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Pre-Budapest analysis - Alonso looking for morale boost 26 Jul 2013

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Preparations, Hungaroring, Hungary. Thursday, 25 July 2013 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Preparations, Hungaroring, Hungary. Thursday, 25 July 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04 makes a pit stop.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Practice, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 5 July 2013 Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28 makes a pit stop.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Practice, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 5 July 2013

As Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen metaphorically rubbed his hands with glee at the prospect of 40 degrees Celsius ambient temperatures here at the Hungaroring on Sunday, Fernando Alonso was admitting yesterday that if Ferrari don’t have a really strong race it will impact on the team’s morale and motivation during the upcoming summer break.

A year ago Alonso left Hungary with a 40-point lead over Sebastian Vettel; this year he is already 34 points in arrears.

"A good result is important because it is the summer break now and it will be good for the motivation of the team and our focus if we can close the gap with Sebastian a little before then," the Spaniard said. "If this gap increases, it will be a very stressful summer break for all of us and hard for motivation, so it's important that we do well here."

The introduction of Pirelli's revised tyres, allied to the expected searing temperatures creates a fascinating scenario for the weekend, in which anything could happen, though most teams are expecting the pecking order to remain about the same after their experience with the new rubber during the recent young driver test at Silverstone.

"We'll do our normal routine, we just need to maybe be more open with our strategy in case in those temperatures there is any need for an extra stop on Sunday," Alonso continued. "We'll try to understand this in practice."

Raikkonen, meanwhile, was quite loquacious.

“I think we’ve always been a bit more happy when it’s more warm,” he said regarding Lotus’s strengths. “Now it’s a bit difficult to say with the new - or different - tyres than we raced at the beginning of the year but last year helped us and the tyres should be a mix of this year and last year so let’s hope that it works well for us.”

Last year the Finn and team mate Romain Grosjean needed just one more lap to overcome winner Lewis Hamilton, who himself said yesterday that the second DRS zone, right after the first corner, could make it very difficult for a leader to retain his advantage if a following driver gets right in his slipstream in the first zone along the pit straight.

Meanwhile, the FIA have discussed a new penalty system during a meeting of team principals yesterday whereby teams who let their drivers leave pit stops with improperly secured wheels will now receive 10-place grid penalties. This follows the incident in Germany recently where Red Bull released Mark Webber’s RB9 when the right-rear wheel had not been tightened fully. The errant wheel then struck and injured a cameraman.

There has also been talk of a minimum time for pit stops, after the recent race to create the first sub-two second tyre change, though that seems unworkable to many.

In a bid to improve safety, there will be restrictions on the number of journalists, photographers and camera crews in the pits during practice sessions, and a ban imposed during qualifying and the race. As a further step, the pit-lane speed limit will now be 80 km/h during every session and the race.

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