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Spanish Grand Prix – Thursday Press Conference with Fernando Alonso

by F1Fan on May 6, 2010

The Spanish Grand Prix begins tomorrow with Free Practice and today the FIA held a press conference with five of the Drivers competing on Sunday. Being Spain it is no surprise that the FIA choose a predominantly Spanish flavor for the press conference with 3 Spanish Drivers: Jaime Alguersuari (JA) [Toro Rosso]; Fernando Alonso (FA) [Ferrari]; Pedro de la ROSA (PDLR) [BMW Sauber F1] and the driver for a Spanish Team Bruno Senna (BS) [HRT], with Sebastian Vettel (SV) [Red Bull Racing] being the odd man out.

Here are the excerpts of the press conference involving Fernando Alonso

For portions relating to Jamie Alguersuari Click Here
For portions relating to Pedro de la Rosa Click Here
For portions relating to Bruno Senna Click Here
For Portions relating to Sebastian Vettel Click Here

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: A question to you all about the modifications you are getting here on your cars and what you are expecting they might do for the performance. Jaime, would you like to start.

Q: Fernando?
Fernando ALONSO: I think as everybody we will introduce something here, but I don’t think it is huge or that we change the car completely, so very small modifications, mainly aero updates and some improvements also in the engine in terms of reliability and hopefully we can be sure, as Pedro says, from now on we don’t have any worries with the engine.

Q: Are you expecting it to change the hierarchy at all?
FA: No, I don’t think that anything will change dramatically here. Maybe it will depend from circuit by circuit and not depend on the modifications. We saw in winter testing, the last test here, was nothing special for us. We were not competitive enough maybe in the last test in winter, so we expect a lot of work to do tomorrow and Saturday and change that situation and be as competitive as we were in some other places.

Q: Sebastian, Red Bull always bring loads of modifications to every race.
Sebastian VETTEL: We try our best. Similar for all the teams in the top. You try to at least stay where you are if not make a step forward, so we brought some new parts. I think we are in the same situations as the others as I said trying to make a step forward. I had a haircut. I saw Fernando had one to. I dropped more than he did, so I hope that our car will make a bigger step than his and we can stay ahead, so we have to see. Obviously it is a lot of work tomorrow. Not quite sure if we are in the right country. Usually it is always sunny. It is quite cold I think for Spain, but if any, it should help us coming from the north. We are used to this kind of weather but wouldn’t mind if it was a bit warmer, so what is wrong with your country?
FA: You have to go to my home town. It is hot.

Q: Another question to all of you. What is your target at this stage of the season? What are you looking to do to improve over the next few races?
FA: For us it is to maximise our potential in the coming races. I think in the first part of the championship we had a very strong car but maybe we did not take all the points we should, so no room for mistake in the next few races and recover the leadership of the championship as soon as possible.

Q: Fernando, I want to remind you of a little story. A few years ago when we were going around on the drivers’ parade and we had just come from Imola where Michael (Schumacher) had just turned Imola red, we came here and you looked around and said, ‘not so red this weekend’ and it was all blue and yellow. What’s it going to be on Sunday?
FA: I think it will be more blue.

Q: This is a good circuit for you. You have won here and had four podiums.
FA: Yes, it has been a great race for me in terms of emotions and in terms of results as well. I have been quite lucky always to be in a good position and I have been lucky always with Renault to have a competitive car here and with McLaren also one podium, so hopefully I can be on the podium again for another colour.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) Fernando, can you tell us your first memory of the Spanish Grand Prix and your best memory, and the evolution of the fans of motor racing in Spain?
FA: First memory was maybe ’98 when I was close to signing for a Formula Nissan team in Spain, so I was preparing the move from go-karts to real cars. I watched that race, the Spanish Grand Prix, and then the evolution has been quite big here. I remember that seventy percent of the grandstand was foreign people coming from the centre of Europe, mostly Germans, so it was not a completely Spanish Grand Prix, I would say. Now it’s very different. I think the country gets involved in this week, so you can watch any channel on TV and see how the preparations are coming on and the previews, every night, every afternoon on TV, in newspapers, so there are very few people in Spain now who don’t know that the Spanish Grand Prix is this weekend. So people are talking about Formula One, about tyres, about strategies, about all these things and this is very, very different, and I think it’s increasing every year. This is a very nice feeling. Best memory for me was 2006 when I won the race because it was the only win that I’ve had at home, so hopefully this year either here or in Valencia I will dream of victory again.

Q: (Carlos Miquel – Diario AS) Fernando, Pedro and Jaime; it’s the first time that there have been three Spanish Formula One drivers in the press conference. What’s the best quality of your compatriots, Pedro, Fernando, Jaime and do you think that Spain could win a championship of nations with the same car?
PdlR: OK, age first, yeah? Man, you’ve asked a lot of questions there, eh? I think that we could definitely win, for sure. We are the Spanish Armada. It’s renowned to be strong. It would be fun, it would be fun actually. I think Germany would be quite tough to beat, especially, but anyway, we would be there. On the other side of the question, don’t forget that Fernando and Jaime are rivals. They’re Spanish but it doesn’t mean that I (don’t) want badly to beat them as well. I am really very impressed by Jaime’s maturity for his age. I think he’s really handled coming into Formula One in a very well organised and very mature way, so I’m very impressed. What can I say about Fernando that you don’t know? We know how tough he is and how hard he is to beat in the same car, so he will be a little bit of ahead of me, so I hope that I can get close to him in the race but he’s a tough cookie, eh?
FA: More or less the same as Pedro’s answer. I think now that Spain could be favourite in this hypothetical championship, with Germany as well and Brazil may be.
BS: Thank you.
FA: As Pedro said, Jaime is very mature and I think approaching the races in a very good way, trying to learn as many things as possible with no mistakes. The time will come to him because he’s very young and has a lot of time to show more potential. And with Pedro, I think he’s a great driver. I had the pleasure to work with him at McLaren, so I know first-hand how good he is and all the experience that he had in his career and now he’s ready to use it. Unfortunately this year the car is not perfectly OK in terms of performance, but hopefully it can improve and Pedro will show how good a driver he is.
JA: Well, I think it would be great to drive with them, because I could obviously learn so many things with the same car, the same situation. I would say a Spanish team would be quite strong in this instance, and obviously it would be a pleasure to drive with them. I could see so many things that I can’t now. It’s also quite strange to think about this. I think they are both great drivers and they have experience which I am lacking. I have nothing to add about Pedro; he’s very mature and very experienced and he could show me so many things about Formula One. And Fernando has always been a reference for us, for me especially when I was go-karting in Spain and outside when I was watching him in Formula One, so it would be nice to do this, yes.

Q: (Alvaro Faes – La Nueva Espana) Fernando, can you tell us what your feelings are when you drive in this Spanish Grand Prix and you see the huge amount of fans that are filling the grandstand, and what do you expect in this first year of you wearing the Ferrari colours and the fact that there is a new T-shirt from Ferrari in blue? I don’t know if you have seen it.
FA: Yes. Emotions are always very unique and very different every year, even if you try to remember what emotion I had last year when I was going out in FP1. It’s difficult to maybe compare to this year, because every year there seem to be more and more emotional laps: the first laps on Friday and also quite intense laps on Sunday as well when either you start or you finish the race and you see all the people enjoying the show. So these are very, very important days for me and I try to enjoy them as much as I can, because I know that I’m in a privileged position, with all the supporters here that maybe I won’t experience any more in the rest of the championship when I go to some other races. Maybe Monza will also be special this year for me and for us and for the team. Regarding the colours, as I said before, I expect a lot of red in the grandstands but the majority will be blue because there is always a good percentage of the grandstand that comes from my region, from Asturias, and I’m sure they will come with their blue flags and blue colours, plus the new Ferrari T-shirt that is blue which will hopefully help all these new people buying blue Ferrari shirts.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Fernando, have you unwound in your mind the start in China and how to recover from that mistake? And how much can you gain with the F-duct on this long straight?
FA: Yeah, the start in China was quite good. I overtook two cars. I think I could have overtaken more cars if I had started a little bit earlier but I will not try, hopefully. I think it was a mistake on my part, a big mistake, so this is already in the past and I’m sure that I won’t do it again. Hopefully, I will try not to repeat the same mistake again or any other mistake, because it’s not the way you fight for the championship, but then thanks to the chaotic conditions in the race we were able to recover some positions and get some good results, so I was lucky at the end of the race to have that strange race. In terms of the F-duct, we will try some more parts tomorrow. It’s not decided yet if we will use it or not on Saturday and Sunday, so tomorrow is another important day of evaluation of the system and we will see how it works.

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