Alonso and Ferrari to push Red Bull to limit
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AFP) –
Fernando Alonso said on Thursday that he and his Ferrari team plan to push defending champion Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull to breaking point at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The 32-year-old Spaniard said he remained 100 per cent confident of winning his third drivers’ world title – but recognised that mechanical reliability could be a key focus for both teams in the final three races.
Speaking to reporters at the Yas Marina Circuit, he said Ferrari would try to be ‘bullet proof’ and test the fragility of the Red Bull team.
Alonso said: “Mechanical failures are always in the air. It is not only for them, it is for all of us.
“We know that we need to concentrate on our car, on our driveability and make sure that we have a very strong car that finishes all three races with no mechanical problems. If we do (have problems) it will be very difficult to fight for the championship.
“We know that Red Bull sometimes is a little bit more fragile. We saw in the last race that Mark Webber lost his KERS (Kinetic Energy Regeneration System).
“So we need to push them. We need to be at the limit all the race through, because they had easy races. If the KERS fails in Vettel’s car, then nobody notices because he is 10sec in front.
“So we cannot do another race with them 10 seconds in front, we need to be right there.”
Alonso said he expected Ferrari’s pace to keep improving after encouraging signs in India but added he suspects Red Bull will still have some degree of pace advantage this weekend.
“There are some new parts coming which we will have to check tomorrow. We don’t think we will close the gap completely from India so that five days later in Abu Dhabi we will be competing with them with the same performance. I think there is not any magic button in F1 or any magic part.
“We’ll try to get closer to put some more pressure on. We want to be so close to them to take any opportunity where they don’t do things perfectly. So we need to find perfection this weekend, and these next three weekends, and be very close to them so we can attack for the race.”
Alonso also dismissed Italian media reports suggesting he had a row with Ferrari technical chief Pat Fry in India.
“That was a very nice invention from the Italian media,” said Alonso. “It was quite creative to be honest – but it is all history. Now or later I will speak to him (the journalist behind the report) to understand a little bit better how he came up with this imagination.
“I think nothing is really frustrating. We know, and it is a fact, that we are slower than Red Bull, but we all agree on this – the team, me, our fans – everyone knows this. We are working very hard and are very united to improve this situation.”