F-1 points leader thinks team can't compete

Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso finished third at the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday to retain his...

Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso finished third at the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday to retain his overall points lead. (REUTERS)

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:54 PM ET

If the Ferrari Formula One season was a romantic comedy we surely would be at the end of Act Two, you know where the guy just gets dumped by the girl.

Ferrari’s season began with two-time world champion Fernando Alonso stating that the results from January testing were woeful for the Italian super team and that he had little hope of competing for a third shot at the big prize.

The first Grand Prix at Australia seemed to back that opinion up with Alonso finishing fifth behind Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber.

On to the Sepang Circuit for the Malaysian Grand Prix and all of a sudden Alonso and Ferrari have a huge reversal of fortune and come away with a victory, only to have an eighth-place result the next time out at China.

Again Alonso and Ferrari began crying that the 2012 car just wasn’t up to the competition at McLaren, Red Bull and even Lotus.

A second place at Alonso’s home Grand Prix in Spain began a turnaround, however, that now — nine races later — has Alonso fairly secure in top spot with six races left on the 2012 calendar.

Yet after a third-place podium finish Sunday at Singapore, there was Alonso, once again, singing the ‘woe is me’ song, telling anyone within earshot that Ferrari is way behind the other guys at the top of the world championship.

“In the end it went well, but we definitely can’t go on like this,” Alonso said. “It can’t always be the case that my closest rival retires, as has happened in the last two races and we can’t think of carrying on to the end of the season with qualifying sessions like (at Singapore where he stated fifth), when our performance was almost a second off the best.”

Talking as if he was driving a four-cylinder sled compared to everyone else, Alonso said it was only his skilled driving — and in reality he does have a point here — that has kept Ferrari from being at the bottom instead of the top of the points parade.

“On track we manage to make the most of what we have, making few or no mistakes, thanks to great work from the team: For that alone we deserve to be where we are in the classification,” he said.

“(On Sunday), we pulled out an advantage over three of our four main competitors, which is positive. Probably this has been the most difficult circuit for us: We will find similar characteristics in Korea and Abu Dhabi, but I hope that by the time we get there, we will have found a way of improving the car.”

One supposes that an athlete at the top of his game like Alonso is right now knows that the only way to stay there is to keep improving.

So that sets up the final act where Alonso gets Ferrari to give him a better race cars and he ends up carrying the world championship trophy as the credits role.

FINISH LINES

It looks like the New Jersey Grand Prix, scheduled for the weekend after the Canadian Grand Prix in June next season is off the calendar, at least for now. Formula One czar Bernie Ecclestone said the contract for the race has been torn up. Ecclestone was quoted by Britain’s The Guardian as saying New Jersey organizers “have not complied with the terms and conditions of the contract, which is now gone anyway. They don’t have a contract.” ... Ex-F1 and current IndyCar driver Rubens Barrichello plans to go stock cars racing in the finale of the Brazilian Stock Car Championship at Interlagos on Dec. 9 ... The revolutionary Nissan DeltaWing will race in North America for the first time in the final round of the 2012 American Le Mans Series on Oct. 20 ... Crew chief for the No. 11 Toyota of Denny Hamlin courted controversy by blocking a cameraman from filming his laptop computer screen at the end of the Sylvania 300 at Loudon on Sunday. In a tweet later, Grubb said he was just trying to keep “tire pressures, fuel mileage, race strategy, and other misc stuff” secret.

DEAN’S RANT

This week we pay tribute to D.J. Kennington and the No. 17 Castrol Edge Dodge team, the 2012 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champions, for the second time in three seasons.

Kennington did not just win the championship, he dominated the 12-race schedule by winning seven races.

And he won five of those in a row, a feat that now sits in the NASCAR records books along with names like Richard Petty.

To add to his claim to fame, Kennington — once thought of as an oval-only racer — he won the NCTS event at the Edmonton Indy in July on the temporary circuit at Edmonton City Airport.

Two other Canadian stock car drivers — J.R. Fitzpatrick in the No. 84 Equipment Express Chevrolet and Andrew Ranger in the No. 27 GC Racing Dodge — proved their mettle this season as well finishing second and third, respectively, behind Kennington.

The season finale at Kawartha Speedway was as exciting as any, in any division, NASCAR has to offer.

It served as notice that the top stock car racers in this country as gifted as any, anywhere.

It also served notice that Canadian Tire made the right choice when it came on board to be title sponsor to this country’s only true national motorsports series.

KURT BUSCH SIGNS WITH FURNITURE ROW

There had been plenty of speculation this season that former champion Kurt Busch — banished to the NASCAR Sprint Cup hinterlands with the underfunded Phoenix Racing No. 51 Chevrolet — would re-emerge with either Richard Childress Racing or as a teammate to his brother Kyle at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013.

Kurt even hinted at that himself, telling the Sporting News he had three contracts from which to choose.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Busch has signed with Furniture Row Racing to drive the No. 78 Chevrolet in place of David Ragan.

Now there is nothing wrong with Furniture Row, but let’s face it, it isn’t in the same league as Childress or Gibbs.

Busch, then one must assume, is still being punished for his bad behaviour while at Penske Racing where his litany of misdeeds got him fired after the 2011 season.

For Busch, who there is no doubt can wheel a race car with the best of them, it is a tiny step towards redemption and a win or two for the Denver-based Furniture Row would see his value increase.

“Furniture Row Racing has the commitment, talent and resources to compete at a high level in the Sprint Cup Series,” Busch said. “I have watched with admiration on how this team has grown over the years and that is why I am excited about the opportunity as I eagerly look forward to a new chapter in my racing career.”

The No. 78 team, which had one win with Ragan over four seasons, gets a diver in Busch who brings 24 Cup wins with him.

CASTRONEVES GOES DANCING WITH THE STARS

The bosses at the IZOD IndyCar Series are pulling out all the stops to get Helio Castroneves a win — not on the race track — but on the dance floor in his second stint on the television reality show Dancing With The Stars.

Castroneves won the Mirror Ball Trophy on the fifth season with Julianne Hough.

This time Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower will be doing the rhumba.

IndyCar issued a release — after Castroneves and Hightower scored 21.5 out of 30 in their first dance Monday — urging fans to vote for the three-time Indy 500 winner.

“Now that they’ve done their job, they need your help if the Team Penske IZOD IndyCar Series driver is to win his second Mirror Ball Trophy,” IndyCar said.

 


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