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Fernando Alonso: Michael is the most dangerous competitor

Fernando Alonso
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What are the goals for the coming season?
A lonso: I want to have a good championship and fight for the title. You always expect that at the start of a new year. The last season was very good. We were able to race for the championship until the end. It would be nice if we could repeat that and win the title this time too. The goal is of course to win both titles.

Can you already say something about the new car?
Alonso: I don't know yet much. The driver has little influence on the design. The technicians are more responsible. I only came to Ferrari at the beginning of last year. In the meantime there have been minor adjustments to my driving style.

Do you see yourself as a team leader at Ferrari?
Alonso: I am a leader, but not the team leader.

Will driving with all those buttons be too complicated?
Alonso: In 2011 the car will certainly be more complex. You automatically lose some concentration. You have to operate all functions on the steering wheel and know them automatically. So we have to make it as easy as possible. You can get used to it in the simulator. That makes it easier on the track.

How do you see the Abu Dhabi race in retrospect?
Alonso: There isn't much left accept. It is more than just an empty phrase to say: We win together and we lose together. In hindsight, it's easy to tell what was done wrong. But at that moment it was the right decision. The weak tire degradation was totally unexpected. It was unpredictable that McLaren would be outside that long. But we have to leave that behind. Every minute we think of Abu Dhabi is an advantage for the competition.

How do you rate the 2010 season overall?
Alonso: We simply lost too much to the competition in certain phases of the season. We need a perfect year from mid-March to the end of November. We have to improve both our strengths and our weaknesses.

Will the innovations make it easier to overtake?
Alonso: Every year it says that overtaking will be easier. This has not always worked in the past. However, I'm optimistic that the movable rear wing and the KERS will help improve the show. Theshould work in theory.

Do you think the movable rear wing makes sense?
Alonso: That is an idea of ​​the Formula 1 technical working group. These people work for the show. The solution is still new to everyone. It has never been tested. I think it will work. However, you have to make more and more decisions in a short period of time and still drive a car. But in general, innovations are always welcome. We are open to that.

What do you think of the new Pirelli tires?
Alonso: The test in Abu Dhabi was good. You have to adjust your driving style a bit. We still have to test the rain tires. There are still interesting test sessions ahead of us. Usually of the 15 days there are always some in wet weather. Hopefully we will have at least one wet day this year too. We have to be ready.

Is the tire change not getting enough attention?
Alonso: The changes with KERS or the rear wing are Certainly more interesting for people, as they are supposed to help overtake. But for the team, the driver and the performance, the tire is the biggest change in the new season. You have to adapt your driving style and the car. There is only one tire manufacturer, so there is less talk about the tire. In the beginning everyone will probably have some problems. By the third race, everyone should have gotten used to it.

Is the expected higher tire degradation an advantage for Ferrari?
Alonso: That could be an advantage for cars that put less stress on the tire. Pirelli has taken an aggressive approach to make the races more spectacular. Let's see if we can take advantage of this. Ferrari traditionally has little tire wear.

Who are the main competitors for the title?
Alonso: We have five world champions this season the way. When everyone has the same car, the most dangerous for me is still Michael (Schumacher). He has become world champion seven times. He has nothing to prove. But I hope that our car is the strongest and that my toughest rival is Felipe Massa. I would be very welcome.

What do you think of Sebastian Vettel?
Alonso: Sebastian is definitely one of the favorites. In 2009 he was runner-up. Although Brawn had the better car, he managed to win a few races. In 2010 he had a lot of problems. If it hadn't been for them, he would have won the championship three or four races before the end of the season. Now he has even more experience. And after winning the title, he doesn't have to prove anything. He will certainly drive even better.

How do you see the British drivers?
Alonso: McLaren is at the start with two world champions. In 2010 they did a fantastic jobdelivered, although the car had ups and downs. You fought for the title until the last moment. I expect them strongly in 2011 as well.

How is your relationship with Felipe Massa?
Alonso: We have a good relationship. Better than most think. We ski here together and play poker in the evening. We know we need each other. On the test days when I'm not in the cockpit, I have to totally trust him. It takes two drivers to develop a car properly. As always, Felipe is doing his best. 2011 will all start from scratch. He's definitely one of the rivals for the title.

Do you have to lose weight for the new season because of KERS?
Alonso: I'll be a little slimmer . Unfortunately, I've been on the sofa for the last few days because I have a small injury on my leg. But everything is under control.

Lately there have been rumors about a duel with motorcycle ace Valentino Rossi.
Alonso: He is the best motorcycle rider ever. There was a lot of talk about a possible race. We met in Maranello in mid-2010 and joked about it. The talks have recently become a little more serious. Nothing is 100 percent clear yet, but there might be a surprise at the end of the year. Which vehicle - with two, four or maybe even six tires - is still unclear.

What do you think of the planned engine regulations for 2014? How important is the sound?
Alonso: There is no big change for the driver. We only hear five or ten percent of the outside noise in the cockpit. I love Formula 1. That is the maximum in technology, power and speed. I am sure that the technicians will use the exhaust, for example, to ensure that the sound stays sexy for the fans.

Are 20 races per season too many?
Alonso: I like 20 races. More races are always welcome. I also like testing during the season .. 20 races plus testing would be an even better solution.

You had some problems starting in 2010. Did you change anything in your relationship?
Alonso: You can always improve. We had bad, but also good starts. We have clear ideas of what we can change - both on the technical side and on the driving side. Let's see how it goes. It is important that the starts are consistently good and that there are not as big fluctuations as last year.


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