Fernando Alonso met the press this afternoon in the Ferrari hospitality unit in the massive paddock at the Buddh circuit. The location is new, but the first question was much the same as ever, about Scuderia Ferrari’s prospects for the rest of the season. “We just need to be honest with ourselves and do the best we can in the remaining races and work a lot better and more than we did this year if we want to improve for next year which is already our target,” began the Spaniard.
“With both championships decided, all teams are now thinking of 2012, not just us. So we will tackle the remaining races in this spirit, trying to enjoy them, by doing things you maybe cannot do if you are fighting for a championship. We can be very aggressive and take more risks in qualifying for example.”
Having only seen this track in virtual form on the simulator, the Ferrari man was keen to get to grips with it for real. “I am very excited to be here, a new circuit is a new challenge from a driver’s point of view,” said Fernando.
“This circuit looks very interesting, especially the last sector, which is very different and quick, allowing for good flowing speed to be used. Normally, with a new track, we find the real thing is better than the simulator. I hope we get a good first impression in tomorrow’s practice. It is also my first time in India and it is always nice to discover a new country and to see Formula 1 in a new culture for a new audience. Hopefully, we can put on a good show for them on Sunday.”
This circuit looks very interesting, especially the last sector
The deaths of Dan Wheldon in an Indy Car race and Marco Simoncelli in MotoGP, within the space of one week have highlighted the dangers of motor sport. “It doesn’t affect you obviously when you are driving,” said Fernando when asked if these incidents make him more aware of the danger of the sport. “The effect was during the week. Those were very sad days for motorsport. I watched Dan’s accident on a television replay and I was shocked for two or three days after that.
Then with Marco, I saw that race live and I could not believe that these things still happen. When you close the visor, you don’t think about the risk. We love racing and we know it is dangerous, but the adrenalin it gives you blinds you to the risks. 320 km/h is approximately the maximum at this track and if something happens to your car there is a risk that you can have a big accident. But you don’t think about it when you are driving.”
Felipe Massa was one of the drivers called to the first ever FIA press conference at the Buddh circuit today, which hosts the inaugural Indian Grand Prix on Sunday. Asked for an impression of the track, the Ferrari driver was complimentary: “It looks very nice, very interesting with some good opportunities for overtaking.” At this point, Felipe’s fellow countryman, Rubens Barrichello interrupted to explain the two of them had tackled the circuit on a computer game, racing one another sometimes playing for hours at a time over the internet. “It’s him my wife is angry with, not me” joked Rubens pointing at Felipe. “He is the one who introduced me to the game!”
Then it was time for more serious matters, specifically the performance of the 150º Italia. “Recently, it has been okay,” said Felipe. “However, for the past four races, we have not had so many updates, as we approach the end of the season, which means our performance very much depends on the characteristics of the tracks we are at and Japan and Korea seemed to suit the car quite well. It is hard to tell, because sometimes this season we have done well at tracks where we did not expect to and not performed well at circuits where we expected to be competitive.” Asked what were the Scuderia’s goals for the final three races, the Brazilian explained they were twofold.
“We will tackle these last races trying to get a podium finish and who knows, if possible maybe fight for the victory, which is always our target, always the direction we are working in. At the same time, we are also already working very hard for next year. Development of the car is ongoing as we put together all our ideas, trying to keep all the good points from this year’s car and changing those areas that did not work so well.”
Ferrari fans, check out our new sister site FerrariCircuit.com