With a good track record in Malaysia, Fernando Alonso was picked to take up in this afternoon’s FIA conference. After a solid drive to fifth in Melbourne on Sunday, the media wanted to know if the Spaniard could expect to drive a better F2012 this week.
"I don’t think the change of circuit will make much difference to us. We have tested at Jerez, Barcelona and then we went to Australia and I think, for all teams, the cars here are pretty much identical to the first race, so there will not be any surprises here,” he began. “We will try and adapt the car to the circuit. In pure performance, we are not as competitive as we would like, but in the race anything can happen: if you make a good start and have a good pit stop strategy you can put yourself in a decent place."
"We will try and do the same again and score as many points as possible even if we cannot expect any miracles here. In Australia no one thought we could finish fifth as there were many people quicker than us, but in the race, with events that happened to others that helped us to finish fifth. So here, with a normal race, we might finish further behind, but if it’s a crazy race, maybe with rain, then maybe we can finish in front."
Alonso then went on to recall memories of the Sepang track.
"It will be one of my favourite circuits for ever, because you always remember where you took your first pole, your first podium and they both happened here in 2003," he explained. "It is technical and interesting, but I have to add that after the accident to Marco (Simoncelli, the MotoGP rider who died at this track during last year’s race) racing here now will always be a bit sad and it will be tough knowing that one of our colleagues died here. Felipe [Massa] and I and some guys went and did a photo at Turn 11 where the accident happened and this will serve as a memorial for him. All the Ferrari family and the Italian people will remember him always and that is the most important thing."
As to how he was coping with another season starting on the defensive for Scuderia Ferrari, Alonso was calm and measured in his response: "We need to work hard day and night to try and catch up people. But you all now that the experience for me at Ferrari has been fantastic; fighting for the world championship in my first year with the team and then last year having one win and ten podiums. The target is always to win the world championship, which we could not do for the last two year and for this year we are convinced we will be in the fight for it. We need to work more than the others as we are a little behind now. But this is a long championship and the team is very united and determined."