Double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso has confessed that what he is really relishing in 2010 is the opportunity to renew his rivalry with old sparring partner and title duellist Michael Schumacher – admitting that whilst every on-track battle is enjoyable, it is particularly so when it is against the most successful driver in the sport's history.
In the last two seasons before Schumacher initially hung up his F1 helmet back at the end of 2006, the German legend and his Spanish adversary had gone head-to-head for world championship glory – and on both occasions it was the Oviedo native who prevailed, quite comfortably so in 2005.
Now that 'Schumi' is back with Mercedes Grand Prix – at the comparatively grand old age of 41, and in search of an extraordinary eighth drivers' crown to add to his already record-breaking career CV – and Alonso finally has what should be a competitive car at his disposal again at Ferrari following a brace of hugely disappointing campaigns at Renault, that face-off is set to be re-ignited.
Both men have thus far proven to be quick in pre-season testing – and as the starting lights for the curtain-raising 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir loom ever-nearer into view, the Scuderia's
new star has revealed that the return of the driver who is statistically the greatest F1 has ever seen has only acted as an added spur to stoke his burning motivation.
“I always enjoy the big names and the big battles,” the 21-time grand prix-winner is quoted as having said by British newspaper the Daily Mirror
. “For sure, it's very, very special to race with Michael again – if you have a fight and you win a race, it's always nicer to have a battle with Michael than any other driver.
“The team spirit is very good, very special; you feel part of a big team, part of a legendary team, and it's a nice feeling. I keep enjoying life. The team is very, very friendly with me and I felt at home straightaway.
“This could be a great year for Spain in both football and Formula 1. We're in a good moment in Spain with many sports at the top level, and hopefully Formula 1 can again get a chance with a Spanish driver this year.”