Alonso calm and relaxed ahead of US showdown
AUSTIN, TEXAS (AFP) –
Fernando Alonso arrived in Austin on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s showdown United States Grand Prix insisting that he feels ‘much more relaxed’ than he has for any of his previous title tussles.
The 32-year-old Spaniard, who is 10 points behind defending champion Sebastian Vettel of Germany with two races remaining, said he felt mentally better prepared than he has ever felt before.
“I’m much more relaxed, much more focused,” the Ferrari driver told reporters at the Circuit of the Americas.
“In 2006, I arrived in the last race fighting with Michael (Schumacher) in Brazil and it was quite stressful, quite an intense weekend and not easy to get focused or to sleep or things like that, as it was a very emotional weekend.
“The year after, in 2007 was also stressful and not easy to do anything. In 2010, we arrived in Abu Dhabi fighting for the championship in the last race. I was much more calm there and more confident in things.
“The race was what it was, we were not winning at the end but feeling wise I was much more prepared.
“In these last two races, I feel completely normal so I think it is a good experience. It is the fourth time we fight for the championship until the last race and you feel different, more concentrated to do the job.”
Two-time champion Alonso knows he has to finish in the top four, if Vettel wins, to make sure the title race goes down to the wire in Brazil later this month.
He has not won since the German Grand Prix in July, but said he was not feeling any need to change his approach.
“Nothing really changes in terms of preparation and approach for the weekend. Maximum concentration and effort from everyone in the team,” he said.
“We prepare some new parts we are bringing at every Grand Prix and hopefully test them tomorrow and get some feelings and feedback about that. Exactly the same as every other weekend.”
Asked if racing on an unknown and completely new circuit gave him an advantage, he added: “It is not an advantage. I think we all will adapt very quickly in first practice and all have simulators to prepare for the race – it is the same as every race.
“I am very confident, I trust my team and I trust myself, and we are honest with ourselves. We know we don’t have the quickest package out there, and our qualifying average this year is sixth or seventh, so if we qualify sixth or seventh people will say ‘you wave bye bye to the championship’ but it is our normal position.
“That is not our strong point, our point is to score more points than the others on Sunday and I am sure we will do that in the next two races.”