Fernando Alonso Q&A: winning for Ferrari would be very special 01 Oct 2009
After months of speculation, it is finally official - Fernando Alonso will race for Ferrari in 2010. Although the timing of the announcement, between back-to-back races, was a bit tricky for those stuck on planes on their way to Japan for this weekend's race, the media pack are pleased to see the longstanding rumours finally become reality. And as they descended on the Suzuka paddock on Thursday, there was just one man who could answer all their burning questions about the move - Alonso himself
Q: Fernando, how special will it be to drive for Ferrari?
Fernando Alonso: Very special, no doubt. All drivers dream one day of driving for Ferrari and this dream has come true for me. I'm extremely happy and I'm ready for the challenge in 2010!
Q: You must be very happy that the news is out now, after so many months of denial?
FA: Well, that hasnt changed a lot. I had anticipated that I would arrive at Ferrari for 2011, but now that things have changed, and Im here a year early, I am really happy that I dont have to wait another year.
Q: Will you be able to match up to Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher and his seven world championship titles?
FA: It will obviously not be easy and I will not arrive there just to do the same as Michael. Its true, I would like to do the same as Michael, by winning many championships, but I think that it will be very difficult. I arrive there to be in the best team possible for my career and I think that Ferrari and I share many things together - the passion for competition, to give the maximum at every race. In one word it was the best destination for my career.
Q: Will you take some of your Renault mechanics with you?
FA: No that will not be he case. That was incorrect media information. I think at Ferrari they have enough professionals to do the job.
Q: Over the last few years its been a battle between Ferrari and McLaren for the title. This year everything is different. Has that changed your opinion about your move?
FA: No. This year obviously has been a strange season. The top teams have not been able to fight for the championship, but I think that Ferrari and McLaren are still the best two teams to drive for. And I am sure they will fight for the championship again.
Q: Two weeks ago there were questions about your involvement in the Singapore incident. Did that complicate the negotiations with Ferrari or affect the timing of the announcement?
FA: No, not at all.
Q: What will you bring to Ferrari in terms of work methods or mentality?
FA: Hopefully I can give them the maximum performance in the car from a driver point of view. And outside of the car, hopefully I can be part of the team and be as professional as possible. My guess is that all the drivers want to achieve that with your team. Sometimes you succeed, sometimes not.
Q: Have you already visited the factory at Maranello?
FA: No, I have not.
Q: How is your relationship with Felipe Massa?
FA: We have a very good relationship. Felipe is a very quick driver and a very great personality. We are both Latin - Brazilian and Spanish - so that should work very well. Furthermore Felipe has been in the team for years, so he can help me to adapt to the team as quickly as possible. And with Giancarlo (Fisichella) in the team it will also very good for me, as I raced alongside him for two years at Renault and now he will also help me at my new team.
Q: When did you sign the contract?
FA: Very late - actually it was this week.
Q: Who should replace you at Renault?
FA: I have no idea but hopefully they will get a good driver, so that they can fight for races and championships over the next few years. Everybody knows how I rate Kubica, he is one of my best friends and one of the best drivers. If they have any chance to get him, I would recommend that.
Q: What do you think you can give Ferrari that they dont already have?
FA: I dont know. All I can say is that I will make sure that all my input there, my spirit, will be available 365 days a year.
Q: When will you be released from Renault to join Ferrari?
FA: Nothing has been decided at the moment.
Q: Did you speak with Flavio (Briatore) about all this?
FA: Yes, of course. I was in touch with Flavio two months ago when we were talking about 2011 at the time. Over the last few days, when the plan has changed for 2010, I have spoken with him a couple of times. He was very happy for me. He knows what Ferrari means and is very happy for my career.
Q: How is Flavio doing? We hear that he is seeking revenge?
FA: Thats difficult to answer. I only spoke with him on the telephone. But he doesnt seem to worry. Yesterday he was relaxing on the beach so he must be okay.
Q: If the rumours are true Kimi Raikkonen may join McLaren for 2010. From your experience, how will he get along with Lewis hamilton?
FA: Maybe we should wait for the confirmation because at the moment it is only speculation, and so its better not to say anything just in case it doesnt happen.
Q: Who do you think will win the championship? Jenson Button or Rubens Barrichello? And do you have any preference?
FA: No preference. Both are very nice guys and would both deserve it. I would say that Jenson has a very high chance to win the championship with the advantage he has now. I would rate his chances at 90 percent.
Q: You have already left Renault and come back. Do you think you will come back again?
FA: It is impossible to say impossible, but I really think that Ferrari will be my last team. Leaving Ferrari to change team is always a step backwards. Ferrari is more than a team, and I want to leave Formula One from there.
Q: You once said that you are thinking of quitting Formula One racing in two years. So how long is your contract?
FA: The contract is three years,with some options to continue. So hopefully I can continue as long as they want and I can finish my career here with lots of wins.
Q: Many believe that you are the most complete driver on the grid, but youve been unable to show that for quite some time. Will your move to Ferrari enable you to really show your quality as a driver?
FA: I think it is impossible to say which driver is better than another. I was lucky to have some competitive cars in the past, and I proved that I can do the job when the car is good. Sure with Ferrari I will have a competitive car. They are the best in the history of Formula One so in that case they will be able to fight for championships.
Q: What would it mean for you to win a title with Ferrari?
FA: That would make me extremely happy. Winning a championship is always something special and winning with Ferrari is even more special.