Alonso looking forward to hometown Renault demonstration 02 Sep 2009
Fernando Alonso is gearing up for a very special Renault Roadshow this Saturday on the streets of Oviedo, the former champions hometown in northern Spain. The event will take place in the city centre in front of the Plaza de America on a 1.8-kilometre temporary track where Alonso will drive last year's Renault F1 car, the R28, and various other Renault road cars. The track, which has been specially created, will also include Calle del Conde de Toreno, one of the main highways in Oviedo, offering spectacular viewing opportunities with over 100,000 fans expected to turn out and watch the show, which will get underway at midday
Q: Fernando, you will have the chance to drive your F1 car on the streets of your hometown.You must be very excited
Fernando Alonso: Yes, it will be fantastic and definitely one of the moments of the year for me. It has been one of my dreams to drive my F1 car on the streets where I grew up in front of my family, friends and the people who have always supported me. After the difficult year we have had, it will be nice to experience something different and to celebrate the magic of Formula One. I always enjoy the roadshows, but this one will be extra special.
Q: How many people do you think will come and watch the show?
FA: Difficult to say but I hope as many people as possible as it will be a great day and I'm sure the fans will enjoy it. Hopefully there will be more than 100,000 people but Oviedo is quite small so they will need to come from other cities as well. It will be a nice chance for me to say 'thank you' to my fans for their support so I will do my best to put on a great show.
Q: Tell us a bit about Oviedo and what it's like?
FA: It's a small industrial town in the north of Spain, but it's a beautiful area that is very green and fresh as it rains quite often. The people are friendly and most of my family and friends still live there so it's a very special place for me.
Q: What is your earliest memory of life in Oviedo?
FA: I remember my school days. We lived about a kilometre from my school so I would walk there each morning with my mother or grandmother. My mother and father both worked so I spent a lot of time with my grandmother and my sister and had a very happy childhood. I also remember the times with my school mates as we used to play football and basketball together.
Q: Did you enjoy school?
FA: Yes, I enjoyed my school days as I liked studying and I was always well prepared for exams. I made a lot of friends at school and they remain by best friends today.
Q: Were you in the sports' teams at school?
FA: Yes, I played a lot of football and I was a goalkeeper - that's my favourite position as you don't sweat too much!
Q: Does your family still live in Oviedo and do you get a chance to return there often?
FA: My family still live in Oviedo, although they now live outside the city instead of in the centre. I can't visit Oviedo as often I would like as I live in Switzerland and I have a busy schedule with all the races and commitments during the season. I try to go back every couple of months for four or five days and I always enjoy this time as much as I can.
Q: Your father was an amateur kart racer - how did he become interested in kart racing?
FA: He managed to build a home-made go-kart with some friends and they enjoyed it so they started racing each other and entered the local championship of Oviedo. Then my dad built a go-kart for my sister when she was seven, but she didn't like it so my dad put me in the kart. I was only two years old at the time and I enjoyed it so it became my go-kart.
Q: What was that first go-kart like?
FA: Obviously it was very small with a lot of extensions so I could reach the pedals. It was red and white as it was 1984/1985 and I think my father was inspired by the McLaren colours when he made the kart. We used to take it to a car park and I would drive laps, but the kart was very slow so my father could walk alongside me.
Q: Did your dad ever race with you?
FA: He did only one race against me when I was ten or 11 years old and he managed to beat me! But that was his last race because once he had beaten me he didn't want to race against me anymore!
Q: How difficult was it to follow Formula One in Spain while you were growing up?
FA: It was very difficult and I didn't really follow Formula One until I was sixteen or seventeen. There was no live television coverage when I was young and we didn't have the internet coverage like there is today. So I used to watch football - the Spanish League - and that was my main entertainment.