data from Audi to Porsche).

        Equally, although they could adapt their F1 turbo engine, it would require quite a bit of development to make it competitive against the likes of Porsche and sufficiently reliable enough to last the full race distance at Le Mans. Now, 2015 is about the same time that the cost cap in F1 is supposed to be coming in, which might allow Ferrari to divert some resources to an LMP1 program, but even so it would be a bit of a stretch to run both programs at full capacity at the same time – a lack of resources was why, albeit very reluctantly, Ferrari stopped their sportscar program in the 1970’s.

        1. I believe there was more than a rumor about Honda adapting their engines for WEC racing and were offering three different packages of just powertrain and up to powertrain and ERS/KERS setups. I’ve not heard anything since then though (a few months ago iirc).

    3. Vergne actually seems like a pretty cool guy.

      1. He’s pretty charismatic, but he’s on the route to become one of those ‘likable, but not good enough to win in F1’ drivers. Honestly, I could see him move to another series in 2015 if Toro Rosso decide to hurry Carlos Sainz Jr. into F1 and not be too heartbroken about it. I liked McNish more when winning at Audi than wasting 2 years at Toyota F1 and Wurz won me back in endurance racing after a poor end to his Benetton career and a mediocre season at Williams.

      2. what if Red Bull would have picked him instead of Ricciardo? the difference wasn’t that big between them, JEV was only struggling on qualis (compared to RIC). what if Red Bull wouldn’t have loaned RIC to Hispania in 2011 for a half season? this way RIC was way more prepared in AUS 2012 when they both made their debut at Toro Rosso. what if RIC will be destroyed alongside VET next year, and JEV will have the upper hand to KVY, how would their reputation compare to each other?

        now many believes that RIC is a superior driver only because Dr. Marko picked him. what if JEV would have been picked instead of him? i don’t say JEV would have been a better choice, but we will neve figure this out. maybe VET decides to leave Red Bull for some challenge, and JEV could be hired by Red Bull, alongside RIC, but RIC will have the experience of racing for a top team, so the current situation looks pretty much like game over for JEV. I know that’s how todays F1 works, but this is frustrating…

        1. Honestly, many believe RIC is the ‘superior’ driver because his results are better.

        2. Vergne will never be hired by Red Bull, and rightly so. He really isn’t good enough to be at a team of their calibre. I really don’t think half a season at HRT gave Ricciardo such a performance advantage, and anyone who thinks that are kidding themselves. The thing is, there was this notion that Vergne had the upper hand in races, but he doesn’t anymore. He was beaten by Ricciardo in the last 4 races of the season.

          Vergne will think himself fortunate to have a Toro Rosso seat after the summer break if he continues to stagnate as he has done since Canada. I can see Kvyat embarrassing him in fact.

    4. Hembery believes Red Bull’s criticism weakened Pirelli’s position

      Im pretty sure it was all the ‘cut’ tyres & other tyre failures which did that.

      It seems like all Pirelli is interested in doing is shifting the blame, Its never an issue with there tyres, Its never there fault & Paul Hembrey seems like nothing but a spindoctor desperately trying to point fingers elsewhere.

      Did Red Bull complain about the extreme high-deg seen early in the year, Yes they did but so did most of the fans, a lot of the media people within F1 & some of the other teams.
      Paul Hebrey constantly singling Red Bull out & ignoring everyone else who was criticizing there tyres & most importantly ignoring the fact that the Early-2013 tyres were too extreme. Tyres degrading to the point where you need to make 4-stops & still drive round slowly managing tyres at Barcelona was a joke.

      The levels of tyre management seen pretty much all year was too much, I get tyre management has always been a factor to some degree but never to the degree seen in 2013 & thats why so many complained & disliked the tyres we had this year (Including most of the drivers lets not forget).

      I had no complaints about the Pirelli tyres of 2011, They worked well & they should have stuck with whatever philosophy they used that year.
      The tiny operating window tyres of 2012 & the Extreme High-Deg (Thermal degredation) tyres of 2013 were clearly the wrong direction to go & have done nothing but hurt both Pirelli & F1, And along with DRS done nothing but turn thousands of viewers off F1.

      For 2014 they should either go back to what they did in 2011 (Tyres that wore out, But not too fast & didn’t need so much management), Or simply make durable tyres that bring the racing back into F1.

      If the tyres are still the biggest story of 2014 & nothing changes (Despite all there extra testing) then F1 will be dead to me as i’m tired of the main focus been on tyres before, during & after every race weekend.

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        23rd December 2013, 3:43

        I completely agree. The tyres in 2013 were atrocious!

        But I am optimistic for 2014 as the tyres are apparently supposed to be a lot more durable due to the increased torque levels. Apparently Pirelli thought the teams had enough of a task on their hands with the new regulations, that lottery tyres were the last thing they needed.

        I still maintain that it’s these ‘designed to degrade’ tyres that are the real culprit behind formula one’s downturn in quality racing, not so much DRS.

        1. +1 Chris

      2. Tyres degrading to the point where you need to make 4-stops & still drive round slowly managing tyres at Barcelona was a joke.

        Let’s not forget that Pirelli was asked to do ‘jelly tires’ in the first place. And multiple stops was meant to be the name of the game (in order to ‘improve the show’) in 2013. Apparently the game changed it’s name as teams prefered to use tyre-saving mode and do less stops hence the races became less ‘racy’ and more strategic.
        It’s really like asking the bartender to put 5 tbs of sugar in your drink and then complain that it’s too sweet.

        1. Yeah of course Pirelli can and has fallen back on ‘we were doing what we were asked to do under conditions of limited testing so this kind of thing is going to potentially happen under those circumstances.’

          I’m sure all the teams had issues even if they all weren’t as vocal as others. Interestingly RBR seemed to suffer more than Ferrari and Lotus initially, and were very vocal about the tires needing changing, and as defending Champions I suppose some paranoia was warranted in terms of F1 trying to impede them from another runaway season.

          For me I thought that the mid-season tire change was very unfortunate and it’s very telling that Pirelli was not more heavily penalized for botching the tires, in that what that tells us is that F1/FIA knew they shared some of the responsibility for having Pirelli make such tires and not providing the sufficient testing opportunities to make sure they were ok.

          This is what happens when F1 can’t bring itself to reduce aero and instead would rather make the tires and DRS artificial along with the ‘racing.’

    5. Good COTD, I’m not a fan of any driver either, but apart of enjoying the racing (or whatever is left of it) I also enjoy the engineering side of F1, I started watching it when I was 10 years old and I liked the fact that the cars and teams were even more important than the drivers, it certainly influenced me into studying engineering and that makes 2014 the most eagerly awaited season in my life, double points or domination I don’t care, for me it’s a classic already.

    6. In all honesty, I understand why Alonso would for another team if he did. The failure to win the 2010 was a combination of both his own and Ferrari’s doing, but the loss of the 2012 championship was almost entirely Ferrari’s fault for their lack of car development while Alonso did virtually everything he could, and don’t even get me started on 2011, where there was never a title challenge to begin with.

      All in all, hopefully the new regulations will suit Ferrari better.

      1. Alonso is a part of Ferrari team. and if his team can’t deliver a wining car, maybe he is also to blame for not giving enough effort to develop that car?

      2. I wouldn’t be surprised if the rumours about Alonso’s management approaching Red Bull about the available seat were true. I think Red Bull was the only team that Alonso would have considered leaving Ferrari for.

    7. Steph (@stephanief1990)
      23rd December 2013, 9:06

      The title to the Alonso link is a little misleading as it sounds like Alonso definitely was looking around but Coulthard says he didn’t know for sure but believed there was substance to the rumours- something quite different.

      1. Classic headline manipulation.

      2. @stephanief1990 I presume you mean the title to the round-up rather than the title to the link, which is (as always) is the same as the title used by the source (or was when I found the article anyway, I haven’t checked they haven’t changed it since, which does happen sometimes). Given that, I don’t agree, as that is what Coulthard is saying, and the introduction and quote further clarify the detail of his point of view.

    8. Thanks for COTD Keith – wasn’t expecting it.

      And thanks to the F1F members for providing some of the best F1 analysis around. There are loads of F1 sites but F1F’s discussion is far and away the most interesting.

    9. DC believes ..Alonso did this or that, is not the same thing as Alonso actually doing this or that.
      So no one can say “Alonso DID consider” anything.

      Just one further point about DC, he predicted that KR would have difficulty finding success at Lotus 2012.
      He was wrong.

    10. Gefeliciteerd @Bascb, and @Olliekart and @Bosyber!

    11. Alonso is one of a kind. It seems to me he is one of us. He feels he is the best driver (which he probably is). He feels he deserves more championships. I don’t think he will ever drive better than 2012…he is declining. 2013 was a good year for him but with some mistakes here an there (Malasya, Monaco). RedBull didn’t want him. Mercedes is locked for the next couple of years. His only way out of Ferrari is McLaren Honda, which is not easy since Ron is still there and they are burning Magnussen right away. Alonso lost against last “Mc Laren Golden Boy” (HAM).
      Alonso’s path is getting thiner an thiner.
      Ferrari is not heaven…but is the best shot Alonso has. And he knows that.

      1. I don’t think he’s declining in terms of driver skills, more likely he lost his motivation mid-season when RedBull and Vettel began their crushing domination. And I totally understand him, nor Ferrari or Mercedes had a car fast enough to challenge for victories in the last part of the season, and getting merely podiums is hardly a motivation for a driver who lost 2 championships in the last 4 seasons.
        Anyways there’s a tendency in the media to focus mainly on Alonso’s frustrations for not winning championships as if F1 is a 2-men competition between ALO and VET. I don’t think Alonso approached other teams and there’s nothing to prove that he did that, but the subject was milked by the media at max for eye-grabbing headlines.

      2. Ferrari is not heaven…but is the best shot Alonso has. And he knows that.
        As an Alonso fan, I have to admit that its hard seeing him drive for such an incompetent team.

        Ferrari haven't look capable of creating a championship winning car since the days of endless testing. Currently, they have the best driver on the grid who has been at the peak of his powers , yet they haven't produced a car capable of fighting at the front.

        Ferrari will get things right over a period of time (probably by poaching technical staff from Red Bull and Mercedes)…. but by that time Alonso's time with the team would e up and Vettel would get to reap the benefits of a dominant car again

    12. As much as i initially agree with the statement about warming to Pastor i will have to say he made the effort to speak to everyone outside his hotel at silverstone on the saturday night that i saw him. Something i didnt see anyone else do. Tho i didnt wait around for anyone i did see Kova turn up and refuse to speak or even smile, which surprised me & others.

    13. You know that quality of this site has gone downhill fast, when:

      I can’t know for sure but I do believe there is substance to the reports that his management were looking around other teams in the summer.

      translates into:

      Alonso did consider Ferrari exit

      Even BBC, who published the article itself, didn’t go for that kind of cheap sensationalism.

      1. If the headline did say what you’ve put there I might agree with you, but it doesn’t, it clearly reflects that this is someone’s individual point of view. A bit rich to talk about “cheap sensationalism” when you’re purposefully changing what is written to try to try to justify your point of view.

        1. @keithcollantine I agree with @obviously. When you use the em dash it means that you are quoting David Couldhard while in reality you are just interpreting what he said.

          1. @klaas

            When you use the em dash it means that you are quoting

            No it doesn’t, double quote marks indicate a direct quote. This is paraphrasing.

      2. If you dont like the quality of this site….then dont visit it!

        There are plenty of other F1 websites…none as good as F1F!

    14. “David Coulthard believes Fernando Alonso was considering leaving Ferrari” BELIEVE? Very good information!

    15. -Alonso did consider Ferrari exit-.
      -Well, no, not really, but I BELIEVE SO-.
      -That’s fine, it is enough for Keith, we all know the way he treats Alonso.-

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