Following his famously volatile and ultimately destructive relationship with Lewis Hamilton at McLaren-Mercedes in 2007 – amidst accusations that he had demanded preferential treatment to befit his status as a reigning double world champion – Alonso insists there will be no repeat of such needle three years on, as he prepares to go head-to-head against a driver every bit as fiercely-competitive and determined to succeed as he is, and one with whom he crossed swords at the Nürburgring following an on-track clash that same season.
“I never asked to be a number one driver,” the 28-year-old reflected of his time spent at Woking, “but what I don't want is to be a number two; it happened sometimes in 2007. I lose too much time talking about it. In 2007 we (he and Massa) were in a race; we are competitive people. It's the past.”
Whilst refusing to comment on the overturning of the lifetime ban imposed on former Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore by the French High Court last week – and giving away nothing when asked whether or not he was still managed by the flamboyant Italian – Alonso did express his concerns about the strict limit on pre-season testing, as he bids to help Ferrari fight back from a poor campaign by its usually high standards in 2009.
“Seven or eight days before a championship is not enough for any driver,” underlined the 21-time grand prix-winner. “I don't think there is any other sport in the world like this. I need to adapt rapidly to the car, although I think to reach the best performance we need to wait until the third or fourth race.”