Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Montreal, 2012

Alonso would welcome Vettel or Hamilton to Ferrari

2012 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Montreal, 2012Fernando Alonso admitted he has input into who his future Ferrari team mate might be.

The two-times world champion added he’d be happy for Sebastian Vettel or Lewis Hamilton to join the team.

Asked in the European Grand Prix press conference whether he has previously had a say in team’s other choice of driver Alonso said: “In the past, never. Now, in Ferrari, yes.”

“I’m in Italy every week. So when we are there I see the president, I see Stefano [Domenicali] and we talk about development of the car, we talk about GT – now there is some work doing a new car that will be at the end of the year, we are doing some tests for the GT car.

“We talk about the future in F1, about the Corse Clienti – which is owners that have old Formula 1 [cars] that they want us to be there to teach some senior drivers – and also about the future and team mates as well.”

Asked if he could veto a potential driver Alonso said: “I doubt – we talk but, at the end, it’s their decision.”

He responded “no problem” to the suggestion of rejoining his 2007 team mate Lewis Hamilton or welcoming reigning champion Sebastian Vettel to Ferrari. Yesterday Domenicali suggested Alonso and Vettel could “coexist” at the team.

Alonso indicated he’d have no objections to whichever driver might take Felipe Massa’s place.

He added some words in support of his team mate: “I have a lot of respect for Felipe. And I think the challenging moment that, even if from the outside it’s difficult to notice this, what a challenging time he’s given to me in the last three years, it’s not that, even if from the outside it looks easy.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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84 comments on “Alonso would welcome Vettel or Hamilton to Ferrari”

  1. Vettel at Ferrari would be interesting: I would like to know how he would perform next to a driver like Alonso. Will he outshine Alonso like Hamilton did, or be a second Massa?
    Apart from that, doesn’t Vettel already have a contract for 2013?

    1. Oh, come on! Hamilton did by no means outshine Alonso. It was a year full of controversies, and they ended up tied at the end. So, I don’t think anyone can say any of the two outshone anyone.

      1. @santiontanon I’m not so sure. I think even with all the circumstances considered over what was a very unusual season, the fact is a reigning two-time world champion was matched by a rookie. Sure, you can qualify that to say Hamilton wasn’t exactly a typical rookie or that he may have been getting more consideration from the team than Fernando because of it, but however you want to see it, Fernando scored the same number of points as a rookie team mate over the course of a season. Hamilton should have been beaten soundly by a two-time world champion in his very first season, but he wasn’t.

        1. They were both rookies, because it was their first year driving for a new team. Lewis had been driving GP2, while Alonso was driving a Reno F1. They both stepped up to a Mclaren at the same time. While Alonso had more experience in F1, Lewis had more experience with the Mclaren car (via the simulator and working for years with the mechanics) and team.

          Overall I’d say the controversy and backstabbing from both sides really clouded the results. I mean, just look at last year, how easily Lewis sucked from a silly reason like GF issues. Now compare GF issues to being sabotaged at every opportunity by your team principle.

          It was so bad for Alonso, that he even had to have the FIA step in to protect his car from his own team during race weekends. Considering after all of that, he STILL matched Lewis, it was nothing but impressive from Alonso.

          1. “Now compare GF issues to being sabotaged at every opportunity by your team principle.” What? When did Mclaren sabotage Alonso? Do you really think a team would pay a double world champion a £multi million salary and sabotage him? What a ridiculous suggestion, in fact that was just the kind of bitter bullsh*t that was being peddled in the Spanish media at the time!

            As for “It was so bad for Alonso, that he even had to have the FIA step in to protect his car from his own team during race weekends.”, all I can say to that is *****!

            Lewis’s issues last year were far more complex that just “GF issues”, in fact I seem to remember the weekend they announced the split (brought on by the ridiculous media scrutiny into his private life – which in reality had little impact on his racing) he still managed to put the car on pole.

          2. I disagree.

            A ‘rookie’ is someone in their first year racing in Formula 1 with no experience. Fernando Alonso had been racing for years and had already won two world championships. He was not a rookie in any sense of the word.

            Lewis Hamilton was not a typical rookie, because he was the first driver for a very long time to make his debut in a front-running car. He was familiar with the team, but he still had to do the job without any actual Grand Prix racing experience. Nothing can teach you how to cope with that apart from actually racing.

            Alonso was also his own worst enemy in a lot of ways. Had he have put his ego aside in Indy and Hungary and just got on with the job (like he’s been doing a lot recently) he’d have probably beaten Hamilton. Instead, he got shown up by a driver who had no right to be a threat to him in the first place.

          3. being sabotaged at every opportunity by your team principle

            If that’s what you’re saying happened to Alonso in 2007, then I’d like to know what proof you’ve seen for it. Because the FIA’s own steward who was sat in McLaren’s garage in Brazil couldn’t see any.

            Plenty of Alonso’s problems in 2007 were of his own making – the errors in Spain, Canada and Japan spring to mind, and the silly nonsense at the Hungaroring. Without any one of those four he might have been champion.

      2. Yes he did. At least when you consider Alonso being a two-time world champion, and Hamilton being a guy that was racing in GP2 a year ago.

        1. No he didn’t. The emotional turmoil he had to deal with was massive. As a previous commenter mentions look how badly Lewis messed up just dealing with GF issues. Alonso did well considering all he had to deal with.

          1. Yes, but nobodies excusing Hamilton because of those issues- most people think he just did a poor job that year, whatever the reason.

          2. I know Lewis was a rookie back then, but ask yourself this: Has Hamilton really gotten any better since 2007? In 2007 he was nearly faultless and avoided all rookie errors. Now compare that to 2011.
            Well, both Alonso and Hamilton have matured quite a bit in the past 5 years, so it would be interesting to see both of them go up against each other one more time; I don’t think there’d be nearly as much drama off track.

            As for Vettel, I don’t think he could quite match Alonso or Hamilton. He’d be slightly quicker in qualifying, but would be soundly beaten in the race. Vettel is currently having a tough time with his teammate, Mark Webber ffs. It’s clear that EBD was Seb’s best friend. I don’t rate Webber higher than Massa, who is currently getting his rear-end whipped by Fernando.

        2. Aditya Banerjee (@)
          22nd June 2012, 16:17

          Alonso knew nothing about his new team, while Hamilton knew nearly as much as the reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa, having been acqauinted with McLaren Mercedes since 1998. McLaren took care of his daily life including his fitness regime from that time. Hamilton had also been racing with the Bridgestone tyres in GP2 and had more knowing of them than Alonso, who was in his first year using Bridgestone. Alonso also had more bad luck in the technical area than Hamilton.
          Hamilton is a blessed driver indeed. He is NOT the driver with the best rookie record, and yet he got a chance with a top Formula One team. His first terminal car failure came at his 51st race. Who else had his luck? None. If he retires with just one championship, he will have blown a real God-given chance indeed.

    2. Vettel need a car built for Vettel, while Alonso can drive what he has and give his instruction to be more and more ease with it. Not sure the Ferrari structure could develop the car around Vettel as it is almost the case at RBR for the moment.
      As team mate, if Vettel feels comfortable with the car he will probably edge ahead but Alonso being quite closed, and if they have to battle the car, I fancy Alonso (who wouldn’t)

      I personnaly don’t see Alonso and Hamilton going along at Ferrari …

  2. He would love to have Hamilton come into his team and play by his rules.

    1. Alonso just wants to put Lewis in a similar position as he was in 2007. We all know Dennis had a love for Lewis; but it’s obvious that Domenicali has one for Fernando, looking at how they just shoved Felipe to the side.

  3. I must say I was impressed with the questions from one Jonathan Legard! Much better than the other football and economy related questions to which the answers were always going to be standard dullness.

  4. Very honest.

    1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
      21st June 2012, 19:17

      He’s hardly going to say that he doesn’t want VET or HAM as his team mate, as that would imply that he is afraid of them.

  5. I honestly think Hamilton and Alonso could co-exist productively too, now. They’ve both matured since 2007 and it’s clear that they are two of the fastest (if not, THE fastest two) drivers on the grid.

    My mind still can’t quite comprehend the prospect of Hamilton at Ferrari, but if I’m honest, I think it’s more that it can’t see Hamilton in anything other than a McLaren.

    1. I can’t imagine that Vettel would cut short his contract with Red Bull, after all he is a mere 3 points of the WDC lead and they are over a race win ahead in the constructors standings – so clearly they haven’t lost all their pace!
      Hamilton may consider a switch to Ferrari, but I believe that Alonso would outshine him; maybe not in qualifying but in the race. Although there is the question as to would he want to join Ferrari? After all, their recent performances as a team have been no match for the likes of Red Bull & Mclaren.

      1. Have to say I pretty much agree. Why would Hamilton or Vettel consider moving to Ferrari when they’ve been doing better in their current teams. Aside from the recent screw ups of Mclaren for Hamilton, which I feel will improve soon if theiy wish to stay in the top for the WCC or the WDC for their drivers. Ferrari need to step up their game abit more.

        If Ferrari was back to how RB was last year, or in their 2000-2004 campaign, then for sure any driver would want to be with them. But as they are now, until they can improve a little more, a change wouldn’t be ideal for either Vettel or Hamilton IMO.

  6. It should be interesting to see Alonso and Hamilton together again. We have a perfect control for relative improvement. If they were roughly on par when Hamilton was a rookie, with both driving a very competitive car, people should like to see how much both have improved, and who has grown more in that time.

  7. I think after these three seasons at the team Ferrari is definitely and completely Fernando’s team. He’s also matured a great deal from the driver who partnered Hamilton back in 2007. He’s driving better than ever as well. Alonso has every reason to feel he would be able to handle any driver he may be partnered with.

    1. I think if it did not go Lewis’s way, he’d throw his toys out the cot in the same fashion as Alonso did. He has the popular media on his side, which would unfortunately paint the entire Ferrari team and Alonso as villains for the sake of generating a story, which will be really unfortunate.

      1. He has the popular media on his side

        I don’t agree that’s true of Hamilton more so than any other driver. He got a pasting on more than one occasion for his errors in and out of the cockpit last year, and justifiably so at times.

        1. I’m talking about the direct coverage by the BBC/Sky. You cant deny that Brundle likes Lewis more than he likes Alonso/Ferrari. The grid walk is a great example as he avoids Alonso completely. Being British obviously helps, a perfect example of the bias is how Di Resta is interviewed every weekend before the race and the 2 Mclaren (and mclaren principle) drivers are permanent features in pre/post show extras. No other drivers get that kind of exposure unless they do something amazing. It is also obvious how they do not want to strain their relationship with the Mclaren team by the way they tippytoe around sensitive subjects involving Mclaren, where as they would be a lot less reserved when speaking about other drivers, because they have nothing to lose.

          When you are a world wide leading news media company, obvious bias like that is inexcusable.

          1. You cant deny that Brundle likes Lewis more than he likes Alonso/Ferrari.

            I can’t say I’ve ever noticed – but it sounds like exactly the sort of thing that only appears to those who wants to see it.

            In terms of grid interviews, several drivers don’t give them as a matter of policy because they don’t want the interruption in their pre-race preparations.

            Alonso may well be one of them. Hamilton certainly is – I believe the only time he has was at Singapore last year after his karting mentor Martin Hines died and he wanted to show the special helmet he was wearing as a tribute.

            So if your case rests on Hamilton being shown more often in pre-grid interviews than Alonso then it’s complete bunk.

          2. I have to agree to a certain extent with egseg, the British members of the F1 paddock definately appear to recieve more media exposure on Sky than the others, although one could argue that as a British tv channel the general audience wants to know about their national teams/drivers.
            Although that said, for the most part the other teams recieve sufficient exposure, moreso if there has been controversy or a major occurrence (such as all the talk of the legality of Red Bull’s hole). One thing I cannot stand though is Sky’s obsession with Martin Whitmarsh, the man is a major irritant in my opinion.

          3. Brundle once said alonso dont want to be interwieved during the race preparations on grid(true or not-he said it-i think it was monaco 2012 or race before)

          4. If you are basing claims of bias on how much coverage various teams and drivers receive on BBC/Sky you have to take a few things into consideration.

            The more successful a team or driver the more coverage they will get in general. From memory Red Bull seem to be the team BBC have covered more over the last few years, I am including the F1 Forum as well, but that is understandable considering their performance during that period.

            Just like when Button won the Championship in Brazil in 2009 the post race coverage and F1 Forum was based in the Brawn garages as that was where the celebrations were happening, and they didn’t do the usual analysis of other drivers and teams.

            It is only natural that the British media will focus more on British drivers and teams as that is where the demand for them is, just like the German media will focus more on German drivers and Mercedes.

            BBC and Sky may be the only British broadcasters covering F1 but they are not the only TV stations as there are plenty from other countries, and that is before you start counting everyone else such as print media.

            Teams and drivers will prioritise their time with TV companies from their own countries. Considering how popular Ferrari are in Italy and how popular Alonso is in Spain just imagine all the interviews and the like Ferrari will have to do before they have time for reporters from BBC and Sky.

            Some drivers don’t like to be interviewed on the grid walk, such as Hamilton, and some have interviews booked with other broadcasters. I am not sure if it was Schumacher or Alonso or both but I seem to recall Brundle mentioning in the past that there was no point in trying to talk to them on the grid as they have loads of interviews booked with broadcasters from their own countries.

      2. Yeah, ’cause Mclaren and Jenson were painted as such last year…

      3. @egsgeg I wouldn’t be too sure about that. As Keith points out above me, Hamilton has been criticised heavily in the press on occasion. Plus, even if there was some bias in the English speaking press towards Hamilton after your hypothetical situation ocurred there’d be an equal bias against him in Italy and Spain. We just wouldn’t hear about it!

        Anyway if Hamilton joined Ferrari he’d know whose team he would be joining: Alonso’s. Creating the relationship that Fernando now shares with Ferrari would be a daunting task for Hamilton or Vettel. Both are smart enough to realise that they will be fighting Alonso off the track (for hearts and minds within the team) more than they will on it. I don’t see either being attracted by that proposition.

  8. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
    21st June 2012, 16:04

    Alonso is (in my humble opinion) the best driver of his generation, so its no surprise that the question is who should partner Alonso as opposed to who should partner HAM or VET. Saying that, why would Hamilton or Vettel want to join a team that is so obviously built around Alonso?

    1. It’s simply because it’s Ferrari.

    2. @tmcs88
      And a team who recently has produced worse cars then both McLaren and Red Bull. While Lewis would make a step up in terms of strategic decisions and less brain dead pit stops, he would take a step backwards in terms of Machinery as well as going into a team that is build around Alonso.
      Same goes for Vettel, albeit he wouldn’t really gain much from Ferrari’s consistent strategies etc.
      I just don’t see it happening any time soon. There is nothing but a huge salary that those two can get from joining Ferrari that they don’t have all ready, as well as taking a very risky move in case they are either beaten by Alonso, or that it ends up like it did in 2007 between Hamilton and Alonso.
      In pretty much every respect they are better off at their current teams.

    3. @tmcs88, in general, I’m not convinced by these “don’t make to driver X’s team” arguments. Is Alonso faster than Massa because the team is behind him, or is the team behind Alonso because he is faster?

      I think Ferrari is a big enough team to produce two equal cars for their drivers, so if Vettel or Hamilton have the speed, they will not be ignored just because Ferrari is so fond of Fernando. The only thing that might happen is that the car is developed in a direction that is completely the opposite to the newcomer’s preferred driving style; I see that only as a small risk, though. Ferrari will not knowingly design a car that is undriveable for one side of the garage, as I’m sure they’d like to win the constructor’s as well as the driver’s championship.

      Since I have been watching F1 from 1992, the only time that it was really unwise for someone to move to ‘another driver’s’ team was with Benneton in 1994 (to a lesser extent 1995), where Schumacher simply crushed his team mates. Even during his Ferrari days, the team may have favoured Schumacher, but his team mates still got decent cars that they could have beaten him in, had they been good enough.

      1. “Even during his Ferrari days, the team may have favoured Schumacher, but his team mates still got decent cars that they could have beaten him in, had they been good enough.”

        ‘Decent cars’…as in, built for MS

        ‘Could have beaten him’…except for the contracts that said the opposite

        ‘Had they been good enough’…interesting that they never were good enough and that’s why they were hired to begin with…to not be a bother to MS.

      2. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
        21st June 2012, 17:13

        @adrianmorse Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely agree that Ferrari are equipped with the right tools to accommodate two big egos. My point is as long as McLaren and RedBull keep on producing competitive cars, why would Hamilton of Vettel take the sizable sizeable risk of joining Ferrari. The grass isn’t always greener even if the cheque you receive is.

        1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
          21st June 2012, 17:17

          I should really proof read my posts :-)

        2. True @tmcs88, and methinks it’s safe to say these rumours have more to do with the expectation that FM will be replaced than to do with Ferrari hiring one of these two drivers to replace FM, although there is that supposed pre-contract with SV and Ferrari putting some ‘weight’ to that side of the rumour…which may be a rumour in itself.

    4. I don’t see why Vettel or Hamilton would join Ferrari as their current machinery appears to be better than the F2012. Ferrari’s dominance of the first half of the decade was largely due to vast resources; with the regulation changes they are a shadow of their former selves (although in fairness they have set the standard very high). Mclaren have been relitively competitive in the WDC recently, Red Bull have had the quickest car since the halfway point of the 2009 season (discounting this years irratic season); so why join Ferrari?

      Why would Hamilton or Vettel want to join a team that is so obviously built around Alonso

      Interesting that they never were good enough and that’s why they were hired to begin with…to not bother MS

      In both cases Ferrari have had one exceptional driver and one very good driver, that is the reason why they appear to favour one over the other (after all why wouldn’t you favour the driver most likely to score you points?). Massa has performed relitively well (although his accident has affected his speed), Alonso has just made him look less than average in comparison. And with Schumacher @robbie quite simply nobody could hold a candle to Schumacher apart from possibly Montoya – one cannot argue against his skill, it is what allowed him to earn a seat at Ferrari in the first place! You don’t become the most successful F1 driver in history purely by chance.
      Back to the subject of a possible pairing for Alonso, I believe Perez would perform well there. Ferrari could give him the opportunity to become a great driver, so long as they address their reluctance to sign younger drivers (Red Bull signed Vettel young – look at the success they’ve had)!

      1. Yeah I agree the SV and LH both seem to be in better or at least just as good a situation as they would be in at Ferrari…so why move? And at the same time, if Ferrari is not really interested in a challenger for FA but rather a supporter, like FM has turned out to be and like EI and RB were for MS, then LH and SV won’t even be in the equation. I certainly hope they would take two WDC’s on, being a top team, but I won’t hold my breath.

        As to nobody holding a candle to MS apart from Montoya (obviously we’re talking about ‘back then’) I’m not so sure that’s the case. Take away the illegal Benetton’s and the strongarming of MS’s teammates to share their data but not have his data shared with them, take away the designer car and tires etc, and the contracts for his teammates to not compete, and that’s what highlights one of the big problems I have with the MS/Ferrari era…we don’t know how successful MS would have been had he been properly challenged rather than artificially pumped up. Without all the massive advantages we just don’t know but we have seen how he has done at Merc without it all, and his performance or lack thereof, especially for the first year and three quarters cannot all be put down to ‘old age.’ He benefiited hugely from having an unprecedented amount of things going his way moreso than any other driver ever. Some say that is because he earned it. I think he somewhat earned to be near the head of the class, but what he got was overkill and made it not an apples to apples comparison to everyone else on the grid. Make it apples to apples and the best he can do is match NR or beat his pace at times by only a hair. And that is why I hope Ferrari changes their stripes and gives us a true show between a couple of gladiators that have truly earned their way to the head of the class.

  9. It would certainly be interesting to see Hamilton or Vettel team up with Alonso at Ferrari, and I don’t think it would necessarily lead to strife within the team, as they all strike me as pretty mature. Of course, incidents can happen in racing (and I guess it would have been interesting to see what would have happened between Jenson and Lewis after Turkey 2010, in case Lewis hadn’t managed to take P1 back from Jenson after mistakenly being told that Button would not overtake him, with Button then having three wins to Lewis’s zero).

    As to who would be faster in Alonso vs. Vettel or Alonso vs. Hamilton, I think it would depend on whom the package of car and tyres would suit best that particular year. Last year, the EBD suited Vettel, and both Alonso and Vettel seemed to get more out of the tyres than Hamilton. On this year’s tyres, Hamilton seems to have regained some ground in that department. When it comes to raw pace, I rate them all equally highly, with the distinction that I think Vettel is the best at producing that ultimate Q3 lap.

  10. Tom (@newdecade)
    21st June 2012, 16:14

    I never take too much from the questions about who who you want to partner, who is the current best driver, who has the best chances for the following race, yadda yadda… Rock paper scissors, every week another driver is picked to be the target of sportsmanship and praise. Obviously they pretty much all respect and like each other these days but its still just a part of the PR training like saying “we, the team” not “I”.

  11. An article which went up on the BBC’s site around the time the press conference was happening (“21 June 2012 Last updated at 14:17”) paints a slightly different picture:

    A source close to Ferrari says Alonso has vetoed the idea of Hamilton joining him at the team but given his approval to Vettel.


    1. I hesitate to put too much weight behind ‘a source close to Ferrari says…’ without any direct quotes from said source, but I suppose it would be understandable since the two drivers have a history together that might involve some permanent baggage from the Mac days that only the flies on the wall know about and that they shade when in public. I just hope/expect that FA would not fear defeat by LH but instead simply doesn’t want to help the guy out by ok’ing his move to a top team like Ferrari if that is even in the offing.

      If FA would truly genuinely take SV as a teammate though, (it’s another thing if Ferrari would do that), I at least would take heart that FA is a confident and great enough WDC that he would welcome such a quality proven WDC as SV and feel he could prevail. I truly wish Ferrari would get out of the number 1/ number 2 mode and give the fans what they deserve…the pinnacle of drivers at the most established well-resourced team in F1.

      1. @robbie I know what you mean, but no-one will ever go on the record about something like this. What makes me doubt it is the reference to a source “close to” Ferrari rather than “within” Ferrari – the latter would obviously be rather more compelling.

        However, taking Alonso’s comments at face value, he appears to be saying he can influence Ferrari’s choice of team mate but isn’t doing so, at least not in terms of ruling out another driver. Is that really any more credible?

        1. @Keith…yeah that’s true. It’s many shades of gray, especially since we don’t really know to what level FA’s say is to be considered. Do they simply want him to say whether he likes a certain driver they have their eye on, as in can he work with them, or does he think this new driver will be a good communicator and good for Ferrari? I guess it depends on if they are looking for a development driver, there to learn and help but not really be a natural equal to FA, or are they actually going to take on another WDC, which I will have to see to believe. As in, at least in my thinking, the higher the quality of teammate or even rival they pick, the more