Alonso's Blog

To Monza to make up for lost ground

August 31, 2010 · Posted by Fernando Alonso
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It was not the Belgian Grand Prix we were expecting, that’s for sure. I think the key moment in my race came on the very first lap. I had made a good start and made up a few places. The car was responding well and there was every chance of finishing up on the podium. Unfortunately, I had to come back to the pits almost immediately and that changed everything. Even though I climbed up the order, I only found myself back in the points because a handful of cars ahead of me retired: that explains what a difficult race it was. I could have done without going off the track, but it did not make a great difference: the rain meant that any chance I had of making up some places through our strategy evaporated. It seems that this year, the opening laps have not gone too well for me: in five races out of thirteen, I have found myself slipping to the back, either because of our own mistakes or because of circumstances beyond our control, as was the case two days ago in Belgium. I have always said – and I repeat it now – that in the course of the season, good luck and bad luck tend to balance one another out, so let’s hope that from now on it’s payback time!

The first final went badly, but there are still six to go. Going into these seven races, I had said that whoever did the best job in them would take the title: clearly, there are now three of us who need to make up for ground lost in Spa. With this points system and the way races swing one way or another, I am convinced we still have a significant chance. There are 150 points up for grabs, enough to turn the situation around. We must remain calm and concentrate, to try and make up the difference as soon as possible. There is no denying that the Monza race will be very important. At our home circuit we will have to do everything to avoid losing any more points: a good result here would be a great boost. If things go badly, it won’t be over but it would be a hard knock for team morale.

Racing at Monza for the first time as a Ferrari driver will definitely be a nice feeling. Our team is made up of 95% Italians and you can feel the passion and the will to do well for this special event. I can’t wait to be there and look forward to seeing the grandstands packed with fans: we need their support.

 

I really want to get back on track

August 25, 2010 · Posted by Fernando Alonso
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The holidays that ended today, just before leaving for Belgium, have been very relaxing. Immediately after the Hungarian Grand Prix, I was in Maranello to work on the simulator and with my engineers, from where I headed for home, via a stop off at Madonna di Campiglio for a presentation of the book about twenty years of the Wrooom event. In the days that followed, I split my time between Switzerland and Spain, trying to avoid any long journeys: we can expect the final part of the season to be quite stressful and I wasn’t keen on the idea of seeing even more hotels and airports.

In fact, the means of transport I used most was the bicycle. Apart from the usual training, I had some fun doing a “mini Vuelta” in the area around Oviedo: along with my best friends, we tackled five stages and it was great fun. Three weeks is more than enough time to unwind, at least after the first few days. I made the most of it to recharge the batteries in preparation for the final part of the season, which I think was the same for everyone: it was much needed, after a particularly hectic month of July.

Now, I really want to get back on track, but in a positive sense, without any feeling of anxiety, but in a very calm way. I am happy that the return to racing means going to two particularly special venues which host the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix. The Belgian track is possibly the most appealing of the entire season, while Monza will be something special for me, given that it will be my race debut as a Ferrari driver in front of the Italian crowd, in addition to the circuit itself having played such an important role in the history of motor sport.

I have a good feeling following on from the positive results obtained in Germany and Hungary. As the saying goes, we have to keep the momentum and that should be our aim in Spa, to ensure we carry on the way we started just before the holidays. The Hockenheim and Budapest results were important not just in terms of the classification in both championships, but also for the confidence it has given us. We have to keep pushing on this way.

 

Continuity is the cornerstone to winning

August 3, 2010 · Posted by Fernando Alonso
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I am in Maranello for a few days to be as well prepared as possible for the final part of the season and specifically, the Belgian Grand Prix, the first round on the calendar after the summer break.

We have moved into the final third of the season, so it’s time to sum it up so far. I think we can be pleased with what we have done to date. We are still in the fight for the championship, which is the most important thing. It’s true that some races have gone better than others, just as there were some lucky breaks and times when bad luck seemed to follow us around, but I believe these things tend to balance out. Over the last two races, we have considerably reduced the gap to the championship leader. There are five of us all within twenty points, so it’s as if we are starting from square one: from now to the end of the championship we can expect seven finals. We must have a lot of respect for everyone. McLaren has been very strong, especially Hamilton and Red Bull has shown it always has a competitive car. This is a time to stay cool, without succumbing to the tension that will grow with every passing race, on the track and away from it. We will need to be clever to manage this situation, staying calm at all times.

We always aim for the win, but there was no chance of that in Budapest, which I was definitely not pleased about. However, we know some tracks suit our car more and others are more suited to our competitors: we must try and win the races where our car is strong and finish second in the others, as was the case in Budapest. Continuity will be the cornerstone to this title fight. It was surprising to see how the relative performance between us and Red Bull changed in the space of a week! I reckon that actually our performance is pretty similar, especially in comparison to McLaren, Mercedes and Renault and that maybe in Germany, the Red Bull car was not so competitive, while it was at its maximum in Hungary on a track that was a perfect match for its characteristics.

The break comes at the right time. July was very busy with three races in four weeks: drivers, mechanics, the whole team, we all need a rest after this rush. We set ourselves the target of reducing the points gap and we did it. Now is the time to ensure we have the right spirit in which to tackle the final seven races.

I won’t be doing anything special over the next few weeks. After leaving Maranello, I will stay with my family, partly in Switzerland and partly in Spain: no travelling, no airports, just relaxing! In my career, I have been in the fight for the title three times, from 2005 to 2007. Twice I was in the role of the hare, so I can appreciate the different situations that arise, even if does not mean much. When you are in the lead, it is very stressful if you lose points, but when you are trying to catch up you are aware that you cannot afford to make any mistakes, even if it is a nice feeling in a team when you know you are starting to fight back. As I said earlier, for us the most important thing from now to Abu Dhabi is to try and always finish on the podium: it won’t be vital to win at all costs, but whoever gets six or seven podiums will be champion.

In a few weeks, we will be at Spa, definitely the most enjoyable circuit to drive. It is a very long track, with every type of corner and climbs and drops and it gives you a fantastic feeling. There are tracks as nice as Spa, for example, I like Malaysia a lot and Monaco has a special atmosphere, but all the same, the Ardennes track is unique.

 

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