Frustrating times for Alonso
Fernando Alonso – who, in 2005 and 2006, was the last man to win back-toback world championships – may still be the best driver in the world poundfor-pound, but early indications from Ferrari suggest the Spaniard could be in for a difficult year. Ferrari’s technical chief Pat Fry has attempted to water down expectations by suggesting the team will not challenge for the podium. Alonso is more optimistic.
Make or break for McLaren When Jenson Button, then the world champion, joined McLaren for the 2010, it looked like the manufacturer had assembled a British dream team, pairing Button with 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton. They’ve spent much of the interim chasing the Red Bulls, though – an experience which left Hamilton frustrated, while Button made a better fist of it, suggesting that, if the necessary improvements are made to the car, he could be the man to overhaul Vettel. “Last year I felt I did the best with the car I had, that I really grew with the team, felt a big part of McLaren, not just a driver, but a big part of the team,” Button says. “So there are no excuses this year. I feel we have everything. “There’s nothing to fall back and say, ’This is the reason why we didn’t win in 2012’.”
“There’s lots of talk and many ideas, but nobody knows the truth. What counts is not to be first in the first race but in November, at the end of the championship”
Kimi back in the saddle The two Brits aren’t the only one-time world champions with Vettel in their crosshairs – Kimi Raikkonnen, the Finnish driver who broke through in 2007, before slipping off the pace and walking away from the sport at the end of 2009, is back in the game, having signed to drive for Lotus. At his peak, Raikkonnen was renowned for his steely temperament and powers of concentration and, although only time will tell whether his car is powerful enough for him to challenge, he has been flying in testing. “The fastest time at the end of the day looks good but no one will know how fast any of the cars are until we get to qualifying at Albert Park,” Raikkonen said. “All the changes we have made over testing have been improving the car, so we’ll have to see what happens in Melbourne. I’m positive.” 8
“The new single-seater has some characteristics which are difficult to understand and maybe we’re not where we want to be yet,” Alonso says of the new car. “But we’ve all lived through many Formula One seasons and we know very well that until we’re in Australia, we don’t really know where we stand against the others. “There’s lots of talk and many ideas, but nobody knows the truth. What counts is not to be first in the first race but in November, at the end of the championship.”
Published on Apr 17, 2012