Work, the key in 2012.
Alonso: “I’m very happy and enjoying the moment, but working very, very hard: there’s still plenty to do”
Madrid, 31 May - The Scuderia Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Marc Gené, and the General Manager of ARP, Lorenzo Bassetti, answered various questions this morning from the press during the opening of Ferrari’s store on calle Serrano, nº6, in the commercial heart of Madrid.
Both for the Scuderia and Alonso if there is one key word that describes 2012, that’s “work”. The Asturian driver’s words confirmed this as he stated that he was happy as a result of his lead in the Drivers’ Championship, but never forgetting that “there’s a lot to do”. "I’m happy and enjoying the moment but working very, very hard because, although we are leading the Championship, we could easily be sixth or seventh and quite a few points off the lead. So there’s still plenty of work to do. We’re happy with how the season has begun in terms of points but not so much in terms of the competitiveness of the car, since we’ve suffered a lot in the first races to be on top”.
“In Canada we want to confirm this improvement and be competitive in a more ‘normal’ circuit, because Monaco is unique due to its characteristics and Barcelona has very quick corners. Canada and Valencia are going to be two very important tests for us to see if we can really put both Ferraris in Q3, like we did in Monaco, and opt to be in the top places. We’ve brought some upgrades to Canada.This is a race both on and off the track. All the big teams are going to bring new parts so let’s see whose works best. We’ve tried to extract the most of what we had and our rivals have let their guards down. Hopefully in Canada we will confirm the improvement shown in Barcelona and Monaco. This year, two or three tenths make you lose or gain five or six places, because everything is very close. That’s why you have to take new parts to every race and improve against the clock back in the factory”, added the Scuderia driver.
The Monaco Grand Prix was a huge challenge in terms of improvising team strategies. The unexpected weather changes, with the rain present, didn’t allow the teams to carry out their usualtyre tests in the practice sessions, a situation which was aggravated by thedebut of the supersofts. Fernando started fifth, but managed to gain two placesand finished third, on the podium, and winning some valuable points which helped him to move up ahead of closest rivals and sit on his own on top of the classification.
Asked whether he would have been able to win the raceif he’d stayed on the track rather than having come in to change tyres, Alonsothoroughly expalined his theory: “It’s always easy to talk about tactics once the race is over. Surely if we had completed one more lap on Supersofts in Monaco we would have had a chance to win. But, of course, if they say to you before the race, when you’re preparing your strategy, that on lap 30 the Supersofts are going to perform better than any other tyre you wouldn’t have believed it. I would have bet anything against it”, he declared. And added: “Likewise, when you set a new pair of Softs in a pit stop, normally you fly for two or three laps. You’ve got fantastic grip. And we all faced problems with the heating up of tyres. Neither Webber, Rosberg nor myself were able to catch Vettel. Therefore, if we would have changed our tactics, Vettel and Rosberg wouldn’t have stopped either if they would have known the performance of the tyres. And we would have finished the race in the same manner”.
Another thing on the mind of many of the journalists who attended the opening of Ferrari’s store -which is made up of 500 square metres divided in two floors packed with all kinds of official objects of the Italian brand, and that perfectly combines the fighting spirit and history of the Scuderia-, was the reason as to why this Championship is so open, with six different winner in the first six races of the season.
For the Spanish driver the reason is "in part because of the rules and also because of the restrictions each year in the rules. When someone discovers something, the next year it’s banned. They’re limiting more and more every time the creativity or potential development of a car. We’re seeing more similar cars every time and it’s looking more like GP2 in the sense that there are more drivers. But, despite being a tight Championship, it’s Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari in that order in the Constructors. And in the six or seven first positions of the Drivers’ Championship, you’ve got the same drivers as last year. As a result of this, in a Championship that goes on for so long, you’re going to have the same drivers battling it out in the end”.
Alonso also shared his opinion regarding his teammate, Felipe Massa’s form, who he supports100% and admits he has “the necessary talent to fight for wins”. In fact, he showed signs of improvement in Monaco, proving to be very competitive throughout the weekend and achieving a sixth place in Sunday’s race. “It’s hard to think that Felipe won’t win many points in the second part of the season, that he won’t make podiums or fight for wins. He’s got the talent for it. It’sbeen an unfortunate start to the season because of a number of things: bad luck, a slower adaptation than before to the tyres… Felipe’s results weren’t normal. He’s got all my support. And he’s got all the support of the team to change the situation around. Or to change his results, because many times in practice or qualifying we’re very close but then in the race, because of the start or because he got hit, he would be towards the back early on. In Monaco it looks like his results changed, so we hope that from here on it will all go well for him”.
His teammate in the Scuderia and compatriot, Marc Gené, was also questioned by the journalists, who wanted to know the Catalan’s opinion with respect to the Asturian. “Now with Fernando I’ve been teammates with four World Champions: Schumacher, Raikkonen, Villeneuve in Le Mans, and now Fernando. I’ve always said it: he’s the most complete. He’s the best out of those who have competed against me or worked with me. He’s the best at making the most of difficult situations. And that’s why he is now the Championship leader. He’s a real team leader too. That’s why we’re extremely privileged at Ferrari to have him with us and to be able to work with him. It’s one of the few brands in the world that, independent of who is driving, has always had many fans around the world. But now in Spain, with the success of Fernando and Ferrari, the fans have multiplied”.
Lorenzo Bassetti, on his behalf, made an evaluation of the Spanish market in relation to the Ferrari brand: “Spain is a very important market for us, which is demonstrated by the amount of stores open in the country, six. After Italy, it’s the country with most outlets, we hope it will soon become the second insales too”.