Yas Marina, 31 October – Once in a while it’s good to put yourself in other people’s shoes, those who exploits you have to write about on a daily basis, telling tales of highs and lows, victories and defeats. That was the case this morning for a dozen brave Italian journalists, who chose to compete against Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in karts. The setting for this unusual challenge was the new electric kart track at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the very latest attraction at the first theme park dedicated to the Prancing Horse.
The media guys first took to the 290 metre long track for some training so as to be ready for the race, which started with the two Scuderia men right at the back of the grid, as a sign of deference towards their unlikely adversaries. Right from the first lap the competition was in overdrive and there were plenty of duels with some contact being made. Hard to say who should take the laurels for impropriety: one thing’s for sure, if Charlie Whiting had been present, the stewards would have been kept busy with reports of impeding, ignoring yellow flags and various other incidents. Furthermore, Fernando and Felipe could also be included in the list of offenders: given that they never like to be beaten, you can imagine what it was like when they were up against journalists!
“You’re all disqualified,” joked Fernando having crossed the line in first place. “The track is very slippery so it’s easy to end up wheel to wheel… I’m sure those that come to the fantastic park will have a lot of fun on this track: it’s good to have some real action alongside so many simulators!”
However, the unusual racing event did not distract Fernando from the real objective of this weekend. “It’s true that there is no longer the tension of the fight for the world title, but motivation is still 100%. There is second place in the Constructors’ to win back, which is something very important for the team and we neeed to get back to winning, because it’s never nice to watch the others celebrate. We know it will be difficult: we need three perfect races – me, Felipe the whole team – to bring home a big points haul.”
“We will try and finish the championship in the best way possible,” echoed Felipe. “For me, it would be especially nice to do so in Brazil to end my time with the Reds in style. A score for the journalists on track? A low one I’d say: they do better with the pen and the microphone!”
At the end of the morning, Felipe was given a special send off by all the staff and the general public who were at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi today: even if the next time he returns it will not be as a Scuderia driver, he will always be dear to all his fans.