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Alonso aiming for a winning streak
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  22 Jul 2011   |  8:24 am GMT  |  51 comments

Fernando Alonso appeared in bullish mood on the first day of the German Grand Prix weekend, saying that he is now “very, very confident in the car” and predicting that it is now capable of taking him and the team on a winning streak, which may or may not give them a chance in the championship.

“We have, I think, 32 points more than last year from these same nine races, so we are definitely improving our results, always trying to do our best,” said Alonso. “But we have to accept that Red Bull was very, very dominant in the first half. There is nothing we can do about that now except work hard and keep enjoying every Sunday. Then, at the end we will see where we are.

“We face difficulties in terms of the championship this year because of the points lost earlier, but we will not give up,” he said. “We will try and win races and wait for some mistakes from Red Bull and when we reach the key point of the championship, we will see if we are still too far behind. We are having a good championship now and we will try to keep doing the same. .”

Alonso said that the conveyor belt of development parts is now starting to bear fruit, taking the pace of the car closer to Red Bull in a qualifying condition – at Silverstone it was just 1/10th of a second. But the car was also faster on race day.

It appears that the unique conditions of Silverstone, where off throttle diffuser blowing was cut to 10%, may have helped Ferrari more than its rivals, taking a few tenths of a second less performance away from them, but it’s hard to quantify because the development parts, such as the new rear wing also improved its performance in high and low speed corners. The Ferrari was the faster car on race day. We will see if that pattern is repeated this weekend.

Looking back to the early part of the season, before Pat Fry took over as technical director, Alonso said, “We had brought a lot of new parts, some of which worked and others that did not.

“Then in the last four or five races, every new part we brought has worked fine, which is definitely good news, not just for this year but for future development for next year. I am very, very confident in the car, the engine and all our designers are very motivated now, knowing that everything they did, working day and night is producing good results on Sunday.”

Former technical director Aldo Costa left Ferrari recently, having been replaced by Fry in May.

Fry says that the choice of tyres for this weekend, soft and medium, should suit Ferrari and believes that the team is on the right track for a run of results in the second half of the season,

“What that win does is show that we have understood our problems and that we are working in the right direction,” said Fry. “We will continue to develop the car as quickly as we can, and each step we make improves our understanding, which is important as it also impacts on work for next year’s car.

“We have a few more updates for the Nürburgring, and then one further update for Hungary the following week. We are keeping the pressure on to develop as much as we can before the summer break.”

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51 Comments
  1. goferet says:

    This is just perfect. A fired up Alonso can only mean bad news for Sebastian Vettel/Red Bull and very good news for Lewis Hamilton & Mclaren.

    I admit, Alonso is driving better this year than he’s been doing since 05-06 especially when the car was a handful to drive (Last year he was just benefiting from a unreliable Red Bull)

    And seeing as we’re now officially at the half way stage of the Championship, Sebastian Vettel is in real trouble for Alonso is going to take away points from him as Lewis bags win after win & since 2002 season (excluding 04), we have seen that the strongest driver in the first half hasn’t had it their own way in the second half so it’s still all to play for.

    But as for this weekend, Alonso has no chance of a win for didn’t he ”win” the German grand prix last year or more accurately wasn’t he gifted a fixed race.

    And what’s worse is he won the last race so all in all a repeat win for Alonso is next to impossible matter of fact, I suspect Massa will finish ahead of the so-called ”Most Complete Driver of the Grid” Lol

    1. Galapago555 says:

      Alonso was given a gifted race last year, exactly the same kind of a gifted race that Lewis Hamilton was given in the same circuit in 2008.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epI6u6uA8hM

      1. Anthony says:

        why would felipe massa and nelson piquet gift McLaren a win?

      2. TheLegend says:

        Hey man, did you send an SMS to Marca TV on FP today? I thought i heard the commentator say your nick…

      3. Galapago555 says:

        LOL… yep, I did, in fact I sent via Twitter the answer to a question they were making (in what Nurburgring F1-stats is not Michael Schumacher the number one?) It’s nice to be on holidays, isn’t it?

        Btw, the answer was in Pole Positions – Jim Clark has made it 4 times, while Schuey “only” holds 3 pole positions here.

    2. garoidb says:

      Amusing.

      For a guy whose two world championships came from early season dominance, he has made a habit of coming on very strong in the second half of the season ever since (well, in 2007, 2008 and 2010 anyway). I expect more of the same this year.

      As for Hamilton …

      1. unoc12 says:

        Agree. His win in Singapore 2008 was fantastic! Highlight of Formula 1.

        Watching Alonso, despite wanting Webber to win last year 2nd half was great fun. He didn’t ahve the best car and was winnind and podiums almost every race.

        Not quite sure how Hamilton fits in there? I’m pretty sure he is still crashing and McLaren is still failing Quali 101 (monaco and silverstone) and how to fuel a race car (silverstone and china).

        Button doesn’t have the pace.
        Hamilton can’t stay out of trouble this year
        Massa is still lacking a bit and suprisingly not as fast as Alonso, but things could change. (see 07/08. Raikkonen had a batch of bad luck and suddenly he had to help Massa)
        Alonso is pushing hard and his car is coming along
        Webber has had all the bad luck due fromt last year (see his Williams, Jaguar and Minardi days)
        Vettel has the best car currently and is making use of it.

        For the sake of Formula 1 I hope Vettel slows and we see a real fight.

      2. Dave C says:

        Well at least Fernando and Ferrari are giving it a go in keeping Vettel honest for the rest of the season, it’s a good rivalry between the 2 best drivers on the grid, which is more than what Hamilton is doing recently.

    3. drums says:

      “Alonso is driving better this year than he’s been doing since 05-06″.

      HeHe. This is just what Alonso keeps saying, that is, that his driving is just improving year after year.

    4. quetric says:

      “as Lewis bags win after win”

      this is the funniest thing i’ve read here all season long

      1. Tom says:

        Agreed!

    5. Justin Bieber says:

      Wow, what an incoherent but amusing post! I don’t know where to start..

      “Sebastian Vettel is in real trouble for Alonso is going to take away points from him as Lewis bags win after win”
      I don’t get your Hamilton reference, are you suggesting that the McLaren is faster than RedBull and Ferrari at this point in the season???

      “Alonso has no chance of a win for didn’t he ”win” the German grand prix last year or more accurately wasn’t he gifted a fixed race.”
      So If I understand correctly, because Massa was asked to move over for him in Hockenheim last year, he will be unable to win at the Nürburgring this year.. make sense.

      “he won the last race so all in all a repeat win for Alonso is next to impossible matter of fact, I suspect Massa will finish ahead”
      Its true that when a top driver like Alonso wins a race, its fair to expect its much slower team mate to win the next one.

      Goferet, please keep entertaining us with your insightful writing ;-)

      1. Mark says:

        I’m glad somebody else thought this….I thought maybe I was missing something!

      2. CartRider says:

        Really thanks! I am not a native English speaker and I thought that my English was failing me when I was reading his/her post.

    6. Phil says:

      Simply baffling, yet it makes for an amusing read.

  2. Brace says:

    Well, if Ferrari can take the fight to Red Bull, it will make this into one hell of a season.
    Forza Ferrari! :)

  3. Werewolf says:

    Fighting Red Bull for the championships is probably a tall order now but for the fans the fun will hopefully be in the trying!

  4. Haydn Lowe says:

    In my heart I’m hoping that history can repeat itself and that, come the end of the season, there is still someone other than Vettel in with a shout for the championship. My head tells me otherwise though. It could be close, but I feel that even with an Alonso clean sweep through to the end of the season Vettel has done enough. A charging Ferrari could still make things very interesting though.

  5. Galapago555 says:

    I read in Spanish “El País” (www.elpais.com) that he said something like “Thinking of winning the WDC means you don’t understand what F1 is all about”.

    http://bit.ly/qrvRlI

    Sorry, the article is in Spanish.

  6. Dan says:

    Although Alonso has 32 more points from the same races this season than last, the trouble is that nearly all of the other races have been won by Vettel, whereas last year Vettel, Webber, Hamilton and Button had shared the wins between them.

    Ferrari do look like they’ve genuinely improved their pace irrespective of the exhaust-blowing. There are a lot of races to go and anything can happen, but really Alonso needs to hope that Vettel has some retirements to have any chance. Perhaps that could happen if Alonso and maybe Massa can be ahead of Vettel at the start and then he’ll be backed into the chasing pack a bit more and be forced to ‘race’, as opposed to storming away at the front. Now the season is nearly half way people should start running out of engines soon so he might have some mechanical failures, although that applies to everyone.

  7. KK says:

    It’s ofcourse difficult to quantify how much they benefited from off throttle ban but for sure, they have benefited. It’s just that their race pace was all of a sudden much better than Redbull and all of a sudden, Redbull drivers struggled in medium corners in S2 in Silverstone unlike how the season had progressed till then.

    As I type this, Fernando has stormed to P1 in FP1 in Nurburgring, leaving me in a spot of bother really. I want the last Ferrari world champion to remain as Kimi Raikkonen for some time atleast because Fernando doesn’t bring anything extra into the table which Kimi didn’t. All these leadership talks are lines written on water as Redbull clearly never had a leader in 2010, yet they won both the championships and is on course to repeat the feat in 2011. You just need a driver who can give sensible feedbacks to the engineers, take maximum out of the car and doesn’t make stupid and outrageous maneuvers. And in this respect, Kimi is at par if not better than Fernando.

    ~kimster4life~

    1. Tom says:

      They had no leader in 2010, and Alonso nearly won it. Vettel is clearly leading in 2011, and so far they’ve run away with it.

    2. nino says:

      Of course!….
      Kimi became a truck driver in the mean time.

    3. Justin Bieber says:

      Seriously, people need to move on. Kimi was sacked because he was slow in 08/09(compared to Massa) and didn’t seem to give a sh*t.

      Ferrari was willing to pay him millions to get him out and hire a proper team leader. A team will only trow away that kind of money when there are completely fed up with an under achieving top driver.

      1. KK says:

        the same underachieved top driver who achieved miraculous feats with a car which has gone past it’s development midway into the season. Ferrari said they need a leader in Alonso but it’s just the peculiar Ferrari or should I say Domenicalli way of working. And ofcourse you are for sure that nothing inside Ferrari slowed Kimi down.

  8. Irish con says:

    I expect alonso to score more points from now to the end of the season than anybody else but I also expect vettel to still win the title with ease. Unless webber and massa get there act together properly it will be vettel and alonso 1-2 for most of the rest of the races.

  9. HansB says:

    Until last races, Vettel was mostly not put under a serious lot of pressure. However, as the Ferrari-Alonso train is now moving very fast, Vettel will start feeling pressure soon.
    And under pressure we know he has made mistakes in the past.
    Allthough it is a tough one, I still hope we get to see an interesting run towards the final round, like last year !

  10. Dom Jones says:

    F1 fans ideally want two things: 1) Exciting races and 2) an exciting championship.

    In recent years we’ve had mostly poor races but pretty good championships. This year the championship is a bit of a bore but the races are great.

    As great as these races are, though, I think I’d prefer the exciting championship. Very quick guy + quickest car is not much fun (1992, 2002, 2004, 2011) especially these days when car’s don’t break down.

    I don’t see how realistically anyone can catch Vettel. It would need only one driver to consistently challenge him and pick up good points as oppose to Ham, But, Alo and Web all taking points off each other. It would also need some mistakes or breakdowns from Vettel.

    I don’t think Vettel is all that great mixing it in a fight, but so long as he keeps blitzing qualifying and the first 3-4 laps, he isn’t going to be in a fight.

    I’d love to see Hamilton or Alonso launch a credible challenge in the second half of the season, but I think if I was one of them, I might be thinking seriously of switiching attention to 2012 and hopefully getting a headstart.

  11. Michael S says:

    I am a huge Vettel fan, but I see troube from Ferrari soon. many argue Vettel is favored at Red Bull, but there is no question Alonso is #1 at Ferrari and Massa gets out of the way. Therefore Vettel could be battling both Alonso and a re energized Webber

  12. Jo Torrent says:

    Friday gave the proof that Ferrari pace is genuine and that Paddy Lowe PR Bull**it about McLaren loosing 0,8s and Ferrari only 0,2 due to blown diffuser limitation in Silverstone.

    1. irish con says:

      agree with this but it was pretty obvious that ferrari’s pace was real from sector 2 in silverstone race when almost no braking and off throttle required. listening to mclaren is the same from start of year to the end. pr nonsense.

    2. Damian J says:

      And there’s never any bull&**t coming from Ferrari is there…..such as when Massa was required to give up a win for Alonso at Hockenheim 2010. We were all treated as fools!

      1. Valerie Barnard says:

        How can you possibly know irrefutably that Massa would have won the Hockenheim race last year if he hadn’t (allegedly) been instructed to let his teammate pass him on track??

        Please don’t forget that Rob Smedley’s exact words over the radio to Massa were “Fernando is faster than you”. Are you disputing that Alonso wasn’t actually faster than Massa or questioning ‘the team’s’ decision not to let Massa hold up Alonso any longer and back him into the car behind who was rapidly gaining on him (forgotten who that was for the moment?).

        Alonso’s notable achievements in the interim since Hockenheim surely prove that he deserves to be Ferrari’s No.1 driver and have you (or anyone else) ever stopped to think for one moment that Alonso’s reluctance to aggressively battle with Massa to get past him might just have something to do with Felipe’s very serious accident at the same track just a year earlier??

        How do you think Fernando would have felt if he had tussled with Massa and they had come together and/or Massa crashed and got hurt again as a result. Any other driver and Alonso wouldn’t have hesitated but this was an exceptional set of circumstances and (believe it or not) Alonso is a very sensitive and caring person.

        We all know (and Martin Brundle and David Coulthard confirmed during and after the Hockenheim race) that team orders are (and always have been) given by all the teams albeit some more surreptitiously than others.

        The Massa/Alonso ‘team order’ controversy undoubtedly contributed to the rule change for 2011 which allow team orders to be given. Consequently Christian Horner openly instructed Mark Webber not to overtake his teammate Vettel on the penultimate lap at Silverstone. Yet even though this team order was perfectly legal Horner’s “Mark retain the gap” caused a bit of a furore. We (like the individual drivers concerned) just have to bite the bullet and accept the teams’ decisions.

        My personal opinion: Would/could Alonso have got past Massa in Germany last year? Yes absolutely! Would/could Webber have got past Vettel at Silverstone 2 laps from the finish line? Yes absolutely!

        Two completely different scenarios but both ‘orders’ were for the good of the respective teams’ concerned and at least Red Bull and Ferrari don’t resort to other ‘methods’ of slowing one of their drivers so that the other one can surge ahead of him?!?

        Enough said I think! [ A bit too much actually - please keep posts shorter in future. Thanks - mod]

      2. Damian J says:

        Read the original comment. In the same context as that quoted about Paddy Lowe, one might conclude that Ferrari’s denial of team orders was PR bull$**t.

        And because Smedley said “Fernando is faster than you”, does that necessarily mean that he was. I think not.

        Smedley communicating team orders to Massa, not because he was necessarily slower. Does that mean Alonso was incapable of over taking his team mate? Catching a driver is one thing but over taking is another!

    3. Damian J says:

      From the qualy performance at Nurburgring it would seem that Ferrari’s pace at Silverstone was greatly aided by the off throttle gasses issue hurting the other teams….so much for all the Alonso hype coming from certain section of the F1 fanbase.

  13. nino says:

    It just needs a DNF or few banana skins here and there for Vettel, to change the whole picture…

  14. Bill says:

    What a stunning photograph :-)

    1. drums says:

      Agreed. I’ve loved it.

  15. Kshitij Gopal says:

    This is all conjecture. There is no way to know how quick the Ferrari is until we see a dry quali and race. As this is an unlikely occurance in the next 2 days, lets focus on the racing. DRS and KERS should mean drivers do not have to come out of turns at half throttle while another car overtakes.

    1. Quattro_T says:

      Given how Ferrari (or more specifically Alonso) have performed in Silverstone and FP1 and FP2 in Germany, I think they will be well ahead of RB given normal warm conditions. Ferrari are not able to show their true pace ATM, due to the cold conditions. They have bigger problems getting heat into their tyres in cold conditions (also enjoying less degradiation in normal conditions), which has a negative impact on lap times.

  16. Bill Day says:

    When Alonso makes this kind of statement, much of it must be aimed at the team, from top brass to mechanics. He does this consistently, he always sounds genuine, he always sounds like he’s savoring the fight, and he always says he believes they can come out on top.

    What is this? It’s the No. 1 driver being a team leader.

    1. Bill Day says:

      I left off the last thought of my comment, which is:

      Observe, Lewis Hamilton, and learn.

  17. jamie says:

    alonso is clearly a great driver,as are vettel and hamilton.what i’d love to see is all three in nearly equal cars,with the advantage changing on a race by race basis. schumacher v hakkinen was a wonderful rivalry – and excuse the pun – but atm the saddest thing is we are missing out on a TRIvalry!!!

  18. Pete S. says:

    I love how Alonso’s always lurking.
    He did it to Kimi in ’05 and Schumacher in ’06.
    He always seemed to be there when someone else pushed it too far and broke!!
    He waits for the right moment and goes for the kill when opportunity strikes.
    He’s also not overly anxious by attempting to win the whole race from 10th place within the first three laps! That’s an experienced champion for you unlike some other drivers that seriously lack the “complete” driver description!!

    1. Eagle Eyes says:

      Ohh pleeeze … all the drivers’ are guilty of lurking and going for the kill if the opportunity strikes but I think you’ll find that Alonso doesn’t hang about if there is the remotest chance that he can overtake the car in front and sprint into some clean air … yes he sometimes stealthily waits and hangs back but when he does seize the moment he always passes cleanly and clinically with no incidents or accidents (unlike some other harebrained and couldn’t-care-less-about-the-consequences drivers??) … it’s called being patient and confident Pete … that’s not to say that some of Alonso’s passes haven’t been lightningly swift/white-knuckle and breathtaking to behold!!

      [Post way too long. Please do not leave long posts, thanks = Mod]

  19. michaelangellis says:

    goferet, stop smoking funny mushrooms

  20. DH says:

    James, any pitlane talk that McLaren regrets letting Fry go? Thanks.

  21. JohnBt says:

    Pat Fry & Fernando Alonso, very good combination.

    I suspect Nurburgring will be more exciting than Silverstone.

  22. Sergio says:

    From now the key is the obligation to maintain same engine mapping after qualy. Things has changed and it’s “necessary” for RB’s Staff to talk with Webber about his nº2 posibilities in race. Before that, that kind of discussions were not necessary. Far, far ahead of the aussie we had the Halmut Marko´’s choice, the great champion unbeatable with no questions about his astounding performance. No James, F1 is something more than races.

  23. Damian J says:

    So Alonso is now starting to get the benefit of Pat Fry’s new team, McLaren Ferrari, putting into practice his acquired knowledge from Woking.

    I wonder if they will change the colour to rocket red??

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