Q & A with Fernando Alonso

Although Ferrari has not dominated the top of the timesheets at Jerez this week in the way that it did at Valencia, Fernando Alonso's pace on a 48-lap run on Thursday underlined that the team is in great shape

Q & A with Fernando Alonso

Afterwards AUTOSPORT heard from Alonso as he discussed Ferrari's progress with the press.

Q. What is your impression of the new car now?

Fernando Alonso: It was okay. Nothing really new to say. We keep concentrating on the laps - and the number of laps in these days makes the car very strong. We've pushed some parts of the car to the limit in terms of mileage.

So we're happy with the car. We did a lot of laps in the wet on Wednesday and also in the dry so we're happy with that aspect and we'll continue working.

Q. What does it mean to you to work with Ferrari?

FA: The team spirit is very good, very special. You feel part of a big team, part of a legendary team, and it's a nice feeling. I keep enjoying life. The team is very, very friendly with me and I felt at home straightaway.

Q. How do you feel about the return of Michael Schumacher and having four world champions on the grid?

FA: Of course, I always enjoy the big names and the big battles, and for sure it's very, very special to race with Michael again. If you have a fight and you win a race it's always nicer to have a battle with Michael than any other driver.

Q. Could this be a great year for Spain in both football and Formula 1?

FA: I hope so. I think we're in a good moment in Spain with many sports at the top level, and hopefully Formula 1 can again get a chance with a Spanish driver this year.

Q. You did a very long run of nearly 50 laps in one stint on Thursday. How different did the car feel from the first lap compared to the last?

FA: It was different, but to be honest with the degradation of the tyres, the balance of the fuel - because every lap you have less and less - at the end of the day the car feels very similar every lap. You lose a bit of grip with the tyres, but you gain a little bit with the fuel.

It was a good test. We put the tyres to the limit. We've been working very closely with Bridgestone to discover the limits of the tyres for this year with heavy cars. It's very useful information. As always with tests the priority is to have valid information for the races and I think today we had very good answers on some important things.

Q. This track is better than Valencia for evaluating the car, have you learned anything new?

FA: Because of the rain to be honest in terms of set-up we didn't run with the Valencia set-up and we didn't test anything special here. Like I said, the priority was to do a lot of laps and push the engine, the gearbox and everything to the limits of their mileage.

I think the car is feeling quite good, as we felt in Valencia. No big problems. For sure there are some set-up possibilities to find a couple of tenths, but there will be time for that.

Q. You have a different tyre compound here. Was the warm-up just as good?

FA: It was good here as well. That was a very good thing about the tyres, the warm-up was very good. I think all the teams had some graining with the tyres but after a few laps you go through the graining and the tyres come back a little. We all have the same tyres, so at the end of the day we all have the same problems.

It's good but in Bahrain with the hot temperatures it will be completely different so we have to be very careful with the results from the tyres.

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