Alonso Wary of Ferrari Threat

Formula One World Championship leader Fernando Alonso will not allow any false sense of security to undermine his preparations for his home Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday

Alonso Wary of Ferrari Threat

The race has become special for the 23-year-old Spaniard after he won the previous three races and turned himself into a national hero by holding off World Champion Michael Schumacher's strong challenge at Imola 12 days ago.

Alonso, third in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in March, has taken 36 points from four races, 18 ahead of Toyota's Jarno Trulli with Ferrari's Schumacher joint third on 10.

"Ferrari are always competitive," Alonso responded to news that Schumacher had said the Italian team would not be competitive at the Circuit de Catalunya.

"But it seems, even if Friday means nothing, that they don't have a two-second advantage like Imola," Alonso told a news conference after the day's two practice sessions.

"It's good news for us that Ferrari are not so strong but we know that it's only Friday and for sure they have something more (to give) that we don't know."

Alonso's drive in the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola was all the more brilliant for the way he kept Schumacher at bay despite the German's two-second speed advantage.

Asked if he thought Sunday's race would be similar to Imola, Alonso said: "I hope not because that race was too much, the advantage they had."

Alonso's Renault had minor consistency problems during Friday's practice which he hoped would be ironed out with small alterations overnight.

Testing Tyres

"We tried two types of tyres a few times to see which were better," he said. "You make one time and at times another and you don't know if it's entirely down to the tyres or also the wind which has a bit of an effect and is always a major problem here in Barcelona.

"We are looking for the most constant tyres for Sunday. The wind did me a bad turn last year," added Alonso, who was fourth here in 2004 and second in 2003.

He did not think that the temperature of 36 degrees Celsius registered on the track would be to his advantage.

"All the Spanish Grands Prix have always been hot and it's gone very well for Ferrari so I hope this won't be a repeat," he said.

Schumacher has won the last four. Alonso, however, is confident of continuing his winning streak with a new engine in the car.

"I think if the car's good, I can be on the podium again or even win the race," he said, hoping to please the thousands of fans who have flocked to the race.

It is a 115,000 sellout and some 300,000 are expected at the track over the weekend.

"I'll do the maximum I can. What the people are asking is for another victory...but they understand that sometimes it's possible and sometimes it's not. It's a sport that's very competitive, I will do my best."

He would not, however, trade a win elsewhere for a victory in Spain.

"No, what's done is done...If I win here it will be very special and I'll be very happy but if I win (the next race) in Monaco it won't be any less."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso
Teams Ferrari
Author Rex Gowar
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