Alonso: not better than everyone, but can beat everyone

Fernando Alonso may be flailing around in a challenging McLaren-Honda car at the moment but it has not always been his lot in life. He is a double champion and many Formula 1 fans believe him to be one of, if not the, best driver on the grid.

Alonso isn’t coming close to claiming that but in some ways he is. In an odd commentary regarding his skills, the Spaniard said:

“I always feel confident about beating anyone,” Alonso told Sky F1’s Martin Brundle last weekend ahead of his race return in China.

“I don’t believe that I’m better than anyone on pure speed in qualifying, I don’t think I’m better than anyone in wet conditions, dry conditions, qualifying, race. But if you put me in the same car at the same moment and same track as anyone. I think that I will beat them.

“Maybe I’m not best of all sections, but overall I will beat them.”

He’s not better than everyone but he can beat everyone. I’ll let you do the math(s) on that one. The two-time champ is a rare talent in F1 and always has been since his early days in a backmarker car.

Times have changes since Alonso won his two titles and in many ways, drivers have changed with the evolution of F1 to hybrid power units and high degradation tires. They’ve adapted and changed their approach to racing. Veteran like Alonso and his teammate, Jenson Button, have done a really good job of adapting but Fernando isn’t too keen on the current format of racing and it is a lot of the reason Red Bull’s Mark Webber retired early. Alonso said:

“Right now I don’t think that we are enjoying driving as much as we should do,” he added. “We cannot be seven or eight seconds slower than 10 years ago. This is not fun to drive.

“You are always saving – saving tyres, saving fuel, saving batteries – it is the opposite of our instinct. I hope next year it returns to a more normal driving style.”

Clearly an advocate for changes in 2017, Alonso, as well as his teammate, would like a return of more driver-reliant racing and a move away from “lift-and-coast” racing. The big question is, even with those chassis changes in 2017, will Honda provide a hybrid power unit capable of giving Alonso, not only a more visceral driving experience that is pushing 100%, but the ability of being competitive enough to win another title?

Alonso says he feels another title is possible if the elements all come together.

Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1

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Fred Talmadge

“You are always saving – saving tyres, saving fuel, saving batteries –
it is the opposite of our instinct. I hope next year it returns to a
more normal driving style.”

Agree, that is not racing, or at least not racing I enjoy.


I think the problem is that in F1 cars, managing those challenges doesn’t manifest itself in a visually exciting way. In bike racing (Moto and WSB), the riding style to manage worn tyres is scary and spectacular.
Imagine how exciting F1 would look if they could minimise time loss on worn tyres by slewing to slow down, and over steering through and out of corners, it could be as exciting as Rally Cross (or as drab as D1 drifting)

Dr T

I don’t know… this was pretty visually exciting and challenging issue with tyre management


I wouldn’t describe it as “not racing” as there’s quite a lot of skill involved in following & overtaking an opponent with similar tires in the current formula, without the overtaker destroying their own tires in the process. Here’s Ricciardo’s onboard from Shanghai where he passed Hamilton & Massa and crucially showing the leadup to the overtakes, where he was probing for a gap but keeping out of Hamilton’s dirty air as much as possible. Note also his ability to brake very late without a hint of lockup. But having said all that, I’d definitely prefer to see flat-out… Read more »

Dr T

I think the pass is even more impressive when overlaid with German commentary… I have no idea really what they are saying, but they don’t seem to be talking all that much about Hamilton unlike their UK colleagues

Plus they stick with the one car!


boy watching him through turn one behind the Merc you can really see how Kvyat was able to hold a tighter line on Vettel at the start. That car really holds.


I saw the interview in the China GP coverage, and while I expect the whole F1 grid would want to say the same thing, I thought it actually came across very well. Like Todd said in a recent podcast struggling Alonso and Vettel come across better than winning Alonso and Vettel, and he managed to sound like he was speaking from real conviction rather than arrogance.
That said, if you look at his Race of Champions record, that doesn’t bear out his claims………


Alonso can beat everyone? I won’t believe that until he’s defeated Felipinho…

Dr T

Post of the week here Todd… you can stop your search now

Captain McAwesome

Strong words from someone that, with the same car and more races, is still behind Vandoorne in the championship.

Abigail Thompson

Well captain mc awesombess you are so in sure you do anything. Perfectly and with poise


I interpret his comments to mean that in a real race car in a genuine motorsport series – not the “motorsport efficiency” series that F1 has explicitly and formally become – that his overall pace, style, and experience is enough to win.

I suppose he’s just waiting for contracts to expire before he transitions to WEC.


vanDoorne was in the same car. Why’s he got points?