At this time of the year, the media’s go-to opening question is to ask for a summary of the season coming to an end. At the Scuderia Ferrari hospitality area in the antique Sao Paulo paddock, Fernando Alonso duly obliged. “This season has been more or less good for us, Obviously we start each year thinking of the world championship, so when you don’t get the title, it’s not been a good enough season. We therefore need to do things better next year. However, I am very proud to have finished second this year, because last year, even if we came second in the Constructors, I was left with a strange taste in my mouth as we came so close to winning the Drivers’. This year’s second place feels better because we clearly didn’t have the second fastest car. I think I realised we would not win the championship around Germany or Hungary as we were too far off Red Bull in terms of competitiveness and the Silverstone update didn’t work well enough. And in Germany and Hungary we were not competitive at all going into the summer break.”

The man from Oviedo didn’t have to think twice when asked for his best memory of 2013. “That was Barcelona: I won two Grands Prix this year, one in China, the other in Barcelona, in front of my home crowd and with all the support I had it was a fantastic event for me. That day has left me with the best memories.”

Fernando has never won here in Brazil, but this weekend’s venue has special significance for him. “Interlagos means a lot in my career in Formula 1,” he said. “I am used to feeling a little bit nervous each time I come here because, out of my 12 years in Formula 1, on four occasions I have fought for the world title here, which is something I had never expected. This year is a bit strange coming here without the world championship on the table, but we still have some important targets especially in the Constructors’ but it’s not the same level of stress.” As for the unique weather that has often altered the outcome of this race, the Ferrari man was not too bothered by this threat. “It’s always a bit random here and you know the rain can come at any time, but we are so used to running in the wet in Interlagos that when it rains it feels half normal. It’s a bit strange in the dry let’s say!”

The Ferrari man was pleased to say his back problems are now over, following his Abu Dhabi incident. “My back now is okay and for the last two nights I think it’s been a hundred percent with no pain and I have been able to train in the gym and do some jogging also,” he revealed. “In Austin, I never thought of letting Pedro (de la Rosa) having the car. Once you have flown there and you are there, then you race! However, if there had only been one week between Abu Dhabi and Austin, I would have been unable to race.”

For Felipe Massa, this weekend is always special, but this time the Paulista’s home race also marks the end of his time at Ferrari and his relationship with Alonso. “We have enjoyed four years of a productive relationship for Ferrari,” said Fernando. “We have worked very closely together and also built a friendly relationship outside the track, partly because of the programmes the team organises, such as the training we did in Lanzarote, as well as the time we spent together in Madonna di Campiglio. We’ve had a great time together. On the track, there have been some ups and downs, in Felipe’s case usually linked to what tyres we had, such as in 2011 when he struggled a bit more than me. But he has always been competitive and I hope that here he can do well in his home race in front of his home crowd. I am sure Ferrari, including myself, will give 120 percent for him to have a good weekend. I wish Felipe all the best for next year, even if I hope he won’t be too strong!”