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Alonso: Destined to be the samurai bridesmaid?
Thursday 10th October 2013, 23:08 by Ernie Black
© Sutton Images
Always the Bridesmaid, never the Bride. An expression we hear often when referring to many situations in life and sport is certainly not excluded.
We've all heard the term "Cinderella story" which some of us used to describe the amazing tale of Brawn GP. Ross Brawn took advantage of Honda's decision to leave Formula 1, bought the team for what was reported to be a single British pound and shocked the world with a car that employed a double diffuser which could not be caught. After winning his championship handly, he sold his team for a pretty penny, commanded a handsome salary and a top position at a world class team which is finding it's way to the top of the standings. This indeed was a perfect example of the "Cinderella story".
So what of of this Samurai bridesmaid then? I don't recall Walt Disney’s version of the story of a Spanish driver in an Italian team riding a prancing black stallion who follows the phylosophies of the Samurai warrior, wearing a lavendar dress walking down the isle to support the bride. I doubt the thought ever crossed Walt's mind.
Since joining Ferrari, Alonso has placed second in the championship two out of three seasons and he seems poised to make it three out of four. Vettel has won each of those seasons. This season alone, Alonso has occupied the second step of the podium five times. Four out of five times, he has been second to Vettel.
It has been argued that Alonso may have been the better driver over the past four years in an inferior car, however the numbers tell a different story. Recently, Vettel has dominated at a totally and completely new level. Untouchable, uncatchable and unexplainable are the words being tossed about in the paddock. Suggestions that Red Bull are employing some sort of clever traction control or finding a way to provide drive to the car between gear changes are only some of the rumours. In short, rivals must concede that Adrian Newey and his Red Bull army have best put to use the money and resources alotted to them and have paired the creation with a flawless master behind the wheel.
Alonso may be growing tired of this monotenous routine of, as Ayrton Senna once said, being the first of the ones who lose. The Spaniard has been generally calm, controlled, disciplined and unflappable, however some cracks in the Samurai's sheild are starting to show. Words have been spoken about Ferrari’s lack of pace and some criticism of the Italian team was met with distaste from the team's president and some media outlets. Perhaps a reminder to Alonso that no one is irreplacable came in the form of signing former-Ferrari driver and F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen.
Neither driver will accept being the bridesmaid to each other which has many thinking this marriage will end in tears and a nasty divorce. Something Kimi knows all too well as he was asked to sign the divorce papers at the end of 2009 to make room for Fernando the following season while Ferrari picked up the alimony payments for Kimi's year off.
Love him or hate him, Alonso must be regarded as one of the sport's best. He could easily have been a four-time champion himself by now given how close he was to winning in 2010 and 2012. But close is not close enough, and for the Spaniard, the promise of being three-time champion is slipping and the fear of being the bridesmaid yet again must have him believing that this is as good as it's going to get.
If things don't change in 2014, he may well be looking to walk down a different isle. In the spirit of the Samurai Warrior, I leave you with this quote which is surely one which Alonso has come to terms with by now, "Each day of human life contains joy and anger, pain and pleasure, darkness and light, growth and decay. Each moment is etched with nature’s grand design – do not try to deny or oppose the cosmic order of things" - Morihei Ueshiba.
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