Without a doubt Ferrari, if they didn't have Alonso and instead someone more closely paired to Räikkönen they might very well be down at the 6:th place in the WTC standing.
Ferrari - Definitely disappointing, was one of the teams that made a lot of noise about wanting the new engines (and less emphasis on aero) and yet their effort has fallen a long way short of the Mercedes one. The car also looks a real handful to drive and only the heroics of Alonso have seen them get any meaningful points. Ferrari have a huge budget and they are the only team along with Mercedes that had everything in their own hands - a huge advantage, as Mercedes have shown in comparison to their customer teams, and yet they have produced a disappointing chassis and a disappointing power unit. They have 2 of the best drivers on the grid and both deserve better than what Ferrari have given them. Ferrari are a great team but watching them this year actually leaves me very sad and due to this reason they get my vote.
I keep hearing things like this--'heroics', 'prowess', 'unbelievable exploits'--but they all fall under the same unsubstantiated myth propagated by David Hobbs et al that somehow a driver can actually put a car places it doesn't belong. Newsflash: they can't. A car is subject to the laws of physics, and there is a finite limit to its capabilities which no driver can exceed
. If you want to say that Alonso is more consistently near his car's limits than most other drivers, then fine, but I'm really sick of hearing this quite frankly primitive notion that there are a few drivers who can 'outperform their car'. It looks that way, but it's not what's actually happening: in truth, he's underperforming relative to the theoretical maximum, but everyone else is (potentially) underperforming more.
Why is this relevant? Because I think what Alonso has done for Ferrari this year is par for the course. You put any top driver in that car (in terms of performance so far this year that would mean Hamilton or Ricciardo), and guess what? They'll more than likely get the same results. Yes, I just said that. The same results
, because it's not like there have been a whole lot of opportunities for Alonso to do significantly worse than he has this year (or better for that matter--there's usually a pretty big gulf between him in the cars in front/behind). Following this line of reasoning, if you had another
top driver in Ferrari alongside Alonso (I'm thinking a straight swap with KR and DR), Ferrari would likely be second in the WCC right now. Best of the rest, in other words, and ahead of Red Bull. So yeah, for me, Ferrari is far from being as disappointing as McLaren, which has appeared more or less totally hopeless since Australia.
And before the OMG YOU HATURRR brigade shows up, I've actually warmed to Alonso a lot this year. I think he's clearly in the 'S-tier' of F1's new era, which for me right now is a two-man club he shares with Ricciardo, the only other driver who has made no significant mistakes this year and the only one in the field who's been able to defeat the Mercedes juggernaut. LH would be there too, but he's looked pretty scruffy the last few races. If you feel the uncontrollable need to berate me for this, then take it to the 'tiers' thread.