A 'confident' Fernando Alonso has reiterated that Ferrari is in no mood to simply 'give up' on the F1 2011 World Championship battle – pointing out that the initially uncompetitive F150° Italia is getting stronger by the race and insisting his first victory of the campaign at Silverstone last time out was no 'miracle'.
Nine outings into the season – or just before the halfway mark – Alonso trails runaway pace-setter Sebastian Vettel by a gaping 92 points in the drivers' title standings, with Ferrari even further adrift in the constructors' chase at 164 points shy of Red Bull Racing...or, to put it another way, with just half the score of its Milton Keynes-based rival. In terms of mountains to climb, the Spaniard's task is the equivalent of Kilimanjaro.
Nonetheless, the double F1 World Champion's British Grand Prix triumph – one achieved entirely on merit, and around a circuit at which the Scuderia had expected to struggle slightly – has lifted spirits immeasurably at Maranello and delivered a welcome injection of confidence and motivation to turn the tables on Red Bull. Now, Alonso asserts, is the time to really throw caution to the wind.
“Obviously [Silverstone] was an important boost for the team, because we had some difficult times in the first couple of races, and then we've been introducing new pieces on the car,” he reflected, according to SPEED.com. “Some of them worked, some of them didn't work – [but] now in the last four or five grands prix, every part we put on the car is working fine, so this is definitely good news for us, not only for this year but also the future development for next year.
“Definitely I'm very, very confident now with the car, with the engineers. All the designers, all the aero people are very motivated now, knowing that all the work they do day-and-night is producing good results on Sundays. Definitely there are difficulties to fight for this championship, with the points loss that we have now, but we will not give up; we will try to win races, to wait for some mistakes from Red Bull.
“I think we are having a good championship, [and] we will try to keep doing the same. We are improving our results and trying to do our best, but Red Bull was very, very dominant in the first part of the championship. [There is] nothing we can do now [but] just work hard and keep enjoying every Sunday.
“We will take race-by-race, risking every weekend. If I was leading the championship I would take more care, because you just need to finish races, but I'm 92 points behind, so every qualifying I will take risks on the lap to be as far forward as possible. Every start we risk – if one time we have a bad start or contact in the first corner, there is nothing to lose in our case. Strategy, for sure the same thing. We'll see when the key point of the championship arrives if we are still behind too much or not.”
Alonso's optimism was reinforced by opening practice for this weekend's German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, a circuit around which he has twice previously triumphed. A minor misunderstanding with Mercedes GP rival Michael Schumacher excepted, it was an overwhelmingly positive day, seeing the 29-year-old pick up from where he had left off at Silverstone by setting the pace during FP1 and then lapping a close second-quickest in FP2 – proof, he argues, that his British Grand Prix glory was not a regulations-aided one-hit wonder.
“A normal sort of Friday, much like any other,” he mused, describing his incident with home hero 'Schumi' as a 'welcome bit of excitement'. “First impressions from the car are good, which confirms that we are working in the right direction. I've said it before – it's not a case of a miracle having happened at Silverstone, because of the regulations relating to the exhausts.