Tag Archives: Fernando Alonso

Interview with Fernando Alonso


by Jake McMillan

I visited Maranello yesterday and caught up with Ferrari F1 driver Fernando Alonso in a quiet cafe to chat to him about the upcoming 2012 F1 season and life in general.

JM: Mr Alonso, always good to see you. How are you feeling about the upcoming season?

FA: Jake, you can call me Ferdie, you know this [touches my leg]

JM: I told you! [removes hand] Not whilst we are working.

FA: But Jake baby, you know you make my inner bull crazy [tries to touch leg again but JM smacks it] okay, I am looking forward to this season as much as I am looking to forward to our sexy time.

JM: Fernando!!

FA: I love it when my little torito gets all angry … okay, Jake baby, I tell you, then we do boom boom. I was pleased how things went at the test in Jerez, we got through all our testing programme and understand better how to set up the car.

JM: A lot of people say the stepped platypus nose of this year’s Ferrari is rather unnattractive.

FA: Well, some say this, but then my nose is not that pretty and I am super quick and I know you think I am beautiful, don’t you? My little torito baby.

JM: Fernando! Do you think this year’s championship will be closer than last year’s?

FA: Absolutely. Red Bull will be quick of course, but because we don’t have blown diffusers I expect McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes all to be very close. Even some other teams may be up there. Lotus looked quick straight out of the box.

JM: With the return of Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus, there will be 6 World Champions on the grid. Does this make it more exciting?

FA: Not quite as exciting as your cheeky face, my little torito, but yes very much. We are in a golden era of Formula 1 with many top level drivers. It will make it difficult to win, but then you get the greatest satisfaction from achieving a great result against the greatest competition.

JM: Will Ferrari win at the first Grand Prix at Australia?

FA: I hope so, we will try very hard. … Can we finish now? Me have horn of giant bull.

JM: Sure, get your pants off.

Vettel to become 2011 World Champion in Japan


With one week to go until the 2011 Singapore Grand Prix and leading by 112 points, Vettel must know how close he is to becoming World Champion two years in a row. It is not a question any more of IF he can do it, it is now WHEN he will be crowned the 2011 F1 World Champion.

Vettel can become World Champion in Singapore if:


  • Vettel is 2nd AND Alonso is 8th or lower AND neither Jenson Button nor Mark Webber finish 6th or higher

  • Vettel is 3rd AND Alonso is 9th or lower AND neither Jenson Button nor Mark Webber finish 8th or higher
If Vettel finishes 4th or lower, he cannot become World Champion in Singapore, even if second placed Alonso fails to finish.
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So, if Vettel wins again in Singapore he stands a good chance of becoming World Champion, but it is more likely that he will officially become World Champion at the following race in Japan.
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What Needs to be Done to Beat Vettel?


by Jake McMillan

The 2011 Belgian Grand Prix yesterday was a very entertaining race, but another sight of the Vettel victory finger means that is now extremely difficult for anyone to stop him achieving another F1 Championship.

Yesterday’s result means that Massa (on 74 points) cannot win the Championship now, but there is still a mathematical chance for Webber (167 points), Alonso (157 points), Button (149 points) and Hamilton (146 points). A closer look at the mathematical position reveals the following:

  • The earliest Vettel could potentially win the Championship is in Singapore (2 races time)
  • If second placed Webber won ALL the remaining races, Vettel would need to average 4th place (12 pts) to still win Championship
  • If Alonso, Button or Hamilton won ALL the remaining races, Vettel would need to average 5th place (10 pts) to still win Championship (note: 10.4pts in case of Alonso)
The likelihood of one of these 4 drivers winning ALL the remaining 7 races is extremely unlikely and it is more probable that these will be split between them making it is very easy for Vettel to win the Championship. If he took a a very cautious approach and finished in 6th place at each remaining race, he would still be world champion even if Webber won 3 races and finished 2nd in the other four! 
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Even if he has one retirement (DNF), he can still average 6th place and will still likely be World Champion if the wins are shared between the other four drivers.
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Conclusion: For Vettel to be beaten to the 2011 F1 World Championship crown, the following has to happen at the very minimum:
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– Vettel needs at least one DNF
– Webber needs to win at least 3 of remaining 7 races
– Alonso needs to win at least 4 of remaining 7 races
– Button & Hamilton need to win at least 5 of remaining 7 races
– A miracle
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Button’s Amazing Journey to Victory – Canadian GP 2011


Jenson Button’s amazing victory in Canada involved going into the pits 6 times as well as being last as he entered lap 41 before making a remarkable come back and taking the lead from Vettel on the very last lap of the race.

Let’s go through in detail Button’s rollercoaster ride:

Qualified 7th

Lap 5 – After safety car comes in Button is up to 5th as Hamilton and Webber collide at first corner. However, he is struggling on full wet tyres and on goes wide in turn 6 and loses two places to Schumacher and Hamilton and is back in 7th place again.

Lap 6 – Button up to 6th as Hamilton forced wide by Schumacher at the hairpin.

Lap 7 – Button makes a mistake at the last chicane and he and Hamilton collide on the pit straight. Hamilton is out and causes the Safety Car to come out.

Lap 8 – Button comes into the pits for intermediate tyres and rejoins in 12th place, still under the safety car. The team tell him there is no visible damage to his car.

Lap 11 – Race Control investigating Button for speeding under Safety Car conditions.

Lap 13 – the Safety Car is in and Button makes up two places in less than a lap to 10th position but Race Control announce he has a drive through penalty which he takes immediately and rejoins in 15th place.

Lap 14 – Button passes Buemi and is up to 14th place.

Lap 15 – Button passes Barrichello, Sutil and Maldonado and is now in 11th place.

Lap 18 – Button passes di Resta and is in 9th place as Rosberg pits.

Lap 19 – Button passes Petrov and is up to 7th place as Schumacher pits, but it starts to really pour down with rain. Safety Car is deployed and Button pits for full wet tyres and rejoins in 11th.

Lap 22 – Schumacher pits and Button is now 10th.

Lap 25 – The race is red-flagged and suspended.

Laps 26-34 Restart behind safety car – Button is 10th. As the safety car comes in at the end of lap 34, Button has passed Pedro de la Rosa before the Start/Finish line and is 9th.

Lap 35 – Button comes into the pits to change to intermediate tyres and rejoins the track in 15th place.

Lap 36 – Button passes the Virgin of d’Ambrosio and then takes Trulli and Sutil at the hairpin and later on passes Karthikeyan and is up to 11th.

Lap 37 – Button and Alonso (who’s just come out of the pits) collide at the turn 3 chicane. Alonso is beached causing a Safety Car and Button has a left front puncture. By the time he gets back to the pits he is running last in 21st place.

End of lap 40 – Safety car comes in and Jenson is a couple of secs off the back of the pack as he has been limited on speed under the safety car to catch up the rest of the field.

Lap 41 – Button passes Liuzzi and Karthikeyan and is now in 19th place.

Lap 42 – Button passes Trulli and d’Ambrosio and is now in 17th place.

Lap 43 – Button passes Glock and DiResta (pits) and is now in 15th place.

Lap 44 – Button passes de la Rosa and is now in 14th place.

Lap 45 – Button passes Buemi and is now in 13th place and 21 secs behind Vettel.

Lap 46 – Button is ahead of Sutil (who pits) and is now in 12th place.

Lap 49 – Button passes Maldonado and Alguersuari into 10th place, 27 secs behind the leader.

Lap 51 – Webber  and Barrichello pit for super soft dry tyres and Button is 8th.

Lap 52 – Button pits (6th time) and rejoins in 10th place. 18 laps to go and 50secs behind the leader.

Lap 53 – Other drivers come in for dry tyres and Button is now 8th (Massa comes in for new front wing) and does the fastest lap of the race (at that point) with 1min 22.759secs.

Lap 54 – Button is now in 6th place as others drop back due to pitting later and 19.657 secs behind Vettel the leader (who pitted the lap before for super soft dry tyres).

Lap 55 – Button passes Heidfeld and Kobayashi and is up to 4th.

Start of Lap 56, Button is now 15 secs behind Vettel and 6secs behind the fight for 2nd place between Schumacher and Webber. Heidfeld runs over his front wing after damaging it bumping into Kobayashi.

Start of Lap 57, Button is now only 2 seconds behind Webber with a Virgin backmarker inbetween. He is 13 secs behind Vettel with 13 laps to go. However, Race Control put out the safety car to enable the debris from Heidfeld to be picked up. Button is 4th but has Glock in front of him.

Start of Lap 61 and the Safety car has gone in and there are 10 laps to go. Button clears Glock by the Start/Finish line and is 3.5secs behind Vettel. Halfway through the lap, Button is right on the back of Webber who is right behind Schumacher. DRS not enabled yet.

Lap 63 – DRS is enabled and Webber overtakes Schumacher but misses the last chicane and gives place back to Schumacher before turn 3 of lap 64 making sure to not let Button through.

Lap 64 – Webber misses the last chicane again and Button passes him on the start/finish line but has to go onto the wet part of the track on slicks.

Lap 65 – Button passes Schumacher on the back straight and is 3 secs behind Vettel with 5 laps to go and sets a new fastest lap of the race with 1min 18.866secs.

Lap 66 – Button sets another fastest lap (1min 17.967) and has closed the gap to Vettel to 1.5 secs. 4 laps to go.

Lap 67 – Button sets another fastest lap, but Vettel is responding and the gap is 1.3 secs with 3 laps to go.

Lap 68 – Button closes the gap to 1.1secs. 2 laps to go.

Lap 69 (Penultimate Lap) – Button closes to within a second and uses DRS on the back straight. The gap is 0.7secs as we enter the final lap.

Lap 70 (Final Lap) – Vettel under pressure makes a mistake at turn 6 and goes wide and Button is through and takes the victory.

F1 Team Orders


There’s been a lot said on team orders in Formula 1 since the German Grand Prix last week.

All I have to say is this: Drivers are not more important than the team, but the teams are not more important than the sport.

The Barcelona car updates, have the cars really improved?


After the first 4 ‘fly away races’ (Bahrain, Australia, Malaysia & China), the teams have been adding new bits and pieces to their cars to improve performance for the 2010 Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona (circuit de catalunya). But how much have they improved, if at all?

This is rather hard to judge as there is no real baseline to compare. However, the teams all visited the Barcelona track at the final pre-season test at the end of February.

Comparing the fastest lap times from that 4-day test with their qualifying lap times at the Grand Prix shows some rather interesting results. Obviously the track conditions were not exactly the same in February, but their relative performance differences between the two times are somewhat revealing and also quite confusing.

You would expect that the times at the Grand Prix with dry and warm conditions when the drivers are really pushing it as much as they can in the new improved cars that their times would be a lot faster?

Driver Team Spanish GP Qualifying Time Pre-Season Best Time Change
Mark Webber Red Bull 1m19.995s 1m20.479s -0.484s
Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m20.101s 1m20.667s -0.566s
Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m20.829s 1m20.472s +0.357s
Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m20.937s 1m20.637s +0.300s
Jenson Button McLaren 1m20.991s 1m21.450s -0.459s
Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m21.294s 1m20.745s +0.549s
Robert Kubica Renault 1m21.353s 1m23.175s -1.822s
Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m21.408s 1m20.686s +0.722s
Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m21.585s 1m20.539s +1.046s
Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m21.725s 1m20.911s +0.814s
Adrian Sutil Force India 1m21.985s 1m20.611s +1.374s
Pedro de la Rosa Sauber 1m22.026s 1m20.973s +1.053s
Nico Hulkenberg Williams 1m22.131s 1m20.614s +1.517s
Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m22.139s 1m22.523s -0.384s
Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m22.191s 1m21.413s +0.778s
Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1m22.207s 1m21.571s +0.636s
Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India 1m22.854s 1m21.056s +1.798s
Rubens Barrichello Williams 1m23.125s 1m20.870s +2.255s
Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m24.674s 1m25.059s -0.385s
Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1m24.748s 1m25.251s -0.503s
Timo Glock Virgin 1m25.475s 1m25.942s -0.467s
Lucas di Grassi Virgin 1m25.556s 1m26.160s -0.604s
Karun Chandhok Hispania 1m26.750s DNA N/A
Bruno Senna Hispania 1m27.122s DNA N/A

Surprisingly only 4 teams (Redbull, Renault, Lotus and Virgin) had improved times at Barcelona this weekend. All other teams had slower times (Jenson Button being the only exception).

Redbull’s improvement is very impressive, with both drivers able to deliver times half a second quicker than they went at the end of February. Lotus and Virgin both show half a second improvement which suggests that Lotus’s new changes are not as advanced as they hoped for.

The biggest change is Robert Kubica’s Renualt with a nearly 2 second improvement, whereas his teammate Petrov was only able to achieve a 0.4secs improvement.

Williams have a lot to be concerned about as Hulkenberg was a massive 1.5secs slower and Barrichello a horrendous 2.255secs slower. The Force India cars were 1.5secs slower on average, Sauber about one second slower , Toro Rosso 0.7secs slower and Mercedes just over half a second slower. The Ferrari of Alonso and Hamilton’s McLaren were at least three tenths slower.

So does this mean the team’s improvements have actually made their cars worse? Well, track conditions have to be factored in, but certainly don’t explain all the difference. It could also be speculated that during the pre-season test some teams ran low fuel using a lower ride height (i.e. not also being set up for a full tank of fuel as they do in qualifying).

Whatever the reason, one thing is very clear, Red Bull are simply doing a better job at developing their car than anyone else.

Who YOU think will be leading the Championship after 5 races?


An interesting statistic was raised by the BBC Formula 1 coverage earlier today that whoever has been leading the Championship after only 4 races has gone on to be Champion in 15 out of the last 20 years.

From just before the start of the first Grand Prix in Bahrain until just before this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix I ran a poll on this blog asking who you think will be leading the championship after 5 races.

The voting was reasonably close, but Alonso emerged as a winner with 30% of you predicting him to be leading after the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. Jeremy Clarkson’s son, Sebastian Vettel, came second with 22% of the votes and Lewis Hamilton third with 17%.

Although Massa is currently leading the championship (after 3 races) by 2 points, only 13% of you think he will still be leading in 2 races time. Michael Schumacher received a few votes, but his teammate Nico Rosberg, who has been outperforming him, received no votes at all. Neither did Mark Webber?