Could Alonso and Vettel actually co-exist at Ferrari?


Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Speculation is running rife. F1's silly season is most definitely here.

For the first time in several years we have a season where many of the drivers from the top teams will be out of contract at the end of 2012. Hamilton, Webber, Massa fit into this bracket, with Vettel out of contract in 2014. This has caused a great deal of manoeuvring in the 'Big 3,, as each attempts to assure it has the necessary personal with which mount a successful championship challenge.

This in itself is not surprising; what is however, is that most of the talk seems to be revolving around Sebastian Vettel's future, particularly from 2014 onwards.

In late May, the BBC reporter Andrew Benson was the first individual to fan the flame of rumours surrounding the potential for Vettel to join Alonso at the Scuderia in 2014. Although he is commonly renowned for his reliably unreliable sources, there does appear to be more behind this rumour than the idle speculation that is normally available in droves during F1's mid season contract wranglings.

In his May article, Benson made the bold claim that;

"a normally impeccable source close to Ferrari says the team only want a one-year driver in 2013, as they have a pre-contract with Vettel for 2014"

Normally such a claim would be treated with derision at worst, and ridicule at best; however the rumours remain. Vettel himself has been very considered in his response, claiming that,

"I've always said that Ferrari is a great team with a great history", hinting that he would want to drive for Ferrari one day - yet always maintaining "I'm very happy with where I am at the moment".

Under normal circumstances I suppose these comments would have been enough to convince the public that the speculation about Vettel's 'pre-contract', was just that - speculation. The thing is, Christian Horner has never claimed the contract doesn't actually exist. He has always said that Vettel is contracted to RBR until 2014, but never denied that link with Ferrari. More than that, an article published on the Ferrari website, and on Sport Bild and Auto Bild further encourages this belief, with Stefano Domenicali outrightly claiming the potential for both drivers to co-exist at Ferrari.

It seems that there is the possibility that Mr. Benson was right, this time at least.

Irrespective of the current state of play with regards to Vettel's contracts, it does pose an interesting question. Would Vettel and Alonso really be able to work together, even during a title fight? Alonso's downfall at McLaren has obviously been well publicised in the past, but it seems that the opinion that surrounded the situation in 2008 may not have been totally accurate.

Many people thought Alonso's discomfort was due to the challenge posed to his title race by the then rookie, Lewis Hamilton. However, recent opinion has suggested that the actual reasons for the two time world champion's dismay was due to the unfair treatment of Alonso by McLaren, be it real or perceived. Certainly there seems to be no lack of respect between the two drivers now, with both crediting the other as their main title challenge on numerous occasions. It is certain that they each believe the other to be the second best driver on the grid.

It is understood that Alonso would have the authority to veto any driver joining him at Ferrari, in fact common opinion suggested that this had already been the case with regards to Hamilton. This has however been cast into doubt by a recent BBC article that suggests:

"Fernando Alonso says he would have "no problem" with either Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel as a future team-mate at Ferrari."

They do however add the caveat that:

"Alonso's remarks about Hamilton contradict information received by BBC Sport and other media organisations that he had vetoed the Englishman joining Ferrari, but told the team he was fine with the idea of Vettel coming on board."

Irrespective of Alonso's most recent comments it would seem to me at least that Alonso would be much happier with Vettel as teammate, rather than Hamilton. Certainly he has had many opportunities prior to now to contradict the BBC with regards to his veto. It seems obvious that he believes he would be able to contest with and better the young German. Whether this is the case or not, and how Alonso would react such a circumstance remains to be seen.

Despite a world of unknowns, one thing is 'for sure' in this saga, Hamilton's two main title contenders racing for the same team can only be a good thing for the Englishmen.
MajorDanby . You have quickly become my favourite poster on here. A great article with some fantastic insight and some very interesting questions. I'm going to have to think long and hard, with a bit of head-scratching before I can get my thoughts together on this.
I think the Hamilton/Vettel thing could be argued a couple of ways, dependant upon whether one believes there is ongoing, if under-the-covers, enmity between Alonso and Hamilton. For example:
  1. Alonso would be OK with [insert Vettel or Hamilton] because he will already be the team's number one driver
  2. Alonso would be OK with Vettel because he believes he's quicker than Vettel
  3. Alonso still hates Hamilton so will block him
  4. Alonso doesn't hate Hamilton but thinks Hamilton will be quicker so will block him
  5. Alonso's doesn't hate anyone and is not bothered who his team mate is.
I can see Hamilton and Alonso in the same team again, with the right management, I'm just not sure that's Ferrari. Much of the early actimony was around Hamilton being an "upstart rookie" and Alonso not getting the support he felt he was owed. Nowadays I think he'd look at Hamilton as a far more comparable driver and obviously a WDC. At the end of the day, though, any driver in a team wants to be quicker than his team mate, sometimes you can influence that and sometimes you can't.
My thoughts are that Alonso would dominate Vettel at the front. I think Vettel partnered with Alonso will give Ferrari a constructors championship but that Vettel would last no more than one season. It cannot end equally and one of them will be knocked from thier perch. I can't see this being Alonso who already has a stable footing and a wealth of experience in the politics of intra team rivalry.

I think Ferrari will give it a go if they can see an opportunity of the constructors title.
No. They would push each other and the team to great results on the track, however, one of them has to lose. I don't think it is considered by either driver that it is possible for anyone to beat them without their opponent being favoured by the team, however.

Therefore, the loser will feel upset and thus it will end in tears.
well Vettel has not forgiven Alonso for shoving him on the grass at Monza last year and Alonso did not care that Vettel took away his record as youngest double world champion

Fernando will make sure the political odds are in his favour as Vettel would have to be out of his comfort zone

Last teammate to beat Vettel over a season was Di resta right ? Should be interesting how they cope with each other if one gets the upper hand
It seems as though, Alonso would be more worried about a challenge coming from Hamilton, rather than Vettel.

Lewis said a few years ago,that he will be nobody's #2 driver.......I can't believe that he would agree to accept that role, to either Fernando or Sebastian.
The most recent interview with Alonso brings memories of another interview he gave a couple of years ago. He was asked what he would say to Ron Dennis today if he had the opportunity. His answer was simply, "why didn't you listen to me". We don't really no the context of that answer but it's fair to say that reading his most recent interview, Ferrari clearly are listening to him and he is obviously included in the decision making process within the team in most areas including driver selection should they decide to replace Massa. To suggest Alonso being consulted regarding driver selection gives him the power of veto is absurd however. As is so often the way with the British press, and this includes the BBC, as soon as Alonso speaks exaggeration becomes the order of the day. There is an enormous difference between being a part of the decision making process and having the power of veto. Alonso has become a central and very strong figure in Ferrari, a position he's earned through results and the respect those results bring. He has quite possibly become the most influential driver within any of the teams and I'm sure they believe the confidence they place in him will bring results and championships.
I say no. Im sure Vettel would be fine, but we have seen the toys thrown out the pram by Alonso before.
Do you not realize and that people mature as they gain life experience. I would suggest there's no reason to believe a driver in his early thirties would behave in the same way as he did in his mid twenties.
[Alonso] was asked what he would say to Ron Dennis today if he had the opportunity. His answer was simply, "why didn't you listen to me". We don't really no the context of that answer but it's fair to say that reading his most recent interview, Ferrari clearly are listening to him and he is obviously included in the decision making process within the team in most areas including driver selection should they decide to replace Massa.
In McLaren's defence, and to try to level set, during his time at McLaren Alonso had a highly competitive team mate. At Ferrari that's not been the case as Massa has struggled/been dominated since Alonso's arrival. Its easy to listen to a driver when he's the only one bringing in the results.
I think yes but not at Ferrari- a team that always builds around a clear number one. They would definitely get along fine but I don't think both would be able to get the results they are used to. I think Vettel would quickly become upset with the team- but not Alonso.
Great for Ferrari, if it happens. And I'm sure it would be good while it lasted, even if it might not be a very long-lived partnership.

Incidentally on the 'why' question, Autosport were putting together the recent FOPA developments, Bernie's dislike for the new turbo V6s and possibility of a stay of execution for the current V8s, and concocted a scenario where Renault and Mercedes pull out in frustration at not getting their new marketing-friendly turbo hybrids. At that point, Ferrari is certainly the place to be. Seems somewhat unlikely from where I'm sitting, though.
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