Double world champion Fernando Alonso could have used an extra round to see off the challenge of Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel in toe 2010 title race but, having got his wish for 2011, wants even more time in the cockpit.
While teams stress about the onus being placed on already stretched technical teams with the addition of a 20th race to the 2011 championship schedule, Alonso admits that he is happy to be going to India in addition to those venues already in place last season, but insists that the current ban on in-season testing needs to be relaxed, both to help newcomers to the top flight and also to help established veterans get to grips with the ever-increasing complexity of driving a modern F1 car.
Four pre-season test sessions, covering a mere 15 days, is all that the teams and drivers will be allowed before the season finale at interlagos is over and done with, and Alonso has called for more time to be opened up in the middle of the season.
"I like 20 races, [because] I like racing and competing, so to have more races is welcome," the Spaniard told journalists at the annual Wrooom
event in Italy, "But I also like testing, so I'd like 20 races and
more testing. It's not easy and it's unfair for new drivers that they cannot test more."
With the sport becoming more and more technically advanced, Alonso would also welcome more time to get adjusted to the 'gadgets' being introduced to his car each season.
The 2004-05 world champion has already been to Maranello to try the seat for the new Ferrari, codenamed 288, and reported that the assembly programme is running to schedule. During his visit, he discussed the latest technical developments with technical director Aldo Costa, chief designer Nikolas Tombazis and race engineer Andrea Stella, confirming his view at Wrooom
that things were only going to get more complicated.
“The cars will certainly be more complex to handle on the part of the driver because we will have more operations to carry out,” he explained, “There will be the return of KERS and the new adjustable rear wing, even if the front wing won't be adjustable any more.
"You will need to find the way to adapt and find the right mechanisms for the buttons to avoid losing the correct concentration for driving. The simulator gives us a big hand with that, allowing us to do intensive training on this aspect."
The introduction of the adjustable rear wing is designed to encourage overtaking, with drivers able to make adjustments after two laps, provided that his car is less that one second behind the one in front. Asked, however, whether he thought the changes would indeed help overtaking, Alonso remained optimistic.