Motorsport: 'This is not the perfect sport for overtaking' warns Alonso
So, we have the verdict on Formula One straight from Fernando Alonso: if you want to see overtaking, watch a different form of motor racing.
The Ferrari driver, who bobbed and weaved his way through a tumultuous Australian Grand Prix to finish fourth last weekend, viewed the analysis of the sport that he could dominate this season in typically unsentimental fashion yesterday.
His view of the arguments about whether there should be more overtaking was clear and simple. "Formula One is, maybe, not the perfect sport in which to see overtaking," he said.
"This is about technology, about driving precisely. We are talking about maybe less than millimetres of margin in the cars and engines.
"If you want to see overtaking, this is not the right place. This is about watching the maximum-performance cars in the world, drivers enjoying racing and risking their lives in the car to put on a good show."
That's that, then. It is about millimetres and precision, a bit like an outing to a watchmaker's shop. In fact, the twice world champion did not stop there, because he believes that there has been no real overtaking in Formula One for 20 years or more.
Alonso's insight into Formula One is somewhat clinical and could be depressing, except that he, and the rest of the drivers on the grid, will probably need an oar and a rudder to add to the high-technology gizmos in their £1m cars to survive the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Only an hour after the little Spaniard spoke so eloquently and succinctly about the sport, he was dodging raindrops the size of coconuts as they smashed down on to the concrete paddock of the Sepang circuit.
There will be more for qualifying and the race on Sunday unless the gods are smiling, but somehow the impression is that they are frowning on Formula One's third race of the season.
Perhaps Alonso has his own agenda. His car is not the class act in the field -- that is the Red Bull in the hands of Sebastian Vettel -- but he leads the championship after two races. When it comes to discussing whether to change the regulations this year as teams search for ways of making the racing more exciting, you can bet that the one arm that does not go up to vote 'yes' is clad in red.
The famous Scuderia have never done consensus if it jeopardised their chances of victory.
Alonso is cast in the Scuderia mould, utterly single-minded in pursuit of glory. "My only goal is to win the championship," Alonso said. "I race with maximum concentration and, hopefully, not too many mistakes."
And presumably not too much excitement or overtaking. There again, your loss could be Alonso's substantial gain. (© The Times, London)