Alonso or Vettel: Who Was Most Deserving of the Title?


Adding another record to his ever increasing tally, Sebastian Vettel became the youngest winner of three consecutive Formula One World Championships, after a race which saw as much undulation in the quest for the title, as is offered by the track it was run on.  Also aiming to become a triple World Champion at the Brazilian Grand Prix was Fernando Alonso, who despite being teased with flashes of hope numerous times as the race unfolded, finished just three points short of  fulfilling his ambition.  There is no questioning the talent of both drivers, but who was really more deserving?

When asked for his opinion regarding this matter, 1997 World Champion Jacques Villenueve said,

"Alonso remains calm, cool, and rational, while Vettel most times gets upset, angry, screams and flicks the middle finger.  He reacts like a child.  these behaviours indicate two different states of maturity.  Alonso deserves the 2012 title more."

At the beginning of the season Vettel clearly wasn’t displaying the jovial character we are used to seeing during a winning spell and we heard short tempered, fractious demands made over the team radio when things didn’t go as he would have liked.  But while there is a petulance about him, the words of the former Williams driver do seem a little exaggerated.  Sebastian has been spoiled by having the best car on the grid for the last three years and is troubled when the performance is slightly outshined by others.  Due to this being unfamiliar territory, he struggles to deal with emotions and frustrations appropriately.

Fernando Alonso on the other hand, spent two years at Renault before achieving success in 2005 and 2006.  This was followed by a year at McLaren, two further years at Renault, then three at Ferrari, all of which failed to provide him with the fastest car.  He is able to deal with insufficient success in a measured way.  His ability to maintain a positive attitude about the work the team need to do demonstrate his talents as a good leader.  The Ferrari driver’s cool, calm approach translates onto the race track in that it is an absolute rarity for him to make a mistake, while Vettel has made a few mistakes this season, most notably his nudge on  Bruno Senna at Interlagos which almost terminated his chances of winning the 2012 title.

Alonso has had to battle with an inferior car this season and it is this ability to squeeze every inch of life out it that makes him more deserving of the title in the eyes of most.  Sebastian Vettel has been criticised for only being able to get results from pole position, and his skills in overtaking have been questioned.  Overtaking performances at Spa, Abu Dhabi and Brazil however, show that he does possess the ability to slice his way past opposition when required to do so.

The Red Bull has been the superior car since the beginning of the final flyaway part of the season in Singapore, and on the back of his fourth consecutive win in India, the view that Vettel was undeserving because he drives a car designed by Adrian Newey became widely adopted.  But we forget the struggles they encountered in the early part of the season, and if Vettel’s success can only be attributed to his machinery, then why wasn’t Mark Webber fighting for the championship?

Ferrari have lacked the pace needed all season, are not as well developed in terms of aerodynamics, but they are bulletproof in terms of reliability.  The only two races Fernando Alonso hasn’t finished have been at Spa and Suzuka, when he fell victim to less than perfect moves by Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen respectively.  So what makes the best car?  One that is so reliable that you are always guaranteed a finish, therefore clocking up podiums and points consistently, or one that has the pace and downforce to enable you to snatch poles and lead races, but suffers from unreliability?  Neither car has been perfect this season.  Both have required a driver of remarkable to talent to do what is needed and get the points required to put them in contention for, and ultimately take, the World Championship.  The more deserving driver:  The one who achieved that feat.