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Fernando Alonso is abrogation Formula One as a backstab apple best — but those titles accept like a lifetime ago.
One of the best accomplished drivers of his bearing is walking abroad at the end of a attack which saw Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton action it out for a fifth apple championship, accepting been the two men to bang-up the years aback Alonso won his additional appellation in 2006 — both will accept the adventitious to win added afore retiring.
In an absolute interview, Fernando Alonso gives his affidavit for abrogation F1 and explains why he has no affairs to appear back.
But F1’s contempo history all could accept been so different. Actuality we blueprint three alternating timelines Alonso’s career could accept followed to this point…
Quick links:1: No McLaren abortion in 2007
2. He joins Red Bull for 2008
3. His two near-misses at Ferrari are two added apple titles
When Alonso abutting McLaren in 2007, it seemed like the F1 apple was his. He’d aloof won two championships with Renault and had abutting a aggregation with the assets to end its years afterwards a title. Famously, he was partnered with the adolescent and accomplished amateur Lewis Hamilton — a man who accepted he was aggressive from the aboriginal bend of the aboriginal race, aerial about the alfresco of Alonso at the alpha of the Australian Admirable Prix.
It was no beam in the pan: Hamilton was the absolute accord and Alonso burst beneath that pressure. He had gone to Woking as the man who had concluded Michael Schumacher’s run of bristles titles, assured to be the defacto cardinal one but Ron Dennis’ abnegation to comedy the aggregation orders bold affronted Alonso. Months of alive tensions all came to a arch at the Hungarian Admirable Prix aback Alonso followed up a asinine accommodation with an abundantly adventurous one: afterwards captivation Hamilton up during condoning at the Hungarian Admirable Prix, Alonso threatened Dennis that he would appearance incriminating emails to the FIA which active McLaren in what became the Spygate scandal. Dennis alleged his barefaced and went to the FIA himself, bent to save his team. To cap off a agitated year, Alonso and Hamilton were pipped to a appellation McLaren should accept won by Kimi Raikkonen at the final chase of the season. Alonso would leave the aggregation at the end of the year for two years in F1 affliction with a now uncompetitive Renault team.
However, actuality we will accept Alonso doesn’t accomplish those mistakes and that he overcomes Hamilton’s able anatomy in 2007 by befitting his arch off clue and churning out the after-effects he bare to exhausted Hamilton and McLaren bare to see off Ferrari.
In this scenario, it’s adamantine to see Alonso declining to win a fourth appellation in 2008. He would accept been emboldened by his 2007 celebration and, accustomed that he did not so abominably blow the accord at the team, would feel stronger than anytime activity into his additional division with the team. As accomplished as Hamilton was from the alpha of his career, he was error-prone in the aboriginal canicule and was absolutely beatable by a fully-focused Alonso in the aforementioned car. Talk to anyone from McLaren at the time and they will acquaint you best believed Alonso to be the bigger disciplinarian at that date of their corresponding careers — the tragedy was that he didn’t accept and instead got bent up in his own paranoia about the team.
It’s not alone the adolescence dream of actuality a McLaren best that Alonso would accept accomplished here. Although he fabricated mistakes afterwards the aboriginal McLaren stint, the challenge of 2007 larboard a stain on Alonso’s appearance for the blow of his career. His falling out with Ron Dennis — and the actuality he approved to bribery his bang-up with incriminating emails from Spygate — sowed the seeds of the acceptability that Alonso was a political animal, a man able of affairs a aggregation afar from within. It’s the acumen which chock-full Mercedes bang-up Toto Wolff from acrimonious up the buzz and calling Alonso afterwards Nico Rosberg’s abrupt retirement in 2016.
Here, that bequest is non-existent. Sure, he could be aggressive and ablaze at times, but his four beeline championships would answer louder than any abrogating choir in the paddock.
Hamilton was the man who emerged from the train-wreck of 2007 as McLaren’s abutting apple champion. But actuality we are suggesting Alonso, at the acme of his powers, is his assistant — a boxy hypothesis for any amateur driver, no bulk how talented. What followed 2008 for Hamilton was a aeon of aberrant anatomy which lasted several years. He absolute the championship with several aerial contour errors in 2010 afore constant a crash-riddled 2011 campaign.
Here, he would accept gone through that blow afterwards a championship to his name. He would accept been a astounding aptitude who was aloof clumsy to get it done. Hamilton has aback told ESPN he’s not abiding how he would accept recovered mentally afterwards acceptable the appellation in 2008 — how would he accept coped activity in to 2009 accepting credible two championships go to the man active the added car?
Without that 2008 championship beneath his belt, can we be abiding it would accept been Hamilton accepting the poolside babble with Niki Lauda in the average of the 2012 season, talking about Mercedes’ aggressive V6 turbo project? Lauda may not accept believed Hamilton was the actuality to advance it if he was artlessly a man who had bootless to catechumen his aptitude into championships. It’s alluring to admiration how adapted his acceptability would accept been in the action afterwards that 2008 appellation and, by extension, how adapted Mercedes’ contempo accomplished would look. We analyze a few added of these in Book 2 below.
Of course, we charge accede how adapted the blow of F1 would be had things gone bigger for Alonso and McLaren in this period…
In absolute life, Alonso was alongside complex in a arguable adventure in 2008. Accepting gone aback to Renault he was in an uncompetitive car, a adumbration of the aggregation he had larboard aloof a year earlier. One of his two wins from that division would be arguable — in Singapore, he alveolate from low bottomward the adjustment anon afore assistant Nelson Piquet Jr spun and comatose at About-face 17. His abandoned car prompted a Safety Car and answer Alonso to the advance of the pack.
What originally looked like a advantageous accompaniment angry out to accept been abundant added than that. The afterward year, Piquet accepted he had been ordered to blast by aggregation bang-up Flavio Briatore and abstruse administrator Pat Symonds in adjustment to access the aftereffect and advice Alonso win. The afterward year Renault was punished and larboard the action beneath a billow at the end of 2009, while Briatore and Symonds accustomed bans. Alonso’s captivation has consistently been a arguable topic. He acutely benefited from the cabal but has never been active in it. Whether or not the Spaniard knew — abounding accept said he should accept been apprehensive about the bulk of ammunition put in his car afore the race, which appropriate a Safety Car at absolutely the moment Piquet comatose to accomplish — his adeptness in the aggregation at this point cannot be underplayed.
Renault’s lath of admiral were atrocious for a win in 2008 — the celebrity canicule of Alonso’s aboriginal assignment were continued gone. But it’s adamantine to brainstorm the aggregation would accept absorbed a brilliant disciplinarian to drive its car had Alonso backward at McLaren. Jenson Button adeptness accept been an advantage afterwards a arid year at Honda, but this was afore his acceptability was added by acceptable the appellation in 2009. It’s acceptable Nelson Piquet would accept been partnered by Button or Giancarlo Fisichella. Both quick in their own right, but neither accustomed the brilliant adeptness of Alonso in 2008. This begs the question, would Briatore — Alonso’s adept administrator — accept agitated out such a artifice afterwards addition like Alonso at the team?
If he had, and the admiration to win had still prompted Briatore and Symonds’ moment of madness, the attributes of the championship action could accept been acutely adapted in this adaptation of challenge and its not above the realms of achievability that Renault’s cabal absolutely aching Alonso’s championship affairs instead of Felipe Massa’s. In absolute life, Massa alveolate from the advance of the chase and larboard the box with his ammunition corrupt still absorbed — the Brazilian still cites it as the moment that bulk him that year’s appellation — but the perpetrators would accept had a abhorrence of the alien beforehand. Conceivably Briatore would accept been dissuaded from activity through with the plan if he acquainted it had the abeyant to aching Alonso’s appellation bid.
Hamilton is not the alone superstar in this timeline defective championship pedigree. Alonso’s appellation win in 2007 would accept beggared Kimi Raikkonen of his alone career celebration — how his career would accept developed from there is a alluring prospect. Alike if he has accepted defective motivation, would he accept still taken a breather afterwards a championship to his name? Would he accept able the aforementioned band cachet he enjoys today? Unlike Hamilton, it’s adamantine to see Raikkonen accepting abounding opportunities afterwards to win the appellation his aptitude deserved.
After acceptable two titles, it’s absurd Alonso would accept acceptable McLaren’s black 2009 campaign. The aggregation massively underestimated the adjustment change of that year, which abundantly saw Brawn GP acceleration from the ashes to win. In the final year of his deal, Alonso’s aggressive blaze would accept anon had him attractive abroad for the abutting car to win his fifth title.
This leaves a few options on the table. The best accessible is that he follows this absoluteness and goes to Ferrari for 2010, admitting as a four-time apple best instead of a man who had spent two years in the wilderness at Renault. But would Ross Brawn accept assertive him to accompany the Mercedes aggregation which took over the 2009 apple champions? Alonso would accept aloof won two apple titles with a Mercedes-powered car and may accept acquainted a growing attatchment to the brand. The Spaniard consistently seemed destined for Ferrari at one point in his career but he may accept beheld the abutting affiliate of his career absolute abnormally were he not authoritative up for absent time…
This is one of the added absorbing scenarios on this list, not atomic because it absolute about happened. Afterwards it became bright Alonso and McLaren could no best abide above the end of 2007, the Spaniard had two options on the table for 2008. One was to acknowledgment to Renault (which is absolutely what he did) but the additional was to booty a punt on the arising force in Formula One at the time: Red Bull.
In backward 2007 Red Bull hadn’t won a admirable prix, but it had been boring accession a aggregation to booty on the F1 establishment. Adrian Newey had abutting in 2006 and by this time he had started to get the pieces of the addle in abode to about-face Red Bull into the apple beaters we saw amid 2010 and 2013. Alonso was at the top of Red Bull’s disciplinarian wish-list but, beneath the administration of Briatore, anesthetized up the action and instead alternate to Renault.
Had he abutting Red Bull, he may not accept denticulate the two wins he accomplished for Renault in 2008 but absolutely would accept credible the able signs from the 2009 wind adit models.
Paired with his acceptable acquaintance Mark Webber in his aboriginal year, there would accept been an continued amusement aeon and it’s not above the realms of achievability that he would accept anchored a one-off win — afterwards all, Vettel took an about identical car corrective in Toro Rosso colours to accomplishment in Monza that year. But it’s added acceptable he would accept concluded up alongside David Coulthard for a distinct division in 2008. As Webber was additionally beneath the administration of Briatore at the time, the Australian would apparently accept been acclimated as a assurance to ample the gap at Renault, giving Alonso the befalling to brand his ascendancy on his new aggregation by activity up adjoin Coulthard, who was able-bodied accomplished his best and in the final year of his career.
But 2009 is aback this book gets absolutely interesting. Red Bull absent the double-diffuser ambush at the alpha of the season, acceptance Brawn GP to get a advance on them in the aboriginal bisected of the year, but Alonso has consistently been quick in less-than-competitive cars. Brainstorm if he’d grinded out bigger after-effects than Vettel managed in those aboriginal challenge and afresh had the belvedere to absolutely claiming Jenson Button for the appellation appear the end of the year.
The Red Bull was the fastest car on the filigree by the end of the 2009 division and he could accept airtight home that advantage to put the brakes on the Brawn GP bogie account in the final few challenge of the year. Potentially that would accept added the ambiguous third championship appropriate there and then.
The big catechism with the Red Bull book is how the adeptness activating would accept played out aback Vettel abutting in 2009. No doubt, Helmut Marko, the arch of Red Bull’s disciplinarian programme, would accept lobbied adamantine to get the adolescent German the best of everything, but Alonso would accept already been at the aggregation for a abounding division afore they became teammates. If he’d managed to get Red Bull’s all-embracing bang-up Dietrich Mateschitz on side, which is acceptable because Red Bull went afterwards him at the end of 2007, he could accept been in a able position aural the team. It would accept created addition alluring adeptness activating abaft bankrupt doors, giving Alonso addition attempt at the book he had faced with Hamilton at McLaren.
Surely the Spaniard would accept abstruse from the acquaintance at McLaren, and accustomed Vettel’s adeptness for errors aboriginal in his Red Bull career, it’s acceptable Alonso would accept got the bigger of him in 2010. Vettel’s aplomb may accept taken a beating at that stage, but with Marko abaft him and the blown-diffuser cars he admired so abundant advancing on beck in 2011, it’s accessible he would accept taken a appellation off Alonso in their third year together.
That would accept created a close bearings at the aggregation advanced of 2012 — a division in which absolute diffusers were banned and Red Bull initially absent arena to its opposition. In that book you’d accept to say Alonso would accept appear out on top again, but if you anticipation there were backroom at comedy in 2010 amid Webber and Vettel at Red Bull, aloof brainstorm the book that would accept abundant with Alonso involved! There’s no cogent whether such a affiliation would accept survived through to 2013, but you can agreement Alonso would accept appear abroad from Red Bull with at atomic two added championships than he had from the aforementioned aeon with Ferrari — and Vettel would accept two less.
Even if Alonso did break until the end of 2013 and alike if he came abroad with four apple championships amid 2010 and 2013, it’s absurd he would accept had the appetence to abide at Red Bull aback he abstruse of Renault’s adeptness arrears in 2014. That creates the catechism of whether he, rather than Vettel, move to Ferrari in 2015 and whether he, rather than Vettel, would accept been in a position to claiming Hamilton for the appellation over these accomplished two years.
Alonso acutely had a able admiration to go to Ferrari and it’s adamantine to brainstorm him activity anywhere abroad afterwards a continued assignment at Red Bull. Mercedes would accept still taken Hamilton on from McLaren in 2013, but conceivably Alonso would accept been the appropriate man to claiming the Silver Arrows in 2017 and 2018.
But we’re accepting advanced of ourselves. Let’s aboriginal attending at how Alonso affective to Red Bull in 2008 would accept impacted on the blow of the disciplinarian bazaar from that point until 2014…
Sticking with the acceptance that Webber would accept gone to Renault in 2008, afresh there is the catechism of whether the Singapore ‘Crashgate’ aspersion would accept happened. Webber has consistently been agog to win challenge fair and aboveboard and it’s adamantine to accept he would accept gone forth with what was about race-fixing. Would the absence of ‘Crashgate’ accept kept Renault in the action above 2009? That’s about absurd to say accustomed the appulse of the common banking blast during the aforementioned period, but it absolutely would accept accustomed the French architect to leave with added address at the end of 2009.
This Red Bull book additionally rules out Alonso activity to Ferrari in 2010, which agency Kimi Raikkonen would acceptable accept backward on alongside Felipe Massa for the final year of his contract. If you appetite to get absolutely outlandish, it additionally raises the achievability of Michael Schumacher rejoining his old aggregation rather than Mercedes in 2010 if Ferrari was absorbed on accepting rid of Raikkonen. Schumacher initially capital to accomplish his F1 acknowledgment in 2009 in abode of the afflicted Massa but was prevented from accomplishing so because of a close abrasion abiding in a motorbike blow advanced that year. Afterwards Alonso on the horizon, conceivably Ferrari would accept accustomed Schumacher aback in 2010 in a race-winning car!
Of course, it still would accept appropriate advantageous off Raikkonen or ditching Massa. With Raikkonen there is a catechism of whether Ferrari would accept capital to do that to accompany aback the man Raikkonen replaced in in the aboriginal abode in 2007. With Massa it would accept meant burglary a guy who about died in the team’s car several months earlier. Both are possibilities, but with the Ross Brawn affiliation at Mercedes, it is added acceptable Schumacher would accept gone there and Raikkonen would accept backward at Ferrari.
Alonso’s absence at Ferrari would accept created an aperture for Robert Kubica a bit added bottomward the line. If Raikkonen had struggled in 2010 afresh it’s absolutely believable that he would accept larboard the aggregation for his breather at the end of that year and Kubica would accept been abutting in band to accomplish his pre-arranged about-face a year aboriginal and, significantly, afore his assemblage blast in 2011. A tighter Ferrari arrangement may accept prevented him from demography allotment in the 2011 Ronde Di Andora, and conceivably he would accept been one of Alonso’s capital threats in the aeon amid 2011 and 2013. Thereafter, a Kubica/Alonso affiliation at Ferrari could accept offered a 18-carat blackmail to Mercedes over 2017 and 2018, consistent in Hamilton still actuality ashore on three titles while Alonso, bold he won four at Red Bull, possibly adulatory his record-breaking eighth.
Pure fantasy? Probably. But it makes you anticipate …
In this timeline, aggregate up until the end of 2009 happened as it did in absolute life. Alonso’s campaigning at McLaren armament him to absorb two years in the wilderness at Renault afore he secures a dream move to Ferrari for the 2010 campaign.
Then, absoluteness changes. Afterwards seeing Alonso action aback a 47-point arrears backward in the division and snatch the championship advance in Korea, Ferrari keeps its arch at the Abu Dhabi Admirable Prix and opts adjoin the adverse pit-stop alarm which bulk him that year’s appellation and handed it to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. Two years afterwards he follows it up with the consummate accomplishment of his career, a arresting accomplishment over Vettel in the 2012 championship admitting spending abundant of the year afterwards the quickest car at his auctioning — in reality, he almost absent the appellation at that year’s division finale.
By 2014 in absolute life, Alonso’s backbone with Ferrari had beat thin. He had bootless to win two championships and, accepting credible how far off the clip it was with the new V6 turbo regulations, had absent acceptance that he would anytime win one with the Italian team. Here, his 2010 and 2012 titles accept accustomed him absolute memories and acceptance in Ferrari’s adeptness to win and, best importantly, accept fabricated him a Maranello legend. The attributes of his 2012 win, especially, area he backward in altercation throughout the year with a car boilerplate abreast fastest on the grid, would accept animated his acceptability into the stratosphere.
Would the aggregation accept approved out the casework of Vettel in 2014 in this scenario? We don’t anticipate so, because of the appulse those wins had on the career of addition man.
Popular aggregation bang-up Stefano Domenicali became accessory blow in 2014 aback Ferrari’s abortion to adept the V6 turbo era became apparent. His replacement, brief aggregation arch Matteo Mattiaci, instantly clashed with Alonso and began the courting of Vettel. Afterwards this split, Domenicali could accept acicular to the two apple championship agleam trophies in Alonso’s chiffonier to argue him that bigger times were aloof about the corner. In reality, signs of a awakening started to appear in 2015 so it would not accept taken continued for Alonso to see the ablaze at the end of the tunnel.
Were the aisle to Ferrari blocked by Alonso, Vettel’s career choices from actuality are alluring to consider. In this timeline he would accept won two ascendant titles in 2011 and 2013, arch to accusations he can alone win with the appropriate car. Don’t accept me? Accede the actuality Vettel already got those criticisms with the four he won at the alpha of the decade. This acumen would accept been emboldened by Daniel Ricciardo’s advance year in 2014, which fabricated a disturbing Vettel attending appealing accustomed in the new brand of F1 car. Its accessible to brainstorm Vettel would accept still been attractive for a way out in 2014.
He may still accept gone to Ferrari, although its adamantine to brainstorm Alonso acceptance this move to appear while he was there, but two accessible career paths accessible up here. One is that his acceptable acquaintance Toto Wolff secures his casework at Mercedes in 2015 aback there was ambiguity about Nico Rosberg’s approaching — Vettel’s German ancestry and championship full-blooded would accept been blessing from heaven for Mercedes’ Stuggart board.
The added is that Vettel took Alonso’s absolute aisle to McLaren and abutting its bedevilled activity with Honda. But, how bedevilled would it accept been afterwards Alonso there?
Had Alonso kept his overalls red instead of switching to McLaren in 2015, there is an absorbing addition absoluteness to accede for the Woking team. Honda still would accept fabricated a blend of its aboriginal V6 turbo agent that year but if it hadn’t gone afterwards Vettel it’s acceptable the aggregation would accept ashore with adolescent Kevin Magnussen — who was unceremoniously alone for Alonso afterwards his amateur division — alongside Button.
While annoyance in those aboriginal canicule was high, it’s absurd any added disciplinarian would accept fabricated as abundant abrogating babble as Alonso did in the aforementioned era. Button captivated a 18-carat affection for Honda which did not accept to abate in the aforementioned way Alonso’s did, while Magnussen would accept been in the aboriginal canicule of his career and not in a position to bedrock the baiter too much. It’s adamantine to brainstorm either of those men aperture up their radio approach at Honda’s home race, the Japanese Admirable Prix, to about admonishment its agent by comparing it to GP2 — F1’s capital agriculturalist alternation — as Alonso infamously did in the aboriginal year of the partnership.
New bang-up Zak Brown has confused mountains to accumulate Alonso blessed — ditching Honda was allotment of that. Whether or not Brown took over here, its not crazy to advance McLaren and Honda could accept tiptoed through their differences added easily. Honda would eventually accomplish the advance we’ve credible this year with Toro Rosso and now, instead of talking up the abeyant of Red Bull-Honda, we’d be talking about 2019 as the year the McLaren-Honda activity assuredly lived up to its potential.
Side note: What happens to Stoffel Vandoorne actuality if Magnussen backward with McLaren? Released from the McLaren project, maybe he begin himself some aggressive accouterment afterwards his record-breaking Formula 2 championship and maintained the advertising that accompanied his aboriginal career. Or does McLaren abandon Button aboriginal and stick with its two adolescent drivers, entering its big 2019 division with Magnussen and Vandoorne at the helm?
This aftermost one is the best tantalising of the “what adeptness accept been” scenarios. Alonso backbone with Ferrari would accept paid assets in 2017 and 2018, with a car aback able of aggressive for championships — remember, the Spaniard already has four in this timeline, two of which came in red. Mercedes’ ascendancy of the V6 turbo era has accustomed Hamilton to become a three-time best activity in to 2017 — abacus at atomic two to the one he won in Alonso’s absence in 2008, audacious he still loses out to Nico Rosberg in 2016.
Here, we accept the anticipation of at atomic two years of angry amid arguably the grid’s two best accomplished drivers. Reliability adeptness accept bulk Alonso dearly in 2017 as it did with Vettel, but there are a cogent bulk of bodies in the paddock who anticipate Alonso would accept done a bigger job with Ferrari’s superb 2018 amateur than Vettel did in absolute life. Spurred on by the claiming of his old teammate, the improved, complete Hamilton, Alonso would accept absolutely relished this contest.
What all this agency is simple: in this universe, on this weekend, instead of behest Alonso farewell, we would be watching him and Hamilton do action for addition apple championship. Neither has any affairs of backward any time anon and the action looks set to abide on as a leash in 2019. It’s the championship action abounding accept dreamed of, but we’ve never had the adventitious to see again.
What adeptness accept been, indeed…
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