Alonso admits 'no room for mistakes'
7 May 2010
Fernando Alonso has admitted that he and the Ferrari team will have to be wheel-perfect in the next few races if they are to continue to press their world championship claims this season.
Despite being quoted as saying that he saw the Scuderia as title favourite in a recent interview with the Spanish media, the double world champion conceded that, while the F10 had won the opening race in Bahrain, it was no longer the best car in the F1 field. Even with the expected developments being brought to the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend, including the latest attempt to copy McLaren's F-duct -Alonso insists that he does not see too much changing in the balance of power, with Ferrari still chasing the likes of Red Bull and McLaren.
"I think everybody we will introduce something here, but I don't think it is huge or that we change the car completely," he noted, "It will be very small modifications, mainly aero updates and some improvements in the engine in terms of reliability.
"I don't think that anything will change dramatically here. Maybe it will depend from circuit to circuit and not depend on the modifications, but we saw in winter testing that the last test here was nothing special for us. We were not competitive enough in the last test in winter, so we expect there to be a lot of work to do tomorrow and Saturday so that we can change that situation and be as competitive as we were in some other places.
"In terms of the F-duct, we will try some more parts tomorrow. It's not decided yet if we will use it or not on Saturday and Sunday, so tomorrow is another important day of evaluation of the system and we will see how it works."
Alonso acknowledged that the team's target for the coming races in Spain, Monaco and Turkey had to be to take as many points as possible and ensure that they remained in contention for the championship heading into the second half of the year.
"For us, [the aim] is to maximise our potential in the coming races," he confirmed, "I think, in the first part of the championship, we had a very strong car, but maybe we did not take all the points we should, so there is no room for mistake in the next few races if we are to recover the leadership of the championship as soon as possible."
Perhaps the biggest mistake of Alonso's season so far came at the start of the Chinese Grand Prix, where he jumped the lights and was forced to serve a drive-thru' penalty before going on to finish fourth in a rain-affected race. Admitting that conditions, and the ensuing confusion as rain came and went, helped him recover the situation, the Spaniard conceded that it was important not to repeat the error.
"Yeah, the start in China was quite good," he smiled, "I overtook two cars, and I think I could have overtaken more if I had started a little bit earlier. I think it was a mistake on my part, a big mistake, but this is already in the past and I'm sure that I won't do it again. Hopefully, I will try not to repeat the same mistake again or any other mistake, because it's not the way you fight for the championship. Thanks to the chaotic conditions in the race, we were able to recover some positions and get some good results, so I was lucky at the end of the race."
Although the past couple of seasons with Renault were comparatively barren for the Spaniard, his home grand prix has been kind to Alonso over the years, with a win and four podium visits in front of his passionate Asturian fans.
"It has been a great race for me in terms of emotions, and in terms of results as well," he conceded, "I have been quite lucky always to be in a good position, and have been lucky always with Renault to have a competitive car here. With McLaren, [there was] also one podium, so hopefully I can be on the podium again for another colour. My best memory was 2006 when I won the race because it was the only win that I've had at home. Hopefully, this year, either here or in Valencia, I will dream of victory again."
"I remember that 70 per cent of the grandstand was foreign people coming from the centre of Europe, mostly Germans, so it was not a completely Spanish Grand Prix, but now it's very different. I think the country gets involved in this week, so you can watch any channel on TV and see how the preparations are coming on and the previews, every night, every afternoon on TV, in newspapers.
"There are very few people in Spain now who don't know that the Spanish Grand Prix is this weekend. People are talking about F1, about tyres, about strategies, about all these things and this is very, very different - and I think it's increasing every year. This is a very nice feeling.
"Emotions are always very unique and very different every year, even if you try to remember what emotion I had last year when I was going out in FP1. It's difficult to maybe compare to this year, because every year there seem to be more and more emotional laps - the first laps on Friday and also quite intense laps on Sunday as well, when either you start or you finish the race and you see all the people enjoying the show.
"These are very, very important days for me and I try to enjoy them as much as I can, because I know that I'm in a privileged position, with all the supporters here that maybe I won't experience in the rest of the championship. Maybe Monza will also be special this year for me, [but] I expect a lot of red in the grandstands [in Spain]. However, the majority will be blue because there is always a good percentage of the grandstand that comes from my region, from Asturias, and I'm sure they will come with their blue flags and blue colours, plus the new Ferrari T-shirt that is blue which will hopefully help all these new people buying blue Ferrari shirts."