Fernando Alonso had his regular Thursday meeting earlier than usual to better fit in with the needs of European newspapers, but the format was much the same as it has been for the past few races, concentrating on his and Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s attempt to secure the championship titles.
“Nothing changes in our approach, even if we are now some points in front of the others, but it was in Korea itself that we saw a very clear example of how things can change in a race through a retirement,” explained Alonso. “Therefore for the next two races, consistency will be our priority with getting on the podium twice as our goal and then we will see after the Abu Dhabi race if it will have been enough to win the championship. Our task is to use all the potential of the car and hopefully also be a bit lucky, as we were in the last race, because luck is an important element in every championship.”
Even if Alonso is leading the Drivers’ classification, he is not underestimating the opposition. “We know that Red Bull must be considered the favourite at any circuit as they have been very dominant throughout the championship, especially strong in qualifying, occupying the front row of the grid ninety percent of the time,” he said. “So we can expect to be up against very strong opposition with them and also with McLaren. With four or five cars always fighting for the top, it is easy to find yourself fifth on the grid and for us it’s just a matter of giving our maximum, while having respect for our competitors.
“For the moment, I feel relaxed and Friday will be the same and then on Sunday I will tell you how I feel! Of course, this is an important race, but there have been others, like Monza and Singapore. In fact the last few races have been very important for us, because one retirement in one of the last four or five rounds might have meant bye bye to the championship. We have been racing under a lot of pressure in these grands prix, but everything went well, because we were very concentrated and focussed on the race itself and we need to continue that way. It will not be easy with strong opponents fighting to the end, but we have improved our car a lot over the past three months and the performance has therefore made a step forward.”
This is the home race for Fernando’s team-mate and Massa has always been a redoubtable competitor on home turf, winning the race twice, so what assistance can the Spaniard expect from the Brazilian, who is now out of the battle for the Drivers’ crown? “Felipe is very strong here and the best thing for us, even for me, would be if he won this race as he would take 25 points away from all my rivals,” was Fernando’s logical answer. “The difference between first on 25 points and second on 18, is the biggest under the new system, with the other gaps being much smaller. Therefore the worry for me is the 25 points, in terms of one of the other title contenders taking them. Hopefully Felipe can win the last two races, because that would be the best thing for me. Together, we will try and do the best thing for the team, but we need to see how things develop. Historically, Felipe has always been very strong here and so a win for Felipe would be very welcome.”
As the Ferrari man dealt with all the questions with his usual calm approach, one journalist asked him when was the last time he lost his temper and got really angry. Fernando thought for a while before replying, “maybe last night, against the referee in the Real Madrid v AC Milan football match,” he joked as the conference came to an end.Source Ferrari