Alonso: I am better than last year

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso painting during a sponsor event

Ferrari‘s Fernando Alonso warned his Formula 1 rivals that he was in better shape than ever, and is expecting to enjoy his best year ever at the pinnacle of the sport.

The Spaniard, a double world champion with Renault, told reporters at a media event for sponsors Santander at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya that the season starting in Australia next week could be his best yet.

“Last year was the best year of my career and I was very happy with the performance, but I think this year will be better,” said Alonso. “We have a better starting point, and I have learned from some of the mistakes from last year.”

“The trust, confidence and motivation are better than any other year and pit stop wise, with starts – all these things – we are constantly learning. I have prepared better. I am better than last year.”

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso Ferrari F138

Alonso finished overall runner-up to Red Bull‘s Sebastian Vettel last year but, in fighting for the title with a car that was not the fastest and that had started the season well off the pace, felt it was the most satisfying of his career.

The new Ferrari F138 has looked far more competitive in testing and Alonso has said it is 200 times better than the old one, which still won three races last year, was at this stage of the season.

The Spaniard did not take part in the first pre-season test in Jerez, preferring to focus on his fitness instead with a regime that Ferrari said was worthy of a top Olympic athlete.

“(Last year) I was obviously motivated and wanted to win, but I arrived in Australia and Malaysia without very much confidence of what we could do and not so much confidence in the car,” he said. “I did not have so much trust in what we were doing… we were a little bit lost.

Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa at a Santander and Ferrari sponsorship event

Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa at a Santander and Ferrari sponsorship event

“I am more motivated than last year, but of course I also need a better car than last year because we were too far from the leaders,” added the 31-year-old.

Alonso expected Red Bull, with triple champion Vettel and Australian Mark Webber, to be ahead still in Melbourne but felt a podium should be in reach for Ferrari.

McLaren, Lotus will be there,” he said when asked for his prediction. “And Mercedes, who have worked on this car since the middle of last season, have improved. But it would be a major surprise if Red Bull is not in front of everyone. They should be able to win in Australia even with the car of Brazil (2012).”

Alonso said his wish for 2013 is therefore to have a car “capable of fighting with the best and able to win races and podiums,” the Spaniard clarified.

Fernando Alonso (seen here with Flavio Briatore) was last world champion in 2006 with Renault

Fernando Alonso (seen here with Flavio Briatore) was last world champion in 2006 with Renault

“We can’t forget that late last year we were 7 or 8 tenths behind the competition. So we will not be the fastest, but we will not be 1.6 seconds behind, as we were in Australia last year.”

“But we are faster. The base is infinitely better. I need a faster car to win, but two tenths (slower than the best) is enough,” declared the double world champion.

Alonso said those trying to predict the Melbourne pecking-order based on winter testing will need to wait until the Australian GP weekend to know the real answer.

“Impossible,” he said when asked how easy it is to extrapolate Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull and Lotus’ true form based on the three Spanish tests. “You don’t go to a training camp to see if Barca is going to win on Sunday, or watch Djokovic and Nadal warm up to know the winner. The first four or five races will be a surprise for everyone.” (Reuters & GMM)

 

  • Nowhereman

    Watch out, this man Alonso is tuned.
    All he needs is a decent car and the F138 seems to be a decent car.
    What a battle this one is going to be.

  • fools

    Alonso for the 2013 WDC!!!! :)

  • Butterfly

    @fools:

    Yeah, and ’14, ’15, ’16, etc. Once he gets his hands on that trophy, it’s over for the competition.

  • ALO

    I wish he will stay till his 41 :)
    Cant see him go.
    @Butterfly

    Hope he will go beyond ’16

  • zerof50

    Hurry up Father Time I’m struggling to contain my excitement for this coming season, the you can slow time back down, especially on the race weekends. lol Love Alonso’s positive attude… Fly Ferrari, Fly

  • Butterfly

    @ALO

    Of course he’ll stay into his 40s, and of course he’ll win many more WDCs. With the current crop of rookies, I don’t see any replacements for the Alonsos and the Hamiltons.

  • goMcLaren

    Seems I got lost in a weird Alonso Lover convention.

  • fools

    “You don’t go to a training camp to see if Barca is going to win on Sunday, or watch Djokovic and Nadal warm up to know the winner.

    I love that punchline. :) Don’t the haters know this is a Alonso article. Yet they still comment, God bless you for supporting :)

  • Butterfly

    Check this out: Ross Brawn just said he might return to Ferrari.

  • Tamburello_1994

    One needs a shower (and a cigarette) after reading some of these post. . . . .

    While Ferrari looks better than they did this time last year, Try and keep in mind their direct rivals haven’t been exactly sitting idling by . . . . The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Thanks you guys (and gals) for providing the entertainment as we all anxiously wait Melbourne.

  • Whats goin on?

    @Butterfly
    How do you know that Brawn might return to Ferrari?

  • Butterfly

    This isn’t the first time I’ve read about this. Back in February, I read that Brawn was negotiating a possible return to Maranello to help Ferrari with the rule interpretation. Now that Pady Lowe is coming over the Merc, maybe Ross feels there’s no place for him there anymore.

    Good, Ferrari is where he belongs. :-)

  • Butterfly

    Oh, forgot to mention, Ross Brawn now said:

    “The best years of my career were at Ferrari, so I can not rule out a return in the future.”

    Those are his actual words.

    My guess is this is a done deal. Well, he said many times he’d like to work with Fernando. Now’s his chance.

  • Tamburello_1994

    Lol. Buttercup.

    Talk about a backpedal.

    “Just said” is a far cry from “last February”. Get a clue or get off the crack pipe.

  • Butterfly

    Tamburello_1994

    No, you retard, there were the rumors back in February and his actual words yesterday.

    No crack pipe here, mate.

  • Forza Ferrari

    I have absolutely no doubt, that if Ferrari F138 is equally fast with the fastest car on the grid, be it Red Cow or another car, then Alonso will win the WDC, unless of course there are some unfortunate crashes again like last year that robbed Alonso and Ferrari the WDC title. Alonso doesn’t need the outright fastest carto win, he only needs a car that is good enough to fight equally with the fastest car(s). Ferrari’s speed has looked really promising during testing and with even more updates coming before the first race then everything looks to be great for Ferrari.

    Forza Ferrari & Gooo Alonso!!!

  • Butterfly

    Imagine the despair at Red Bull:

    Adrian, we only have 3 tenths advantage! Alonso is gonna eat us alive.

    Funny.