Fernando Alonso has highlighted the importance of closing the gap on championship leader Sebastian Vettel at the Hungarian Grand Prix, anything less will add to Ferrari’s stress levels over the summer break.
“A good result this weekend would be very good for team motivation and our hopes,” said Alonso to the assembled media. “If we can close the gap to Sebastian before the break it would be a good thing, but if it increased, it would make it a stressful break for us and less motivating. So, it’s an important weekend.”
The Spaniard’s press meeting in the Hungaroring paddock was overshadowed by news of the terrible train crash in his home country on Wednesday.
“A sad day, because you go to bed thinking of your problems last night and the little things that went wrong in your day and you want to improve something and you quickly realise how unimportant those things are,” said the Ferrari man.
“This news reminds you what is really important in life and there is a feeling of frustration that you can’t do anything, you cannot put the clocks back. Your thoughts are with the families of those involved with the people in that train. Of course, we will try and have the best race possible, knowing that it cannot make these people happy, but we can try and dedicate our maximum effort to them.”
The heat is always a topic in Budapest, with temperatures set to hit the 37 degree mark on race day, but the Spaniard seemed cool about it.
“Nothing changes in terms of preparation, whatever the temperature on Sunday, we will do our normal preparation,” he said. “We just need to be a bit more open on strategy, in case we need to make an extra stop because of the tyres, but we won’t know until we start practice tomorrow.”
Alonso’s first ever Grand Prix victory came here in Hungary in 2003 and, prompted by a question, he had some unusual memories of that significant day.
“I remember my father was here and I was able to hug him. He comes from a very normal job, working in factory making explosives for mines and my mother working in a shopping mall so after the race, I said: we win a Formula 1 race and this will be there for all our lives, even if we retire tomorrow, we will be very proud of this victory.”
“Immediately after I took the flag, I flew to Poland because we had an event there on the Monday. I don’t know why, but this flight to Poland is one of my main memories, because I wanted to celebrate with family or fly to Spain to see friends and I had to fly to Poland!”
Since the incidents in the pit lane at the German GP, the pit lane speed limit has been reduced, media access is restricted and proposals are being discussed to reduce the speed with which pit stops themselves are completed.
The Prancing Horse driver had this to say on the subject, “Always when something happens in terms of safety, we must react and we are all in agreement on improving safety. However, finding the way to do it is difficult to agree on. But I think reducing the pit lane speed limit cannot be bad, as it is the same for all the teams and there is less risk for the mechanics.”
“Reducing the number of media in the pit lane during free practice can also be a solution, because sometimes there are too many of them in FP1 and FP2. In pit stops we are all trying to find the limits; of driver reaction time, the wheelguns and the procedure itself, so if they find a solution to increase the time of a pit stop to improve safety and it is the same for all the teams, I don’t think anyone will disagree.”
Subbed by AJN.