The last week has been a revelation of sorts, and I am sure you all agree. Those of us who had understimated Fernando Alonso’s talents to be strictly limited to driving a F1 car, throwing hissy fits, disrupting entire teams and of course doing the finger dance were in for a rude awakening. Little did we know of Alonso-the-revolutionary who had planned a grid protest in Monaco 2006 by lying down in front of Michael’s car…pity the stewards intervened. We all know Schumi doesn’t really mind running over the odd F1 character or two with his car (remember Nigel Stepney and his wobbly knee), and we could have tested the Ferrari damper system at least. Oh well, one can’t have everything.
And then there is Alonso-the-mailbox-spammer and his part in the espionage affair. After personally sticking out my neck for him by writing “If Alonso had known the source of the information, he wouldn’t have touched it with a 10 foot pole”, it was interesting to know that not only did dear Nando apparently know the source, he was literally spamming de la Pink with emails on ways to use the same. While it is heartening to read about the amount of team work Monobrow, de la Pink, Mr. Photocopier and Ferrari’s own altruist Stepney are capable of, it was not entirely appropriate as Stepney belonged to a different team really. If only McLaren had realized that the bright red “confidential” watermark on the Ferrari pages they were perusing meant the pages were confidential, they might have saved on a 100 million dollars at least.
Well, still one might find it within oneself to continue supporting the young two time world champion and his team. After all he is an excellent racing driver and McLaren is a capable F1 team…just with an impaired sense of judgement in differentiating between “mine” and “not mine” when it comes to using information for the betterment of the car. A trait quite common amongst inmates of Leavenworth who don’t consider it morally dubious to walk into a bank and help oneself to someone else’s money.
But I would like to make a case for poor Fernando Alonso. What could have caused the normally cheerful, friendly character to transform into this non-communicative, sour and threatening presence in McLaren? Agreed he had his moments – hugging trees, lying down before cars, declaring F1 is not a sport etc. which hinted at slight mental imbalance when under pressure – but one could never have envisaged the world champion as one of those shady characters lurking around dark street corners and terrifying innocent pedestrians (Not that he is one right now, but it might be barely a step away). “He does not speak to anyone much” says Ron Dennis, “He is a remarkable recluse for a driver”. And therein lies the key!
I consider all this an elaborate ploy from Nando who was desperate to stop the incessant chatter from his teamboss and to enjoy a few moments of peace without the indecipherable Ron-speak constantly ringing in his ears. Can one really blame him for that? When ear-plugs proved to be of no significant help, he took to acting cold, vexed and irritated in turns, but still to no avail. Not one to give up easily, Nando tried denouncing the team to the media, and even tried deliberately obstructing Ron’s golden boy Hamilton during Hungary qualifying. But it appeared nothing could stop Ron from launching into elaborate speeches at the drop of a hat, not even the glassy-eyed look accompanied with the dropping jaw shortly followed by snoring noises. Finally it is rumored he took to threatening Dennis – “Either you stop talking, or I start talking to the media about Stepney and Coughlan”, scarcely imagining Dennis would be silly enough to call his bluff and ping Max Mosley. Anyway the damage is done, the letters were sent and McLaren is out of running for WCC, but at least it has effectively ceased all conversation – which also explains why Alonso has been having the upper hand over Hamilton since Hungary. His reputation might be mud, but in his opinion it is a small price to pay for peace and golden silence – which is why I think he is to be pitied more than censured. With this rather sad surmise, I rest my case. Forza.