ALONSO: "I TRUST MY TEAM, I TRUST MYSELF"
Fernando Alonso was one of the drivers called to the first ever FIA conference at the Circuit of the Americas on the outskirts of the Texan capital city. It’s a new circuit for all the drivers and the Ferrari man explained how he had prepared for the challenge. “I first had a look at this track on the simulator after Singapore and then I did a bit more last week before seeing it yesterday when I did two laps on a bicycle and I will be doing more this afternoon,” he began. “The track seems spectacular and I think it will be challenging for the drivers and the engineers. Hopefully, it will provide a good show with overtaking moves on the track. I think it can be a very good weekend.”
On to the number one topic of the title fight with Vettel and the Spaniard seemed particularly relaxed about it. “In terms of my preparation, nothing has changed in terms of my approach to the weekend: it’s maximum concentration, maximum effort,” he said. “Everybody in the team has been working hard and hopefully we can test some new parts tomorrow and get a feeling about how they work, trying to have a smooth Friday. Here, it will be more important than at other tracks to do a lot of laps, to study the racing lines and maybe pick up some tricks the circuit can have. After that we also need a good Saturday to try and be in the best position possible to have a good race, driving every lap like a qualifying lap to try and score as many points as possible. We will just concentrate on doing a good job this weekend before moving on to fight for the championship in Brazil.”
His only title rival, Sebastian Vettel was with him in the press conference and it was pointed out to Fernando that the German has just completed a hundred F1 Grands Prix, while he has done nearly a hundred more. “When I won my second championship I was at a similar point in terms of number of races to him,” pointed out the man from Oviedo. “In 2007, I was fighting for a third title until the last race. Everyone has their own career with ups and downs, as we have seen with so many drivers: look at Michael (Schumacher) seven titles and now three years with no wins, or Barrichello who did more grands prix than anyone: one year he was fighting to get out of Q1 with Williams but before that he was fighting for the world championship title with Brawn GP. I am proud of the fact I’m getting near to 200 Grands Prix, winning some every year and fighting for the world championship for four or five years: it’s good, I’m happy!”
Having been in a title fight situation before, the Ferrari man admitted his attitude now was somewhat different to past years. “I’m much more relaxed and focused,” he confided. “In 2006, I came to the last race in a fight with Michael in Brazil which was quite a stressful and intense weekend and not easy to be focused or sleep even. It was a very emotional weekend. The following year was another stressful last race with three of us fighting for the world championship. In 2010, we arrived at the last race in Abu Dhabi, again fighting for the title: I was much more calm there and the weekend was going quite well for us. Our preparation for the race was much more calm and mature, but in the end the race was what it was. And for these last two races this year, as I said, I feel completely normal. It will be the fourth time I fight for the world championship hopefully to the last race and I can feel the difference in that I can concentrate on doing the job and understanding that if you do everything perfectly you have a chance, but if you make a mistake you lose it. I am very confident, I trust my team, I trust myself.”