Will Ferrari's Fernando Alonso Ever Be World Champion Again?

Julien BILLIOTTEContributor ISeptember 12, 2011

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was leading the field on the opening lap of the Italian Grand Prix after a tremendous start from fourth on the grid.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was leading the field on the opening lap of the Italian Grand Prix after a tremendous start from fourth on the grid.Mark Thompson/Getty Images

This weekend, Fernando Alonso moved past Mark Webber in the standings after another podium finish at Monza.

The Spaniard is now sitting second in the championship order behind the unreachable Sebastian Vettel but ahead of the other Red Bull driver and the two Mclaren boys.

Meanwhile, Ferrari is only third in the Constructors’ Championship, trailing second-placed Mclaren by 71 points.

That says a lot about Fernando’s talent behind the wheel.

With 27 wins and two world championships under his belt, he is probably the most complete driver on the F1 grid today

However, it has been five years since he won his second title.

True, he had a couple of frustrating seasons returning at Renault but he could have clinched the crown when driving for Mclaren in 2007.

And he should have won last year. But a strategy mistake plagued his race in Abu Dhabi and enabled Vettel to seize the momentum.

Fernando has been driving very fine races in 2011, including the latest one where he took a feisty start.

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But the reigning world champion and his Red Bull have been on a league of their own this season.

The Spaniard will then have to wait yet another year to have a shot at the victor’s laurels.

Alonso’s situation echoes Michael Schumacher’s when the latter was driving for Ferrari.

The German legend fell tantalizingly close of a third title in 1997 and 1998 and was sidelined by a leg injury in 1999.

When he eventually broke the spell at the turn of the century, he never looked back and went on to win five titles in a row.

Will Alonso be able to add to his impressive tally in similar fashion?

Michael was 31 in 2000 and Fernando turned 30 earlier this summer, so he still has plenty of time to enhance his future legacy.

Earlier this season, the man from Oviedo extended his contract with Ferrari until 2016 and recently pledged to bring another title to the Scuderia before he hangs up his helmet.

However, the current crop of drivers are much stronger than the one Michael was dealing with in the early 2000s.

Mika Hakkinen was cruising to retirement, David Coulthard was a solid driver but he never was a real threat and Juan-Pablo Montoya was too hot-headed and inconsistent to challenge Schumi’s hegemony.

In Maranello, Alonso enjoys the same perks as Michael did.

He receives unwavering support from the team and the Tifosis, has a clear No. 1 driver status and partners a faithful, albeit dispirited, teammate.

All the ingredients are thus gathered for the Spaniard to be in the title hunt again in the future.

Ferrari just needs to give Fernando a slightly better car and he will take care of the rest.

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