Fernando Alonso at Ferrari's annual Wrooom media event
Fernando Alonso was in the “hot chair” at the Marlboro backed Wrooom media event at Madonna di Campiglio, talking about the year past and looking ahead to 2011 during his first press conference of the year. Inevitably the subject of Abu dhabi was raised, “In the second part of the year we made an extraordinary recovery then, at the last race, we didn’t manage to win the title,” said Fernando. “Certainly after the race you can say that decision was wrong and we should have acted differently. But at the moment that we chose to come into the pits it seemed the right move to us. Now we can stand here and say the degradation of the soft tires evolved in a surprising manner and that we could have stayed on the track until lap 30 but it’s easy to say that now.”
But the Spaniard points out the positives, “The truth is that, as I’ve always said, even if they seem predictable words, you win and you lose together. If it’s true that you learn more from defeats than victories it’s also true that for me 2010 was a success. It’s no longer worth thinking about Abu Dhabi: one minute more given to this means a minute less to dedicate to this year’s work.”
“At the end of every season you do an assessment: we know that there are areas where we must improve while seeking to keep up our strengths,” added the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver. “We lost so many points in the first part of the year and we know that we will have to be perfect from March to November to win. We’ve made some changes inside the team that I’m sure will help improve things – as you have to do in every field, not just sport. I know Pat Fry very well, having worked with him at McLaren, and I think that he can be a big help to us.”
Regarding technical changes for 2011 Alonso said, “They will certainly be more complex to handle on the part of the driver because we will have more operations to carry out.”
“There will be the return of KERS and the new adjustable rear wing, even if the front wing won’t be adjustable any more. You will need to find the way to adapt and find the right mechanisms for the buttons to avoid losing the correct concentration for driving. The simulator gives us a big hand with that, allowing us to do intensive training on this aspect,” he explained
The two times world champion observed, “Will these changes help overtaking? I hope so. For years changes to the regulations have been brought in with this objective but they haven’t always worked. We’re crossing our fingers but I think that between KERS and the adjustable rear wing there will be enough difference in speed to be able to overtake a car you’re fighting. These changes have been brought in after meticulous work on the part of the Technical Working Group and I believe they will work. Will we have to be more aggressive? It depends on the situation: if you just need a place to win the title then there’s no need.”
Another change will be the Pirelli tires that Alonso has already tested for two days in Abu Dhabi last November. “The first feeling is positive,” he said. “But we will know more at the next tests, those will be very interesting. I will certainly have to change my driving style a bit. The unknown remains the wet tires, that we haven’t yet had a chance to try.”
In 2009 the introduction of KERS pushed many drivers into a slimming routines. But this year the minimum weight of the car has been increased to 640kg, meaning the weight of the driver is not so crucial for the effective use of ballast. “I haven’t lost much weight yet, partly because last week I had to interrupt my training because of a small muscle contraction in my leg,” revealed Alonso.
He predicts that there will be new challenges in 2011, “For the start of the championship perhaps you will see more of a weight difference. This year we will have to pay even more attention to physical and mental preparation because of the calendar. For example we will have trips that are physically demanding such as Australia-Malaysia-China, with the last two races on successive weekends. If you arrive in Malaysia at 80% one week later you risk being at 50%.”
On the issue that the new rules could make the result of qualifying less important for the result of the race, Alonso was cautious. “It’s possible, because overtaking should be less difficult. But qualifying, the start and the first corner will remain decisive moments. But it’s too early to make a real prediction: we will have to see how things go in the first races to have a more precise idea.”
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