Interview with McLarens Fernando Alonso 28 Sep 2007
After a tough couple of months, all eyes are on world champion Fernando Alonso in Japan this weekend. What will be his next move? Will he stay or will he go? The answers could impact the careers of several other drivers, as team bosses hold off finalising their 2008 line-ups.
Only Alonso himself has those answers, but the Spaniard seems largely unmoved, preferring instead to brush off the speculation and focus on his title hopes and those all-important remaining races
Q: Despite the closing championship battle with Ferrari, everyone seems focused on your relationship with your team mate Lewis Hamilton - especially after Spa. Rumour has it you might not even be talking to one another
Fernando Alonso: Thats superficial. Fact is that we dont see each other very often outside the races, but when we meet - like yesterday morning - we were talking normally to each other.
Q: Do you have anything to add about the so-called spy scandal? About who said what at what time?
FA: I have nothing more to say about it. I am not that type of person who will speak out in the open about this. I will try to speak in the motorhome and otherwise try to do my job. There have been so many things said about this matter and about me that are totally wrong, but these things happen and I will not answer what the media say about me every day. I will not lose time on that. And regarding next year - I have a contract with this team so I dont see any problems with that.
Q: So your relationship with the team is okay to progress forward into next season?
FA: Seems so. I have been working with the engineers, the mechanics with everybody since the beginning of the season until now with the same relationship. They are all very professional, very focused on doing the best we can - and we are achieving good results. I have won four races, I made some good podiums and I am fighting for the world championship, so everything is going quite well for me and I am happy.
Q: We constantly read in the media that Fernando is not happy, Fernando is going back to Renault or Ferrari or Toyota. What is the truth?
FA: For that, there is nothing true and it is the same answer as before - I cannot answer every week, every day, unfounded rumours. I am completely focusing on the last three races and that is the only truth.
Q: Have recent races been difficult because you and team principal Ron Dennis have not been talking?
FA: That is not true. We speak, small talk, but the media have made up that we are have not talked for the last three months. I will try to win this race, the rest is not very important.
Q: Have you found your previous championship battles easier?
FA: All of them are similar in a way. When you fight for a world championship everything is difficult and hard and there is no moment to relax in a championship fight. In 2005 it was probably more comfortable when I was 20 points ahead of Kimi (Raikkonen) and Mclaren was having mechanical problems. Last year and this year it is obviously very tight. Last year I arrived in Japan on equal points with Michael (Schumacher), this year we have three races to go and I am two points behind so for sure it is similar in a way to last year.
Q: Is it easier for you to chase or to lead?
FA: I prefer to be in front. If something happens you are on the safe side. If you are behind and something happens then you can lose your opportunity. But this championship is as it is and I hope that I can do better in the races to come and end up in front.
Q: Coming back to this race, its a fast track and the season has so far indicated that Lewis is doing better on the faster tracks. Do you think that you can break this pattern here in Fuji?
FA: I dont know if this is a pattern. I have never thought of that. I hope that I can do it here but todays times are not important for the set-up. The set-up is what matters, not necessarily the times, as Friday is a very important step for Sundays race. And it is impossible to predict now whats going to happen on Sunday. Small details make the race better or worse for you.
Q: You said in Spa that knowing the team, the car and the tyres better is now helping you. When did you realise that you were over these problems?
FA: You keep learning constantly every weekend so for sure I am better now than in Spa, and in Spa I was better than in Monza. But for sure it was a bigger step than from Magny-Cours or from Indianapolis.
Q: How difficult is it to weigh up the risks of fighting with your team mate for the title - does it require a different approach?