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Alonso upsets Turkish fans with quip about crowd numbers

Double Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso has been demonstrating how not to make friends and influence people after quipping that so low are the crowd numbers in Istanbul for the Turkish Grand Prix, come the end of the weekend he will likely know all of the spectators by name.

It is understood that only 40,000 tickets have been sold for one of the less popular events on the annual F1 calendar – when the Istanbul Park Circuit can cater for a capacity of 120,000 – and when the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, whose place Turkey has taken on the 2009 schedule, could regularly boast entrance figures of up to 300,000, the Spaniard suggested that it was something of a waste.

Though his joke may not have been received well by the local media, they perhaps had the last laugh as the man from Oviedo was able to qualify just eighth in his Renault – two tenths shy of the two Ferraris just in front of him – despite once more running with easily the lightest fuel load in the field [see separate story – click here].

“I have mixed feelings from this qualifying session,” admitted the 27-year-old, who has three times finished the Turkish Grand Prix up on the podium and never taken the chequered flag outside of the top six. “Q2 was really difficult and we only just made it through to Q3 in tenth position, but our level of performance and lack of pace meant we could only manage eighth on the grid, which is a bit disappointing. Unfortunately I will start from the dirty side of the track, which will make the start of the race difficult, but I hope that I can challenge for some good points in the race.”

Still, Alonso will begin the grand prix some nine places higher up the order than under-fire team-mate Nelsinho Piquet, who again underwhelmed with only the 17th-fastest time, after lapping almost six tenths of a second slower than the sister car in Q1 and enduring a brace of spins along the way, albeit the latter one caused by braking woes.

“I knew I had a brake problem from the beginning of qualifying so I was being cautious,” revealed the young Brazilian, “but it wasn't easy as the track was so slippery. On the last run the problem got worse and I spun off. However, I will remain positive as this is a track with good overtaking opportunities, and hopefully we can have a strong race.”

“Nelson dropped out of qualifying after losing a brake duct which overheated his brakes and caused him to spin,” confirmed the Régie's executive director of engineering, Pat Symonds. “We had hoped for a slightly higher position for Fernando after second qualifying, but bearing in mind our fuel load we are not in a bad position for the race.”


Related Pictures

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Fernando Alonso. ING Renault F1. R29 launch. Jan 19 2009. Algarve Motor Park. [Pic creidt: Renault]
French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
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27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31 off trach and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12 spins
27.11.2016 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
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27.11.2016 - Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
27.11.2016 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Manor Racing MRT05
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 leads Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Luis Fernando Ramos (BRA), Journalist
27.11.2016 - Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31 and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
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Alec X - Unregistered

June 07, 2009 10:36 AM

Alonso does make a good point though. It is pathetic how the crowds at these new tracks are so low, but tracks with good attendance like Silverstone and Montreal get dropped. How many people are going to be at the Adu Dhabi Grand Prix? Not many I would imagine. But none of this matters of course as long as the poison dwarf is still making money!

2Pac

June 07, 2009 11:23 AM

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I have to agree with everything Alonso said. Unfortunately the people running F1 are more interested in financial gain than spreading the great spectacle that is F1 around the world to as many people as possible.



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