Alonso: Monza will be one of the toughest races for us

Fernando Alonso is interviewed by Mario Andretti at Monza

Fernando Alonso is interviewed by Mario Andretti at Monza

It’s an unwritten rule that a Scuderia Ferrari driver has to be on the panel for Thursday’s FIA press conference at Monza and that duty fell to Fernando Alonso this afternoon.

The Spaniard has a great record here, having finished on the podium in his four last races on the high speed Italian track, including a victory in 2010. But, given the current hierarchy in Formula 1, he was realistic about his chances of making it 5 out of 5.

“This is definitely one of the most important races this year for us in front of the tifosi,” began Fernando. “We want to give them a good result on Sunday, but it will be very hard to repeat what we did the last four years and this will be one of the toughest races for us this year.”

However, apart from the specific difficulties of dealing with this high-speed circuit, there were positives emerging from Maranello, reckoned Alonso. “There were signs we were more competitive in Hungary and then we nearly got a podium with Kimi in Spa.”

Fernando Alonso photographs the tifosi from the podium after the 2013 Italian GP at Monza

Fernando Alonso photographs the tifosi from the podium after the 2013 Italian GP at Monza

The “main attraction” of the driver’s conference was the fact that Rosberg and Hamilton were making their first joint public appearance since their controversial collision in Spa a fortnight ago. With Fernando sitting between them on the stage, the Spaniard seemed to be accorded the role of mediator by the journalists.

“I don’t know why I’m getting all these questions about them,” said the Ferrari man with a smile and a shrug of the shoulders. “All we can do is watch their beautiful battle from the outside. The problem they have is a good problem – they are fighting for the world championship!”

Alonso was also asked what he recalled about racing at the back of the field, when he began in F1 with Minardi. While admitting it was difficult, not being able to fight at the front, he reckoned life was harder to deal with when he was a reserve driver for Renault: “watching the races from the garage, that was very tough.”