JANUARY 29, 2016
Alonso no longer best F1 driver?
A single season has transformed the images of two of F1's best drivers, according to legend Gerhard Berger.
As he switched from Ferrari to McLaren-Honda, Spaniard Fernando Alonso was still widely regarded as the best driver on the grid.
Sebastian Vettel, in contrast, ended the 2014 season having been beaten by his Red Bull teammate, as he moved over to replace Alonso in red.
"Three years ago, we all said 'Alonso is the best'. Today I wouldn't say it," Berger, himself a former Ferrari driver, told Auto Motor und Sport.
"He just hasn't been able to prove it and eventually you forget how good he once was," he added.
At the same time, hardly any pundit would argue that Vettel does not appear like the first worthy successor to the great Michael Schumacher, who won five consecutive world championships at Ferrari.
"Very clearly yes," agreed Berger.
"Vettel is very similar to Michael in his methods, and that fits very well at Ferrari.
"I experienced it somewhat in my time at Ferrari, but I had nowhere near the effect as a Lauda, Schumacher or Vettel. When they (Ferrari) have someone who leads them with their Italian temperament, then it can go very well," he insisted.
In retrospect, then, it might be said that Alonso was simply the wrong man for Ferrari.
"Not the wrong thing, but not the right thing either," Berger agreed. "Just because his working style is different."