F1 2014 Driver Review: Fernando Alonso

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Fernando Alonso

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 14
Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums (excluding wins): 2
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 161
Laps Led: 32
Championship Position: 6th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Once again in 2014, Fernando Alonso dragged the Ferrari car kicking and screaming up the grid, giving everything he could to try and win the elusive third world title that he so craved.

And once again, he fell short. Not by the small amounts of 2010 or 2012, but by an enormous margin. With just 161 points and two podium finishes, this was by far Alonso’s worst season with Ferrari – or perhaps we should say Ferrari’s worst season with Alonso – and proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. For 2015, Fernando will most probably be racing with McLaren, but certainly not with Ferrari.

It was a year of great change at Maranello. The old regime under Stefano Domenicali and Luca di Montezemolo was ushered out, with Alonso being a big part of it. Quite clearly, he was upset not to win a title with Ferrari, but still rated his time with the team as a nine out of ten. Seems quite generous, especially in light of this year’s disastrous campaign.

Alonso may not need the best car on the grid to win a championship, but when it is as dire as the F14 T, he stood little chance of winning a race. Once again, the Spaniard proved himself to be one of the most gifted drivers in F1, but he is still ‘only’ a two-time world champion. Few would have thought he would be leaving Ferrari without a third to his name, but alas, his era has ended.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

A bizarre year, really, occurred in 2014 for Fernando Alonso. The two-time World Champion had managed to finish second in three of the previous four seasons, despite not having the best car in any of the years. With the new regulations, Ferrari had a golden opportunity to make it right, and yet Alonso could probably argue the 2014 F14 T was the worst chassis he’d had in five years at Maranello.

If you look at the results achieved by Kimi Raikkonen – just 55 points and 12th in the World Championship with no podiums – Alonso’s season of 161, sixth with two podiums looks much better. Neither is anything Ferrari should be proud of, but Alonso’s season speaks volumes, once again, of him doing more with a car than should have been humanly possible.

How he managed to deliver as best he could on track given the still ongoing political machinations around him – some of which he may have orchestrated himself – was my takeaway of the season. Stefano Domenicali started the year as team principal, Marco Mattiacci took over, and now they’re both out in favor of Maurizio Arrivabene. But Alonso’s gone too – likely to McLaren – and how Sebastian Vettel compares may make the Scuderia wonder what in fact, they have lost for the future.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”