Thursday, March 15, 2012

Australian GP - Alonso: “We are prepared, united and we trust one another”

A new season involves new car designs, new liveries, new team kits, new drivers even, but one thing that never changes is the drivers’ Thursday meetings with the media and, at the very first race, the atmosphere at these meetings, at least in the Scuderia Ferrari camp, seemed very convivial, with drivers and press apparently pleased to see one another again.

Fernando Alonso was the first Scuderia Driver to face the press in the grassy Albert Park paddock this afternoon. He began by reprising past statements that the F2012 is not yet fully battle-ready. “We need to keep working and developing the car,” he began. “Our progress with the car is quite innovative compared to the past at Ferrari, so six days of testing is not enough to change from black to white. It’s not a continuation from last year’s car, so we need more time, more time than other teams to maximise our potential. I think we are progressing well and we will see how competitive we are when we see what happens in qualifying not only here, but also in Malaysia and China, because this circuit is quite special as it is a stop and go track with heavy braking, so no long corners that prove the aerodynamics of the car. It will be good to put all the best parts of the car from winter testing together, as we never did this over the tests. That is what we will do for tomorrow’s free practice for the first time.”

Asked about technical director Pat Fry’s post-testing comment that currently the F2012 was not good enough to secure a podium finish, the Spaniard took a more human approach to his chances. “Engineers always look at the data, look at numbers. Maybe we did not reach the targets or the numbers we were expecting from this car, but that does not mean the actual numbers we see are not enough to fight for the podium. We will find that out only this weekend. There is definitely more to come from this car and hopefully it will come soon.” As for the presence of six world champions on the grid, Fernando, himself a double champion thought it was good but did not expect it to change much. “I think it’s great for the fans and the media and six champions attracts more attention to the championship,” he maintained. “In a way I don’t think it creates more of a show or improves the quality of the races, because some Sundays we see phenomenal races in GP2 and there are no champions there. Six world champions does not automatically mean great races. The important thing is that several cars can fight for the victory. If Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus, Mercedes can all fight for wins, the people will love the season and I hope it will be like that.”

Even if there is a feeling on the engineering side that some winter targets have not been, Alonso has no doubt that Ferrari’s traditional qualities will still shine through. “The team is very very motivated, very ambitious for this championship and there is a great spirit, as we want to be world champions,” he declared. “This is our target and come November we must score one more point than the second guy if we want to be champions. We are prepared, united and we trust one another. The engineers are trusted, the mechanics are doing a fantastic job and I hope the drivers are trusted too!”


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