“Today went well compared to qualifying at recent races, with the car being competitive, allowing us to fight with the best. Of course, we weren’t at the same level as Red Bull, who yet again here have gone well all weekend, but the race is tomorrow and we start from what is all the same a good position. Here at Monza the slipstreaming strategy is often used: having a car three to four seconds ahead of you allows you to gain a few tenths and for that I must thank Felipe, especially in Q3 when I came up behind Vergne’s Toro Rosso and he waited for me. The radio messages have been misunderstood, as is often the case when you don’t experience something first hand: the word ‘genius’ refers to the fact that we could have got out before Rosberg had gone by on his quick lap, but this should not raise any doubts about the impeccable job from the whole team. Today, we were able to run competitively in all three sessions and get closer than ever before to the rear wings of the Red Bulls: for the first time, there are not so many cars between them and us, apart from Hulkenberg who was very strong in Q3. We will have to try and pass him on the first lap so they don’t get away from us”. – See more at: http://formula1.ferrari.com/news/italian-gp-fernando-alonso-on-attack-lap#sthash.eWCwJGBr.dpuf
“The feeling is the same as any Friday, which means we’re neither very happy nor very disappointed with our performance level and we will have to wait and see how qualifying goes before getting a true picture. Red Bull seems very strong again here and we will have to do a lot of work to be as well prepared as possible for qualifying, in order to find those missing tenths. Although we have yet to analyse the data we have gathered today, some of the updates we brought here for this race seem to be working well, while others will require a bit more evaluation. We must get the most out of what we have available and try to have a good qualifying and a good race in front of our home crowd. Let’s hope the weather will also be on our side, as the forecast for Sunday is for storms and that’s why we must be ready to deal with whatever the conditions will be. Tyre degradation is very low here and we will definitely see fewer stops than at other races”.
The first official press conference of the Italian Grand Prix weekend featured both Ferrari drivers on the six-man panel, a testament to the importance of Scuderia Ferrari here in Monza. The buzz everyone gets when coming into the royal park for the first time in the week clearly put our Spaniard in a positive frame of mind. “I’m optimistic,” began Fernando Alonso when asked how he felt about Sunday’s race at the Temple of Speed. “In Spa we saw we had made a step forward and we plan to keep moving in that direction and continue to improve here in Monza. The track characteristics should help our performance so we have everything in place to have a good weekend. We need to deliver on Sunday in the race, but we arrive with confidence and ready to fight. However for a better test of how we are improving we must wait for Singapore, when we will run maximum downforce. For now, we will concentrate on this weekend, trying to do the maximum and finish ahead of our main rivals.”
One questioner suggested that only two wins from the next two races could keep the Spaniard’s title hopes alive. “We have won a total of two grands prix so far this year, so it is too optimistic to think we can win the next two races,” commented Fernando. “A more realistic target is to finish ahead of Sebastian. However we only closed the gap to him in Silverstone when he retired and we must change that situation. So I’d be happy to finish in front of him here and in Singapore. To finish ahead of him means to be on the podium because we know how strong he is. If we cannot do this and if we keep losing points, then it will be time to think more about the 2014 project, but for the moment there are still massive points available and important weeks ahead. We believe we can do it.”
Alonso has been in the news this past week for two-wheeled reasons, having acquired a top level Spanish professional cycling road race team. There were concerns from the journalists this meant that Formula 1 was not getting his full attention and Fernando immediately set them straight on that point: “It was a lot of work for one week, using a lot of phone batteries, but now it is more or less complete, all the decisions and work for the cycling team will be passed on to other people,” he explained. “We have a lot to do in the next months, as the first race is in mid-January in Australia and this is a very ambitious project, but I will not give much of my time to this project as we are fighting for the World Championship. I have been passionate about cycling since a very young age and use it as part of my training and my life. I have good friends in the cycling world. With this project I want to bring together the best things from both sports: from cycling there is sacrifice, determination, discipline, training. And I want to bring the best things of Formula 1, of which there are many, to my cycling team.” So no thoughts of taking a year out of Ferrari to concentrate on bikes? Clearly not: “I’m in the best moment of my career and I don’t want to miss a single opportunity and I will give a hundred percent to motorsport, which is my passion and my career. For at least the next four or five years I will be a hundred percent committed to F1.”