Forza Fisico, some World Cup banter and the home race hat trick... All the news from behind the scenes in Silverstone. Forza Azzurri, Forza Fisico With the World Cup kicking off in Germany last weekend, Fisico was in festive mood at...
Forza Fisico, some World Cup banter and the home race hat trick... All the news from behind the scenes in Silverstone.
Forza Azzurri, Forza Fisico
With the World Cup kicking off in Germany last weekend, Fisico was in festive mood at Silverstone. His special helmet with the Italian flag was in action, adorned with a 'Forza Azzurri' sticker for his national squad. Fisico was in feisty mood on track as well. As he hunted down Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren in the closing laps, the message came loud and clear over the radio from his race engineer Alan Permane: "Come on, come on, you can get him, this is payback for Suzuka last year."
Fisi fell just short, unable to get close to enough to overtake on a circuit where this is notoriously difficult owing to the high number of aero-dependent fast corners. "It was unfortunate for Fisico this weekend," commented Flavio after the race. "He had a bad qualifying because of our mistake, but when you see a performance like today, with both drivers performing like they did, it's fantastic for the whole team."
As for the man himself, he has now scored nearly double the number of points he had done at the same point last year (32 against 17), is locked in a battle for third place in the drivers' championship with Kimi Raikkonen, and the next race is in Canada -- one of his strongest circuits. "Montreal is one of my favourite tracks," commented Fisico yesterday after the race. "I am very optimistic. I was leading last year when we retired, and I have been on the podium four times in Canada, but only in second and third positions. I want to make it five podiums -- but this time with a win."
Come Saturday afternoon last weekend, the cars were prepared for parc ferme with at least half an eye on the TV screens in the garage, as England took on Paraguay in their opening World Cup match. The interest was particularly intense among the contingent of mechanics and engineers from Viry-Chatillon who, for the weekend, had displayed their allegiances clearly, posting a 'Paraguay Official Fan Club' sign behind their telemetry screens!
Interviewed as he descended from the podium soaked in champagne, Fernando's engine race engineer Remi Taffin remarked upon the friendly rivalry between the team members: "It was nice to see French guy on the podium at the British Grand Prix, eh?" he smiled.
Now, there are not many things we can guarantee about the forthcoming Canadian Grand Prix, but there is one... That Togo will have around sixty passionate new supporters from Enstone when they line up against the French national team on Friday 23 June, as second practice finishes in Montreal!
What can you say about Fernando Alonso at the moment? He has scored 74 points from 80 in the opening eight races (a scoring rate of 92.5%), better even than the dominant Michael Schumacher seasons of 2002 or 2004, or Nigel Mansell's 1992 championship run. Yesterday, he ticked off another milestone -- his first ever 'grand slam' Grand Prix weekend, with pole position, fastest lap and the race win. Before he celebrated on his car with some Robin Hood-style archery, he mentioned another special hat-trick he wants to secure -- the trio of "home" races for the team.
"Fantastic guys, thank you," came the familiar, accented voice over the team radio as he cruised round the slowing-down lap. "We won in Barcelona, the home race for me. We have won here, the home GP for most of you guys -- and for me too. I live in Oxford, I feel half English, half Spanish already. Now we need to win in France again for the team. We can do it guys, you are the best."
Between now and then, though, there is some more unfinished business Fernando wants to clear up. Canada and Indy are the only two Formula 1 circuits where he has never scored a podium finish in his four and a half seasons. That will be the aim for the next races: to maintain a strong championship lead with an aggressive approach. Who would bet against him at the moment?