Fernando Alonso may 'belong' in a Ferrari or McLaren-Mercedes, but 'mentality-wise he is not the complete package' in Formula 1 – that is the view of British former grand prix star Derek Warwick.
Alonso has triumphed in the last two races in succession – in Singapore and Japan – in a car that, back at the start of the campaign, languished more than a second shy of the leading pace. Whilst asserting that such performances are testament to the fact that the Spaniard double F1 World Champion deserves to be back in a regular front-running outfit once more, Warwick contends he is still 'damaged goods' to a certain extent – as he proved again in the immediate aftermath of his Fuji victory.
“Just imagine what he could do if he was in a Ferrari or a McLaren, where he belongs,” the former Toleman, Renault and Arrows ace wrote in his column on Champions365.com
. “The only disappointing element was when he said afterwards that he would do everything he could to try and help [Felipe] Massa win the drivers' championship [see separate story – click here
“He is obviously still bearing a grudge – whether it is against [Lewis] Hamilton, McLaren or both I do not know, but whoever it is it is unnecessary. Pound-for-pound Alonso is one of the greatest drivers out there, but when you hear him come out with stupid comments like that maybe that explains why he isn't with one of the top teams, as mentality-wise he is not the complete package.”
Warwick – a self-confessed Hamilton fan – was also left questioning the mental state of the world championship leader following his elementary first corner error in Japan that led to the disastrous chain reaction that would ultimately destroy his race, though he added his voice to those questioning the consistency of the penalties meted out by the race stewards to the Briton, fellow title contender Massa and Scuderia Toro Rosso's Sébastien Bourdais.
“I am angry at Hamilton because the move was unnecessary,” the 54-year-old underlined, “and went completely against the story Lewis was spinning before the race about how he would drive conservatively and with the championship in mind. What he did was not the performance of a champion, [but] it was a genuine mistake and he didn't mean to do it and he got a drive-through.
“The reverse is the case with the Massa incident. I replayed the incident many times and Massa had no intention of going through the corner or sitting behind Hamilton, and he ended up hitting the rear wheel and the side barge pods of the McLaren and there and then destroyed Hamilton's race.
“I couldn't see any reason to blame Bourdais, nor has anybody else I have spoken to, including ITV's
two commentators Mark Blundell and Martin Brundle. Again Ferrari appears to have benefitted from the decision.
“The FIA needs to put an end to the rumours and speculation by clarifying and explaining these decisions fully. It is a bit like in football when the referee makes a mistake or a vital decision – if he came out and explained his reasons afterwards, or held his hands up if it was a mistake, surely it would bring to an end all the pundits' analysis and tabloid criticism. The FIA should release a statement explaining the reasoning behind all these controversial decisions this year.”
As to the destiny of the drivers' laurels, finally, whilst Warwick acknowledges Canadian Grand Prix winner Robert Kubica as 'the unsung hero of the season in an underperforming BMW', he argues it is Hamilton's 'championship to lose' – providing key lessons have been learned from this time twelve months ago.
“Surely he, and the team, will have learnt from Japan,” the British Racing Drivers' Club board member contended, “and China last year where his title hopes slipped away literally after he was allowed to run far too long on worn tyres and eventually slid off the circuit.”