Tips, tricks and cars catered to you

Get the latest in motoring news, new models and cool clips with a feminine flair from Wheels4Women.

Win 1 of 5 Musica gift cards worth R1000

Check out Musica's awesome catalogue and you could win 1 of 5 gift cards worth R1000.

Luck, history against Alonso

2012-10-09 07:45

TITLE HOPES IN THE DUST: Ferrari's Fernando Alonso spins off the Suzuka track at the start of the 2012 Japanese GF1 GP after a collision with Kimi Raikkonen. Image: AP


SUZUKA, Japan - If statistical evidence is to be taken seriously then Fernando Alonso knows his hopes of winning a third World title virtually ended at Turn 1 of Sunday's Japanese F1 GP.

The collision there, when Kimi Raikkonen’s front wing punctured Alonso's left rear tyre, eliminated the Spaniard from the race, left defending champion Sebastian Vettel free to win, and cut his lead from 29 points to four.


If all that were not bad enough, Alonso will know that only one of the previous 17 winners of the Japanese GP won the title - Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello in 2003.

With five races remaining, and such a flimsy lead to protect, Alonso remained admirably defiant on Sunday night while all around him drivers were warning that he faced a tough challenge for a third World title.

Vettel, Drivers’ champion in 2010 and 2011, became the first man this year to reel off consecutive wins as he sauntered to success at Suzuka and proved that he has gained momentum at just the right time.

"It's going to be very tough to hold on to Sebastian," said McLaren’s Jenson Button, champion in 2009. "Alonso’s lead has gone but that's not all. It's also very tough for him because the Red Bulls are so fast now. Ferrari is pretty quick, but not as quick."

Alonso's misfortune was his second in four races in a season of otherwise almost flawless consistency; both of his unscheduled early exits were caused by other drivers. He was eliminated in Belgium in September 2012 by Romain Grosjean of Lotus, branded “a first-lap nutcase" by Red Bull's Mark Webber on Sunday after shunting the Australian just after the start.


Alonso refused to talk to reporters immediately after his exit but he later said: "It was a shame. It is always sad when you cannot do the first corner, but we need to concentrate and think about next week.”

His Ferrari team chief Stefano Domenicali felt the same: "The most important thing with five races remaining is to stay really rational and not fall to the worst enemy of the team – pressure.”

Vettel was careful not to be drawn into any unwise predictions. "This was an important win and an important step but there is a long way to go," he said. "You don't wish these things on people. It's a long season and you don't know what's going to happen. It could be us in the next race.”

Read more on:    raikkonen  |  alonso  |  vettel  |  formula 1

Read Wheels24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside Wheels24

Germany follows France into F1's pits

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is trying his best to expand the number of countries hosting a race but alarm bells are ringing, especially in Germany.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.