Former champ's brutal reality check for retiring Alonso

A former F1 world champion has hit Fernando Alonso with a scathing sledge after the McLaren driver announced his retirement.

Jody Scheckter says people have overrated Alonso and his divisive nature is “not the way to win world championships”.

Double world champion Alonso announced on Wednesday that he will retire from Formula One at the end of the season.

The 37-year-old Spaniard is competing in his 17th season and his fifth with McLaren, and has been widely tipped to race in the Indianapolis 500 next year as he attempts to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport.

The 2005 and 2006 champion, who has won 32 grands prix, was labelled a “legend” and an “F1 great” by his team boss Zak Brown in McLaren’s announcement.

Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren F1 Team in the paddock during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria. (Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images)

However, 1979 champion Scheckter doesn’t see it that way.

“I like to just think how many championships somebody’s won,” Scheckter told BBC Radio 5Live.

“You can rate people that they had bad luck and bad cars. I think people overrate him.

“One of his problems is he seems to upset teams and everybody around him. That’s not the way to win world championships.

“You’ve got to work with your team and you’re nearly a leader [as a driver].”

Felipe Massa compared former Ferrari teammate Alonso to Michael Scumacher, however he also said Alonso would end up “splitting the team in half” and “could have achieved much more”.

Jody Scheckter (L), who was the last Ferrari driver who won the world champion’s title for the Scuderia in 1979, chats with other former Ferrari pilot Niki Lauda.

Scheckter referenced Massa’s Schumacher comparison and said: “For me, absolutely [they are] not [level].

“Schumacher has got to be rated as the best driver ever. Alonso I don’t think he’s in that category.

“[That’s] not to say he’s not a good driver. He’s one of the top drivers there now.”

Sky pundit and former driver Martin Brundle also referenced Alonso’s divisive nature in a tweet posted in the aftermath of the announcement.

“I’ll miss Fernando’s fiery character and relentless speed,” said Brundle. “Unfulfilled potential yet still huge achievements in F1.

“Needed somebody stronger than him around to control the destructive moments which prevented him being first choice for any team, but not sure such a person exists.”