22 July 2010
Alonso: Ferrari needs perfect weekends - and two or three podiums
As he bids to get his faltering quest for a third F1 World Championship crown back on-track, Fernando Alonso insists Ferrari must look forwards rather than back - and asserts that the Scuderia can now fight for the podium anywhere
Double world champion Fernando Alonso has re-affirmed that there is 'no point in looking back and crying' over the perceived injustice and ill-fortune Ferrari has suffered in recent races in F1 2010, and that all of the Scuderia's focus is now firmly on achieving 'a perfect weekend' in the upcoming German Grand Prix at Hockenheim and 'two or three podiums in a row' to haul the team back into the title fight.
Since the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal in the middle of last month, Alonso has notched up just 19 points and team-mate Felipe Massa none at all – causing the Spaniard to slip to a distant fifth in the drivers' standings, the Brazilian virtually out of the running in eighth and Ferrari to more than 100 points in arrears of McLaren-Mercedes in the chase for the constructors' crown.
For all of the bleating that has emanated from the corridors of Maranello of late about ill-treatment at the hands of FIA race stewards, however, Alonso well recognises that the only way he and Ferrari will get their bid for glory – which began so well with victory in the Sakhir curtain-raiser in March, since when neither driver nor team have won again – successfully back on-track is to look forwards and not behind.
“We're about to begin a very important period for our season,” acknowledged the 22-time grand prix-winner, who is now some 47 points adrift of championship leader and ex team-mate Lewis Hamilton. “In the next two races, in Germany and Hungary, it will be crucial to pick up a lot of points to stay in the race for the title. There's no point in looking back and crying about it – we know that we will have to get everything right. Then we will bring home the results we want, I have no doubt about that.
“Last week I spent several days at Maranello, and I felt a very good atmosphere in the team. It was important to be close to the team in such a unique moment, and we were also able to prepare for these two race weekends down to the smallest detail. I want to stress that my continued confidence isn't unfounded, but based on fact.
“Our car has noticeably improved in recent weeks, as we even showed at Silverstone, a track that should have theoretically been hard for us. The performance of the car at Silverstone was very, very good – a good surprise for us. The performance of the car in Valencia was very good [too], so two different circuits and the performance of the car was good enough to be fighting for a good position on the podium.”
Now, Alonso is palpably eager to make the most out of the F10's improved form of late, and capitalise on the smaller gap to McLaren and Red Bull Racing with the kind of faultless weekend that has frustratingly eluded the Prancing Horse since Bahrain. Predicting an intense squabble for supremacy at the front of the field at Hockenheim, the Oviedo native is confident that he now has the tools at his disposal to pose a threat at whatever circuit the F1 circus visits.
“At Hockenheim we will have more new development parts on the F10, in particular a new version of the diffuser,” the 28-year-old explained. “In Friday free practice we'll see if it brings the effects we hope for, but I'm very confident, given that all the new parts we've introduced recently have worked as expected. After these two bad races people are even more motivated than before, because they feel we deserve a good race finally – and for the remaining races we are very optimistic.
“Hockenheim can be a good race for us, why not? The German track is not too complicated and one of the shortest on the calendar, so I think the time gaps between the cars in qualifying will be smaller than elsewhere, because we will be running 1m15s laps more-or-less. I expect a very tough battle and we will have to avoid even the slightest error on Saturday – because one or two tenths can be worth two rows on the starting grid.
“We need to take the maximum from our car, [score] two or three podiums in a row, and I'm sure with the new points system we can be in the fight for the championship very soon. This year's points system increases the value of the gaps but, at the same time, it allows you to make important gains – we saw that if you have two or three bad races or two or three good races, it can change completely the picture of the championship.
“We arrive [in Germany] after two bad races with not many points, [but] I think before long we will arrive at a good moment. I've sensed a great determination among the people who work at Maranello – all the guys are very, very focussed on fighting for this championship and we all want the same thing, which is to return to winning ways as soon as possible. We need to have a perfect weekend; we need to maximise our potential, and if we do that I'm sure we can fight for the podium again. We will not stop. We will fight until it is no longer possible.”
Tagged as: FIA , Ferrari , Mclaren , Silverstone , Red Bull Racing , Fernando Alonso , Felipe Massa , podium , Scuderia , Maranello , title , German Grand Prix , Hockenheim , Hungary , Valencia
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