Q & A with Fernando Alonso

Q. What is your opinion on this track? Do you like it?

Q & A with Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso: I think it was okay, the first day on a new track. I like it. I had fun driving here today. There are some good parts of the track, like the first sector, high-speed corners, and then the last sector is a combination of very similar corners - always 90 degrees. But, you enjoy it because there is always something to do on the track. There is no time to breathe.

Maybe the middle sector is a little bit more normal, with two long straights, with two big braking points, and maybe the part of the track that you enjoy less. But overall it has been a good first day, especially the second session with the day and then getting dark at the end of the session. It was also good without any problems the transition between day and night, so I think they did a very good and we are ready for Sunday.

Q. Will it be good for racing because there will be some mistakes?

FA: No, I don't think there will be many mistakes on Sunday, because we are all learning the track today and pushing. Once you know the limits on Sunday, we will see very few mistakes from us. The only problem to overtake and have some good racing will be the dust, sand, off line. If you want to attack or if you want to start an overtaking manoeuvre, you need to be very precise and very clear that you want to do it because when you put some dust on the tyres, it lasts for four or five corners. You then have very little grip because your tyres are completely dirty. I think that will stop us from having a more aggressive approach.

Q. How tricky is the triple right?

FA: Nothing. The first two rights are flat out, and then for the last you brake for the third and there is not any big problem there.

Q. And the pitlane exit tunnel?

FA: It is slow, that is all. I think it is not dangerous, it is not ugly, it is just slow. So, obviously when we switch off the pit limiter we are not used to braking, we are just used to accelerating - and then rejoining the track. That is the only difference we can see, and for the drivers we are a little bit uncertain about the pit lane exit because it is the opposite for what we are used to. You need to brake and you need to turn in, and then you need to accelerate. And maybe the place you join the track is probably not the best place, because it is Turn 3, you join the outside. For sure, knowing that this is a new track and you have thousands of possibilities for the pit lane exit, maybe this is not the best one. But once they chose this one, it is not a problem for us.

Q. Looking back on the season, what is your view of the way things went?

FA: I think it was a disappointment, because we started the championship with very high hopes. We were thinking to fight for the world championship and very soon we realised we were not in that position. So it was a frustrating season. Overall, you need to take away the positive things.

Myself, and my performance, I am happy with. Relating to my team-mates all season, I know that people think that I need to beat my team-mate always by rule - but this is not mathematics. F1 is always different and I have been beating them for two years guys who are winning in GP2 and are champions in different categories. It is not that I am beating someone who arrived in F1 by luck. I am happy with my performance and hopefully next year I can prove that I am better than ever now.

Q. Why did Romain Grosjean and Nelson Piquet suffer so much in the Renault when we saw Kobayashi do such a good job straight away in the Toyota?

FA: I think they don't suffer. I think they are doing a super job. We have at the moment one of the worst cars on the grid, or the worst car now, because Toro Rosso is in front of us, and Force India is in front of us. Williams and Toyota are in front of us so with that case, we do whatever we can and we do our maximum all the time. Unfortunately they arrive in Renault at the moment we are not competitive. I have been doing some good laps in qualifying and I have been putting myself in Q3, in 90 per cent of the races, but they were little miracles every Saturday.

If you take apart that, we were not competitive. They were doing the maximum and a very good job. For sure, if they were sitting in a Toyota now as Kobayashi they might even be able to fight for a podium because they are champions in GP2.

Q. You were in the FIA press conference when Jarno Trulli and Adrian Sutil had a bit of a row behind you - and Nico Rosberg has expressed concern about drivers moving over on rivals, like Kobayashi on Nakajima in Brazil. Is driving standards an issue that needs addressing?

FA: Yes. For sure, we need to review what happened in Brazil. There were two or three moments of the race that we will discuss in the drivers' briefing, because for sure all of us have different opinions. But especially the Kobayashi/Nakajima movement, while you are on braking for sure it was not what you are supposed to do. There is not a clear rule written that we can go for it, but between the drivers we know what we can do and what we cannot do. And on braking, any movement is not allowed. Maybe because Kobayashi was new, maybe we need to speak to him.

Q. How important is the last race for Renault for you?

FA: It is very important, because it is the last race. I want to finish on a high and for all the people, the mechanics and engineers, I have been there seven years now - so it will be a shame if we do the last race in the middle of the pack, fighting for nothing, and it will be a shame. It will be nice to have some points, but at the moment we are realistic and we are not in that position - so on Saturday we need to find four or five tenths to be in Q3. So, let's hope for that.

Q. Have you made any progress yet on knowing what day you will start working for Ferrari?

FA: Nothing. No, no date. For sure, December or before January it will be nice to start doing some things, but very basic things like the seat or the ear plugs - the type of things that take time but are better to do as soon as possible and not wait for February. But nothing really big planned now.

Q. Will it be a weird winter ending this race and not getting back in an F1 car for several months?

FA: Yes, I think for everybody it will be a long winter without testing until February. It will be very long and maybe this can change for the future. At least one test would be nice, because with no testing during the championship plus these long winters, it is not easy for us - and for sure for the young drivers who have one or two tests in November. It is not enough.

Drivers praise Abu Dhabi circuit

Previous article

Drivers praise Abu Dhabi circuit

Next article

Abu Dhabi Friday quotes: Force India

Abu Dhabi Friday quotes: Force India
Load comments
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Plus

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz Jr. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021