Q & A with Fernando Alonso

Q: Was qualifying a big disappointment?

Q & A with Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso: I think we were expecting some problems after free practice, so it is not a surprise to be P12. But we arrive here expecting something better and fighting for the top five or something like that in qualifying, and we are not in that position. But this is the first race.

After the winter it is the first time we run all together with the same conditions in Q1 and Q2, so it is the real first opportunity to see how competitive we are, obviously we are not quick enough and we need to improve. That is for sure.

Q: Do you think the car has potential?

FA: Yes absolutely, the car has the potential and it is a good car I think. I still feel optimistic because last year we arrive here, I did P12 in qualifying also but the car was undrivable and there was no room to improve and no light at the end of the tunnel.

This year, okay, we are P12, we are not quick enough but the car was not too bad to drive. And already we have some good results in the new wind tunnel with pieces coming in the next two or three grands prix, so we are still there.

It is very early in the championship, obviously we need to score as many points as possible in these first few races. Brawn GP is unreachable, they are too quick, but the other ones, they are there.

There are three or four tenths in Q2 - I was P12, but apart from Brawn P3 was four tenths in front of me, so it is possible to reduce that gap and it is possible to fight. We need to find these four or five tenths as soon as possible.

Q: Are you surprised by Red Bull?

FA: Yes, they were quick and in winter they were not very quick, so that can be one of the biggest surprises, but we see tomorrow. Qualifying is one thing and the race is another.

They stop the car a couple of times on the circuit, also Mark did not stop but ran very little on Friday. So the race is long and you need a strong car to finish the race, and maybe we need to see Red Bull, how it is doing tomorrow, for that.

Q: Ferrari Massa says if the Brawn pace is as strong as today, then the world title is already over. What do you think?

FA: I think the race pace [of Brawn] will be even stronger than qualifying. In qualifying when we put on new tyres our cars are good to drive. When it is a scrubbed set and the tyres are old, the mechanical grip of the car is much more important.

So the Brawn in the race will be much quicker than in qualifying, that is for sure. But I think they don't go flat out. It was the same in Q1 and Q2. They used scrub tyres, so they go 100 per cent when they want. In the race after a couple of laps they will slow down, otherwise they will lap everybody.

Q: Are you amazed about the turnaround of this team?

FA: Everybody was surprised when they tested the first time the car. Now we arrive to the first grand prix, those testing times were real and they are better than everybody. It is true and hard to believe that one month ago they were sitting at home, and now they are ready to fight for the world championship. Now we have to wait.

The championship is long. Also last year, there were teams that started very strong and after three or four races they were at the back of the grid. The times are very close now, in four or five tenths you can be P3 or P15, so we need to wait and see. But for sure Brawn at the moment, the first four or five grands prix, they will be racing more or less alone.

Q: Does your current situation remind you of last year?

FA: No, I think it is better this year. Last year the car was undrivable and there were no hopes on that car. With this year, more or less, we are in the same position unfortunately, with a very difficult start and our performance is not what we were expecting. But I still am confident that we can turn around again as we did last year, although hopefully not as late.

Q: Are you worried about the light conditions for the race?

FA: No. We are still okay and for the race you will find as far as it is sunny it is okay. If there are some clouds then it will help with the problem of the sun but maybe then it is too dark, although hopefully people will enjoy it more.

Q. Six cars at the front of the grid are without KERS. Was running KERS a mistake?

FA: It will be similar. In our simulation, in lap time wise, it is similar but is maybe an advantage for a race situation. If you have to fight with someone then maybe the KERS is giving you an opportunity but we will find out in the race.

It is true that the teams that chose KERS spent all winter developing this new system. We are now not competitive; it is a shame as it is what the FIA wanted. Teams that did more or less what the FIA wanted, we are not quick enough, and teams that were not following the FIA direction, they are quick.

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