Is Vandoorne showing Alonso up?


Sepang International Circuit, Sepang, Malaysia. Sunday 01 October 2017. Fernando Alonso, McLaren. World Copyright: Glenn Dunbar/McLaren ref: Digital Image _31I2720

Many say Alonso is the best driver in the world.  This may be so, or it might be more evident if he could finish a race, but if it is, and we take a look at the current driver standing we might also make a couple of assumptions that:
  • He is also either the most unlucky former world champion (or)
  • He is unmotivated (or)
  • This year has been taken damage limitation action so as to minimise the effect of the last couple of years has had on his F1 record.

I have a few times before suggested that ALO simply will not allow himself to finish in the bottom of the grid.  It is just my theory.  Nearly each time this has looked the case so far in 2017 he has retired the car rather than the car stopping.

Between the two McLaren drivers, there is now a points gap of two positions and three world championship points in VAN’s favour.

This gap, some may point out is because ALO was absent from Monaco, and VAN has, therefore, had more races,  indeed McLaren seemed strong at Monaco, qualifying in the top 10 but factor in that Alonso’s shortage of opportunities due to his American vacation (which also ended short of success by a Honda PU failure)  was matched by a VAN retirement (Accident).  Alonso may well have been influential there and by missing out may well have allowed a gap in the driver’s championship to his detriment.

Alonso could have been influential there and by missing out may well have allowed a gap in the driver’s championship to his detriment.

Nearly 50% of all ALO retirements went past 50 laps.  On average across all retirements, he ran an average of 63% race distance.  At 4 Notable races, he passed 90% before his reputation was “SAVED” by registering a RET rather than falling into VAN’s shadow.

At the only 3 races at which they both endured a finish (Azerbaijan, Hungary, and Malaysia), the finishing position differential has averaged out to -1 in ALO favour, which means VAN is keeping ALO honest and is totally worthy of his place.  Since the summer break this differential averages out to ZERO, which is quite an achievement for a rookie versus the multiple world champion that McLaren seems to have built a team around.

SOME STATS – 2017 Season.

Not surprisingly the best GP for McLaren was post-summer break at Hungary where both cars finishing in the points, no doubt driven by Alonso’s demands of making a post-holiday decision on his future.

  • VAN has finished in the points 3 times Vs ALO 2 (Monaco could have evened this up)
  • VAN has completed 720 laps V’s ALO 559 (Diff of 161)
  • VAN completed 2271 miles V’s ALO 1826 (which is a difference of 445 miles or 2.5 Grand Prix’s)
  • VAN’s average qualification positions have been 12.4 V’s ALO 11 (Both failed to qualify once) which shows if Alonso is getting the best out of the car, VAN has (on average) taken his legitimate grid space behind him.
  • VAN’s average finishing position has been 11.4 V’s ALO 7.6 so when Alonso has not parked up has made good advances and VAN has been consistent.
  • VAN has RET rate of 33% V’s ALO’s 60%



Suggest maximising the package where it matters most?

  • VAN 7 (x2)
  • ALO 6 (HUNG)

Despite VAN holding his own, I still believe that Alonso is still the cornerstone of the team.  I feel that the now-defunct Honda deal relied on McLaren presenting a winning chassis and world championship driver.  Now that finished (no doubt by Honda falling foul of performance clauses) I feel he was a key in securing a Renault deal, and of course not to mention now being, even more, key in securing enough sponsorship to offset the cost of the supply.  I just wonder at what point he will be too expensive to justify if newbies like VAN are showing to be a safe bet and perhaps a better management decision gamble?



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