On the eve of the race that could see him become F1 World Champion for a third time, Fernando Alonso has revealed that he is '100 per cent' confident in his chances of lifting the laurels – and adamant that he will not 'lose even one second of my energy this weekend' thinking about what his chief competitors Red Bull Racing are likely to do on Sunday afternoon.
Of the four remaining title protagonists, Alonso's task is perhaps the most straightforward – finish either first or second in Abu Dhabi, and the championship is his. The difficulty arises if he takes the chequered flag third or lower – and on the basis of Red Bull's Brazilian Grand Prix form a week ago and Sebastian Vettel's searing opening pace in FP1 this morning, the evidence is that Ferrari will again find itself playing second fiddle at Yas Marina.
In that case, and assuming that Vettel maintains his supremacy and heads team-mate Mark Webber into the closing stages, with Alonso third – as was the case at Interlagos – then RBR can only deny the Spaniard the crown should their two drivers switch positions. The jury is still out as to whether or not Vettel would ultimately be willing to do that should the situation present itself – but whatever happens, the Oviedo native stresses that he is not losing any sleep over the various different permutations.
“I just need to finish second,” the 29-year-old stated, adding that he is '100 per cent' confident he can do so. “Our only picture of the race at the moment is winning it or finishing second – it doesn't matter who wins in Abu Dhabi if I finish second. That is mathematically our position to win the championship, so from Friday to Sunday, our preparation will be to reach that target – and I think that's what we are going to achieve this weekend.
“The main goal for us is to be on pole on Saturday and then win the race on Sunday. If we cannot do that, if we are not quick enough, then we will try to be second. With that, the problem is finished. I don't think I would lose even one second of my energy this weekend thinking of what is going to happen on Sunday afternoon [with Red Bull].”
Alonso, of course, knows all about receiving help from his team-mate, after Felipe Massa was illegally manoeuvred out of the way for him to be able to triumph in the German Grand Prix back in the summer, earning the Prancing Horse a $100,000 fine and the condemnation of its rivals.
That prompted McLaren-Mercedes star and reigning F1 World Champion Jenson Button to muse that if the Scuderia's
talisman driver goes on to claim the trophy by fewer than the seven points he contentiously inherited that day at Hockenheim, some might 'question whether he deserves it' [see separate story – click here
]. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Alonso offered the Briton's assessment short shrift.
“I think winning by seven, or one or 25 points is a less important thing in my mind right now,” he urged. “People who do not understand F1 forget that it is about the team.”