Archive for October 2012
ALONSO: "ONE OF THE BEST RACES OF THE YEAR"
“We can fight the Red Bulls, but at the moment, we still don’t have a car capable of winning. Once again this year we have seen that, in the race, the situation is much better than in qualifying. A great start, a great first lap, a good top speed and the right tyre management produced, along with me driving at 120% for each of the sixty race laps, this second place. We did what we could, as at every race: if, come the end of the championship we will have won, then no one will be able to say it was down to mistakes from the others, but because we always did the maximum. We will already have some updates in Abu Dhabi: let’s hope we can make a step forward because it will be important to start making up the points gap there already”.
“There are 75 points up for grabs which is a lot. I am still optimistic even if we are all aware that we have to improve our performance, especially on Saturday. I don’t know if this was my best performance of the season, as it’s always difficult to make that sort of call. I am particularly keen on the one in Valencia or at Monza, but this one is definitely up there: I pushed from start to finish, maybe taking some more risks in overtaking compared to previous races. Today, after the start, I tried to immediately attack the McLarens getting into their slipstream. They were fighting among themselves and maybe they forgot about me and I managed to get past at least one of them. Then I also managed to overtake Button just a few laps later, but the time lost in those few laps allowed the two Red Bulls to pull out a bit of a gap. In the second stint, I made the most of Webber’s problems with the KERS to overtake him: yet again we have seen that anything can happen and that the races are always long and difficult…”
ALONSO: ¡¡I DON´T GIVE UP!!
“We tried to get the most out of what we had, but there was no way we could be ahead of the Red Bulls and McLarens. In the end, fifth place is not so bad, because it would have been easy to end up even further back if anything had gone wrong. Clearly, finishing ahead of Red Bull is our aim, but today it was impossible to fight them, at least in qualifying: when we had a similar car, it was possible to fight with Vettel and we have even been ahead of them, but now we are fighting against Newey and, at the moment we cannot match him. We brought some updates here which have worked as we expected, but the others have also improved over these past two weeks: it’s down to us to bring something more significant for the final three races”.
“I am not concerned nor demotivated, because I know that things can change very quickly and that high spirits on Saturday can easily turn to sadness on Sunday. We must try and make up places on the first lap and try to put pressure on our main rivals, ensuring they don’t have an easy race. There are sixty laps to work with and we will need to tackle each one as if it’s qualifying, by attacking. Clearly I hope I can soon have a more competitive car to try and fight them on equal terms on Saturday and not just on Sunday. I definitely am not the sort to give up and that’s my real advantage.”
ALONSO: "WE CAN IMPROVE"
“This is an interesting circuit: after the longest straight, there’s a combination of high speed corners which are very nice to drive. Today the track was still very dirty, which is usually the case at new tracks that aren’t used very often. Tomorrow, when it will deliver more grip, it will be even more fun. The track conditions, which change rapidly lap after lap, make it even more complicated to understand the situation relating to the hierarchy down the pit lane. We must study the data carefully to make the right choices for the rest of the weekend. Nothing much to say about tyre performance: from what we’ve seen today, we can hope there’s one less problem to take into consideration.”
ALONSO: "EVERYONE IN THE TEAM WANTS THIS CHAMPIONSHIP"
Fernando Alonso was wearing two hats today in India; the first was his Unicef Ambassador one, as he attended an event to promote the benefits of washing one’s hands with soap to combat disease and the second, his more usual Scuderia Ferrari headwear when he met the media in the team’s hospitality unit at the Buddh Circuit this afternoon. Indeed, the circuit was one of the topics discussed: “This is one of the most challenging tracks and after the first sector, there is no time to breathe, with corner after corner, very high speed ones, so I think we all enjoy this track,” began the Spaniard. “Maybe it will be a bit difficult tomorrow through lack of grip, but as the grip comes by the end of Friday and into Saturday, it is a track we all enjoy driving and I’m really looking forward to the weekend.”
Having lost the lead in the Drivers’ classification two weeks ago in Korea, Fernando is nevertheless in a completely positive frame of mind. “My situation is quite good, you could say it’s the second best situation as we are almost on the same points total as Vettel, with four races to go and there is every possibility open for the championship,” maintained the double world champion. “If we had been offered this situation back in February, we would have signed for it! And again, in July, August or even September, we would have signed. We are in the situation that we plan to fight for the championship all the way to the end. It’s true that in the last few races, Red Bull has been very strong and quick, but we have seen all year that there have been ups and downs for everybody, so we need to improve our situation and our level of competitiveness and try to catch them. As for my motivation, it is better than ever and not just me, the whole team is very motivated, everyone in the team wants this championship. We have struggled all year with our car, especially in the first part of the season and now with four races to go, we are going on full attack for the last month with everyone in the team so focussed.”
Alonso’s current points total was badly affected by two accidents that were entirely out of his control, however, he was sanguine about the possibility of this happening again. “It all depends on the position from which you start,” he maintaned. “If you start from pole, you avoid 99% of the crashes, so we need to improve our Saturday pace and start at the front to avoid these incidents. But there is no specific action one can take to avoid first lap accidents. We have always been very calm, not taking many risks and the retirements were completely out of our hands: it happened to us, but it can happen to the others as well. Usually, over the course of a season, everything balances out.”
As to the title fight with Vettel , Fernando does not believe it is a simple battle of the drivers. “I think it will be a battle of packages: everyone will have his own strong points and weak points,” explained. “At the moment we have seen that Red Bull maybe has the fastest car, especially on Saturday. They will try and make the most of this strong point and we will try to use our strong points. It is a matter of pushing everything to the limits now; the car development, the strategy and the approach to the weekends, but that is no different in fact to what we have been doing all year. We were leading the championship up until Korea thanks to our consistency and through avoiding making mistakes. We have produced sixteen perfect races and now we must produce another four and if we do that, we will be very close to winning the championship.”
NOW WASH YOUR HANDS
It’s been another unforgettable day for Fernando Alonso, here in India for the seventeenth round of the Formula 1 world championship, in his role as an ambassador to UNICEF, a position he’s held since 2005.
This morning he visited a school in Turgapur, one hour south east of New Delhi to take part in the “Handwashing Day” campaign. It is aimed at encouraging people to wash their hands using soap, in a country where over a thousand children die every day from diaorreahea caused by a lack of drinking water and basic sanitation. “It’s very important to explain the importance of this procedure, which is so straightforward for us, but often impossible in a country where many families don’t have a bathroom in the home and sometime they don’t even have a home at all,” Fernando told his very attentive audience. “It is even more important to put out this information through schools, because children are a very important part of our society and the solution is not complicated, nor does it cost much.”
Statistics show that washing one’s hands with soap at key moments, after using the toilet, or before eating and preparing food, can reduce the occurence of diaorreaha in children under five, by over forty per cent. “It’s very gratifying to be able to support initiatives that concern the health of children, but I’d be even happier if this was something available to everyone by right. As with all sports, Formula 1 wants to get close to the culture of the countries we visit, building up relationships and giving an impetus to solving problems like this one.”
ALONSO: "A GOOD SUNDAY"
Fernando Alonso: “It was a difficult race and, come the end of the weekend, I am happy with the way things went. I was starting from the dirty side of the track, we had doubts over tyre life and what would be the race pace of our rivals. With all these concerns, managing to get to the podium meant I could breathe a big sigh of relief. It’s true that Red Bull was quickest all weekend, but our aim was to be right behind them and we achieved that. It’s also true that I am no longer leading the championship, but being six points down does not mean much, just as it did not mean much being four points up going into this race. It is also very significant that we are back in second place in the Constructors’, as it means the team is on the case and that will be our strong point from now until the end of the season. Being in this position having pretty much skipped two races out of the last four says a lot. There are a hundred points up for grabs and everything will depend on how much we can improve over the coming races. Here we were much closer to the lead than we were in Singapore and nearer than in Suzuka, so we must continue in this direction. Vettel’s three wins in a row? Well, he and Red Bull have had three perfect weekends so congratulations for that, but when everything goes smoothly for so long, inevitably sooner or later something has to happen. We are right in the fight for the title with a car that has never been the fastest. It seems we are capable of doing something good too, don’t you think.”
ALONSO: "WE HAVE THE BEST TEAM"
Fernando Alonso: “I’d say we’ve made a step forward compared to Japan, just a week ago, both in terms of grid position and also the gap to the front. You can see that our car is better suited to this track, given that it is basically the same one we raced in Japan. We must improve it and I expect to see some updates coming, right from the next race in India. It’s no surprise to see the two Red Bulls on the front row: indeed it’s not by chance they were fastest in Q1 and Q2 also. My second run in Q1? I was being very careful not to wear out the tyres too much because I knew I’d be using them later in Q2. I think tomorrow we can have a good race: maybe I might lose a few places immediately after the start, as I’m on the dirty side of the track, but we have shown we have a good pace over a long run and so we should be able to stay with the lead group. Our aim tomorrow? It’s very simple: to finish ahead of Vettel. From now on, how many points one has overall will not count for much, it will be scoring one more than my closest rival that matters. It could happen that I lose the lead in the championship and maybe arrive at the last race 24 points down, but what matters is to be first in the classification at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix. What edge does the Red Bull have? A quicker car, but we have the better team.”
ALONSO: "HARD TO SAY WHERE WE ARE COMPARED TO THE OTHERS"
Fernando Alonso: “It’s hard to say where we are compared to the others, because today, we focused mainly on ourselves, working this morning on a comparison of various ideas relating to car configuration and, in the afternoon on the tyres. We must wait til tomorrow to have a more precise picture of the situation. The track improved a great deal from one session to the next: it’s a phenomenon that’s particularly accentuated here, because there’s hardly any racing on this track and this morning, it was particularly dirty. Let’s hope the situation improves for tomorrow because it’s always more fun driving when the track offers at least some grip. The most demanding part of this circuit is definitely the third sector, the shortest in terms of time, made up almost entirely of corners. The set-up choices are dictated mainly by car behaviour in this third sector, while the other two are definitely easier to deal with.”