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The essential... Fernando Alonso

26 May 2015

Over 15 glittering years in Formula One racing, Fernando Alonso has seen it all: glory and misfortune, new teams and team mates, fallouts and acrimony, and, of course, title triumphs and heartbreaks. But what is truly essential to the man many consider to be the best on the grid? From team bosses to being an actor, the 32-time Grand Prix winner gives us his lowdown...

What are the essential elements of your pre-race routine?

Fernando Alonso: I probably will disappoint some people when I say that I don't do anything strange! (laughs) I arrive at the track pretty early - something around three and a half hours before the race. Then there are some meetings with the engineers to go through the strategy and define the number of pit stops, etc. After that I go to the drivers' parade to say hello to all the fans around the track. When I come back I have 30 minutes free for me. I call my family, my girlfriend and give them an update - and then I go to the car. You see: a pretty standard procedure. Nothing funny. 

What are the essential ingredients of a good night out?

FA: Being with friends. Not having to work the next day - and not having to wake up early the next day. In the end it is always down to the vibes of how the night goes. 

What essential items must you have in your driver's room/motorhome at a race?

FA: Nothing really special. Or let me put it this way: I am quite precise on time so I have my room full of papers with all the exact times - down to every minute - of my race weekend schedule. I seriously cross out everything that I've done. This is my psychological countdown for the race. (laughs)

What essential items must you always have in your fridge at home?

FA: With so much travelling - sometimes up to three, four weeks - my fridge goes empty on the last day and what is not used up goes into the garbage bin. And when I come home it starts all over again: shopping, consuming, travelling...

What are essential qualities of a good F1 team mate?

FA: Fast, loyal to the team and a good sense of humour. We spend a lot of time together and there will always be some stressful moments - not necessarily between him and me, but in the team - so no cry baby but someone with a good sense of humour. That helps a lot.

Your essential tip for avoiding stress at airports?

FA: I don't really have one, sorry. I like to have a lot of time at the airport. I am no last minute show-up! That is stupid stress that I always try to avoid. So if my driver tells me that he's going to pick me up for the airport at 9:00 I always say make it 8.30. This extra half hour relaxes my day significantly!

What are the essential qualities of an F1 driver?

FA: You need to be a bit of an actor - sometimes. There will always be situations that come up where you have to be a bit of a fake.So you definitely need some acting qualities to make your day. You also need a good quantity of selfishness - not arrogance, but something to get you the respect of your surroundings.

What is essential to help you wind down after a race?

FA: Usually I watch the race again. I use that to calm down and review my race - then I can turn the page in the book. If I don't look I would constantly think: what happened in that phase of the race; what happened in another one. When I have seen it again, it's history and I can move on.

What are the essential elements of a great racing circuit?                

FA: Fast corners. Only that. Where you can push the car to the limit and get the maximum adrenalin kicks. Suzuka holds all that for me.

What app is it essential to have on your phone?

FA: Probably Twitter. I enjoy having contact with my fans. I am also reading the news. True it's not like reading a newspaper, but at the end of the day if you have a look in the morning on Twitter you know more or less what is going on. 

What are the essential qualities of a team boss?

FA: Honestly? I like bosses who keep the expectations realistic. Regarding the development and the resources we have in the team, it is good if they tell you the truth, as it never helps if they motivate you too much and then disappoint you. There are some bosses who sometimes use those kind of tricks - and that's not for me. I like the truth in my face. 

What is the essential Grand Prix every fan should attend at least once in their lifetime?

FA: From the lifestyle experience: Monaco. For an enthusiastic fan experience: Monza.