Alonso ends the year with the Magi

Madrid, 19 December – Fernando Alonso’s last work commitment of 2011 took place this afternoon in the Santander Bank’s head office at Boadilla del Monte, near Madrid. Yesterday in Maranello, he was Father Christmas for the families of Ferrari employees and today the Spanish driver was dressed in the robes of one of the Magi kings as part of the end of year festivities with representatives of one the Scuderia’s major sponsors. Alongside Fernando were his two colleagues, Marc Gene and Pedro De La Rosa, much to the delight of the many children present, who all received a Pista Carrera kit as a gift.

Earlier, Fernando had exchanged seasonal good wishes with a group of Spanish journalists, as well as throwing in some pragmatic views on the Formula 1 season just ended and the one that will be getting underway shortly. “This is the time when one is always optimistic, but then we must wait for the start of the season to see where we really are. It’s true that in the past few days, there was a good feeling at Maranello and there’s an air of confidence about it,” said Fernando. “We want to reacquaint ourselves with the taste of winning that has eluded us for a while. Last spring, we made important changes to the structure of the technical part of the team and now we have adopted a new approach, a less conservative one, in the design of the new car. The philosophy behind the 2012 car is very different to that of 2011, especially in some key areas like suspension and aerodynamics. We know that Ferrari is burdened with the expectations of victory and if it does not happen, in the winter the papers devote page after page to the whys and wherefores as to how things can change, while the others have to make do with the crumbs in terms of media coverage. It’s one of the things that make Ferrari different to all the other teams.”

However, now’s the time to take it easy for a few weeks,” concluded the man from Oviedo. “Time to recharge the batteries and be one hundred percent ready for next season, which I expect will be much more of an equal fight than the one just gone. Red Bull will still be very strong, but I think they will have less room for improvement than us, as we were so far behind this year.”

In the morning, Alonso received a special recognition from the Autonomous Community of Madrid, who awarded him the International Prize for Sport. Fernando was presented with the award by the President, Esperanza Aguirre, during a ceremony at the Community headquarters.

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