“Ferrari makes me turn into a child again”

2.3.2010
Maranello, 3 February 2010 – On the day of his official debut behind the wheel of a Ferrari Formula 1 single-seater the Italian daily “La Stampa” published the first exclusive interview by Alberto Mattioli with Fernando Alonso as an official driver for the Scuderia for Maranello. Here is the entire interview:

Mr. Alonso let’s start from scratch: when did you first sit behind a wheel?
«When I was two years old. In a small kart my father built with a lawn mower engine.»

Your first race?
«Still in a kart, at age three.»

Obviously you won.
«Last and lapped. But I received a trophy anyway.»

The time you went the fastest ever?
«Once in Monza: 372 km/h».

Fear?
«Respect, because speed has to be respected. Fear, never.»

Not even when, one month ago, when you had a plane crash with Briatore in Kenya?
«But that wasn’t a crash. We hit a building with one of the wings. I hear a thud, but that the plane crashed and burst into flames was made up later by the newspapers »

Do you believe in God?
«No.»

Superstitious?
«Yes.»

Spells? Always the same socks or anything like that?
«No, I’m playing with numbers. Well, like the number of the helmet as the hotel’s room number, divided by the cars on the starting grid. It’s important that the result is 14.»

Why?
«Because with the number 14 I won my first kart World Championship.»

A driver’s most important gift?
«Managing pressure, no: the pressures.»

Which pressures?
«First of all the media.»

Second?
«The team. Because you’re just a little cog in a big wheel of hundreds of people, when you get into the car and the lights turn green you push the accelerator.»

In percentage, how much do the car and the driver count?
«Let’s say the car is 70 percent and the driver 30? But if the cars are the same it’s the opposite.»

Why does a F1 driver attract the masses?
«Because he’s a sportsman, risking every time. Like a torero.»

Is it true that you’re a great poker player?
«Not great. But I like it.»

With whom are you playing?
«In Spain with my friends and when I’m away on the internet.»

And at the paddock?
«With Kubica and Fisichella.»

Who’s the fourth player?
«We’re looking for one. Possibly a chicken.»

Who wins most?
«Robert [Kubica]. »

Who’s bluffing the best?
«Also Robert.»

So he wins all the time!
«No, because also Fisico is really good.»

Another passion of yours is imitations. Is it true that you can imitate Aznar? «Pretty well. But I’m actually imitating everyone.»

The next one? «You, after the interview.»

Are you also imitating Montezemolo?
«I’m studying him.»

I want to give you some names and you give me a definition. King Juan Carlos? «Fanatic.»
Fanatic?
«For the sport. I don’t have a more enthusiastic fan.»

Zapatero?
«Sharp.»

Berlusconi?
«Likeable.»

Felipe Massa?
«Fast.»

Kimi Raikkonen?
«Talented».

Bernie Ecclestone?
«Smart.»

Michael Schumacher?
«Worker».

Briatore?
«For me, my father in sports.»

Barack Obama?
«I’m passing to nouns: hope.»

Enzo Ferrari?
«The legend.»

Well, and why is Ferrari a legend?
«Because Ferrari has always been racing. Everybody wants to drive one. And excuse me, you when you where little, didn’t you play with cars?»
Sometimes.
«And what colour were they?»
Red.
«See?»

You have lived almost all over Europe: on ‘normal’ roads, who are the best drivers?
«The Swiss: very respectful.»

And the worst?
«Spaniards and Italians: undisciplined».

The last film you’ve seen?
«’Up in the Air’ with George Clooney: beautiful.»

The last book you read?
«I’m not a great reader. Maybe the handbook when I was getting my pilot’s license.»

Out of the five books published about you, four in Spanish and one in French, which one do you suggest?
«Not one of them. They’ve been all written in a hurry to make money when I became famous. I haven’t even read them.»

The most beautiful day of your life?
«…has still to arrive, I’m living in the future.»

And in the past?
«I think maybe the feeling when you unpack your Christmas presents when you’re seven years old won’t come back. Not even when you win the World Championship.»

Why did you announce your wedding with the singer Raquel del Rosario only two months later?
«Well, should I have issued a press release? I told my friends and they were all there. Then it was out there and I said: yes, I’m married. But my private life is off the records.»

Did you enjoy dubbing the film ‘Cars’?
«Yes, also because I only had one sentence in it.»

Would you like to do a film?
«I really enjoy doing promotional films. Tomorrow, who knows.»

Which nickname do you prefer: Magic Alonso or El Nano?
«El Nano. In Spain I was always the youngest and the shortest. And then obviously Fernando, Nando, Nano.»

In Italian this means something else …
«Well, now I’m grown up and beautiful, but not really tall. But now at least I’ve got a shorter teammate.»

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
«At home in my armchair.»

Dying your hair like Schumacher, reproached by Briatore?
«Oh my God, I don’t think that’s really important, is it? But when I look at my father, he’s all white and it really fits him. So what...»

Today Schumacher isn’t exactly popular amongst the Ferraristi.
«He’s a great champ. He left Ferrari before I arrived. And let me say it again, I like to talk about the future.»

Please say something to the Ferrari fans.
«I can’t guarantee any results. We know that I’ll always give it everything. There won’t be a day when I’m not thinking of the team.»

Promised?
«Promised!»

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