Alonso Says Vettel Has To Still Prove Legend Status – Maybe – Maybe Not

From GranPrix 247

Quadruple World Champion Sebastian Vettel will only be an undisputed Formula 1 legend if he wins at the wheel of a less competitive car.

That is the view of Fernando Alonso, who was Red Bull driver Vettel’s Championship runner-up in 2010, 2012 and 2013.

“I think [that] when Vettel has a car like the rest in the field, if he wins, he will be greatly acknowledged and be one of the legends of F1,” Ferrari’s Alonso is quoted as saying in Spanish-language media reports.

“But if someday he has a car like that of the other drivers and is fourth, fifth or seventh, then his four titles will be bad news for him because people will view these last four years in an even worse way,” he added.

“I think there are some interesting years ahead for Sebastian,” Alonso is quoted. (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

MyTake

My first reaction to Alonso’s statement was OUCH! Then again he was only stating the obvious. This is an issue which will not go away anytime soon. Will Buxton, who reports for NBC, made similar comments during the speculation about Kimi Raikkonen partnering Sebastian Vettel, which I covered in an earlier post. Buxton felt that competing on the same team as Kimi would go much further towards establishing Vettel as one of the all-time greats than partnering with Mark Webber has. This would prove that Vettel’s success is based on his skill and not just the Adrian Newey penned car.

This is a difficult topic to comment on. It is so emotionally charged that a discussion can quickly lose direction and become about something other than the facts. To see just how passionate this debate is, take a look at the comments section accompanying this report (“Alonso Says Vettel Has To Still Prove Legend Status”).

Emotion aside, here are the facts. Sebastian Vettel has won the Championship an astonishing four times in a row. He is a great driver. However it is also a fact that he has without any doubt possessed not only the most competitive car of the field these last four years, but a car so much more competitive than any other that there hasn’t been a true test of talent vs talent. It’s almost as though he’s started every race with a 10-length lead. What has that really proved?

I feel people have misinterpreted what Alonso is saying. He is not disregarding what Vettel has done so far, it is not Alonso being jealous, or any of the other very colorful adjectives that the F1 fanbase has used. Amongst world champions, you distinguish yourself not only by winning repeatedly (although that helps) but by helping to develop, and winning with, a car that is not the best on the field. For the record I sense Alonso’s statement is as much about himself as it is about Vettel.  Think back to what Michael Schumacher achieved when he joined Ferrari back in 1996. The Scuderia at the time was in a horrible state. Yet, if my memory serves me well, in his first year with what can only be described as a uncompetitive car (the Ferrari did not even have the new elevated nose cone at the time) he won not just one but three races. From there he re-made Ferrari into what it is today. Now that is what I call a legacy and surely what Alonso is referring to.

-jp-

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5 Comments on “Alonso Says Vettel Has To Still Prove Legend Status – Maybe – Maybe Not

  1. To me, Micheal Schumacher will always be respected for his racecraft, records held and contract negotiations (ie #1 status). To Schumi fans he will always be the greatest driver, but I do not hold to that idea. One of the greats but not the greatest. His career was too full of controversy including potentially illegal cars and dirty tricks. (but that’s not the debate here)
    Vettel too has been driving cars that many in the pit have constantly pointed out discrepancies in “bending ” the rules (wings, exhaust, tires, engine mapping just to name a few). The car (bending the rules,not the driver,except for multi 21)(hmmm, I might be on to something, maybe he is just like Shumi???). But the car is fast.
    Anyone who really follows F1 knows that, everyone except Vettel fans. As Seb rewrites the record books a footnote should be included that Vettel and Newey rewrote the record books. I congratulate them for pushing the limits of the rules to the point no other team dares. I tend to agree with Alonso, but not only Alonso, because many sportswriters have said the same over the last 2 years.
    Until Seb drives a car that is qualified, by the seat of his pants, and is only 6th on the grid, THEN makes the podium on a consistent basis will he be considered as great as Micheal, Fernando, Alain, Jackie, Graham and top of my list, Aryton.

  2. Hate to go back to the bikes, but it’s where my knowledge is heaped up and it runs an interesting comparison here.

    For me, having mastered more than one type of machinery is key to being classed a great in your field.

    Rossi is often referred to as ‘the GOAT’ – Greatest Of All Time. Love him or hate him, and I’m definitely in the fan camp, a big part of that reverence comes from the fact his multiple titles have come for more than one manufacturer (shame he couldn’t do it at Ducati though, riding there undid just a little of his magic).

    Casey Stoner, who I like a whole lot less, I still consider to be one of the great competitors of recent years. He also won for two factories, mastering the tricky Ducati and succeeding at Honda. He also won when Rossi, who can be used as a benchmark for current riders, was still at his best. A triumph in itself.

    Marc Marquez sure impressed, but was a rookie on the best available machinery in 2013, a great pairing. But to be a great of your generation? Let’s see what he’s got when life eventually forces a split with Honda.

    Aleix Espargaro impressed almost as much by working miracles with a CRT bike, one of the worst on the grid after the factory and satellite efforts.

    Doug’s reply is spot on with the Schumacher comparison, he made Ferrari great again and his proved his value in other ways and at other teams, succeeding at Benetton when they weren’t a top team.

    So in short I agree that Alonso makes a good point, he just doesn’t seem to make it too well. As you already pointed out both he and Vettel are great drivers, in their own way.

    Success has may measures and multiple titles are certainly a factor, but to prove you are the deciding element and can win or attain a degree of success regardless of what you ride or drive – that’s maybe just that little bit more special.

    • L.
      really great words on this issue. for the record i can’t agree more about stoney and rossi and all that you said in regards to having the bench mark. depending how this new year shakes out i will be revisiting it from several different angles.

  3. LOL nah, I just like to piggy back onto yours. You do such a good job. 🙂

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