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 Verstappen must be careful not to follow the same path as Alonso

Verstappen must be careful not to follow the same path as Alonso

09-01-2021 08:00 Last update: 09-01-2021 08:00
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If Perez doesn't win a race by the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix, it will be three years since a driver other than Max Verstappen won a race for Red Bull Racing. Such skewed results between teammates have not happened since Alonso's time at Ferrari and lessons can be drawn from that comparison.

Comparison between Verstappen and Alonso

Verstappen does show several similarities with the Spaniard. Of course they are both exceptionally fast drivers, but they are also both extremely driven, demanding and dominant. The latter characteristic in particular can work against a driver in the long term and that is what happened with Alonso.

Within the teams where they achieved their greatest successes (so far), there was also a close relationship with an influential mentor. In Alonso's case, it was Flavio Briatore at Renault (the team boss who was also his manager) and for Verstappen that is of course Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko.

Alonso eventually ran into himself

Alonso completely transformed the Renault team in a few years from 2003 onwards. The team managed to build a car that perfectly matched his aggressive driving style. That yielded two world titles, but also a few burnt-out teammates. Not least Nelson Piquet Jr., who was asked outright to park his car in the wall to help Alonso win.

Alonso's dominance coupled with Briatore's blind faith was a poisonous mix that did more than hurt their opponents. Alonso kept his style when he left for Ferrari, which eventually turned into a fight as the car slowed down every year.

The damage that has already been done at Red Bull

Of course, the relationship between Verstappen with his team and Helmut Marko is not exactly the same. Marko in particular seems to be more strict for Verstappen than Briatore was for Alonso at the time, but as said it has similar traits.

For example, it chased Daniel Ricciardo away in the first place. You could call it a cowardly flight of the Australian, but the past two years have clearly shown that his departure is a loss. He was loved by the mechanics, his input was seen as valuable and partly because of this he was able to perform on an equal footing with Verstappen.

However, due to the dynamics between Verstappen and Marko, Ricciardo felt little confidence and took off. Since then, Verstappen has taken the lead and Red Bull has the problem that the second car cannot be more competitive and that really does not only have to do with the drivers, as Pierre Gasly proved last season.

There is of course the possibility that Verstappen has become so much better in the past two years that no one comes close to him anymore. Yet at some point Red Bull Racing should also look in the mirror and wonder whether they are betting too much on one horse. For Alonso, Renault and Briatore it certainly did not end well.

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