Analysis: Alonso Leads a New Generation

A torch has passed from one Formula One generation to another, even if Fernando Alonso refuses to see himself as the face of a new era

Analysis: Alonso Leads a New Generation

After becoming the youngest champion in the sport's history in Brazil on Sunday, ending the five-year reign of Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, the 24-year-old Spaniard shrugged off a suggestion that he too could rule for some time.

"No," replied the Renault driver. "I think every year every car is different and sometimes there is my name in the newspapers and sometimes it is Kimi (Raikkonen), sometimes (Jenson) Button, Juan Pablo (Montoya)...

"This year was my year with no problems at all. Luck was always with me and my team really helped me a lot this year so everything came to me this year.

"But for sure in the next races or next year it will maybe be different," he added.

Even if Alonso's reign is short-lived, a new generation is in the driving seat and Ferrari's stranglehold has been decisively broken.

Of the names Alonso mentioned, McLaren's Raikkonen and BAR's Button are both 25. Montoya, McLaren's winner on Sunday, turned 30 this month but Schumacher will be 37 before he next has a chance of fighting for the Championship.

Schumacher's Ferrari teammate next year will be 24-year-old Brazilian Felipe Massa and further down the road MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi could enter the picture.

Dominant Team

Raikkonen could well end up with more race wins than Alonso this year, both having six each already, and many within the sport see him as the dominant driver despite Alonso's achievement.

McLaren have won the last five races, are now leading the Constructors' Championship and could well run away with the final two Grands Prix in Japan and China.

They could be the team of 2006 but the rules are changing with the V10 engines replaced by V8s, and it would be premature to write off Schumacher's chances of adding another chapter to his extraordinary career.

The German, who joined in widespread congratulations for Alonso on Sunday, has not given up and can point out that Ferrari totally dominated 2004 only to sink almost without trace this season.

Renault have not had the fastest car but they have had the most reliable.

"They have done a great job and from a personal point of view it is nice for me to see some of the guys I worked with at Benetton looking so happy," said Schumacher, whose first two titles in 1994 and 1995 were with the team Renault took over.

"I look forward to fighting them again next season."

Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi's record as the youngest champion lasted 33 years and there is every reason to suspect that Alonso's achievement will also stand the test of time. His has been a remarkable season.

"He has dealt with everything, hasn't he?," said Renault's engineering head Pat Symonds, who also worked with Schumacher at Benetton.

"He's controlled races from the front, he's defended like at Imola, he's come through the field like in Australia.

"He's had to have the whole gamut right through the year and each one he's reacted to well. We've had 17 races and he's made one mistake in the year. That's pretty damned good actually, isn't it?"

shares
comments
Spain Hails F1 'King' Alonso
Previous article

Spain Hails F1 'King' Alonso

Next article

McLaren Aim to Dominate Japan, China

McLaren Aim to Dominate Japan, China
Load comments
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax Plus

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage Plus

How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage

There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021