Alonso: Ferrari legend better than I expected

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso and Ferrari in the spotlight

Mar.4 (GMM) Fernando Alonso has revealed he is more than happy with life at Ferrari in his tenth grand prix season in Formula 1 and the start of his second year with the Maranello squad.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari. Formula One Testing, Day 2, Valencia, Spain, Wednesday 2 February 2011.

Fernando during recent testing at Valencia

“I expected a team of legend and magic and it has been a pleasant surprise, even better than I expected,” the 29-year-old told the Spanish sports daily Marca on the tenth anniversary of his F1 debut at the Australian GP on 4 March 2001.

Asked how long he might stay in F1 and with Ferrari, Alonso answered: “I am in no hurry to go; here, I even enjoy finishing second, eighth and twenty third.”

It has been suggested in the past, however, that Alonso does not completely enjoy F1 overall because it is not a pure sport.

“It’s not just racing; F1 is also very much business and with other interests,” he agrees.

“It’s not a competition, pure and simple. Cars are not equal, the rules are not equal for all. But we know this and accept it because this is perhaps some of the charm of formula one,” added Alonso.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R24 leads Ralf Schumacher (GER) Williams BMW FW26. Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 4 April 2004. DIGITAL IMAGE

Fernando drove the Renault R24 in 2004

Asked about the cars he has driven since debuting in 2001, he said the 2009 Renault was “the worst but I managed a podium in Singapore”.

And with the same team, he said 2004 and 2005 were the most enjoyable cars.

“There was the war with the Bridgestone and Michelin tyres that made us a couple of seconds faster, already with 900 horse power,” he explained.

“Even with the inferior aerodynamics that we had six years ago compared to today, in Cheste (Valencia) we were doing 1m08, compared to 1m14 now — six seconds different. Those cars are hard to beat,” said the Ferrari driver.

Alonso revealed that when his F1 career began with Minardi ten years ago, he also had the option of going to Ferrari-powered Prost.

Fernando Alonso (ESP), the 1999 Open Moviestar by Nissan Champion test drove the Minardi M101. Fomula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 13 -16 December 1999.

Fernando tested for Minardi in 1999 before joining the team

“The offer was to go there (Prost) and then maybe be a Ferrari tester, or maybe not and I’ll have to return to F3000,” he explained.

“It did not guarantee anything, while Renault were giving me a better opportunity,” added Alonso, who indeed became Renault’s test driver in 2002 before racing with the team in 2003.

Alonso also reinforced his view that he is in F1 only to win.

“I’m not racing to make friends but to achieve many titles. Let’s see if I win enough to be remembered. If not, I will also retire very happy, proud of the experience,” he added.