25 July 2009
Alonso: 2009 possibly F1's 'worst year in history'
Double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso has contended that 2009 has been the worst season in years for the sport and 'maybe the worst in history' – as he expressed his exasperation with the ongoing FIA/FOTA dispute and expensive regulation blunders.
Though it is expected that a new commercial rights-governing Concorde Agreement will be signed next week between the FIA and the Formula One Teams' Association – finally putting to bed months of political unrest, squabbling and damaging in-fighting at the highest level that at one stage threatened to tear the top flight quite literally in two – Alonso is adamant that the dispute has gone on for far too long, and could and more importantly should have been adequately dealt with much earlier.
The Spaniard is also outspoken regarding what he believes has been a catalogue of errors on the part of the governing body in terms of F1's rules, classifying the introduction of the costly and ultimately abortive energy-saving KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) technology as 'the big mistake of the year', criticising the ambiguity over the infamous 'double-diffuser' loophole and belittling the benefits of the newly-adjustable front wing, designed to generate greater overtaking opportunities. Ever one to shoot from the hip, Alonso's words will not make pleasant reading for the powers that-be.
“This is the worst Formula 1 we have had in many years, maybe the worst in history, because of the politics and all of the fights,” the 21-time grand prix-winner bluntly told British newspaper The Independent. “We need to find a solution as soon as possible. These six months, they have been very bad for Formula 1.
“The people at home, they don't understand why Ferrari isn't winning, they don't understand about diffusers and KERS – they care about the show – and every week we have two or three press releases, from the FIA, from FOTA. This is not our dream of Formula 1!
“I like the slick tyre; it's actually quite similar to what we used to have, quite driveable, but it is more of a racing tyre. The other one, with grooves, was not the right one! The rest of the regulations, I don't think they are great. KERS is the big mistake of the year. We introduced KERS at the wrong moment, with the economic situation that we have now. The teams have spent a lot of money for nothing. And the aerodynamics...the cars don't look too good.
“I never touch [the adjustable front wing]! So far, in nine races, I have never used it – it's not useful at all. KERS, the aerodynamics – they are two new regulations that didn't work this year. For sure [the diffusers] have helped a lot Toyota, Williams and Brawn, but now we all have them, so [there are] no excuses. We designed the car last year with one type of regulations, and some other teams designed their cars with a different set of regulations, the double-diffusers. There are two different ways to interpret the rules, and we were on the wrong side...”
As to the political situation, Alonso is even more forthright. One of the first drivers to align himself publicly with FOTA and against the FIA, the 27-year-old made clear from the outset that if F1 did split, he would be joining the manufacturer-spearheaded breakaway series. He maintains his stance that in constantly chopping and changing, Max Mosley and his organisation are running a very serious risk of 'destroying 60 years of history of Formula 1'.
“Still in July and we don't have a solution!” he lamented. “This is not right, because we want the best possible Formula 1 – continuity in the rules, a good show for the people... All these political fights, they are damaging the sport because the fans are not very keen on them.
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