March 14, 2013

Alonso: "it’s very close and difficult to choose one favourite"

The official Thursday FIA press conference ran with a new format with more than one presenter, but there were no real changes when it came to the type of question that Fernando Alonso and the five other drivers were asked at what is the first official press call of the 2013 season. Asked if this championship would get off to a better start than last year, the Ferrari man immediately agreed, adding that, "it’s not difficult to start better than 2012, but it would be difficult to start worse! Seriously, we have got a better understanding of this car and in testing it produced the results we were expecting. That gives us confidence and optimism at the start of the season. But who knows; it will be a very interesting championship with a very challenging first part, as the Australian and Malaysian circuits are both difficult and we can also have difficult and changeable weather. We need to start on the right foot and hopefully score some good points for the championship."

In 2012, there were seven different winners in the first seven races, but the Spaniard does not predict a repeat performance. "This year, there is some consistency through the grid and I expect the five top teams to have a little advantage, but of those five teams, it is very difficult to say after winter testing which of them will have the extra two or three tenths that can produce a win," he commented. "It’s very close and difficult to choose one favourite. I think Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus and Red Bull all showed potential at different times during testing, indeed in different races last year, so it’s hard to choose."

Is the F138 good enough to win at Albert Park was a straightforward question from a Spanish journalist "I don’t know at the moment," admitted Fernando. "It is dangerous to make any conclusions based on sector times in testing. However, we can say we are happy with what we achieved during the winter and got through the programme we had planned. So we have 100% of the potential within the car and hopefully that will be enough to be competitive. As for this circuit, I like it a lot and I have always been very comfortable here, producing a good performance. The same applies to Malaysia so maybe these two races provide the chance to score good points, but I don’t know just how quick we can be."

Finally, the double world champion was asked what was the effect on him of having missed out on the title by such tight margins in the last two years. The man from Oviedo saw only positives. "I feel privileged to have fought for the world championship title twice in the last three years: not many people have the opportunity to be on the podium and enjoy the ceremony in Formula 1 and even less people have the chance to win races and fewer still to fight for world championships. So I feel lucky and privileged, even if we lost two times in the last three years at the last race and hopefully we can be in the fight again this year, but with a change to the final result! Maybe that is even some extra motivation for me and the team to really have one very happy result at the end of the year."

| Ferrari