Today, Fernando Alonso walked into the Bahrain paddock for the first time since winning his debut race with the Prancing Horse here in Sakhir in 2010. Facing the press, he was asked for a general view of Sunday’s Chinese race and why it turned out to be so exciting. “Last weekend was extremely close and it’s hard to remember a race that ended with a group of around nine cars all fighting for five to six laps before the flag,” began the Spaniard.
“That normally only happens after the start and then the race settles down with just a couple of overtaking moves or fights. In China it was down to a mix of strategies, with the two stoppers getting slower towards the end, so the group got more packed together. It happened by chance, but it was certainly a nice race to watch and hopefully we will see many more like this with action to the last lap, when a driver could end up either on the podium or out of the points. So far in three races we have seen three different scenarios, but I expect the championship will settle down and while now there are maybe four teams and a few drivers fighting for the championship, I expect later it will be a couple of drivers and two teams and we need to be in that group.”
As for the reasons behind the fact that the timesheets show everyone is very close, Fernando felt the main factor was the sport’s technical regulations. “One factor is that it’s the early stage of the championship, but eventually the teams with greater development potential will gain a little bit of an advantage. Also, the rules get stricter every year, so we no longer have the blown exhaust and there are more limitations on the aerodynamics: this means when you look at the shapes of this year’s cars they are more or less similar apart from the colour! This is making Formula 1 more challenging from the engineering point of view and combined with cost cutting measures, it is making F1 more spectacular and that is good.”
Alonso has made it clear that, running the same car as in Shanghai, there won’t be any miracles here in Bahrain, but the future beckons. “We are hoping for a good step forward for the start of the European season because, at the moment, we are too far behind and not in a position to fight for the championship,” he admitted. “We hope the change comes soon: Mugello will be an important test and then Barcelona is traditionally a race where all the teams bring improvements, so we will have to make a bigger step than the others and recover some of the gap.”