Just six points from greatness... 19 Sep 2005
A third place in Brazil will be enough to make Fernando Alonso champion, but that doesnt mean the Spaniard has any intention of settling for a podium - he is out to win at Interlagos.
As always, I go there trying to do the maximum, said Alonso, who will have an upgraded Renault at his disposal this weekend. Whats the point of going to a race and only aiming for a podium? You cant do that, you have to want to be the best, to attack. So thats what I am going to Brazil to do.
Alonso is under no illusion that matching the pace of McLaren is still going to be difficult. He also knows that he doesnt actually have to beat them to become champion - but with the title only his to lose, is he not nervous?
No, Im not, he said. For sure, I am quite close now to the championship, but I approach this race like any other. We have been quick in Brazil in recent years, and now our car is even stronger in every area. So I am looking forward to the race. We need to have a smooth weekend, no problems, and hopefully we will get the result we want.
That result forthcoming, Alonso will surpass Brazils own Emerson Fittipaldi as Formula One racings youngest champion, aged just 24. You might think that would add to the pressure, but he insists the record is not playing on his mind.
To become world champion is the maximum for a driver, so I am happy and proud to have the possibility while I am so young, he said. But being the youngest is not what motivates me. The maximum for a sportsman is to be the best in his championship, and to be the best in Formula One is the ultimate for any racing driver.
If Alonso is to become champion on Sunday he will have to equal his previous best performance at Interlagos. In 2003 he was classified third after being involved in a dramatic crash which caused the race to be stopped, handing victory to current team mate Giancarlo Fisichella, then racing for Jordan.