Mercedes F1 boss, Toto Wolff, has compared himself to a satellite and not the sun during a recent media interview. Wolff was talking to a UK media outlet as he explained why he is a satellite and not a sun. The conversation centered around Fernando Alonso and the complex reasons why the Spaniard has only won two F1 drivers titles in comparison to Lewis Hamilton who has won seven. Many believe Alonso is the best driver of all time. The manner in which he elevated an uncompetitive car to winning races and very nearly capturing titles for Ferrari is a demonstration of Alonso’s speed and racing integrity. However Wolff believes Alonso placed too much importance on the cult of the self, which led to the Spaniard making wrong decisions outside of the car. Alonso left Ferrari in 2014 despite initially extending his contract until 2016.
Alonso felt that Ferrari did not have the structure to win another championship. And in many ways, his belief has been vindicated. Nevertheless, he decided to return to an uncompetitive McLaren team for 2015 before departing the sport in 2018. He filled his time away from F1 by entering various motor racing endurance events before returning to Formula One with Renault that had rebranded as Alpine for the 2021 season.
Alonso has not won a drivers championship since 2006 and last won a race in 2013, ironically the Spanish Grand Prix. However Toto Wolff believes that Alonso could have benefited from wise counsel and perhaps kept a check on his personal ego driven decision making.
“Some drivers are ill-advised. They get in the media spotlight and they start to believe they are the sun. And you are not.”
“Fernando Alonso is, without doubt, one of the best Formula 1 drivers to have raced, ever. It is disappointing for the sport he hasn’t got more than two titles to his name.”
“But it’s about knowing you’re part of the solar system, you’re not the sun. None of us are. We are all satellites, we are the planets that rotate.”
In other words, Toto Wolff is saying Alonso wanted to be the sun with a team rotating around his gravity and status of being the best driver of his era, perhaps of all time.