FIA president and the former team boss of the Ferrari team during the seminal years of Michael Schumacher has revealed that Fernando Alonso’s struggles in the midfield and the back of the grid remind of Schumacher’s days when he was in an uncompetitive Ferrari for at least three years before, the Italian team started challenging for the world title from 1999 onwards. In fact, Ferrari won the 6 consecutive constructor’s titles between 1999 and 2004 while Schumacher won a record five world driver’s titles between 2000-2004. Schumacher would’ve likely won the 1999 title as well had he not broken his leg at the British GP that year. He could’ve also added the 1997 title had he not clashed with Jacques Villeneuve in the last race of the year.
“Those in the World Championship are all very talented drivers. Maybe there are two or three who have a bit more spark, but what makes the big difference is the car they are given to drive,” Todt told beIN Sports, quoted by Spanish website AS.
“We have seen it in the past. Look at Michael Schumacher, when he came to Ferrari in 1996, he was World Champion in 1994 and 1995. In 1996 he won three Grands Prix, far from being World Champion. Then we saw it with many other drivers,” the Frenchman explained.
He added that Alonso would’ve likely won more titles if he was given better machinery. Alonso won in 2005 and 2006 and brought Schumacher’s reign to an end. He was tied for 2nd with Hamilton in 2007 and then came 2nd three times with Ferrari in 2010, 2012 and 2013 before his career fizzled away as in 2014 Ferrari was highly uncompetitive and then his move to McLaren was disastrous because of an underpowered and unreliable Honda engine which led him back to the back of the grid.
Alonso has penned a deal with Alpine for the 2022 season and intends to be in F1 for at least till 2024
“We saw it with Fernando Alonso when he was driving a car that no longer allowed him to win, we see it now. Alonso is an exceptional driver, but today he doesn’t have a car that allows him to win. Yes, today it is something that cannot be denied, but the doubts about a promising 2022 give license to dream,” Todt said.
Alonso left F1 in 2018 only to return in 2021. In his time away from F1, he won LeMans twice and also competed in the Indy 500 and Dakar rally where he managed to come P5. His return has been impressive in the slow Alpine where he helped his teammate win his first race at Hungary and then even managed to score his first podium finish in 7 years. He has managed to outscore his teammate Ocon helping Alpine hold on to P5 in the constructor’s title despite the AlphaTauri being a faster car.
Many believe that if Alonso is given a competitive car, he will be a handful even at the age of 40 as he’s clearly not lost his Midas touch and is right up there with the likes of Hamilton, Verstappen, and Leclerc. Some believe that Alonso is the greatest F1 driver of the 21st century, though his record doesn’t back that up as he has often found himself in uncompetitive machinery.
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