Briatore: Alonso still better off out of Ferrari
Fernando Alonso is still better off away from Ferrari even though he is enduring early frustrations with McLaren, claims his long-time Formula 1 manager Flavio Briatore.
Although Alonso has failed to score any points so far this year, while replacement Sebastian Vettel has regularly finished on the podium, Briatore thinks that Ferrari has not made the progress it needs.
He suggests that the Italian team's form has been flattered by other teams having fallen back this year – and that McLaren offers Alonso his only real chance of a more successful future.
"It was over for both sides," Briatore said in Monaco about the move away from Ferrari. "I believe it was a good change. We chose to go to McLaren, and soon it will be a competitive team.
"If he was in Ferrari he would still be second like he was before. In qualifying, I believe Vettel was seven tenths from Lewis Hamilton, and last year Fernando was fifth, and seven tenths slower too. Between Ferrari and Mercedes it is the same distance.
"The problem is that three or four teams are not there any more – like Toro Rosso, like Williams, like Red Bull. I don't see the reason for all this excitement.
"The difference between Ferrari and Mercedes is the same. If Fernando was in Ferrari, maybe the gap was seven tenths. This is what we have.
"We hope with McLaren and Honda we have a better future. He is happy to be at McLaren now, he is a happy guy. I don't know why you think he has a lot of pressure. Racing drivers are happy guys; maybe we have a lot of pressure."
The target is victory
Briatore is clear that Alonso had to get himself in to a team that offered him the best chance of title glory.
He thinks that there is little reason to be excited about what Ferrari has done, because it is still being beaten by Mercedes.
"McLaren is a serious team, always delivering," he said. "Honda we know is a great company and we are there.
"But the situation of Ferrari is not better than the situation of Fernando. In F1 at the moment you have one team: Mercedes.
"They have done a better job than anybody and at this moment, it is finished. Whatever team you are you are second, and second is the first of the losers."
Ferrari has closed in places
Despite Briatore's claims that Ferrari has not made progress this season, a comparison of qualifying has shown that the team has been nearer to Mercedes at some venues.
Here is how far behind the best Ferrari was at each qualifying session for the past two years.
2014 deficit – 1.588s (Hamilton P1, Alonso P5)
2015 deficit – 1.430s (Hamilton P1, Vettel P4)
2014 deficit – 0.744s (Hamilton P1, Alonso P4)
2015 deficit – 0.074s (Hamilton P1, Vettel P2)
2014 deficit – 1.777s (Hamilton P1, Alonso P5)
2015 deficit – 0.905s (Hamilton P1, Vettel P3)
2014 deficit – 1.183s (Rosberg P1, Raikkonen P6)
2015 deficit – 0.411s (Hamilton P1, Vettel P2)
2014 deficit – 1.908s (Hamilton P1, Alonso P7)
2015 deficit – 0.777s (Rosberg P1, Vettel P3)
2014 deficit – 0.697s (Rosberg P1, Alonso P5)
2015 deficit – 0.751s (Hamilton P1, Vettel P3)
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