Forgot Password

 

Register

 

Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications




or
Login using
x

Email Reset

 




Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Motorsport | Formula 1

Alonso and Red Bull kick off the F1 mind games



Formula One's pre-season mind games kicked off on Tuesday with Fernando Alonso having a dig at Red Bull after one of Sebastian Vettel's main mentors accused the Ferrari driver of playing politics last year.

Helmut Marko, a close advisor to Red Bull's billionaire owner Dietrich Mateschitz, contrasted triple world champion Vettel's attitude to Alonso's in an interview with the company's in-house Red Bulletin magazine.

The Austrian said the 25-year-old German, who beat Alonso to the title last year, was a phenomenon who "shuts himself off from the rest of the world, so that he can still call on reserves that other drivers might not have".

Alonso, by contrast, was "busy with politics and funny comments".

"I believe we saw the stress he (Alonso) was under towards the end of the season. Saying things like, 'I'm competing against (Lewis) Hamilton, not Vettel,' and 'I'm up against (Red Bull designer Adrian) Newey'," added Marko. "These psychological skirmishes - we said: 'Just ignore him."

Alonso had a 42-point advantage over Vettel at the mid-season break last year but ended up losing out to the Red Bull driver by three points.

As the battle heated up, so too did the psychological warfare and even as he celebrated the title Vettel spoke out about what he saw as 'dirty tricks' and attempts to unsettle him and the team.

Alonso, who was voted driver of the season by team principals for the way he took the fight to Red Bull in a less competitive Ferrari, made light of Marko's comments and turned them back on his rivals instead.

"I enjoy reading that redbull still think we will be the strongest rival for next year! And this even before start testing!! Flattered..;)," declared the Spaniard on his Twitter feed.

The first pre-season test of 2013 starts in Spain on Feb 5 with the opening race in Australia on March 17.

In other comments, Marko portrayed Vettel's Australian teammate Mark Webber as a driver who could win races but struggled to handle the pressure when in with a real chance of the championship.

"It seems to me that Webber has on average two races per year where he is unbeatable, but he can't maintain this form throughout the year," he said.

"As soon as his prospects start to look good in the world championship, he has a little trouble with the pressure that this creates. In comparison with Seb's rising form, it seems to me that Mark's form somehow flattens out.

"Then, if some technical mishap occurs...he falls relatively easily into a downward spiral."

Webber had the greater chance of taking the title in 2010 when he and Alonso were the top two going into the final race, but Vettel seized the crown instead for the first of three championships in a row.

That, Marko suggested, had been a psychological blow by the younger man that had gnawed at Webber's confidence.

Shop

Lewis Hamilton: My story
Lewis Hamilton’s explosive arrival on the Formula 1 scene has made front-page headlines
R112.64
Psychology of motorsport success
Motorsport is a highly addictive and extremely exciting activity
R369.89


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Live Video Streaming

Sun, 20 Apr @ 05:00
Fri, 18 Apr @ 05:00
Sun, 20 Apr @ 08:45
Sun, 20 Apr @ 12:15

Sports Talk



Guest Column
Fit as an F1 driver
Nico Rosberg turns around with a grin during a slight uphill section, shouting "Hey, what's the...

Reuters on Motorsport
Team prospects for the 2013 F1 season
Team-by-team prospects for the Formula One season starting in Melbourne, Australia, on March.