Fernando Alonso joined five of his fellow drivers in the FIA press conference at the Shanghai circuit that hosts this Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix. The Spaniard’s presence was prompted by the fact it is customary for the winner of the previous race to attend the Thursday event.
However, Fernando made it clear he did not expect a repeat performance of Malaysia this weekend. “Nothing has changed since Malaysia and so I expect a tough weekend,” he maintained. “There will be no big surprises, as although the car has some small improvements, there is nothing big coming for this race. I expect this is the same situation with the other teams, which is why I feel the general picture will be the same as at the last two races. This means we will struggle to get through into Q3 on Saturday and then on Sunday, we will be hoping to get a good start and then do a good job of tyre management.”
Fernando, a past winner of this race also reminded his audience of another parameter that can affect the outcome. “We can also hope for a little bit of luck, because this is a factor we often forget but it is there, as we saw in Australia and then again in Malaysia where I was lucky to avoid a first corner accident. You need a big package to win and luck is part of it, so let’s hope it stays with us for this weekend.” A more tangible help would be rain on Sunday afternoon, even if the forecast only suggests showers for tomorrow, Friday. “Sure, if it was wet that would help, but even then it can go both ways, because you can either find yourself on the right tyre at the right moment or the wrong tyre at the wrong moment.”
Here we are in Shanghai for the start of the third race weekend of the year. For sure, arriving here in China as the leader of the Championship is something I would never have expected, at least given the way winter testing went. It means we have done a good job, managing to make use of all the potential at our disposal and making the most of every opportunity. Since I first arrived in Maranello, at the start of 2010, I have seen the team grow a lot in all areas relating to track activity, from strategy to the work in the garage and at the pit stops.
I know I can count on a very strong group, which is very important and there is a great sense of purpose shared by all. We know our car is not at the level we had wanted going into this season, but everyone is reacting very well, everyone is very united, which is what you get with a real team that wants to reach its objectives.
I’m not expecting any surprises in this race, compared to what we saw in Australia and Malaysia. It’s true almost three weeks have gone by, but that does not mean there was enough time to completely turn the car around in such a short time: we will have a few small updates, but nothing particularly significant and on top of that, we can expect that the other teams will also bring some new parts.
Therefore, we won’t change our approach to this Grand Prix: to get a good result, we will need to concentrate on ourselves, trying to be perfect and to exploit every possibility that might come our way over the weekend.
I don’t want to come out with statements that our aim is to finish in this or that position, as these discussions are not worth the time spent on them. We will have to do the maximum and bring home as many points as possible: a bit like ants who start something one day, knowing it will produce something worthwhile in the future.
I’m expecting tomorrow to be a rather busy day, with various promotional and media activities, both at the track and outside it. China is a very important country for Ferrari and for its technical and commercial partners and the Formula 1 Grand Prix represents a unique opportunity, not to be missed.
Finally, if I had to draw a conclusion from what I’ve seen in the last 24 hours, I would say there is a great enthusiasm from the local people, especially the young ones. As you have been able to see on @alo_oficial, yesterday afternoon there was a huge crowd of boys and girls waiting for me at the airport and even outside the hotel. It’s always nice to experience the enthusiasm of the fans, especially so in a country where Formula 1 is not part of its history. It means the spectacle and excitement that our sport provides is still very attractive.
After a marathon journey of eighteen hours with a stopover in Dubai, the world championship leader landed at Pudong airport early in the morning, Spanish time.
The reception could not be more crowded and warm, as several hundreds of Chinese fans waited as each season to Fernando in the same gate with Spanish flags, Asturian and Ferrari. Fernando took care of all his fans and spent a good time shaking hands and signing autographs as you can see in this video
Back at the hotel, Fernando has dedicated the evening to light training in the gym with his trainer to tone the muscles after the long journey. The unsettled weather has welcomed Fernando in the city of skyscrapers, with a temperature between 18/11degrees. The forecasts are not very favorable for the next few days and it looks like the rain will be present at any time during the three days of Grand Prix.
Fernando arrives in China as a world championship leader after his sensational victory at Sepang to contest a Grand Prix in which it already knows how to win. He did it in 2005 with Renault. Last season, Fernando finished in seventh position.