Alonso: Ferrari's fortunes must improve at Monza 01 Sep 2010
He arrived at Ferrari amid much fanfare, but Fernando Alonso has endured more downs than ups during a fraught 2010 season. However, as the dust settles on a particularly tough Belgian Grand Prix, Alonso is determined to stay positive ahead of the Italian teams home event at Monza next weekend - a race he says could prove critical to his dwindling title hopes.
After qualifying down in 10th, the Spaniards Spa-Francorchamps run was further hampered by first-lap contact with the Williams of Rubens Barrichello and then an early tyre choice mistake. When the rain eventually returned to the Belgian track, he crashed out of the race on Lap 38.
It was not the Belgian Grand Prix we were expecting, thats for sure, Alonso explained on his official Ferrari blog. I think the key moment in my race came on the very first lap. I had made a good start and made up a few places. The car was responding well and there was every chance of finishing up on the podium.
Unfortunately, I had to come back to the pits almost immediately and that changed everything. I could have done without going off the track, but it did not make a great difference: the rain meant that any chance I had of making up some places through our strategy evaporated.
With just six races remaining, he is now 41 points adrift of standings leader Lewis Hamilton, but the two-time world champion is sure there is still plenty of time to turn things around.
It seems that this year, the opening laps have not gone too well for me, he said. In five races out of 13, I have found myself slipping to the back, either because of our own mistakes or because of circumstances beyond our control, as was the case in Belgium. I have always said - and I repeat it now - that in the course of the season, good luck and bad luck tend to balance one another out, so lets hope that from now on it is payback time! The first final went badly, but there are still six to go.
And while Spa-winner Hamilton and second-placed Mark Webber boosted their haul of points - and championship hopes - considerably, Alonso was relieved his other title rivals Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button also failed to score in Belgium.
Going into these seven races, I had said that whoever did the best job in them would take the title, he said. Clearly, there are now three of us who need to make up for ground lost in Spa. With this points system and the way races swing one way or another, I am convinced we still have a significant chance. There are 150 points up for grabs, enough to turn the situation around. We must remain calm and concentrate, to try and make up the difference as soon as possible.
Alonso also believes it can only help that the next event on the calendar is Ferraris home race in Monza and is hopeful the teams spirits will be boosted by the atmosphere at the Italian track.
There is no denying that the Monza race will be very important, he concluded. At our home circuit we will have to do everything to avoid losing any more points. A good result here would be a great boost. If things go badly, it wont be over but it would be a hard knock for team morale.
Racing at Monza for the first time as a Ferrari driver will definitely be a nice feeling. Our team is made up of 95 percent Italians and you can feel the passion and the will to do well for this special event. I cant wait to be there and look forward to seeing the grandstands packed with fans: we need their support.
Before then, however, Alonso and Ferrari face an anxious wait ahead of next weeks World Motor Sport Council meeting, which will decide if the team deserves further penalty after their controversial one-two result at Julys German Grand Prix. The disciplinary hearing will take place in Paris on September 8, two days before the Italian Grand Prix meeting on September 10-12.