Renault's Fernando Alonso is preparing for an important race on Sunday afternoon. Here he answers questions about the season so far. Q: Have you been taking a conservative approach to the end of the championship? Fernando...
Renault's Fernando Alonso is preparing for an important race on Sunday afternoon. Here he answers questions about the season so far.
Q: Have you been taking a conservative approach to the end of the championship?
Fernando Alonso: Perhaps we have been a bit more conservative in some of the races at the end of the season, but that is because we don't need to take big risks. We look at the championship over an entire year, not just one or two races. I had great victories in Imola and N?rburgring, for example, where we were fighting to the final lap. Our car is not the fastest now, but we are still very competitive and ahead of everyone apart from McLaren. So if we stay reliable and finish races, that will do the job for us.
Q: Some people have suggested you have not been the best driver this season...
FA: I think we have had a really good competition this year -- with me, Fisi, Kimi, Juan and Michael fighting for race wins. But at Renault and with partners like Michelin and Elf, we did the job properly: if our rivals have reliability problems, that's not our fault. If I am 25 points ahead of Kimi in the championship, it is because I have been 25 points better than him. So far, we have done the best job, so I don't think it is fair to say somebody else has been the best driver.
Q: But you haven't had the best car....
FA: OK, so our car is not the fastest, but if we can win a championship in that situation, then for me it is worth even more -- both from my point of view and also for the team, because it shows we are doing a really strong job. I have made one mistake all year, but otherwise we have had perfect races, I have had no reliability problems, and there have been 12 podiums. That is the way to win a championship.
Q: Tell us about the team around you...
FA: It is quite a young team, but we have a good group of very professional people. We don't have the biggest budget, I think we are maybe the fifth or sixth, but we spend the money in the right place. And Flavio has done a fantastic job too. I remember in 2001, Benetton were fighting with me when I drove the Minardi; now, we are top of the class. I think Flavio has the talent to manage 800 people and find the right answers.
Q: Is it important to you to win the championship while Michael Schumacher is still racing?
FA: Yes, for Kimi or for me, it would be very important. Imagine we are talking about the Tour de France: the next winner will not have beaten Lance Armstrong. Who would be able to say for sure who was the better cyclist? To win the F1 championship with Michael still competing means a lot more.
Q: You could become the youngest champion in history. Do you know about Stewart or Fittipaldi, the other drivers who won titles when they were young?
FA: No. Do you know why? Formula 1 was a small sport in Spain only a few years ago. You didn't see the races on the television. I never watched the battles with Prost and Senna, for example.
Q: You have amazing support in Spain: how do you react to it?
FA: I feel very proud. Three years ago, we didn't have F1 on TV. Now, there are 7 million people watching the races. The support of those people is one of the best things that has happened to me. They have been fantastic this year.