Fernando Alonso

Chinese GP – Alonso: “aiming for the podium and with both cars even better”

Shanghai, 11 April – Under sunny and clear blue skies in the massive Shanghai paddock, rather than the smog the weather forecasters had predicted, Fernando Alonso tackled the usual Thursday session with his friends in the press and even three weeks on, the first topic was that Malaysian race retirement. “I am not concerned about the fact I did not score points in Malaysia, because everyone has at least two or three DNFs per season in Formula 1,” said a philosophical Fernando. “Although I hope not, I guess it will happen to me again this year, because of the law of averages. We need to be prepared for that and also be prepared to take any opportunity and try and score maximum points when it happens to our rivals. It was a shame that there was that contact at the second corner, but as regards stopping or not stopping, I think the damage was already done. Now, we will try and be a little bit more careful, leave a bit more of a margin and hopefully, it won’t happen again.” As to a suggestion from a journalist that Vettel, who was involved in that collision, had slowed deliberately to impede Alonso, the Ferrari man denied it. “That’s impossible,” he insisted. “Because there are 22 cars on the track and you don’t know what line the drivers behind you will take.”

Even though the journalist who asked the question offered Fernando the get out clause of suggesting he was running a different set-up aimed more at the races, the Spaniard denied this was why Massa has out-qualified him in the last four races. “It’s not that, but I think he is doing a fantastic job and driving at a hundred percent. However, to talk about the last four races is a strange calculation, as it involves races from last year as well as this one and the conditions in the qualifying sessions in Melbourne and Malaysia were not so normal. Like I say, he is doing a good job and I hope I can qualify in front of him for a few races this year and if I manage to do that, it will need to be with a fantastic lap.”

Team orders had been the big talking point after the Red Bull and Mercedes tactics in Malaysia and Fernando was asked for his views on what happened. “As a driver, one always wants to win and to do whatever it takes to win,” said the Spaniard. “However, what counts are the priorities of your team, so it’s difficult to comment or have an opinion on what Red Bull and Mercedes did in the last race, without knowing what discussions they had beforehand. But like I say, when we come to F1, we enter an agreement with our team and we have a professional obligation towards that team and sometimes people confuse team orders with the obligation to do one’s job.”

As for this weekend in Shanghai, Fernando’s answer featured his usual blend of optimism and analysis. “I think we have to improve our qualifying, which is a weak point compared to our race pace, but overall here, our target is to fight to finish on the podium,” he concluded. “With a gap of five weeks since Australia we, and I guess most teams, have had the time to produce some updates and I am reasonably optimistic that what we have brought here will deliver the results we expect. That’s why we are aiming for the podium and with both cars it would be even better.”

An early end

An early end

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