Alonso's Blog

“Anger transformed into a desire to fight back”

June 29, 2010 · Posted by Fernando Alonso
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It wasn’t the Sunday we were expecting, that’s for sure. The Safety Car appeared at the worst possible moment for us and completely ruined our race. On Sunday evening, I was very angry about everything that happened, but now that anger has been transformed into positive energy driving a desire to fight back. Right from yesterday morning, my mind was already focussed on the next Grand Prix at Silverstone, where we will try and channel all that accumulated energy into the car to try and make up for what escaped us, for one reason or another, in Valencia, even if we know that, in theory, Silverstone is not a track that suits the characteristics of our car.

We were particularly unlucky in terms of the timing of when the safety car appeared on track. It would have only needed a few seconds more or less to totally change our race. It does not achieve much going over the events that followed on. Obviously, in the clear light of day, I am much calmer than I was in the moments immediately following the race. At the time, I reacted emotionally and in that situation, it is all too easy to adopt a tone and say things that can be interpreted wrongly, giving rise to suspicions, something which I had no intention of doing. Sure, I understand that the stewards have a difficult job to do and they have to take decisions that are not easy. What I meant was that those drivers who, like us, respected the regulations, unfortunately, in this situation, suffered much more than those who broke them, even though they were given a penalty. And I am not referring to any of the drivers in particular: it’s a general matter and I think we should talk about it together in a calm way, to ensure that things like this do not happen again. I was pleased to hear that the FIA has reacted promptly, calling an extraordinary meeting of the Sporting Working Group and I am confident, certain even, that all the points up for discussion will be cleared up in a comprehensive fashion.

Even if the Valencia result was not what we wanted, it has not done irreparable damage. It’s true that the gap to the leader has now jumped to 29 points, but we have not even reached the halfway point of the season. We trail by just over one win, so the situation is still very open. The updates we brought to Spain saw us make a step forward and get closer to the front runners. I am satisfied with that, but also aware that we must continue to push on with the development of the F10, because we need to have a car capable of fighting for pole and to give us the edge over our rivals as soon as possible. If we are now 29 points off the championship leader, it means that in the next ten races, we have to score at least 30 more than whoever is in the lead at any one time.

One of the most important aspects of everything that happened on Sunday is the fact that Mark Webber emerged almost completely unhurt from an accident that was as spectacular as it was frightening. It proves once again that the work led by the FIA in terms of safety is absolutely vital and it is clear that one should never get complacent about this element of the sport.

This evening, I will be in front of the television to watch my home team, Spain playing for a place in the quarter finals of the World Cup, against Portugal. It’s a very tough fixture: I reckon there will not be many goals and I just hope the decisive one will be scored by a Spaniard! As for Cristiano Ronaldo, I really hope he saves his goal scoring for next season with Real Madrid.

 

We were back to normal in Montreal

June 15, 2010 · Posted by Fernando Alonso
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I’ve been back in Switzerland since yesterday morning already and I think that with the race having started at 12, lots of Formula 1 people made the most of it to get home quickly. A couple of days on from the race, the sense of disappointment that we missed out on a win that was within our grasp has been replaced with the awareness that we did actually get a great result. We have to look at it as a glass half full because, on the Thursday we would have been satisfied with the thought of a podium finish. We were competitive throughout the whole weekend, both in qualifying and the race, which is very positive. We were back to where we have been in practically all the other races, the one exception being Turkey, where for various reasons, everything about the Grand Prix went wrong, from every point of view. The normal situation is the one we have seen in Montreal, Monaco, Melbourne and Sakhir and all the other tracks where we fought for a podium finish. Maybe the results did not always match our potential, but I think the same can be said for all the top teams. In these first eight races of the season, all sorts of things happened – mistakes, reliability problems, bad luck – but we are still in the thick of the fight for both championships. The same can be said of McLaren and Red Bull, who have also missed out on points along the way.

The Montreal race was very spectacular and incident packed, not just because of the nature of the track, but also because of the different strategies chosen by the teams, as a function of the tyre performance. I think the spectators at the track and those watching on television really enjoyed it, but I can assure you that for the drivers and the teams, it was a difficult and stressful weekend, because it was never really clear how the tyres would react in the various situations that arose.

The next round is in Valencia in my home country. It will be nice to race in front of my fans and I would like to get on the podium again, given that Valencia is another circuit where I have never done so. We will have major updates on the F10 which I hope will allow us to up our performance level. Following on from that, we have further developments in the pipeline which should arrive for England and Germany: which is to say that the European Grand Prix is simply the ninth round of the championship, not a last ditch effort for Ferrari, which I heard some people saying. I don’t see how they can say that given that we have not even reached the halfway point of the season and that after Valencia there will still be ten Grands Prix to go. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now, this is a stage event and the final one of those stages will not come until November in Abu Dhabi. There is still a long way to go and things can change very quickly, going either one way or the other. People seem to have forgotten that last year, in the middle part of the season and in a car that was getting ever less competitive, Kimi was the driver who had scored the most points.

 

Happy for Felipe: stability is important

June 10, 2010 · Posted by Fernando Alonso
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It’s only Wednesday, but I’m already at the track to at last speak face to face with the team, having been in touch by phone and email since the Turkish Grand Prix. I arrived in Montreal on Monday night and yesterday I spent the day doing some fitness training on a bicycle not far from here and the countryside was very nice.

I feel there is a great desire to turn things round after the difficult weekend in Turkey and everyone has reacted in the way I was expecting. Within all of Ferrari there is a passion for racing, which is something I realised from my very first day at Maranello and I am well aware that no one likes losing and that everyone is pushing to the maximum to give us drivers a competitive car.

Today, the team announced that Felipe’s contract has been extended to the end of 2012. I am very happy about this, because it means we can be sure the same group of people will be working together for another two years and stability is a very important part of being a successful team. I get on very well with Felipe and there is great mutual respect between us and immediately, it led to the necessary harmony that means we can work together in the long term. I have seen how close the guys are to him and it’s clear he is part of the Ferrari family.

In recent days there has been a lot of talk about us being late in terms of the development of our car. It’s not right to say development stopped after Bahrain: it’s a fact that in the first four races the distance in terms of tenths to the Red Bull has always been around the three to four tenths mark: while they brought updates to every race, so did we, which means that our work was at least as effective as theirs. What is true is that, in Spain, we did not make the step forward we were expecting, while the others made more progress than us. That explains the difficulties we experienced in Barcelona and, above all, in Istanbul. As for the blown rear wing, I think it has been useful to work on it, even if we have not yet got the most out of it.

Furthermore, I can see that other teams who are working hard on it are also struggling a lot, while those who had it on their car right from the start still have a clear advantage. I have every confidence in our team and I am convinced that here in Canada we will see a different situation to the one we had in Turkey. This track has more in common with those where we have been more competitive so far this season and I think we will be in the hunt. The situation in the championship is still very open, but clearly we have to get back to fighting for a podium finish as soon as possible.

 

I trust in the team’s ability to react

June 1, 2010 · Posted by Fernando Alonso
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The Turkish Grand Prix was without doubt the worst event of the season. Our performance level was simply not competitive compared to McLaren and Red Bull and in qualifying, we even struggled against teams that up until now, were behind us. I wasn’t able to get to Q3 and so that compromised my race: when you start from twelfth, there is not much you can do.

On Sunday I did what I could: it was a case of damage limitation and I think we succeeded in that. On the opening lap I did not lose any places, which was not that easy given I was starting from the dirty side of the track. After that, I managed to get ahead of some cars thanks to a good pit stop strategy. Then came the most boring part of the race. I was at the back of a train made up of the two Mercedes, the two Renaults and the two Ferraris. We all had more or less the same pace, so overtaking would have been very tricky. At first, I tried to look after the tyres to see if that would give me a chance in the final laps and indeed, at the end, Petrov was struggling more than me with his tyres and I made the most of it to overtake him four laps from the chequered flag.

All the same, it wasn’t easy and in the passing move I damaged a wheel rim, but luckily I was able to finish the race without any problems, bringing home at least a few points. I am sorry I was not able to celebrate Ferrari’s eight hundredth Grand Prix in a fitting way. In Istanbul we were not quick enough and we have to react immediately. The championship is still wide open with everything to play for. I am fourth in the classification, fourteen points off the leader and if the old points system still applied, the difference would be just four. However, it’s clear we need to make a jump forward in terms of developing the car. Over the first four races, we matched the pace of our main rivals, but since we have been back in Europe, that is no longer the case. When I was racing against Ferrari, I admired its ability to react, producing probably the best development during the season. The people are the same now, so there is no reason why the same thing cannot happen this year: I trust our team and, above all, I trust in the will to win that every last one of us shares.

For Valencia, we will have a major update package which should see us make a good step forward, but I believe that already in Canada, we will have a different situation. The Montreal circuit will be better suited to the characteristics of the F10 and I think we will definitely be more competitive.

 

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