Thursday, November 10, 2011

Abu Dhabi GP - Alonso: “there is only one trophy missing at home”

When Fernando Alonso met the media this afternoon in the Scuderia Ferrari hospitality unit, the journalists were quick to open old wounds by asking him about last year’s race here in Abu Dhabi. “I still believe this was not the place where we lost the championship,” he began. “We were not competitive and finished seventh when maybe we could have been fifth, but if you look at the 2010 season as a whole there were examples like Silverstone or Valencia where we were heading for the podium and scored two zeros. That is where we lost the championship.”

Twelve months later, the motivation is still there. “Once again I will be targeting the podium,” said the Spaniard. “I have 72 podiums so far, which means 72 trophies at home, which is not bad. They come from all the circuits on the calendar apart from Abu Dhabi. So there is only one trophy missing at home and I hope that this year I can add the one from Abu Dhabi.” Fernando admitted that maybe last year’s race would have ended differently if DRS had been available and he has high hopes for it this weekend. “The DRS is quite a high challenge here, because in the past this was one of the most difficult tracks for overtaking. It is now time to prove that it works and if it does, it will make this a better race. I am pretty confident it will work and we should have a much better race than last year.”

As for these final two rounds of the championship, Fernando feels their real value will only be seen in 2012. “We will continue to use the Friday practice as a test session aimed at next year, trying to collect as much data as possible for the guys in Maranello. More important than evaluating new components is the work of checking the correlation between what we see on the race track with what we see from the wind tunnel. This means we can work with confidence through December and January, knowing that all the data we have in the tunnel is real. We need to get the most out of ourselves this winter and arrive in March with the best Ferrari possible. It is much more important to learn for the new car: better to get half a tenth of a second for next year than to be second in this Drivers’ championship. But I can see how hard the engineers and mechanics are working to get me to second place, with the whole team being really motivated, so for them I will be trying my best this weekend.”


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