Tipsters predict big future for Alonso 05 Mar 2003
22 year old Fernando Alonso has been tipped to make a big impression in his second season of F1.
The Spaniard has been highly competitive in all the categories he has raced in, from his early days in karting, which marked him as an exceptional talent, to his first year in the Formula Nissan Series in Spain which he won. Victory in the final race of the 2000 FIA Formula 3000 Championship at Spa Francorchamps convinced observers of his latent ability and helped to propel him into F1 in 2001 with Minardi. There, team manager Rupert Manwaring praised his raw speed, car control and coolness under pressure. Renault's Flavio Briatore was sufficiently impressed to sign him to a long-term contract and to replace Jenson Button with him for the 2003 season.
F3000 race engineer Rob Smedley is a confirmed believer. "I believe Jarno Trulli is one of the best qualifiers in the business, but I won't be surprised to see him out-qualified on occasions.
"His great strength lies in his race-craft and attitude. He's not fazed by problems, he's just not affected. He's a very cool thinker and thinks a race through very well, when to push and when to conserve tyres and equipment. That's the sort of thinking that brings results when you have the speed to go with it."