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Featured Has Alonso underperformed in return to McLaren?

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Ben Stevens, Nov 14, 2015.

  1. Over-achieving

    4 vote(s)
  2. Average

    11 vote(s)
  3. Under-achieving

    11 vote(s)
  4. Reliability has hampered him too much to make a judgement

    71 vote(s)
  1. Ben Stevens

    Ben Stevens
    Premium Member

    alonso.jpg Speaking to the press on Thursday, the two-time world champion admitted his 2015 season has not been up to his usual standards. Is this a case of modesty or honesty from the Spaniard?

    The issue of shortages seems to be a constant of F1 life nowadays – whether it’s cash at Lotus, engine suppliers at Red Bull, or a reason for Kimi Raikkonen to smile, up-and-down the grid there seems to be a problem. Historically, one example has been a lack of willingness for F1 personnel to be completely forthcoming with the media, but that can’t be said of Fernando Alonso on Thursday.

    Facing up to the press prior to this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, Alonso revealed his own disappointment in his 2015 performances. Speaking to motorsport.com’s Pablo Elizalde, the two-time world champion admitted on the record that,

    "I don't think that I had the best season [sic], so definitely I need to improve for next year. When you are running at the front and you have more motivation that helps, of course. But I'm on standby, let's say, in economy mode, to have full energy next year."​

    Questions of false-modesty aside, Alonso’s comments do highlight what has been one of 2015’s most underrated subplots – his close-run battle with teammate and 2009 world champion Jenson Button.

    Perhaps it’s been lost in the highly-publicised difficulties surrounding the first year of the reborn McLaren-Honda partnership, but quietly Alonso has been truly matched in a teammate battle for the first time since he partnered Lewis Hamilton at McLaren in 2007. As things currently stand, Alonso leads their qualifying head-to-head 7-6, yet trails in the championship standings 16 points to 11, despite holding a 4-3 advantage in races they have both finished. No matter how you spin it, it’s clearly neck-and-neck regardless.


    Given just how utterly dominant Alonso was in his teammate battle last year with 2007 world champion Raikkonen, it’s been something of a surprise to see just how tight this duel has been. The qualifying battle in particular was supposed to be a whitewash for the Spaniard, whose reputation for one-lap excellence well supersedes his British counterpart, and yet he only leads by a single point. Race performance remains hard to judge with the MP4-30 as unreliable as it is from race-to-race, but it’s hard to deny Button has been the steadier hand in managing his car to the finish (Alonso's fifth in Hungary being the only time he was particularly spectacular) and is fully deserving of his points advantage.

    For Button fans, none of this is probably a surprise, but Alonso seemingly gets a mention in every discussion on the absolute best of the current grid, with the only other usual suspects being Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. At least on paper, Button deserves more credit than he has gotten so far this year. On the other hand, sceptics could argue this is symptomatic of a man who has spent over a decade fighting at the front of the grid, for whom being relegated to backmarker status has been a particularly bitter pill to swallow. His above comments would serve to illustrate his lack of motivation, and he wouldn’t be the first great driver to be hindered by mental fatigue. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, but if Alonso hopes to win a championship in the near future, it looks like he’ll have to step his game up.

    How would you assess Alonso’s 2015 performance? Is Button not getting enough credit for taking it to the Spaniard? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015
  2. Milos

    Had things gone my way, who knows..

    errm Alonso got the 5th in Hungary not Button..

    well not really, only Honda needs to step up imo.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  3. With such an underperforming car it is not easy to judge. And even if he is underperforming wow, he has 15 points instead of 18. Wow.
  4. Ben Stevens

    Ben Stevens
    Premium Member

    Whoops! Typing mistake, nice catch!
  5. Melv

    Premium Member

    @Ben Stevens

    I believe rhythm and motivation is extremely important in F1, I may be wrong. We have seen it many times with many drivers (many other sports as well).

    And right now the Mclaren boys have got less laps at one go in the car than what Mercedes had in the first test (more or less). Building any sort of rhythm or motivation is going to be difficult.

    From watching F1 for the last 15 years to me its a bit clear the driver needs a lot of things to fit well to deliver the goods (the car, support from team, management, personal issues, luck).

    I guess to answer the question properly we will have to wait till the drivers have enough confidence the car will last the race distance so they can push it to the limit (read, get a car without Japanese hand grenades in the back).
    • Like Like x 1
  6. no. the car is bust.
  7. Milos

    Had things gone my way, who knows..

    the car is perfectly fine. I even think the chassis is the best out there. At least one of the best.
    This is shown in Monaco and Singapore where car handling>engine power.

    Only Honda are trully at fault, they keep saying upgrades will come yet nothing happens. This GP2 engine is really frustrating.
  8. I will disagree. McLaren have gone for an aggressive car design. They have gone for performance and not for reliability and they paid for it.
  9. rocafella1978

    Premium Member

    quality, material and hardware is below what McLaren should be! they arr almost less competetive than Manor!
  10. James Cook

    James Cook
    Marcas fan

    The car is under-performing, not the drivers. Two world champions don't become bad overnight.

    Didn't answer the poll as I don't think there is an option that applies. Reliability has been a problem but it's not as if the car is quick on a good day.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Car will always hide some talent as long as the driver is not in the fastest car. Is hamilton for example doing better job than vettel this season? Truth is we don't know because the car is masking their skill level to certain degree. Same thing with marussia drivers. The car is so hopeless turd that one has to wonder whether those guys ever sat in cockpit before their f1 careers.

    It is so deceiving that a car can make someone something like 3s per lap slower. Someone who is supposed to be one of the best drivers in f1 today. Or in the case of hamilton vs vettel that difference could be just 0.3seconds.

    Or look at grosjean. When kimi was leaving from lotus to ferrari he was consistently beaten by grosjean at the end of the season. Now nobody thinks much of grosjean because the car he is driving is so under performing. Similarly look at massa at williams. When massa left ferrari he had choise of going to either williams or lotus. Had he chosen lotus he would probably be in situation now where everyone would be saying he is slow and old and should just retire. But at williams who have third or second best car he seems to be doing kinda decent job trailing bottas and finishing ahead once in a while. Or is he? Do you think massa is doing better job than grosjean for example?

    Mclarens are pretty comfortably within the pack even if they are in the back end of the pack. Manor are way behind the back and even way behind mclaren. On a good day mclaren can race for points and even on this season mclaren has averaged probably twice as many points as manor has averaged over last 3 seasons... per season...
  12. It's possible that he wasn't the usual monster Fernando Alonso at times this season.

    But it's very hard to judge on such a troubled season, the pre-season accident maybe hampering his preparations (he changed teams and barely had a chance to drive his car before Malaysia), and such a slow and unreliable car that no one can bridge gap to the more powerful ones...
  13. You can't blame either drivers....The Honda power cars have been awful all season. They are lucky to even get some championship points. Very disappointed season for the Mclaren team this year...Is not the drivers fault IMO.

    It will be very interesting to see what they come up with for 2016 because the Honda engine was not even good for Indycar! What a waste of a F1 2015 season for McLaren.
  14. David O'Reilly

    David O'Reilly
    A bad quali means I can go forwards in the race.

    My view is that if he is running in economy mode and saving himself for next season then it should be reflected in his pay packet.
    Honda and McLaren are paying for the best driver on the grid with his pay and Vettels circa 50 million.
    For that money he needs to be pushing it to the limit every race.
  15. Erwin Greven

    Erwin Greven
    Premium Member

    This is why Max said, when asked how good Hamilton was: "Put me in the same car, then i can see how good he is."
  16. These days it's a waste of time trying to compare drivers across the grid. The bottom line is that almost all of the F1 drivers are exceptionally talented, but it is the cars (teams) that determine the results now.
    I find it frustrating that F1 attracts the worlds best drivers, and pays them massive salaries, when they really have so little chance to impact on results in the modern era.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. the car sucks,he was to critize honda at japan,the car design is not bad but the engine
    • Agree Agree x 1