Fernando Alonso: “Today, my time with Ferrari comes to an end, as does a very tricky season, in which, even if we were unable to do much against the technical dominance of our rivals, we fought all the way to the very end, all of us did our utmost, putting our hearts into it. Today’s race was difficult to manage but at the same time it was very emotional for me; after five years it’s not easy to say farewell to a team with which I have grown so much over the past five years, both as a driver and as a person. I thank all the Ferraristi for their support. I will miss the team, the fans and Italy. Even though we are going our separate ways, I feel I have lived through a unique experience which any Formula 1 driver would have loved to have had.”
Fernando Alonso: “Today’s qualifying was very tricky on a weekend that, in general, has been more complicated than usual. Changing the engine after the final free practice session created a few extra problems and it took until Q2 for the car to perform consistently. Tomorrow, I expect an uphill struggle, partly because, over the past two days, we haven’t done any practice starts and I have never run with a full fuel load. But at the same time, I really want to give it my all and try and make up as much ground as possible. It will be a special day for me and even if it’s really about the title contenders, Rosberg and Hamilton, I would like my last race for Ferrari to feature some nice battles, for the team and for all the fans who have supported me over these past years.”
“It was a real shame losing the opportunity to take part in the second free practice session here at Yas Marina, as it’s the only chance to get an idea of how things will really go this weekend. On my second lap, the car just stopped unexpectedly and even though the marshals did their best to push the car back to the pits in time to get it back out on track, the work took the mechanics longer than expected. In the first session, we managed to complete our programme and the car behaved as expected, but the temperature, much hotter than it will be in qualifying and the race, means the data we acquired is not that relevant. For the same reason, tomorrow’s third session won’t be that useful and that means the first lap to match conditions in qualifying and the race, in the dark in the afternoon, will be the first lap in Q1. We definitely won’t be that well prepared but all the same, we will try our best as usual.”
Just over an hour after it was officially announced by Scuderia Ferrari that Fernando Alonso was leaving the team at the end of this season, the Spaniard faced the press in the Yas Marina media centre, as part of the FIA Press Conference.
“This is a new chapter in my career,” he began. “It is time to find new projects and new motivations, but it was not an easy decision to make. Even last year, I had some doubts about 2014 and I decided to check how the new turbo era would go for Ferrari. I was very close to Luca di Montezemolo and we agreed that if we were not competitive I could think of other options. Then, in the summer break, I told the President I wanted to go. I have to thank Ferrari so much, because they could have said ‘no,’ as there were two years left on my contract. It’s a true sign of the respect and love I have for this team. I stop now as a Ferrari driver, but from Monday I become a Ferrari supporter! Time will tell if my decision is good or bad.”
“Being with Ferrari has been an amazing experience, with an amazing team and brand,” reflected Fernando. “Three times I came second in the championship and I’m extremely proud of that. Now it is time to close one door and open a new one. I am very proud of what we achieved with this amazing group of people and I have learned so much in five years. I am not the same driver as in 2009 when I arrived. I am better in all aspects of my driving skills.”
Fernando will be wearing a special helmet this weekend and he explained the meaning of the artwork: “On one side, it has a pit stop from this year, with the Italian flag in the middle and the signatures of everyone in the team on the other side. I told them I wanted to bring all of them with me to do my last race with them on the track. Actually, I took the signatures at Sochi, but when we got here there were 25 still missing, so the helmet does not look as perfect as it should, but they are all on it now. I am proud of them all.”
Scuderia Ferrari and Fernando Alonso announce that, by common consent, they have ended their relationship. Fernando Alonso leaves the team at the end of this season, after a five year period which, with one race remaining, saw him score 1186 points, 44 podiums and 11 wins.
Everyone at Scuderia Ferrari thanks Fernando for his great contribution on both a personal and professional level. “In the Scuderia Ferrari roll of honour of great drivers, Fernando Alonso will always occupy a special place” – commented Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal, Marco Mattiacci. “We offer him our heartfelt thanks for what has been an extraordinary adventure with the Scuderia, when in the past five years, he twice came so close to winning the world championship. I am sure that a great driver like Fernando will always hold the Prancing Horse dear to his heart and I also expect the Ferrari fans will continue to hold him in high regard in his future endeavours.”
“Today is not an easy one for me, because even if I always look to the future with great enthusiasm and determination, at the end of this season my journey as a Ferrari driver will come to an end” – said Fernando Alonso. “It was a difficult decision to take, but a carefully considered one and from start to finish, my love for Ferrari was a prime consideration. I have always been lucky enough to make my own decisions about my future and I have that possibility now too. I must thank the team for that, as it understood my position. I leave Scuderia Ferrari after five years, during which I reached my very best level professionally, tackling major challenges that pushed me to find new limits.
I also proved to be a true team-player, putting the interests of the Scuderia before my own. When I had to take important decisions about my future, I did so with Ferrari in my heart, driven by my love for the team. I am very proud of what we have achieved together. Thanks to the efforts of the men and women of Maranello, on three occasions we came second in the Formula 1 World Championship, two of them fighting for the title right up to and including the final race, running in a championship winning position for many laps.
Without a shadow of a doubt, these five years produced some of the best moments of my career and I also feel that, in leaving the team, it is family rather than friends I am leaving behind. Now I look to the future with great enthusiasm, knowing that part of my heart will always belong to the Prancing Horse. I want to thank each and everyone of the team for the trust they showed in me”.
After a far from easy weekend, I am reasonably pleased with the outcome of the race, because even if we weren’t very competitive, we managed to score a good number of points. Today, degradation was particularly high, especially in the first stint on the Softs, which lasted less time than expected because of graining. When I passed Kimi, my tyres were newer than his, as he was on a two stop, but I was having to save fuel and after that overtaking move, there was nothing more I could do. Now there’s just one race to go this season and in terms of the Constructors’ Championship, we hope to manage to keep McLaren behind us in the final race in Abu Dhabi. As for myself, I reckon I’m in the position I deserve, because others have done better
Today’s result more or less reflects the way the whole weekend has gone, even if here, a tenth of a second can be the difference between fifth and tenth places. Both compounds worked very well, but I’m sure graining and degradation will give us a hard time tomorrow. It will be a long race and, apart from reliability, the key factor will be tyre management. As usual we will give it our all to finish in front of our competitors and score points in the Constructors’ championship.
It’s been an overcast and humid day in Sao Paulo, but at least the rain held off while Fernando Alonso met the media in the Interlagos paddock for the usual Thursday press interrogation. In fact, the threat of a wet weekend shaped the first question, the press suggesting that a rainy race might provide the Scuderia Ferrari driver with his best chance of a victory this season.
“Even with the rain, we don’t have the possibility to win,” said the Spaniard. “After only getting two podiums this season, we cannot expect a few drops of rain to allow us to win. Unfortunately, we are not at that level, however it’s true there are more opportunities when it’s wet, but it’s also a risk, as you can gain positions or lose everything.” Even though Alonso isn’t in the fight for this year’s title, he was asked about the contentious topic of double points at the final race in a fortnight’s time. “It’s the way it is and there is nothing you can do about it,” was his philosophical response. “If you win it thanks to that, it’s ok, but if you lose it, it would be a shame. But you can also win because of a mechanical failure, or a penalty that wasn’t fair, so from that point of view there are always different things that can affect the championship and double points is just one more thing.” Naturally, the Ferrari man was asked about his future and why he had not made public any decision. “I don’t think there is any deadline to decide: this week McLaren is saying something, last week Lopez of Lotus said we were talking, which is true, but it’s for a project outside Formula 1. Everyday there’s a rumour and today I read that I have bought Marussia for one dollar! It’s absolutely not true.”
At this time of year, the journalists are preparing their season reviews and Fernando was asked to pick out his highs and lows. “It’s been difficult and challenging, but probably my best season, because I had a tough challenge this year, including having a world champion on the other side of the garage and I was performing at my best,” he concluded. “Hungary was the best moment, leading the race until two laps from the end and finishing second and the worst moment was Japan, with the terrible feeling because of Jules’ accident and then in the race I did only three corners before retiring
Today went more or less as expected, with the cars ahead of us being very quick, clearing off immediately after the start. After a good start, we tried to manage our sixth place, with a view to the Constructors’ championship, in which it was important to finish ahead of the McLarens. The strategy was the best possible, coming in for the first pit stop at the right moment. For the second one, we tried to go long to fit the Softs and go quicker. I think this season has been very complicated and regardless of the car’s performance in these final races, I want to do my utmost to score points and help my team
I think that this was a good qualifying and, looking at the times of the cars ahead of me, I don’t think I could have done much more. Before coming here, we had thought about changing the power unit, but then we opted for one we had already used, so as not to start from the pit lane. The track surface is much better than in past years, with a lot more grip, but at the same time, there’s more tyre degradation so a two stopper is inevitable. The temperatures have dropped from yesterday to today, but I don’t think this factor, along with the expectation that the wind direction will change for tomorrow, will affect the strategy. The races are long and anything can happen, including on the reliability front, as has especially been the case this season