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Exclusive Q&A with Fernando Alonso 07 Mar 2007

Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren. McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 Launch, Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Valencia, Spain, 15 January 2007. World © Sutton.

World champion cautiously optimistic for 2007 campaign

After years of seeing him in blue and yellow Renault overalls, the sight of Fernando Alonso in McLaren colours remains a surprising sight. The change of team certainly appears to have boosted Alonso’s motivation, with the Spaniard keen to win not one, but several more titles. But however satisfied he may be with pre-season testing in the MP4-22, the one thing he refuses to do is speculate on what might happen once the racing finally gets underway in Australia next weekend…

Q: Signing the world champion indicates expectations - on both sides. You have been settling into the team over the winter. Do you think this will be a season that delivers - for both sides?
Fernando Alonso:
It has been a really motivating winter for me. I felt a little nervous at first, but that is just human nature, I didn’t know the car, I didn’t know the team. Now I am very comfortable with the MP4-22 and over the winter I have made it my business to get to know every single member of the team. You never know what might happen in Formula One, there are new rules, new cars, new tyres this year with the Bridgestone Potenzas. Until we start racing, who can tell?

Q: You have casually let slip that a third title is on your agenda. Do you think this is a possibility in 2007?
FA:
I do want to win more world titles, this is my aim during my career. To win one may have meant you had the best car that year, to win two I feel is a great achievement. But to win another, all the big names in the sport and the drivers we remember, won three or more world titles. If you ask me which is more important: winning three titles with one team or with two different teams, then the answer is easy. Will I win the drivers’ championship this year, who can say at the moment? I will fight hard with the team to try, but we will have to wait and see.

Q: At the start of February you were reported as saying the car wasn’t ready for the Melbourne grid. But after seeing the positive results from the Bahrain tests and considering that the first three races will be ‘hot’ races - there must have been a surge of confidence over the last few weeks. Is the MP4-22 ready now?
FA:
Formula One cars are constantly evolving during the pre-season and the eight months of racing. You wouldn’t expect the car to be ready for Melbourne in February, as there are weeks of development available to us. We have been pushing hard on the test track and at the McLaren Technology Centre. The car has continued to develop and we are now looking forward to getting it on track in a competitive race - only then can I answer your question!

Q: Looking at the winter tests, who would you imagine to be your strongest competitor?
FA:
There are a number of teams who have been really strong at the tests, including Ferrari, Renault, BMW, it is going to be a really competitive year.