The three-time champion says that although Fernando Alonso is a talented driver, he's terrible at managing the politics of F1
Although he’s acknowledged as one of the best drivers in F1, It’s been over 11 years (yes, really) since Alonso won a championship, and getting on for five years since he’s even won a race. Granted, that’s been pretty hard to do with a sub-standard Ferrari and a McLaren-Honda that’s doing well if it reaches half-distance, but that’s hardly his fault. Or is it?
You can’t deny that Fernando always seems to find himself in awkward situations with teams. Some just put it down to bad luck, but triple world champion Nelson Piquet (a man known for saying some fairly outrageous things) says that Alonso only has himself to blame for his lack of recent success. He told Spanish broadcaster La Sexta:
“Fernando Alonso has had the chance to win up to five world championships, but the reality is that there is always a mess wherever he is. He is a fantastic driver, but also one who generates a lot of problems and in the end everyone ends up leaving the team.
“He is very bad politically in his work on the team. When you arrive on a team, at first you must be patient and work together, and later you win.”
The criticism from Piquet feels unprovoked, though there might be a touch of sour grapes which might continued to ferment into a salty, bitter wine. That’s because Piquet’s son, Nelson Piquet Jr, and Alonso were enveloped in a massive Formula 1 controversy in 2008 at the Singapore Grand Prix.
The full details of ‘crashgate’ (as it became known) are likely to never reach the surface, but it effectively ruined Piquet Jr’s Formula 1 career whilst Alonso came out of it unscathed. Is that why Piquet Sr is being so critical?
There is a huge irony to Piquet’s criticism, too. He was hardly a model of team harmony at Williams, when he hurled all sorts of insults at teammate and title rival Nigel Mansell, calling him “an uneducated blockhead” and even picking on Mansell’s wife. Stay classy, Nelson…
Then, following his third and final championship in 1987, Piquet made his own bad team choice by going to Lotus and becoming something of an also-ran. Maybe it’s because he’s been there himself that he’s being so critical of Fernando?