Renault's world champion Fernando Alonso was given the official trophy at the FIA Gala in Monaco last Friday. He describes the evening... FIA Formula One World Champions Flavio Briatore and Fernando Alonso with the constructors and...
Renault's world champion Fernando Alonso was given the official trophy at the FIA Gala in Monaco last Friday. He describes the evening...
"Last Thursday, I was in Florida, spending a few days relaxing. I was chilling out in shorts and t-shirt, I managed to get to Disneyworld... but one day later, on Friday evening, I was in a different world! We were in black tie, headed for the Sporting d'Et? in Monaco. I arrived at 20:15 with my manager Luis. There were some photographers waiting for me already, and the flashes began to go off. I must admit, that I hadn't really missed them!"
"First of all, we were guided to the VIP room. We spent half an hour there, and I made the most of it to talk with people I hadn't seen for a while. I spent some nice time with Michael: we talked about holidays, family, everything but Formula 1! I also saw Flavio, to talk about 2006 and progress with the new car."
"My heart started beating faster as soon as the prizegiving began after dinner. I knew Formula 1 would the final category to receive its trophies, and so every award took me a little closer to the big moment. Karting, Dragsters, Trucks, Rally... everybody got their prize. To see the young guys from go-karts get their awards made me remember my own career: 20 years of work, that reached their culmination that evening."
"Then somebody came to get me, and Flavio and I slipped away. We got into position on the stage, behind the curtains. The guests were watching a video review of the F1 season. I saw a little bit and it gave me goosebumps: I don't often get the chance to watch a Grand Prix from outside the cockpit!"
"After that, things started going very quickly. Kimi and Michael were called onto the stage to get their 2nd and 3rd place awards. Then the curtains opened. For two or three minutes, they played images of our season on a giant screen, with a flamenco soundtrack. Then the screen disappeared, and there we were: Flavio and I. The lights blinded me. The audience applauded."
"Then, I saw it arrive -- a beautiful trophy, shimmering in front of me. The World Championship. I held my arms out, touched it, finally I knew it was mine: I had achieved my dream. Flavio was doing the same. We looked at each other: he was smiling widely, like me."
"I will never forget the evening. During every moment that followed, I did not let go of the trophy. I looked at it, marvelled at how beautiful it was. I thought about all my team-mates at Enstone and Viry, who had spent the day together celebrating the championship: I couldn't be with them, but I was thinking of them and thanked them once more for their work. I took a moment to understand what had just happened to me, but I still haven't really digested this latest experience. I am the official World Champion..."