Alonso is a fine fine racer. Ask any F1 pundit about who has been the best performer this year and the reply will obviously be Alonso. Fernando Alonso has driven like a man on a mission in a car that is average at the best of times. He has won three races when everyone in the paddock was pretty sure the Ferrari was capable of nothing more than fighting for meager points.
And it’s true, if you consider Felipe Massa’s performance at the beginning of the year. The last three years in F1 have been purely about aerodynamic development. The rear diffuser, the rear diffuser and exhaust gases, the coanda effect, the double DRS and all the jazz that is part and parcel of F1 has been heavily criticised by Ferrari head Luca Montezemelo. The idea of pure racing, the wheel to wheel racing of old times, is just not possible with the cars of today. And the reason is pretty simple – Dirty Air.
If an F1 car is chasing another F1 car, then the front car leaves behind dirty air, a vacuum. That vacuum leads to lack of downforce which is what F1 cars are all about! If you don’t have downforce then you can’t chase a car through the corners at the same speed and if you do carry a lot of speed without downforce then you will spin out. So F1 racing is now less exciting. But that is not the sole reason for Luca’s ire against the regulations.
No, the problem is that Ferrari can never got on top of the regulations! The only man who has constantly beat the regulations is Adrian Newey, a man who was courted by Ferrari and almost moved there before Adrian Newey’s wife refused to move to Italy. She called it a “third-world country”. Luca was not pleased.
So this year too, Ferrari were behind the times and behind on the time-sheets. And Luca was not very pleased. Again. However Alonso has somehow defied the car and expectations to wrestle it to the top of the leader board. Massa needs a good car underneath him in order to do that. So while the various teams, almost all struggled with the new Pirelli tyres (which offer extra wear), Alonso calmly went about getting points. And he was absolutely spectacular in the wet! When it rained, chances were that Alonso would be on the top step. Not that he was faster than others, but he kept his cool and performed consistently. That is the true sign of a world champion.
I think, and the whole F1 world thinks, that if Alonso had a faster car under him, and that he was performing just like he is at the moment, the championship would already have been decided. As it is, Ferrari’s lack of pace has turned it into an all might competition, and a slightly one sided one too. But the prancing horse is not the one leading here, it’s limping to the finish line while its main competitor, an energy drink, is going from strength to strength.
YES! VETTEL IS BACK! With a car that outclassed every other car on the grid, Red Bull is now firmly in control of the championship. In fact such was the dominance of Vettel during the race, and so good was the pace, that Vettel cruised home with almost a 20 second lead! And with the fastest time to boot! He was almost more than a second quicker than the next fastest lap. Vettel wanted to show the paddock what his car was capable of, and his 52nd lap proved that point vehemently, much to the annoyance of his race engineers who wanted him to play it safe.
But of course, leading the race from the start can get pretty boring for a guy like Vettel, who after all has been doing that consistently for the last two years. A guy needs a little fun now and then after all!
And here lies the problem for Alonso, if the pace Vettel showed can’t be matched by the Ferrari, if the competitor is so fast that you can smash your right foot on the accelerator all you want and not catch up, well then it’s all over for Alonso. Red Bull is just too fast. A 4 point lead is just too small. A third championship for Vettel is just inevitable.
Or is it? I am not sure what Ferrari will do to get up to speed in the next few races. I am not sure if they are even capable of getting up to speed. However, Alonso is not going to sit back and let his best chances of a championship since 2010 go floating by. And no chance in hell is he going to sit back and watch a guy like Vettel, who has some secret contract with Ferrari for 2014, to come be his partner and have more championships than him!
NO! When Alonso says he is going to be fighting a mini championship with Vettel now, he means it. When he said that Vettel might crash out the next race, well he might mean that too. After all, Massa needs to show his loyalty to Ferrari and Alonso and Alonso has played the dirty game more than once ( Anyone remember Nelson Piquet Jr. at Singapore?). So gear up boys and girls, this is going to be one hell of a championship, one hell of a battle. Don’t count Alonso out just yet for the smart money might be on Vettel but Alonso is gonna live life dangerously from now on!