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