Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2014

Alonso started Ferrari exit talks last year

2014 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2014Fernando Alonso admitted he began talks around potentially leaving Ferrari as early as last year, but also explored the possibility of staying at the team.

Ferrari announced today Alonso will leave the team two years before his current contract was due to expire and be replaced by Sebastian Vettel. But Alonso said he had discussed extending his current deal until 2019.

However Alonso decided after this year’s summer break to call time on his spell at Ferrari. “It was not an easy decision to make,” he said.

“I was in talks even last year to be honest. We wait for this year for the new car and this year I felt around summer time, September, that it was time to move. I take the decision, only time will tell if it’s a good one or bad one.”

“What is for sure is that it has been an amazing experience. So, so happy, so proud to have those five years with an amazing team, amazing brand like Ferrari. I grew up as a driver, as a person and only good things and good words. Obviously we missed the championship, came three times second. But extremely proud of those second places and the work that we did those years and now it’s time to close one door, to open a new one and we’ll see how it goes.”

Alonso said there was no one change which led him to leave Ferrari, but explained his decision had been swung by Ferrari’s failure to produce a competitive car following the change in engine regulations this year.

“It was not a special moment of the year that I opened the eyes,” he said. “Last year I had some doubts about 2014, I knew that it was a big change of regulations so I thought it was the best thing to check how the 2014 new turbo era was going for Ferrari.”

“I had a very close relationship with president [Luca di] Montezemolo. We talk every week and we more or less agree that if this year we were not competitive again maybe I could think other options.

“I arrived summer break I said maybe it’s time to sit with [the] president and say for them [if] it’s OK I would like to go. As I said I need to thank so much Ferrari because they could say ‘no’, but they understand that it was the best for the two parts.

“This is again a true sign of respect and love for this team and they show me also respect on that. As I said I stopped as a Ferrari driver but from Monday I’m a Ferrari supporter.”

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Image © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

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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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66 comments on “Alonso started Ferrari exit talks last year”

  1. Until 2019? Wow, he thinks he can race into his late 30s just like Michael? Impressive.

    P.S. I know it may seem like I’m mocking Alonso but tbh I’m trying to do the opposite. I just don’t know how else to word it :(

    1. I’d bet he thinks he’s even better than Schumacher at times. And this is also not mocking, nor attacking him in anyway. I’d say you worded it right – “Impressive.”

    2. There’s a debate on how those modern F1 cars turn to be easy to drive.

      Beside that, the need to constantly nurse tyres and take care of fuel consumption, is turning F1 slow and less physically demanding.

      So, yes, Alonso can easily drive until his 40’s.

  2. I have read people saying that Alonso never helps with the development of the car and that Kimi and Vettel will move the team forwards by working hard with the engineers. But last time I checked, Alonso got the hang of the new cars almost immediately while Vettel and Raikkonen still haven’t have they? And possibly even worse, after a full season, if they worked so hard to develop the car and was so hard working, why are they being demolished, and I really do mean demolished, by their teammates. While these F1 fans think they know everything, someone who, unlike them, does actually know, said that Alonso is probably the best driver he ever witnessed, not just in his on-track abilities, but also how he could develop the car and motivate the team. I am talking, of course, about Rob Smedley and Felipe Massa. And don’t forget that next year, Ferrari won’t even have one driver to focus on. And now, they will not only fix Raikkonen’s problems, but Vettel’s as well. If Vettel isn’t comfortable with a Red Bull that had probably 10-20% more rear downforce than a Ferrari, how will Vettel stand a chance. And what if Raikkonen does match Vettel next year, will Ferrari be able to handle the situation? Well, as a Alonso fan, I’m sure as hell glad he’s gone. Ferrari’s chances of winning (the championship) before 2017 as about as slim as Williams’.

    1. why 2017?

      1. @tmaddah Ferrari insiders themselves have said that 2017 is when they expect to be on top again, possibly 2016 if all goes well.

    2. @mashiat

      And what if Raikkonen does match Vettel next year, will Ferrari be able to handle the situation?

      Simple, they don’t renew his contract…

    3. Well, it’s hard to say, isn’t it? We can say that Alonso probably has the best racecraft in the field and that he’s got an uncanny ability to drive fast no matter what changes are made to the regulations or how bad his car is. That’s about it. We couldn’t say what Raikkonen and Vettel can do with a car that has been built to suit their driving style, we don’t really know much about how Alonso is within a team, as some times he gels well with the crew and other times seems to be quite a poisoned pill. As for Ferrari, never underestimate the power of money and two world champions.

    4. It’s not just about driving the car around as fast as possible. It’s also about developing the car, make it easier to drive and therefore faster. Alonso is a great driver, perhaps one of the best in the history of F1. But he isn’t a good “development-driver”. Now you can see how much he really profited from Massa’s development work at Ferrari. Put Fernando in a quick car and he will deliver, but he is not the kind of guy who will do absolutely everything to make the team go forward.
      It’s probably the best solution for both, Ferrari and Fernando. The team needs time to get back on top (where they definately belong) and Alonso wants to win races as soon as possible.
      I believe Ferrari can get back on top again, but it will take time.

      1. @srga91 What makes you think that Alonso is a bad development driver? Just because he hasn’t brought Ferrari to winning form after five years, people think that he can’t develop a car. Like I mention in my initial comment, Smedley and Massa have both said that Alonso is a great driver on-track, during development, and in motivating the team. F1 nowadays is different to F1 during Schumacher’s era. Alonso can’t just walk up to Adrian Newey and beg him to join Ferrari, while Schumacher was at the advantage of being in contact with the likes of Ross Brawn & Rory Bryne. But look, Alonso convinced Ferrari to sign James Allison at Hungary of last year. That’s more than Raikkonen and Vettel have done. And speaking of Raikkonen and Vettel, if they are such hard workers, why are they still struggling to get used to the new generation cars? And your argument that Alonso doesn’t work that hard? Well, let’s just say that he has a simulator at his house, with which he practices every single day, and that after moving to Ferrari, he had moved closer to their base so that he could visit the factory more often. Fans like you believe that they know the ongoings and the kind of driver that Alonso is and all. But the people who actually know, they tell a different story.

    5. @mashiat I think you’re overstating a few things. You can’t use “absolutely demolished” for Vettel and Ricciardo, it is a bit too much.
      Being fast right off the bat in any kind of car isn’t indicative nor proof for being a good development driver. In fact, such a quality might even hamper car development. It can mask problems with the car or send the engineers in a wrong direction.

      Alonso convinced Ferrari to sign James Allison (is this a proven fact, btw?) and that’s more than Raikkonen and Vettel have done? Well, why should Vettel have convinced anyone to sign anyone? RBR was a dream team while he was there. They had Newey, along with a highly competent engineering team. Don’t forget Newey’s words for Vettel either – saying how Newey absolutely loved to working with Vettel as his car design style and Vettel’s driving style completemented each other so so well. In that light it might not be such a coincidence that Vettel has had a somewhat rough year and Newey is moving away from F1: Newey feels too constrained and can’t design a car as he’d like to, while Vettel is searching for how to adapt his driving style in order to match it up to the 2014 cars.


      Fans like you believe that they know the ongoings and the kind of driver that Alonso is and all. But the people who actually know, they tell a different story.

      I could say the exact same about some fans’ vision on Vettel’s personality, working ethics, etc etc.

  3. Somehow I get the feeling we will not see Alonso on the grid next year.

    1. Especially with the “I will be a Ferrari supporter comes Monday” bit …

    2. I’m very curious to see whether Alonso or Button will take the now-vacant Audi WEC seat since Kristensen has retired. A strong argument could be made for both, and I believe both would be really good at it…

    3. Me too. Everyone is saying that Mercedes and McLaren would give their right arms to hire him but why? Both of them have WDCs in their cars. At McLaren, Honda would not be keen to boot out Button—past works driver, adept at Japanese culture and working-style, very quick. And it makes no sense to drop Magnussen after his first year. Unlike Perez, he hasn’t had time to develop. And he is dirt-cheap. I don’t see the rationale. Even if they don’t see Magnussen as the driver of the future for 5-7 years, neither is Alonso.

      1. @dmw Alonso likes Japanese culture too, remember? :)

        On a serious note: Alonso is McLaren bound and Button is fighting Magnussen for the sister car. Mercedes will offer Lewis an extension so Alonso has no motives for an off-season to get a Mercedes drive in 2016.

    4. Line-up will be Hamilton-Magnussen.

      Button to Mercedes. Alonso to WEC.

    5. @dutch-in-sweden @steevkay @dmw
      If you want to read into his comment from the Press Conf:

      “As I said, I stop as a Ferrari driver but from Monday I am a Ferrari supporter.”

      How can he support Ferrari if he is going to be driving against them next year? I know English isn’t his native language but still weird to read that!

      1. English is also not my primary language. In my language we mostly use the word supporter for fans. So by a Ferrari supporter I understand a Ferrari fan. He can be a Ferrari fan and still race against them.

  4. Ok we know the real history already. McLaren made u a big offer in terms of money. U went to Mattiaci and ask for the same amount of money and contract extension until 2019. Mattiaci answered NO and u need to work more as a teamplayer, work more in the simulator and with your teammate, and less trashtalk with the press. Alonso got on fire, and he said he will go to McLaren, Mattiaci said ok, sign here, he signed. And then Mattiaci called Vettel to sign the definitive contract and thats all. Alonso end of contract was in July, Vettel signed in September. All this months trashtalking with spanish press was only Alonsos trash talking at his best, saying he can renew with Ferrari, that he will go to Mercedes or Lotus and bla bla bla, trash talking to be in the news, what he likes, he likes cameras, pics, twitter, and spanish press like a kid likes candy. All his trashtalking came to and end today. And is now matter of days that he announces he is signed with McLaren. Last year he already began appear in spanish press that he may be change team to McLaren, he said to spanish press, to put pressure on Ferrari, but at the same time he said the opposite like he always do. Play the 2 sides of the coin, say one thing then next days say the opposite, we know his game very well. He is a liar, but a bad liar, because he doesnt know how to lie.

    1. I think the liar here is not Alonso. Can you please provide links for everything you just said? Thanks in advance

      1. He lied, last year when news appeared that he was considering an offer of McLaren he said to press that wasnt truth and that he will never leave Ferrari even not winning. Because being part of Ferrari team was more important than winning. Today he confirmed that he thought in leaving Ferrari 1 year ago, and that he was negotiating and extension of contract with Ferrari too. So if this isnt playing at 2 opposite options…

        1. @alex What about Vettel saying just a few months ago that he wasn’t leaving Red Bull? You really are stupid, drivers can’t just openly say what’s actually going on.

        2. Links, please

    2. If you post this on reddit can give you gold. Over here you arent going to win any medals for cracking the case.

    3. I like it Alex. Its good.

    4. Wow Alex! what a terrific imagination! anymore sci-fi tales?

  5. Now i really hope Kimi wins championship next year. I bet Alonso would like that

    1. There’s an alternative universe in which Alonso moves to Mercedes alongside Hamlton, and Kimi is champion with a Ferrari. Now that’s a movie even James Hunt would like to watch.

  6. I`m still not sure Alonso will drive for McLaren next year, I still think he`s got at least one eye fixed on Hamiltons seat.
    We were told Mercedes will start talks With Hamilton immediately, and importntly while Alonsos destination is still not confirmed. This is a smart move by Mercedes as they have a dark horse (Alonso) in the running when negotiating with Hamilton. There is a chance Hamiltons demands will not be met by Mercedes and negotiations might break down. If that happens I can see the relationship go sour and in comes Alonso.

    Alonso is very shrewd and knows his way in F1-politics. Nothing would surprize me.

    1. @Kimi, if Mercedes-Benz do that to Hamilton while Hamilton singed for them while they where a midfield team i really hope Mercedes-Benz will fail hard as posible. Mercedes does not need Alonso cause Rosberg and Hamilton have already done the job on the WCC, but i have a feeling you are right about.

      1. @concalvez00 Even if that happens, Rosberg is a very strong driver, and i bet that Alonso would have a hard time with him. Remember Hamilton the first year at Merc. always complaining about not getting the feel of the car. Meanwhile Rosberg has some years now over there

      2. Eh? Hamilton joined them when they were midfield? Mercedes were on the up after first couple of seasons. And considering the major rule change about engines in 2014, it was a planned move from Hamilton.

        Rosberg was the one who stuck through from the beginning with Mercedes and the legend that is Schumi.

        1. Yes, they were midfield in 2012, especially in the latter half when Hamilton signed

    2. There is also a chance they pay Rosberg off, even after signing an extension this year, being German in a team that wants the best is no certainty. Alas it’s all speculation for the want of a good story. I don’t think for a minute they will swap a sure thing for a maybe it’s not in their DNA.

    3. @Kimiwillbeback if anything I suspect Nando will be waiting to see if Nico fails to resist temptation and gets booted out of Mercedes for gross misconduct. Nico was nettled by Lewis’ reference to Spa, so I sense he’s on a yellow card.

      But I suspect the delay is that McLaren have no reason not to just wait and see Jenson and KMag in one more race before they decide. I hope so because that puts JB in with a good chance I reckon.

      1. it’s some kind of funny that Button end up his career in a “shoot out” with K-Mag.. just as his career started, right?

    1. Funny video. I have never seen Alonso that shy/out of words before.

      1. Emotional ^^

    2. Hehe nice :-)

    3. he should say YES. and then we will see a good race with Magnusen

  7. Well at least Ferrari is putting into place two drivers with similar driving styles- both Vettel and Kimi like cars with strong front ends. Vettel was the master of this in the blown diffuser era as he was able to steer the car into slower corners and get on the gas early to use the diffuser to stick the rear. Kimi’s struggles this year have been about the front end bite- something Alonso has been able to drive around. It would not be surprising to me if Alonso purposely drove the car development toward something he knew he could drive and kimi would struggle with… nobody can argue that he operates at this level of competitiveness. I’m not sure we will see him on the grid next year, but nothing will surprise me. Ron has pushed out other drivers over contract talks (Lewis’ desire to keep trophies)- so maybe the two sides butting heads will not result in an agreement…

    1. I really do not buy the theory that Alonso could have pushed the development of the car in a direction that didn’t favour Kimi, mainly because the teams tend to prefer to develop cars that have relatively wide set up envelopes to maximise their performance across as many tracks as possible in the season.

      Furthermore, Kimi’s problems with setting up the front end of his car is a persistent issue that has come up time and again. He explicitly blamed his poor performance in 2008 on front end set up issues – and that is on a car that, by your reckoning, should have been developed with Kimi in mind given that he was the official lead driver at Ferrari in 2008 (he had the first call on strategic issues in the opening races in 2008 until he slipped back behind Massa in the WDC).

      It was an issue that cropped up again in early 2009 and occasionally came up again in 2012 and 2013 (for example, his poor performance in the 2012 Monaco GP), and that was despite the fact that Kimi was blatantly favoured by Lotus at times (for example, in the Australian, Malaysian and Chinese GP’s, all of the upgrades that Lotus brought in were exclusively for Kimi’s use).

      All in all, it is far more likely that Kimi’s current problems stem from a persistent set up issue that has tended to surface frequently throughout his career rather than anything to do with Alonso.

      Also, I’d disagree about Vettel and Kimi having similar driving styles – for example, Peter Windsor pointed out that in Monza, where he could analyse the way that the drivers attacked the chicanes at close quarters, Vettel had a completely different approach to Kimi (Vettel was throwing the car into the corner very aggressively, putting a lot of stress through the front end, whilst Kimi was slowing the car down, squaring it up in the middle of the corner and then trying to power out of the corner).

  8. I’ve been a fan of Ferrari for most of the past 18 years, but now they’ve gone frome worse (firing Massa and hiring Räikkönen) to worst (replacing the most brilliant, dominant driver of the past few years with a driver who definitely can’t handle difficult situations or frustration). Now they have two drivers who are the first to blame their cars when they’re struggling, saying “if you want us to succeed, you have to give us a perfect car.” Well, duh. Whatever happened to drivers who tried to make the best of a less-than-optimal car?

    Also, the only two drivers I can’t stand one bit.

    So this is it for me. No more hoping for “Fratelli d’Italia”, not the slightest bit of love left for the red racers. I don’t change my affiliations all too quickly, but it’s like they were asking for it.

    1. Then leave…

      1. You don’t leave Ferrari. Tifosi forever(!!), even if we’re deeply disappointed.

        1. as a tifoso myself, i must say that i’m not angry at Alonso for leaving. He wanted to have 3WDC, and crown it with a Ferrari one. But, i feel more sorry for Ferrari not being up to the task than Fernando leaving. (let’s face it, he put his car two or three places up than the car itself deserved)

          1. @matiascasali
            My grudge is not with Fernando, it’s Ferrari who have disappointed me in every aspect. In just 12 months, they got rid of my favourite drivers, including the best one there is, fired my favorite team boss and replaced them with the least likeable drivers, including the most overrated one, and one less-than-likeable team boss of questionable qualification.
            What’s left to love at Ferrari? Nothing for me. That’s why I will be turning my back from them.

    2. Oh, how you say, ah si, Arriverderci!”

  9. I’m actually really looking forward to seeing what Vettel can actually do outside of the world of RB. Personally, seeing him up against Kimi will be fascinating especially as they both have similar driving styles. My big question is what happens next year do people think Hulkenberg is a shoe in for the Ferrari drive???

  10. I truly do not belive that Alonso will be missed at Ferrari. I really can’t remember when was the last time that Ferrari let a two-time world champion walk away with two more years of contact, if such thing ever happened.

    1. I think that shows just how much they value and respect him. They have more than once mentioned how they have failed him and that it was their responsibilty to give him a car he deserves. They clearly can’t do so in the foreseeable future and accepted his request to leave.

    2. Oh he will be missed. Ferrari was just pathetic over these 5 years and they know it.

    3. @aldoH the last time Ferrari have a double world champion, was schumacher, and the time before that, it was Prost, who was kicked out…

      1. @matiascasali Thanks for the input, mate, that’s info I already had: I was referring to Ferrari letting a multiple champion walk away *with two more years of contract*. So, maybe Prost, as you pointed out. And as in the Prost case, I don’t believe Alonso’s exit is a happy one, whatever the press releases from Alonso or Ferrari say about neverending love.

        1. appart from Schumacher, how many drivers ended their Ferrari time in a happy way?

  11. 5 seasons at Ferrari – 11 wins!
    2011-14 seasons – 6 wins

    when you consider how close Alonso was to winning the title in 2010 it has to be considered a disappointing period. Alonso has constantly out driven an performed his machinery but ferrari have under delivered.

  12. Bloody hell, ofcourse he began to doubt Ferrari. That team is a disgrace nowadays! And ditching Fernando… and that meeting with Mattiacci > http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/f1/alonso-leaves-ferrari/….. unbelievable.

    From a very angry and deeply disappointied Ferrari fan. This should have been Ferraris second Schumacher period, ie championships. But nothing, just second places at best.

  13. U can’t compare Alfonso boy with Schumacher. The way he interacted with engineers and surrounded himself with the best engineering squad ever seen in F1. Stop dreaming and have some tapas.

    1. What’s with all the Alonso hate today? Are you people so disappointed that your “Alonso was sacked by Ferrari for Vettel” talk turned out to be wishful thinking because it was actually him who decided to leave? Get a grip, guys. It’s not the end of the world. Only the end of podiums for Ferrari.

      1. Well, read this one; http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/f1/alonso-leaves-ferrari/
        “Alonso leaves Ferrari” by Mark Hughes. Apparantly he was ditched by Mattiacci after Fernando got angry after a meeting in Maranello.

  14. The only thing I remember from Fernandinos last stint at Mclaren was that he left without informing Briatore in due time and how he blocked LH entrance to the pit by not moving he’s car. Not a great sportsman at all.

  15. Alonso was at the WEC event last weekend. His best friend Webber is already there. Big rumours about Alonso and Audi. Audis top driver just retired. Conclusion? Alonso’s going to McLaren. Come on, he’s not about to quit F1 despite many things pointing to it being possible. Ron Dennis is trying to get the best deal possible and in typical callous style is dangling Jenson as a negotiating tool with Alonso.

    1. to be honest I would love to see jeson and alonso together. I think they will get along really well.

  16. today’s Ferrari failure at P2 shows ALONSO is right leaving The team.

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