Alonso's Blog

Nice to see so many smiling faces!

March 27, 2012 · Posted by Fernando Alonso
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It was nice to be back in Maranello after Sunday afternoon’s win. In the plane, I was thinking again about the race and I could hardly believe it. Then, once I’d arrived here, I saw the smiles on the faces of all our people and I was very pleased to see how strong is the desire to work to improve the car in the shortest time possible.

During the race, I only began to think the win might be on after the final pit stop. With the intermediates I was trying to gain as much ground as possible but I knew that on a drying track, as the possibility of switching to the dry tyres became a reality, then it could all change. Then, after the stop, I saw that Perez was very quick and he was putting me under a lot of pressure, but I knew that all the same, there was only one dry line which was no more than two metres wide: even if he got right into my slipstream, getting past would not be easy and I was hoping I’d be able to fend him off all the way to the end.

It’s a shame none of my friends bet on me winning in Sepang, or on me leading the championship after the first two races: I think they’d have won an impressive amount! However, my real friends are all very happy and pleased about the win, but no one, including everyone in the team, is under any illusions. The championship has not got off to the sort of start we wanted and there is much much to do. But refusing to give up is a quality that I have always admired about Ferrari, when I was racing against them and also now that I’m part of the team. The next two races will also see us on the defensive and there’s no doubt about that. While we are incapable of being competitive and able to fight consistently for the podium or a win, limiting the damage is the only thing we can do. If the conditions are normal, we must try not to lose too many points compared to the best: let’s hope we can do the same as we did in Australia and Malaysia…

Now, I’ve got a few days here in Italy to undergo a routine medical check-up at the Physiology Centre at Forli where my trainer Fabrizio Borra reigns supreme. I do these medical and physical checks two or three times a year to see what shape I am in and to control every aspect of my body. Then, I’m heading back home to Spain to see the family, so we can spend a few days together. You need a bit of time to relax after such a demanding race as the one in Sepang and then it will be time to put the finishing touches to preparation for another back to back run, this time in China and Bahrain, which means more long journeys and changes of time zones. Imagine, when I left it was still winter and now, after three weeks away, we are right in the middle of spring: it’s a nice change!

The past three weeks have been my first on Twitter and I have to say it’s been a very enjoyable experience. It’s something I’d wanted to do for a while and I myself put the work in to get it up and running. Over the past months I had seen that there was a lot of talk about me on the Internet and on social media sites, so I thought it would be better if I was on it myself, don’t you think? It means I can give my own point of view, talk about my life, what I get up to when I’m travelling the world going to the races, trying to put across my real feelings. Nothing technical though, because deep down, Formula 1 is still a sport where discretion when it comes to certain aspects is still important, but it’s a way for me to describe what goes on in the world of someone who does the job I do. For now, it’s great, especially reading all the tweets from my followers and the suggestions they send me: I don’t reply to them, because it would take me all day, but I read all of them and I will try and improve my standard of tweeting. I have to say I was very surprised, first and foremost by the number of followers I had almost immediately. When I put up the first video I had made, I was having a stop off in Doha on the way to Australia and in the airport lounge, I had a bet with my manager and with my physio Edoardo as to how many followers I would have before leaving: I said a thousand, Luis eight hundred and Edoardo six hundred. Well, after four hours, when it was time to take off for Melbourne, the number had reached 39 thousand! Then there’s the level of enthusiasm: there are so many messages, all of them positive and I have to say that it gives me a real boost.

 

A hot weekend in prospect…

March 21, 2012 · Posted by Fernando Alonso
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I’ve been in Kuala Lumpur since Monday already. As my trainer Edoardo Bendinelli has previously explained to you (see The battle with the heat is played out in advance) it’s important to acclimatise quickly to the extreme conditions, especially for us Europeans when we’re in this corner of the globe. Yesterday, for example, I played Golf with Edoardo and my manager Luis: we were the only ones on the course as no one was prepared to venture out in the heat!

This is the longest race in terms of distance, but above all, it’s the most tiring from the physical point of view: it is vital to be as well prepared as possible and, towards the end, that can also make a difference out on track. I’m doing all I can to be ready for this weekend, just as is the team; all the guys here in the garage in Sepang, for whom it is also very draining to work in these conditions and all the people back home in Maranello. In Malaysia, we will once again be racing on the defensive. There’s no other way we can go about it, given that the F2012 is practically identical to what we ran in Australia. We will have to try and adapt it as well as possible, knowing it won’t be easy. There are two points we will have to work on with great attention: finding the right compromise in terms of the aerodynamic balance and the tyre degradation. Sepang has two real straights where, because they are very long, a lack of top speed carries a higher price than in Melbourne, where the two straights on which you could use DRS were reasonably short.

We will have to see how the Pirelli tyres behave in the high temperatures here in Malaysia. Last year, we ended up doing four stops so we will see if the situation is the same this time. We will have the Medium and Hard compounds while last year we ran Soft-Hard. Given that this year, the four types of Pirelli tyre are much more similar to one another in terms of performance over a lap, maybe it will be a different picture.

By the second free practice session on Friday, we should already start to get a more accurate impression. The word “should” applies because every session here, especially the one in the mid-afternoon, can be affected by rain. There is no other place in the world, the Formula 1 world that is, where it can go from sunshine to torrential rain in the space of a few minutes. Not even at Spa is the variability so acute. Those on the pit wall will have to keep their eyes peeled and look at the radar carefully to be ready for any possible change in the weather.

At the moment, the forecast is for a high chance of rain, both for qualifying and the race, but honestly, I don’t have much faith in the forecast. The important thing is to react promptly and grab every opportunity. The only thing you can be absolutely certain of is that it will be hot, very hot…

 

Finally back to racing!

March 13, 2012 · Posted by Fernando Alonso
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I arrived in Melbourne last night. It’s the longest journey of the year and the prime objective is to adapt as soon as possible to the time difference, as there are no less than ten hours difference between Oviedo and here! I always like coming to this city. The atmosphere is very special, and there is a sense of relaxation and of being laid back that you don’t find so often elsewhere in the world. Australians seem to have found the recipe for the good life. Of course, they have problems like the rest of us and actually it’s hard for us to judge based on a visit that only lasts ten days a year, but that’s the impression I have. Now I can’t wait for this first race weekend to get underway.

This year, we have had even less time than usual to drive the car, given that pre-season testing was shortened even more: six days are definitely not enough to satiate my need to drive! I have said it many times in the past, ours is the only sport where training is banned. Imagine asking Nadal to try out a new racket for just six days or a football player to train just six times before the World Cup! It would be nice to do more testing, but not to the detriment of the races, because nothing beats competition. In fact, after so many kilometres of testing and retesting, finally there’s a whiff of sport in the air. I miss the excitement of qualifying, the thrill of being on the start grid waiting for the lights to go out, the adrenalin rush of the charge to the first corner, in fact I miss everything that makes Formula 1 such an amazing sport. It is always difficult to draw conclusions from testing. Everyone works according to their own programme and you cannot make a true comparison. We definitely still need to improve a lot, working on our understanding of the F2012, adapting my driving style to a new car which, with the loss of aerodynamic downforce at the rear and the new Pirelli tyres, is a bit harder to drive. We know in which direction we need to go in terms of car development and that’s an important step. Sure, we will have to grit our teeth for the first few races, but first of all, we have to see exactly where we are in terms of being competitive and then give our all to bring home as many points as possible in this early stage of the championship. I know the fans always expect to hear me say that we can obtain such and such a result, but the truth is that we cannot say with certainty where we are. We must wait until Saturday evening at six, after qualifying and a bit longer still, until after this first run of races outside Europe.

We have to stay cool and calm and take one step at a time, starting with the race in Melbourne, where we will get an initial impression. Once we know where we stand, then we can set ourselves more precise targets. One thing’s for sure, with the will to win that inhabits everyone at Ferrari and with the history we have behind us, we feel a responsibility to do well: for us, for our fans and for our partners and that goes for all of us. We must all pull together to reach this target.

 

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