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Ramblings of F1’s Cynical Bastard

by on December 17, 2014
Photo taken at COTA Paddock - 2014 @TheF1Poet

Photo taken at COTA Paddock – 2014 @TheF1Poet

Sitting around with some F1 fans last week, we did some chin wagging over a pint, discussing the long-awaited announcement from McLaren’s driver lineup.  The discussion was quite heated and I was accused of not being cynical enough because I chose to see the brighter side of 2015 at McLaren.  So, for shits and giggles, I give you ramblings of F1’s cynical bastard….

(Disclaimer: no substance, just fluff. Meant to infuriate those looking for a reason to argue)


Formula One is a soap opera which successfully blurs the lines of a reality TV and dramatic situation comedies.  We can all sit back and pick moments from the sport over decades which at times seemed scripted. We had it all. Moment which were dramatic, serious, comedic, tragic and yet real.  We the fans, whether in the stands, in the media or sport, are all family. We celebrate victories with jubilation and a sense of entitlement. However defeat discomfits, annoys or depresses us just as easily. At times, I’m certain we can all relate at the fact that certain events make some of us all a little cynical….

It was thought that the reason for Alonso to move on from Ferrari was to afford the two-time world champion the opportunity to challenge for more championships and not squander the remaining few of his best years rebuilding a team (again).  This is certainly a valid reason for both parties to part ways.  It should not be considered selfish on Alonso’s part after having given Ferrari some incredible performances and near championship winning seasons.  From Ferrari’s point of view, it would be a selfless gesture to allow the Spaniard to chase his dreams knowing full well that the team is clearly at least two seasons away from possibly being a contender (given the engine freeze rules (loopholes notwithstanding)).

Vettel is the young bird who leaves his nest for which he has been developed and enjoyed much success for potentially greener pastures and a new challenge.  Some argue since he’s had his arse handed to him by his team-mate this year; his move is nothing more than a way out. Others argue that he’d been signed years ago by Ferrari and Mattiacci’s handling of Alonso opened the door for this move to take place.  Whether his spelled his ultimate ousting from the Maranello based team is still an unfounded theory and up for interpretation.

McLaren announces Button and Alonso as drivers and Magnussen as test reserve driver.  Button received massive support to remain in the sport from both peers and fans most notably Alonso, who stated it, would be beneficial to have Jenson around to help speed up the development of the new car.  Isn’t this whole thing selfish? Button will likely be demoted to number 2 driver (let’s not kid ourselves), to develop a car he may never get the opportunity to compete with for a championship.  Let us not forget that no matter how gracious Magnussen was in receiving this news, it essentially spelled the end of his F1 dream.  No true competitive race car driver will ever accept a test role without a hint of distaste after having competed in the sport, regardless of how good or bad their performance may have been.  My heart goes out to Kevin, but as they say, “Them’s the breaks”.  As sad as it is for many of the F1 drivers that will not be returning, we must remember none of them have to worry about their mortgage or making the rent by the end of the month.

If it is true that Alonso left Ferrari for the purpose of not wasting his best years. Then the move to McLaren makes no sense. He himself gave many signs of understanding that his new team may not be ready to challenge.  He was quoted on Marca.com as saying “it’ll take time to reach our goals” when explaining the challenge.  And it is this that has cynical bastards like me thinking this move was nothing more than political. Like many before him, Ferrari’s revolving door stops for no one. Kimi, Schumi and now Alonso either walked out or were escorted out of the famous front gates with the little prancing horse in Modena. It’s never easy to leave Ferrari, just ask Lauda… One can only hope for the sake of both Alonso and Button, that Honda is able to offer McLaren a reliable, competitive and fuel-efficient power-plant for 2015. Otherwise, we’ll all have to wait for two more seasons for the engine freeze to thaw. Would it not then be ironic if Vettel and Ferrari had the package to beat while Alonso struggled at McLaren, or worse, fell out of favor with Ron Dennis again? Time heals all wounds but some scars never disappear.

Some say there is no place for egos in F1, though we all know, somehow, they are essential to success. I consider the seat swap at Ferrari from Alonso to Vettel, lateral at best.  It’s not to say I don’t believe in Vettel or think little of him, but I believe Alonso is better.  He has matured as a person and he is well aware of his potential. There was a time McLaren fans had nothing but disdain and perhaps even hatred for this man who I predict will be their new hero.  It will be similar for Ferrari fans with Vettel as it was for Williams fans when Senna made the switch from McLaren.

This year was difficult for Vettel.  Next year won’t be easy either, especially if Kimi gets out in front often. I believe Vettel did some growing up in 2014 and may have been made to eat a slice of humble pie in the process. Let’s all hope next season gives us all reasons to cheer…but I doubt it.

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