Op-Ed: How the German GP reinforces all my concerns about Alonso

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Before diving head first in, a quick note that, I’m sure, will absolutely surprise a number of you.

While F1B is unabashedly an “opinion” site about Formula 1, we do strive for analysis, I think, in the end. While we may form opinions about whether Mark Webber or Heikki Kovalainen were at fault or whether Mark Webber or Sebastian Vettel should be blamed, I think if you look at our posts we do try to bring some evidence, something approaching facts or figures to our arguments.

We may throw around snark as if it were going out of style (which, I fear, it may be), and we may all have favorite targets for our scorn (or, in Grace’s case, favorite targets — as in everyone on the grid), but we try to be reasonable — as much as possible.

Now, of course, I’m a biased observer of this. But I do think it is rare when we put forth something purely emotional, without any solid facts to back things up — unless we clearly mark it as so.

So, let’s just say I’m clearly marking this as one of those times.

This is all gut reaction. This is just a “sense” I have. A feeling. A feeling I’ve mentioned, in passing, tentatively, here and there over the past couple of years.

That feeling is this: Something just bothers me about Fernando Alonso. Something I don’t feel toward any of the other F1 drivers.

I can’t quite describe it in one word, because that boxes my feeling in a little too much. I don’t think Alonso’s a “cheat,” for instance. But that word comes quickly to mind when I think of him. I don’t think he’s “underhanded.” But I don’t think he isn’t.

I do think that, more so than every other extremely competitive driver on the Formula 1 grid, Alonso will stop at nothing to win. But I don’t know how far he would go.

For whatever reason, I just get a bad feeling about him.

Keep in mind, as I write this, I know I don’t have anything specific to point to about it. Well, I have these weird circumstantial pieces of evidence that I honestly cannot get past.

I can’t get past the fact that during his one year with McLaren, the team ended up embroiled in “Spygate.”

I can’t get past the fact that when he returned to Renault the team planned for Nelson Piquet Jr. to slam into a wall in order to help Alonso win a race.

And, yes, I know he wasn’t implicated in either of those incidents. But I filed them away — and I know I’ve said this in the Forum at F1B if not somewhere on this main page — as a “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” potential.

It just seemed like bad things followed Alonso around. And while he’s never been blamed for them, I … well, again, gut feeling. They just put a big question mark over his head — for me.

It’s a big question mark that doesn’t change the fact that I believe he’s one of the best drivers in the world right now, if not the best. But it is a question mark that makes it hard for me to root for him. I just have a feeling that maybe he doesn’t deserve my support.

And now comes the German Grand Prix. I doubt there is much need to delve into the details. Yes, every driver goes on the radio and complains about being held up — even if the complaint is toward a team mate. Yes, Alonso and Felipe Massa are employed by Ferrari and, to an extent, have to do what the bosses in Maranello say. Yes, Alonso is closer in the drivers race and has shown better form all season.

And yes, maybe Alonso did the smart thing by not trying to race Massa wheel-to-wheel. We just have to look to Red Bull to see what can happen.

Yes, yes and yes. I know, I get it.

But then there’s another controversy, another incident that raises a host of questions, and Fernando Alonso is right there, involved, and this time pretty darn near the center.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

I just can’t get past that.

I guess what I’m saying is for me, speaking as one fan — one fan who happens to have a soapbox, courtesy of Negative Camber — these series of events just further harden my concerns, my worries — maybe it’s fair to say dislike, but I suppose I’d choose disinterest — of Fernando Alonso.

Now, that’s nothing earth-shattering, I know. But I can’t believe I’m the only one, and I have to wonder what long-term damage these events will do to Alonso and Ferrari. I wonder if the actions on Sunday will end up being worth the lost fans and, depending on the World Motor Sport Council’s decision, the lost points. (I also want to be on the record with my entirely subjective, gut reaction to Alonso on the off, off chance that my suspicions turn out to be true.)

Two last things.

First, this does not, I honestly don’t believe, make me a “hater” of Fernando Alonso. It certainly doesn’t make me a big fan, but I think it really just makes me not particularly care how he does. I feel just more indifferent to him — which I don’t like because he’s a great driver and exhilarating to watch. I guess my biggest disappointment, what compelled me to write this, is I feel like I’m being deprived the joy of cheering for such a talent.

The more I think about that, the more upset that makes me. But right now I just can’t be an Alonso supporter.

Also, I will — and have — keep my opinions of him in mind as I talk about him and Ferrari on this site. I’ll try not to let them color things too much.

Second, I am extremely happy that all of this is overshadowing the absolutely ridiculous, stupid, unfathomable pitstop mess-up by Force India.

Now that is junior league.


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