Fernando Alonso's domination over his team-mates
After spending 12 years in Formula 1, Fernando Alonso is rated by many as the best F1 driver to be racing at the moment. He has also proved it statistically by moving past Micheal Schumacher as the driver who has aggregated the most championship points, though this can be attributed as a result of the new points scoring system, where the winner is awarded 25 points compared to 10 points during Schumacher’s era.
Alonso has also been known for out rightly dominating his team mates since he made his debut in 2001 with Minardi. He dominates his team mates to a level where you feel it’s unfair on whoever is partnering him in the team. Below, we’ll look at why that’s the case:
During his debut stint with Minardi in 2001, Alonso partnered Tarso Marques for 14 races and Alex Yoong for 3 races. Alonso out qualified Tarso Marques on his debut by a huge margin and went on to beat him 11 more times in qualifying, only twice did he start behind Tarso Marques on the grid. In the three races that Alex Yoong partnered Alonso, he was completely whitewashed 3-0.
In 2002, Alonso joined Renault as a test driver. Here, he would prosper under flamboyant Team Principal Flavio Briatore, and would also go on and forge a successful two world championship reigns with him. I feel it is here that the concept of forging a team around a dominant driver came up (although the concept was adopted by Ferrari with Schumacher, no other team had followed suit).
In 2003, Jarno Trulli was Alonso’s team mate at Renault between 2003-04. In these two years, Alonso would go on and out qualify Trulli 17-16. Coming to the championship points, Alonso finished the 2003 season 22 points ahead of Trulli in the world championship.
In 2004, Alonso would continue to compete toe to toe with his experienced team mate and would again beat him in the points tally by scoring 12 points more than him. It was during this time i.e. during the 2004 season that Flavio Briatore had a big fallout with Trulli, he even went on and fired him, three races before the end of the season. Trulli had accused the Renault team of favouring Alonso over him which correlates with my point earlier that Renault were building a team by focusing fully on Alonso.
During 2005-06, Giancarlo Fisichella would team up with Alonso. Even though Fisichella won the opening race at Australia, he had a collision in Malaysia, engine failure in Bahrain and a spin in San Marino. This effectively ended Fisichella’s momentum. Meanwhile Alonso won in all three races where Fisichella failed, i.e. Malaysia, Bahrain and San Marino.
Further, Alonso won four more races in Europe, France, Germany and China and was crowned as the youngest Drivers’ World Champion. Fisichella could only be on the podium two more times and finished way behind with 58 points in the championship compared to Alonso’s 133.
2006 would be no different with Alonso winning seven times to secure his second world championship title and also becoming the youngest to do so. On the other hand, Fisichella again triumphed by winning in the second race of the season in Malaysia, but couldn’t match his team mate in performance again. He finished the season with 4 podiums with a points tally of 72 compared to 134 of Alonso.