Fernando Alonso, Ron Dennis, McLaren, 2014

Alonso not leaving McLaren in 2016 – Dennis

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Fernando Alonso, Ron Dennis, McLaren, 2014In the round-up: Ron Dennis denies Fernando Alonso could leave McLaren for Mercedes as early as next year.


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

Fernando Alonso locked into McLaren, says Ron Dennis (BBC)

"McLaren chairman Ron Dennis insists there is no possibility Fernando Alonso could join Mercedes for 2016 as a replacement for Lewis Hamilton."

Mercedes: Back to work and hungrier than ever (F1)

"There is a lot of novelty on this car, absolutely. We have found performance in a number of areas."

Daniel Ricciardo interview ahead of the Red Bull RB11 launch (F1 Fanatic via YouTube)


Comment of the day

Is two wins too modest a target for Ferrari?

I’m actually happy to hear something like this from the new team principle. One of the things that has driven me mad the past few years is the lack of realistic expectations or honesty in any answer Domenicali, di Montezemolo or the team at large has given regarding the team’s performance since 2009. It was always the case of “we expect to fight for the championship, we expect to win loads, forza Ferrari!”. It was the same every year, regardless of previous performance. It made the upper management look either ridiculously entitled and arrogant or completely delusional. I suspect it was a bit of both.

I’m happy that Arrivabene has set a concrete target for his team. He’s not speaking of championships or how Ferrari should be winning because of their mystique or history. Compared to Ferrari pre-season statements in recent years two wins is a humble and modest target! Hopefully it reflects a change in the operation of Ferrari at the highest level, that does away with the arrogance and whining and just makes efforts to challenge their competitors. I still think it is a tough goal to meet, but I’ll be delighted if they do.

From the forum

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On this day in F1

One-time grand prix winner Jo Bonnier was born 85 years ago today. He died in a crash during the 1972 Le Mans 24 Hours.

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  • 72 comments on “Alonso not leaving McLaren in 2016 – Dennis”

    1. I agree with Ron, there’s no way Alonso will replace Hamilton at Mercedes in 2016.

      Mainly because Hamilton would be mad to leave.

      1. At this point in time I’d agree with you. However, that’s the same thing everybody said when Lewis left McLaren at the end of 2012, and it was probably the best decision of his career. I don’t think Mercedes would go cheap on him, but he’s shown he has quite an eye to jump boat exactly when he needs to.

        1. Having only moved once in his career, I think Lewis is one of the most loyal. Unlike Alonso for example, Lewis’ decisions are not rash, but are well thought out and calculated. The fact that he has not signed the first contract that Mercedes, with their dominant car, tosses in his faces is proof of this.

          1. Do you think Hamilton’s decision to reinvent himself as a pop star is well thought out and calculated? If I were Merc I’d be targetting Alonso as a driver who, unlike Hamilton, wants nothing besides more WDCs.

            1. Do you think Hamilton’s decision to reinvent himself as a pop star is well thought out and calculated?

              It think you have been reading too many gossip columns. Besides I was referring to his career moves rather than his extramural activities.

              If I were Merc I’d be targetting Alonso as a driver who, unlike Hamilton, wants nothing besides more WDCs.

              Not trying to sound rude here, but is that the reason why F1 drives are paid-to win championships. Didn’t Alonso leave Ferrari because of the frustration of not winning a championship. I doubt that McLaren hired Alonso for his looks, they hired him because he is one of the best at what he does, i.e winning.

            2. ‘Do you think Hamilton’s decision to reinvent himself as a pop star is well thought out and calculated?’

              If he drives as well as he did last year, I doubt Mercedes would mind if he decides to reinvent himself as a lobster.

            3. @paulguitar


              No, COTYear.

            4. Do you think Hamilton’s decision to reinvent himself as a pop star is well thought out and calculated? If I were Merc I’d be targetting Alonso as a driver who, unlike Hamilton, wants nothing besides more WDCs.

              Yes, because it’s something he has a passion for and will bring him happiness and a happy Hamilton is probably the best driver on the grid.

            5. Rosberg must be a dud then, being beaten by someone whose focus is elsewhere.

            6. The bar is not exactly high, considering how well other racing driver music releases have done..

        2. I think that Hamilton is trying to negotiate a salary that Merc won’t pay. Hamilton needs Merc more than they need him. If he isn’t careful, he may not be resigned. There are other drivers that can be had for a lot less. If you think about it, Merc drivers will finish first and second like last year and win the constructor’s again. Do they really care which one of their drivers win the WDC? I think not. Alonso would not be necessary to replace Hamilton and easily win another constructor’so. Be careful HAM, you may be on thin ice.

          1. If you think about it, Merc drivers will finish first and second like last year and win the constructor’s again.

            This may be true for this year (although it’s a little early to tell) but the gap will close and then Mercedes will need the best drivers.

      2. In his shoes I’d probably be open to a move, especially if I won again in 2015. The frustrated F1 driver living inside me would want titles with as many teams as possible.

        But he probably doesn’t think the way my little internal buddy does.

        1. It always cracks me up how people who derided Hamilton’s move to Mercedes now suddenly want him to leave. Mental really!

          1. Hahaha!
            They are sad he’s now in the best car.

    2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      31st January 2015, 0:31

      Hey Mercedes Benz bosses, bring some food to your people, they are always talking about being hungrier.
      Or take them to the hospital. They may have parasite problems…

    3. Geoff Collins tweet is hilarious. How no one at sauber realised?

      1. Yeah when I first saw the Sauber it definitely reminded me of one of the GP2 cars, but couldn’t quite remember which one, seems crazy they’d use such similar livery.

        1. @williamstuart Carlin, who Nasr was previously at. Maybe both cars should do a shootout, there probably wouldn’t be too much difference.. inevitably followed by “Sauber to run GP2 car to survive”..

          1. Haha, yeah I feel sorry for Nasr as he’s not realised he’s getting a worse car this year.

    4. ColdFly F1 (@)
      31st January 2015, 0:53

      I can only hope that we soon stop talking about Alonso’s potential moves and relationship with Ron.

      Alonso, McLaren, and Honda all have good pedigree and I can only hope that this will lead to success on track.

      It might not be a WDC this season. But as long as we can see clear progress and them starting to compete with Mercedes/etc. then that will be good and nobody will think about Alonso/McLaren parting again after 1 year.

      1. @coldfly
        It’d be funny if Lewis and Alonso swopped places in 2018, only for the Macca to be the best car then.

        1. As an Alonso fan I would not find that at all amusing.

      2. @coldfly

        But as long as we can see clear progress

        … and as long as they start from not too far behind … If they can’t score any podium this year, it will be a really difficult relationship, I think.

    5. I don’t know why Alonso hasn’t said he can’t go to Mercedes, then.

      1. I don’t think the onus is on FA to respond to something that was only rumours that have nothing to do with reality. Wolff being asked last year about FA has to do with a comment made by Wolff, not by FA. FA is now with McHonda. Doesn’t that say it all?

    6. as a graphical designer, i find baffling why teams with such little sponsorship (as Sauber) don’t use all that free space to do a nice, modern, atractive livery.. for that, i have to give some credit to HRT or SuperAguri…

      1. You are absolutely right.

      2. I agree, sportscar and Indycar teams seem to do some much better liveries, on a fraction of an F1 budget.

      3. @matiascasali @jcost I can only assume that they paid the bare minimum to get their new livery done!

        1. the story of graphical designers lifes… “why should i pay you so much for that? my daughter/son/nephew also knows how to run a computer an he does it for free!” well, there you go a daughter/son/nephew design…

          1. I know that feeling *hug*

            Still, as often as I am asked to do something for free, I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute if someone offered me the design for an F1 car. Heck, I would probably pay for the chance to do that.

            1. same here. Take your chance, you’re closer to an F1 team than me!

    7. I wouldn’t be so sure Ron. Alonso will drop McLaren like they are hot should an opening at Mercedes exist.

      1. I’m going to guess you didn’t read the article. Alonso apparently signed a three year contract with no performance clauses allowing for escape. Unless he gets sacked again, he isn’t dropping anything.

        1. Since when has a contract stood in the way of Alonso if he wants to move. He left both Ferrari and McLaren without any exist or performance clause.

          1. @realstig in both cases it was mutually beneficial to both parties to cut the ties. In any case Lewis is not going anywhere any time soon so its a moot point. Hamilton has no history at all of asking for exorbitant amounts of cash or for No.1 status so both parties will be continuing together for some time and a few championships!

            1. in both cases it was mutually beneficial to both parties to cut the ties.

              Moot point. My point still stands. If Mr Alonso wants to leave he will leave. Exit clause or no exit clause.

            2. But @realstig would Mercedes take him, breaking a contract? And there is still the Contracts Recognition Board AFAIK.

              Tho Ron only said ‘performance clause’, so it’s not quite watertight perhaps.

    8. @keithcollantine: To the “From the forum” topic, that is the article (or mainly Force India’s financial problem) which was denied even in yesterday’s Round-up.
      But “insider Ralf Bach” makes me laugh, he’s had so many terrible exclusive just in the last few months, as did Sport Bild along with him.

    9. I’m just gonna hope button retires in 2016

      1. If (and this is a big if) Button beat Alonso, would you still want Button to retire next year?
        If Button performance was only a bit lower vs Alonso and because of that Button do retire in 2016, do you hope for the same for Alonso to retire in 2017?

        I’m just trying to make sense on why you wanted Button to retire.

        1. So Stoffel can come in?

        2. So Vandoorne can enter f1. Although I regreted posting that comment. (I am a fan of Button) I prefer Alonso retiring than Button.

      2. @castwand2 @xtwl Stoffel and Kevin should be in a junior team.. but Honda McLaren don’t have one. So maybe we will see one next year if Jenson calls it a day. Otherwise, where are these F1 level ready talents going to go, while there are only 18 seats on the grid, and none outside of a top team/pay driver survival strategy?

    10. ColdFly F1 (@)
      31st January 2015, 1:41

      MAuS – interview with Bernie (in German).

      First time Bernie seemed to talk some sense.
      – 10000hp PU that sound uniquely F1;
      – more ‘aggressive’ looking cars; and
      – a lot less rules.

      I think especially on the last bit the FIA has missed the boat. They are issuing too many rules – on everything related to F1 – without increasing the ‘show’.

      1. Ten thousand horsepower? Now that would be something!

        1. @hunocsi

          Even with more downforce, that will sort the men out from the boys……..:)

        2. ColdFly F1 (@)
          31st January 2015, 5:35

          @hunocsi – oops! I’ll blame it on my poor translation skills ;-)

        3. @coldfly @hunocsi @paulguitar “How much HP in the push to pass? Over 9000!”

          Followed by: “Wow, we’d even see overtaking pre-Pirelli with that much extra!”

      2. A push to get to 1,000bhp is entirely unnecisary as its probable that they will end up there in 3-4 years without any rule changes.

        Mercedes were said to be around 850bhp in 2014 & Renault say there at 850bhp this year. Providing Mercedes have made gains they could be at 900bhp before long & even with the engine freeze been phased in they will continue to make improvements & that will see them continuing to get closer to 1,000bhp.

        Its the same with the ‘make the cars faster’ push, There going to get faster without the need for further rule changes. Pirelli are already saying the cars will be upto 3 seconds faster this year & without making any changes they will be faster again in 2016 & again in 2017.

        Instead of changing rules to force engine & car performance to where its going to end up anyway, How about changing the rules to improve how well the cars race so we can do away with gimmicks like DRS & High-Deg tyres?
        Removing the need for High-Deg tyres in particular will also bring performance as Pirelli could then start making the absolute best tyres they are able to & that alone will see a big performance gain.

    11. You can check in any time you want, but you can never ever leave…

    12. Something Bernie says in the German article linked by @coldfly that perplexes me slightly is that he says the engines should not cost more than 5 million euros – I would be surprised if they got that low, as even the V8s cost £7 million a year (which is obviously even more in euros) despite being heavily subsidised – the cost to the engine manufacturers of supplying one team was actually about £14 million, so they were in fact making a substantial loss on each engine. This was the result of Max Mosely’s cost-cutting drive, which the engine manufacturers agreed to in exchange for freedom in other areas – they were allowed to increase the number of teams they could supply to, and were allowed to impose driver development programs on customer teams.

      The current engines cost is around £20 million a year, which actually isn’t as much of an increase as it has been made out to be (as mentioned earlier, the real cost of the V8 engines was around £14 million annually). However, the FIA have dropped the ball and not imposed any sort of cap on the prices manufacturers can demand of customers. The result of this lack of subsidisation is that the price demanded of customer teams has pretty much tripled, despite the actual engine costs not actually increasing by this amount. In fact, the high prices of the current engines were primarily just the result of the very high five-year development costs being passed onto customers. As the initial – and largest – development costs have already been covered, with rule stability the engines should get much cheaper in the coming years, potentially soon becoming comparable to the real (unsubsidised) cost of the V8s as the engine freeze regulations tighten up over the next few years (cumulating in a 95% freeze by 2019). Renault themselves have publicly stated that the V6 turbos will get cheaper in the future, and that the first year will obviously be the most expensive year.

      Given Bernie’s desire to interrupt the stability, it almost seems like he has an agenda to exploit the current perception of the situation in order to achieve a change in the engine regulations – probably to “improve the show” while simultaneously reducing Mercedes’ advantage, with prospect of extra development costs disguised by his proposal to standardise several electrical components with the front of reducing costs. Note that the electrical components were an area that Mercedes have had a considerable advantage in, and since all four engine manufacturers have already spent the money on developing these systems I question whether any cost reduction from standardising them would outweigh a potential hike in development costs to change the engine specifications.

      The 1000 hp changes may well increase costs in the short-term, even if they can manage to cut costs in the long-term with standardised components, because they are creating more development costs that will be passed onto the customer teams. As a result, if these changes go though, the FIA may need to impose some sort of cost limit on the prices that can be charged for the engines if they want to improve the short-term situation, as the engines will almost undoubtedly have to be extremely heavily subsidised if they are going to meet this “5 million euro” target anytime soon – if ever.

      That said, I don’t actually disagree with the move to 1000 hp, as long as it is done properly. If they are going to change the engine rules, it needs to be ensured that the changes can be made without creating any substantial additional development costs – if the 1000 hp figure can be reached exclusively with little changes like increasing the fuel flow rate, higher revs and other minor design tweaks (e.g. alterations to crank firing) as has been suggested, then this could all work very smoothly and costs could potentially actually see a decrease. However, given F1’s general trend of repeatedly introducing new regulations – designed to solve various perceived “problems” – that just result in costs going up, I don’t know if that will be the case. If the changes can’t be made without increasing costs, then I feel that the FIA will need to impose a price cap on the engines, because otherwise the added development costs are just going to push prices back up when the revised engine rules come into effect, regardless of whether or not some hybrid aspects are standardised. Currently, the high price of F1 engines are primarily just passed on development costs, so the most certain way to keep costs down is through rule stability.

      If Bernie is going to interrupt that stability and if engine prices increase as a result, he may need some rules in place to guarantee affordable short-term pricing – otherwise several teams may disappear before they get to see the long-term benefits of any electrical standardisation.

      1. Great comment. Even with the ‘underpowered’ Renault engine now producing 850bhp, it wouldn’t be crazy to assume the new Mercedes power unit is closer to 900bhp. If they can produce those numbers with the current limitations in place (I am assuming that the power figures can be achieved in race trim), then as you say, if they lifted the fuel flow limit and max revs then 1000bhp should be very attainable. This would not only mean lower development costs than brand new engines, but the engines should also be a lot louder and to some sound nicer.

      2. Power is fine.. we’ve seen record times at Interlagos, and they’ll follow at other venues gradually. If more HP/costs cut were sought, they probably should have ran less electronics (less development cost) and looser fuel regulations from the very start.

    13. It’s a new nose on that RBR, long one, the predicted trend. Robin whatever. These noses do look less random than 2014’s, ever still there’s 3 trends, that’s more than I thought there would be. There are 2 pairs of noses that look similar, the Ferrari/Sauber and the Lotus/Mercedes, I would predict the RBR to look like the McLaren, a compromise of he 2 trends and the new FI isn’t yet known. The variety on front and rear wings isn’t lost yet, although from profile F1 cars are almost identical.

      1. Yes, the profiles still look awkward, with the straight-edged triangular bodywork on the engine cover and now the top of the nose – they look like Lego cars! There’d be more variety if the rules allowed different airbox shapes (like the late 90s/early noughties), and moved the driver’s feet lower.

        1. @bullfrog Agreed.

          @fastiesty On the latest interviews RBR was confident their 2014 contender was already very good therefore minor adjustments and fine improvements were the only things addressed by the design team, obviously RBR pointed out to lots of work between themselves and Renault. This is the reason why RBR’s nose will keep following it’s philosophy, slight bulge underneath relatively low and long and maybe with the keel. I’m not following the 2nd part of your reply, anyway I’ll clarify that only FI new livery has been presented, the nose was only for show.

      2. @peartree Maybe the same nose.. but will it be the same livery? :P I’m thinking McLaren’s hidden black but with a twist..

    14. Alonso will leave McLaren and go to Mercedes the previous year McLaren will dominate the championship.

      If there is a constant in Alonso’s career, is the bad decisions he always has taken in changing team.

      1. One instance isn’t a constant otherwise you could argue he left Renault to McLaren when Renault stopped winning which is also a constant which cancels out yours and this Alonso has no constants in his career.

      2. He left Renault at the right moment for McLaren and he had a world championship capable drive. That he didn’t get the title in 2007 had nothing to do with the car. He signed with Ferrari at a point where they were cleary ahead of McLaren but Red Bull ruined it. He now leaves Ferrari after a very weak season and I don’t see them on top next year.

        What is your comment based on?

    15. Yes, because we all know how water tight F1 contracts are. Personally I don’t think Alonso fits with Mercedes image.

      Lewis wants to drive for McLaren Honda at some point though, so a move back in 2016 isn’t out of the question if they are competitive.

    16. I don’t see why FA would not suit Mercs image, not that it matters since FA is at McHonda. That says it all. And meanwhile, by the time FA will be considering, in 3 years, whether to stay or look elsewhere, Merc may no longer be the place to be. Also, who says LH wants to drive for McHonda at some point? Right now he is with a WDC and WCC winning team and everything else is tbd beyond that. He would have no focus on anything other than this year’s Merc.

      1. The above meant to have been attached to the comment made by maxthecat.

    17. People keep talking up Alonso but let’s not forget that he is 34 this year. Time is certainly not on his side and as Mark Webber put it when he retired, “reaction times get slower as you get older and you lose a few tenths”. Now, I am not a big fan of Fernando but he didn’t particularly set the track alight in 2014. Besides Alonso has always had number one status and apart from Hamilton in 07 (which he demanded anyway when the rookie was showing him up) he hasn’t really had a strong team mate (Sorry Kimi fans). That doesnt detract from his achievements though particularly in 2010 and in 2012. My point is come next year Alonso’s ability to outperform the car might be non existent. Heck, there is every chance that Button could even match/beat him however slim the chances. If you ask me, unless Mclaren Honda hit the ground running Alonso’s chances of a 3rd WDC are about as realistic as England winning the world cup.

      1. His stats in 2014 speak for themselves, and most will disagree with you on that, being placed amongst the three best of the year by a lot of people. However, I agree with the fact that unless Honda produced some strong magic right from the start, it will be difficult to win a WDC in a three year term.

        1. I think only Keith put Alonso in the top 3. Sky, JAonF1, Autosport etc all had Alonso out the top 3 if I’m not mistaken.

      2. @Davej, I wouldn’t really point to Alonso’s age as a potential factor that could come up in terms of performance between himself and Button given that Button is older than Alonso (Button turned 35 earlier this month).

        As for not setting the track alight with the F14T, to be honest I suspect that most drivers on the grid would have struggled to do so. Moreover, I would argue that Alonso did still show flashes of his ability in certain races, such as in China, Singapore or Hungary, just that the overall level of competition across the field meant that those outstanding moment of competitiveness were much rarer.

      3. It’s a shame that Kimi couldn’t challenge Alonso in 2014. I would say that Kimi is one of the strongest drivers on the grid when he has the perfect car to suit his style. However, when he doesn’t, he’s nowhere. McLaren were very good at giving him a car to suit his style (they built him multiple different front suspension systems, and completely different ones to his teammate Montoya), as were Lotus, who would go to lengths such as completely redesigning the power steering to help him.

        Ferrari don’t seem to be very good at this. Raikkonen’s biggest enemy is understeer, and throughout 2007 – 2009, Ferrari’s cars were pretty understeery, particularly in 2008. This wasn’t a problem for Massa, but it was for Kimi – Massa was pretty close to him in 2007, clearly outperformed him in 2008, and was ahead again in 2009 before his accident. Paddock insiders have suggested that Ferrari had the quickest car in the field over the course of the season in 2007 and 2008, which meant that his struggles didn’t look as bad as they did in 2014 (particularly as he won the championship in ’07). But if you think about it, Raikkonen underperformance in 2014 was pretty similar to 2008 – he had about 75% of the points Massa did in 2008, and similarly, in 2014 he performed about 25% worse relative to Alonso than Massa had been doing before.

        It is a sad state of affairs for a driver who I feel has been capable of being among the top 3 drivers in the field at certain points of his career.

        There’s another critical point I want to mention however: tyres. People often mention Kimi’s best years as being his McLaren years, and there was a very significant thing going on with tyres in Kimi’s early years. Kimi entered F1 in 2001, and left McLaren at the end of 2006. The tyre war between Michelin and Bridgestone began in 2001, and ended at the end of 2006, with a single-make tyre formula beginning in 2007. See a pattern?

        Kimi particularly struggled with tyres in the first half of 2007, in 2008, and in 2014. These were all years where the tyres were more conservative than previous years. They gave him less feel for the front end, and with his driving style, he had trouble getting them up to temperature, which just led to more understeer. This meant that he didn’t perform well in qualifying. In the races however, once he got the tyres up to temperature late in the race he was capable of going much faster, shown by his fastest laps: 6 in 2007, 10 in 2008 (joint record for most in a season), and even one in 2014 at Monaco. Kimi also struggled a bit in the second half of 2013 when tyres were made more conservative after Silverstone, often playing second fiddle to Grosjean in the latter stages of the season. Again though, he was still capable of going faster late in the race, setting the fastest lap in India.
        In 2014 though, Kimi’s fastest lap in Monaco demonstrated another pattern with the tyres…

        This is where it gets interesting: some of Kimi’s best performances in 2014 were all at weekends where the supersoft tyre was allocated. In Monaco, he set the fastest lap, and was running third and potentially on course for a podium finish before he got a puncture from Max Chilton behind the safety car just after pitting. In Singapore, he looked faster than Alonso throughout practice and he topped the session in Q1. He looked set to outqualify Alonso before he unfortunately had an engine failure in Q3. He thus started out of position and spent his entire race stuck behind slower cars which wore out his tyres. In Abu Dhabi, another supersoft track, he out-qualified Alonso.
        Kimi’s other standout performance came at Spa (where he finished 4th), which used the second-softest allocation (soft + medium) – though it’s a track he has traditionally done well at anyway (winning 4 times, and coming close in 2008 despite his struggles that year).

        If Kimi had a car that suited him in 2014, I think he would have been the first teammate to pose any sort of challenge to Alonso since Hamilton matched him in 2007. But you could argue that the best should be able to adapt, and given one of Ferrari’s most understeery cars in recent memory he posed even less of a challenge to Alonso than Massa did.

        I’m sure next year’s Ferrari will suit Raikkonen better than this year’s, particularly with James Allison – who designed his cars at Lotus – in charge, and with Pirelli’s tyres supposedly being a bit more aggressive in 2015. However, with Ferrari seemingly sticking with pull-rod suspension (which can ruin the driver’s feel for the front end) I’m unsure if we’ll see Kimi performing as well as he did 2-3 years ago at Lotus.

    18. Ex Ferrari boss points finger at Alonso.

      1. Hating someone so much is like burning down your house to get rid of a rat.

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