Continued from Part 1 More thoughts from world championship leader Fernando Alonso on his style, and also life away from the circuit. Q: You often say that you are the same driver as when you drove for Minardi -- with the same approach. Have...
Continued from Part 1
More thoughts from world championship leader Fernando Alonso on his style, and also life away from the circuit.
Q: You often say that you are the same driver as when you drove for Minardi -- with the same approach. Have you noticed changes around you, within the team?
Fernando Alonso: For sure -- I have developed since I joined Renault, not necessarily in the car but in other ways, and the team has done the same. Everybody has always been completely professional, but now you can feel that they are even more focused -- the mechanics, the engineers, they are all very competitive in their areas. The enthusiasm is different too. We are not going out to finish races, or maybe get on the podium. We are going to the grid each weekend thinking about winning the race. That creates a very different atmosphere!
Q: And where does the driver fit in within the team?
FA: First of all, I have a simple job -- to get in the car, and drive it as quick as we can. But the job cannot stop there. I wouldn't say I enjoy all of the technical briefings, but I know their importance, trying to solve problems so that they don't happen again. It means that when we get to the next race, we can get in the car without worrying about anything but the race, and that is the benefit. After that, the drivers play their part in developing the car -- if we know we want more front grip, or better braking performance, then the team works 100% in those areas. I think we have a big part to play.
Q: One of the things that emerges from those debriefings is that you have a unique style -- an aggressive approach with the car's steering. Is that deliberate?
FA: It is not something I realise I am doing -- but it is what the telemetry shows. I think it may be a way of adapting to the car, because when I was at Minardi and when I tested for Jaguar, I didn't drive like this. The technique allows me to control the understeer easily -- I turn in later than many drivers, and do it aggressively. Once I have done that, I can just make small adjustments to the steering from the apex and find the right balance to be quick on the exit.
Everybody has their style, and that is mine at the moment. But it is always changing -- the car is never the same from one lap to the next, the reactions and conditions evolve all the time. Ultimately, I don't think the style is the important thing; it is about how well you can adapt to the way the car changes all the way through the race.
Q: Away from the track, 'Fernando Alonso' is now a household name -- what does that mean for you?
FA: I still find it strange to be famous and for people to be so interested in me, but I think that you can always use this in a positive way. We have already started to do some projects in Spain, with UNICEF for example, and I hope to do more in the future. I think if my name and position can be used to help more people, then I am happy and proud to do it.
Q: Your personality seems defined in many ways by a desire for competition -- where does it come from?
FA: I don't know --it was just something I was born with. Even when I was four or five years old, I wanted to race my mother, or my sister, or people in the street. I always wanted to play games against people, to compete. Ever since I was very young, I have been ambitious to win.
Q: Finally, one interest that intrigues many people is your love of magic -- where does that come from?
FA: From my grandfather -- when I was little, he taught me how to play with the cards, and I was hooked. I like the tricks that are simple -- but spectacular. Those are the ones I try and prepare when I have the time. You need good skills to do it well: to be able to distract people's attention from what is really going on, a perfect preparation and total concentration... Quite like Formula 1 in some ways, I think.