Alonso: We are in no way the favourites for the title
31 August, 2012
Aug.29 (Ferrari) Clearly the press had missed their chats with championship leader Fernando Alonso, as the Scuderia Ferrari motorhome was packed on Thursday afternoon in the Spa-Francorchamps paddock, for the Spaniard’s usual pre race-weekend press conference.
Obviously when you stop for a few weeks and look at the points and the classification, you can see there is a good advantage for us, but two or three bad races and you can lose everything. In terms of performance, of the guys that are up the front, we are clearly the slowest. We have a points advantage and a performance disadvantage, so we are in no way the favourites.”
If the month long break seemed long, it’s nothing compared to the intensity facing the drivers for the rest of 2012. “Nine races in thirteen weeks is challenging for everyone – from the team’s side because most of the races, seven of them, will be outside Europe,” said Fernando.
“And that makes it a little bit more difficult to bring upgrades for the car. For the drivers and team members it will also not be easy as we have three races every month now, with time zone changes and a lot of travelling.”
“From my own point of view, during this summer break, I tackled my physical preparation as though it was the winter, training very hard. It’s as though we had one championship that ended in July with another one starting now in September. So I start from zero on full batteries and I think we can arrive in great shape at the end.”
So where exactly does Alonso feel he and the team are currently in terms of the pit lane order, if they are not favourites. “It’s difficult to know exactly where we are in the hierarchy as the performance has changed race by race, with the gap to pole position varying,” reckoned the Spaniard.
“The last time, it was around 8 tenths of a second, which is a bit too much, so we need to improve that situation. We will see what happens here and in Monza, which are special tracks as we run the cars with very low downforce, so anything can happen in these next two grands prix, when we need to score some really good points.”
“Maybe the next true reference point will come in Singapore and Japan and by that point we really must close that 8 tenths gap down, if we want to fight with the others.”
“Michael will always be the reference, because you need to respect someone who has won seven titles, so many races and had so many pole positions,” he affirmed.
“He is the “record man” in Formula One and as long as he is still on the grid with us, he will be the best and the one I respect most and the one I try to copy the most. We should all have maximum respect for him,” added Alonso.
Subbed by AJN.