Alonso's Blog

A bit of relaxation before the final rush

October 28, 2010 · Posted by Fernando Alonso
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It’s nice to have a few days to relax before the final rush! The Far Eastern leg was very long and it’s always nice to get back home to relax a bit, before heading off for the final two races of the season in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

I am back in the lead of the championship for the first time since way back after the Australian Grand Prix. However, we know that with this points system and the gaps as they are, the standings don’t really mean that much: it only takes one race – as indeed we saw in Korea – for the situation to turn itself round. All the same, It’s always better to be in front than behind! Knowing that achieving our objectives is in our hands means we are a fraction calmer, but in no way does it change our approach. We will have to try and do our utmost, making the most of all the potential we have at our disposal. The only difference is that it would be enough, so to speak, to stay ahead of our closest rivals, without having to think too much about the maths.

The statistics from the second part of the season make interesting reading – 133 points from seven races, 90 of them in the last four – and that makes you think it might have been nice if the season had started in Hockenheim. And yet, for our part, it’s not as though we changed anything special in the way we went about our work: it’s just that we manage to string together a series of strong weekends from start to finish, while earlier, sometimes for a variety of reasons, that was not the case. We were lacking consistency in terms of results until this finally came through later. The car has always been reasonably competitive, with differing levels from circuit to circuit, which was also the case later on. However we have definitely much improved the performance level over these last three months.

In the last few years, Interlagos has usually produced very exciting races, partly because of the track characteristics, but also because the weather can be very changeable. This will be a very important factor and we will need to be ready to tackle all possible scenarios in the best way possible. The lap is fairly short, so we can expect closer times than usual, which means that the slightest little mistake will count even more, because one or two tenths either way can mean having seven or eight cars in front or behind you. We will need to do everything perfectly.

In theory, there are still five of us in the running for the title, but clearly Button is in a trickier situation. There are not many points between us to be honest and we saw how things ended up three years ago, but the fact is that are no less than four drivers ahead of him and it’s hard to imagine none of them scoring points.

Naturally, I’ve got great memories of this track because it was here that I secured my two titles, in 2005 and 2006. Every time I go to Sao Paolo it’s a special feeling and the atmosphere is really great. I don’t want to think about the chances of history repeating itself for a third time: I know it is theoretically possible, but that does not count for me. We want to tackle this Grand Prix in the same way as all the others, concentrating on ourselves with our feet on the ground, trying to do a good job, without making mistakes and with the aim of beating our rivals. I have said it before and I say it again: we will do the maths in Abu Dhabi.

 

First impressions are positive

October 20, 2010 · Posted by Fernando Alonso
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I arrived in Seoul last night and this morning I set off for Yeongam, the venue for the first ever Korean Grand Prix. After lunch I popped up to the circuit because I wanted to see for myself what the track was like. I have to say the first impressions are positive. First off, there are no big surprises as what we saw on the simulator over the past weeks and the reality of it have a lot in common. It seems to be a very interesting circuit, which should be fun to drive, especially the final sector. What track is it similar to? It’s a mix of various ones. The first sector reminds me a lot of Bahrain: long straights with heavy braking that lead into 180 degree turns. The second is similar to Turkey, especially Turn 11 which makes you think of Turn 8 in Istanbul, while the final one is similar to the third sector in Abu Dhabi.

When you arrive at a new circuit, you are even keener than usual to get on with the driving, so the two days that still separate us from the time to do the first lap on Friday morning will seem very long. I think we could be in for a spectacular race: there are at least a couple of places were overtaking seems possible, especially under braking for Turn 3 which comes at the end of a straight that is over a kilometre in length. There should be plenty of action there on the opening lap of the race, more than we will see at the start.

Yesterday night I managed to watch Real Madrid play in the Champions League and I was pleased with what I saw as 2-0 against Milan is a really good result.

 

Still five fighting for the title

October 12, 2010 · Posted by Fernando Alonso
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I’m in Tokyo for a few days of relaxation in the middle of this long trip to the Far East. It’s a city I really like – always new and interesting – and it’s a pleasure to be able to spend a bit of time here. The outcome of the Japanese Grand Prix remains positive, even now in the cold light of day. We are in a phase of the season where one negative weekend can cost us dear and to come away with a good third place from a race that we expected to be difficult was important. We were certainly hoping that perhaps the situation would have been different in Suzuka but we must not forget that it’s a track that seems to have been designed to show off the qualities of the Red Bull. As early as Friday we understood that it would be difficult and, even if we knew what was coming, there remains a bit of regret that we couldn’t fight for the win. But now we must put the weekend behind us and concentrate on the next race, where we know that we must try to raise our level of performance: another 5th place in qualifying would certainly not help us.

In Korea we will have to attack because now we must close the gap to Webber. To lose any more ground would make the situation more complicated. We’ve been working on the new track for a few days on the simulator: the first two sectors are very quick with long straights while the last sector reminds me of the last part of the circuit at Abu Dhabi. The tarmac is wide, which should make it possible to try overtaking moves. I’m always curious to discover a new circuit, both from a personal and professional point of view. From next Wednesday onwards I will try to discover if the simulations have been accurate enough. Then we will have a few more kilometres of running available on Friday compared to usual so we can find the right feeling on the track.

I still think that the fight for the title is open for five drivers. Too many times this year we’ve seen someone come back into the game after they’d seemed out of it – and that could easily happen again. Having said that, perhaps the only one who can afford a bad weekend is Webber: for all the others it would perhaps mean giving up any chance, especially the ones who are a bit behind today. The Korean Grand Prix could therefore start to be decisive for some – and for me it will be important also to be able to count on my team-mate Felipe. I know that he will be really hoping to make up for two negative results and he has all the capacities required to return to the podium. What’s more, it will be very useful to work together to discover all the secrets of the new track so we can prepare our cars in the best way. In a moment like this every detail matters to achieve our goals.

 

Plenty of good memories from Suzuka

October 6, 2010 · Posted by Fernando Alonso
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I arrived at Suzuka yesterday in the late afternoon and I received a surprise straightaway. The traditional Italian restaurant “Campanella”, that is popular with many Formula 1 people, doesn’t exist any more. That’s a pity because I’ve been going there since the first time I came to Suzuka at the end of the Nineties when I raced here in karts. I was in the same hotel that I am now and so many good memories of this circuit are linked directly to that first experience. Sure, there was also the success in 2006 which was crucial for my second world championship. I well know that race probably calls something unpleasant to mind for many people both inside and outside Ferrari but that’s racing: to win on this track gives a special emotion because it’s one of the hardest tracks in the world. To succeed here you need to have a car that is very strong from the aerodynamic point of view: in some ways it’s similar to Silverstone and to Barcelona. There’s a very special first section characterised by a very long first bend and a series of Esses that can have a major influence on the lap time if you don’t get them absolutely right. It’s a track that’s very demanding both on the technical side and when it comes to driving.

As I’ve already said in recent days, the F10 has proved it is competitive at very different tracks such as Monza and Singapore so there is no obvious reason why it shouldn’t be the same in Suzuka. But to start understanding where we really are, we will have to wait until Friday afternoon after we’ve gone through the first two sessions of free practice. I like Japan, it’s one of my favourite countries. I like it for the food and for the culture, both so different from our European traditions. And then there’s Tokyo, a very beautiful city that is always very interesting. To race at Suzuka is special also for the enthusiasm of the Japanese fans who are truly passionate. We hope to offer them a good show this weekend.

 

Now it gets serious

October 1, 2010 · Posted by Fernando Alonso
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I have been back in Switzerland for a few days now. It’s been a time to relax and fill up the energy tanks before the final rush of what has been a very intense season. The Singapore weekend was very stressful from the physical point of view, especially because of the humidity and dehydration. So, I have continued to drink a lot and I have been training in a very low key way, just to get back to full fitness.

I have kept in touch with the team all the time and I know that in Maranello, everyone is delighted with last Sunday’s win. That’s how it should be and I’m happy too, even if I know the hard part is still ahead of us. These two consecutive wins have reduced the gap that had built up but we are definitely not leading yet! Now it starts getting serious, we will have to experience some pain and it is time for everyone to give their all, without taking a single backward step. There are still five drivers in the hunt for the title. So many times this year we have seen that the situation can change really quickly, so anything could still happen. What is certain is that if any of the five put a foot wrong, then it will be even harder for them. I stick with my belief that the key is to always finish on the podium and then do the maths in Abu Dhabi.

The wins in Monza and Singapore inspire confidence, especially as they came after a difficult season, in which our championship chances have often hung by a thread. Winning on two very different types of track confirms that our car is very versatile and so we can tackle the coming races without any fear. I have been asked which was the best win, Singapore or Monza. Well, any win is great, wherever it comes, but I would have to say that winning in Italy at the wheel of a Ferrari was a really special and unique feeling.

 

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