Alonso: “We are racing Red Bull and a few others”

2011 F1 testing

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2011

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2011

Fernando Alonso named Red Bull as his main competitors heading into the first race of the year.

Speaking to journalists in Barcelona he said: “This year I am very happy with the winter [test]. I am very realistic: I know we are not alone, I know we are racing with Red Bull and a few other teams. It will be decided by very small details.

“It?s up to us in Australia, Malaysia, and China to do a better weekend than them. I think all the cars are very close at the moment, there is not one completely ahead of everyone. We need to make our best.”

Alonso feels Mercedes have made progress as well: ??Mercedes have improved. Red Bull are strong, they are the favourites.

“I think McLaren will be there in the end. Maybe this year also Renault and Williams who have done good work in the winter. It will be very open going into Australia.

“Hopefully we can be there and on the podium and then in three to four races we?ll have a much clearer idea where we are.

“There are many possibilities this year, there could be two to three pit stops. Sometimes it may be better to sacrifice some laps to maybe make one stop less.”

He said he was happy with the car’s performance and reliability so far: “We have a clear idea of our performance and we know that the car is performing well, we are more or less happy.

“We know we have made a lot of mileage in the winter testing. We have good reliability.

“We have got all those laps on the new tyres and I?m sure that will help the team. We don?t know if our 100% will be enough for Australia. For Melbourne we?ll hopefully bring new parts, maybe at the last moment.”

Asked whether the cancellation of the first race at Bahrain was an advantage for Ferrari he said: “No it was not an advantage. We would have had the car ready for Bahrain.??

He also dismissed Jaime Alguersuari’s suggestion the extreme difference between the tyres could lead to situations where a Ferrari on worn tyres could be overtaken by a back-of-the-grid team on fresh tyres.

Alonso competed only a handful of laps in today’s wet session but said even that small amount of running had been beneficial: “Yes it has been useful.

“I would have liked to have tried the intermediate tyres today and get more experience with the rain tyres.

“We simulated starts, situations behind safety car today like what we had in Korea last year. We would have a bit of an advantage over teams like Red Bull who haven?t been here today if we have race like Korea.”

With pre-season testing now finished Alonso said he was as confident now as he had been 12 months ago:

“I was very confident last year. We had a good winter last year and we arrived in Bahrain in a very strong position.”

Looking ahead to the season he said: “The quickest and best car usually wins the championship at the end.

“Strategy is important. Maybe one or two races a year are decided by a very good strategy. You can be very quick but make a mistake in your strategy and you can lose a victory.”

Quotes and additional reporting by Leandra Graves

2011 F1 testing

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31 comments on Alonso: “We are racing Red Bull and a few others”

  1. Alexi said on 12th March 2011, 16:07

    So pretty much what most already expect. Red Bull and Ferrari racing each other with Mercedes just behind, maybe Renault as well. And then McLaren and Williams. Man, it is going to be a hell of a season.

  2. Ru_Bd said on 12th March 2011, 17:17

    Only one thing to say……………..
    Ferrari, Ferrari, Ferrari, Goooooooooooooooo>>>>>>

  3. Faraz said on 12th March 2011, 17:57

    When Ferrari launched the car many people I quote described it as a “vile piece of rubbish”.
    While the Mclaren was splashed all over magazines and over described as Innovative. Its a good looking car. But who’s the more competitive now??

    • Paul F said on 12th March 2011, 18:08

      I certainly don’t remember those quotes about Ferrari. Or McLaren for that matter. But anyway, to answer your question: we won’t know until a good few races into the season. Hope that helps.

      • fafretitop said on 12th March 2011, 21:00

        you have very short memory. I remember how people in this web-page wrote BS about the ferrari and how they praised the mcclaren when it was launched.
        Now they are quiet. it is funny to see how things change and I’m very happy for that.

        • Faraz said on 12th March 2011, 21:43

          Thank you finally someone who understands what Im saying.

          • RIISE (@riise) said on 12th March 2011, 22:57

            I remember Mark Hughes saying in the AutoSport magazine that the Ferrari was too conservative and they would be running in the Midfield. How wrong was he.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 12th March 2011, 18:39

      Remember when everyone said Ferrari were finished halfway through last year?

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 12th March 2011, 19:10

      I think they were just concerned by how reserved the car is, I can’t think of anything that innovative on the F150th.

      • Pedal to the Vettel (@pedal-to-the-vettel) said on 13th March 2011, 11:28

        Yup I remember the quotes for both the Ferrari and McLaren and that some people were already claming McLaren had the best car just because of it’s looks.

        Even I said the F150 looked “laid back” compared to the rest, but yet here we are with Ferrari up there with Red Bull.

        Be interesting to see how far back the Mercedes is. If I’m lucky just a few hundreths but more likely a tenth and a bit.

        • Richard said on 13th March 2011, 15:08

          think Mercedes! It’s going to be ‘driving ability’ along with the engineering package. I wish Button could have a third car with Mercedes. Then you would really see some 1-2-3 podiums. :)

  4. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 12th March 2011, 19:10

    Fully expected to hear this from Alonso.

  5. Lucas said on 12th March 2011, 22:08

    Red Bull, Ferrari and Sauber. End of…

  6. RIISE (@riise) said on 12th March 2011, 22:58

    Come on Fernando!!!!! And if you don’t win let’s cheer for Schumi!!

  7. Wesley said on 12th March 2011, 23:53

    I will just sit back and watch my Red Bulls beat them all… (evil laugh).. MMMMWwwaaaaa…mwaaa..mwaaaa… ha…ha…ha…haa..

  8. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 13th March 2011, 2:11

    Ferrari have the pace with Red Bull, will the horse be able to control the Bull this season?

  9. Marcel Fonseca said on 13th March 2011, 2:15

    This is going to be another hell of a season. Red Bull and Ferrari at front! I sure hope that Mercedes and McLaren catch up though! I´m hoping that one of the big three (in my opinion) win this year, be they Alonso, Hamilton or Vettel!

  10. Hari said on 13th March 2011, 5:05

    I am a Red Bull fan, but, I want Mclaren to give some good competition this year cuz it wont be interesting to just see Ferraris and Red Bulls at the front! These 3 teams are the only reason why last year was a good and an exciting season! The other teams like Renault(or Lotus-Renault, whatever) and Mercedes just spice up the whole experience! Also, the teams at the back show some good competition with each other!

  11. BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th March 2011, 12:52

    I see that rainy day in Barcelona was pretty good to get a bit of time with the drivers Leandra. Great job there.

    Interesting Alonso does not expect much of Sauber or Toro Rosso despite their fast times. Does he know the Ferrari deals with these teams mean them not to challenge him, or just that he thinks their times to be a bit of sponsor eye catching?

    I am a bit suprised, that Ferrari did not do more wet running, they did not really explain why, did they?

  12. Palle said on 13th March 2011, 18:20

    I also remember the comments from the launches. But I think there was a lot of comment both ways, it is so every year.
    I did think the Mercedes was good looking, but knew its not a guarantee for speed.
    Some of You are very fast to conclude that the ranking will be RedBull, Ferrari, Mercedes or what ever. Lets see after 3 races, by then we have some of a pattern. But again both Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and Renault have proven their ability to develop the car a little faster than the rest of the field, so nothing is decided until we reach some of the final races. Hopefully it will be a tense season.

  13. Jean said on 14th March 2011, 10:37

    McLaren will be worth a bet on for those who like F1 and to gamble a bit as well.

  14. Vanja said on 14th March 2011, 11:02

    i hope this year it will be Hamilton vs Alonso. vettel is just lame, too have a 1 second car faster than the rest (except webber, he is even lamer) and to win by only 4 points is just lame. so i’m hoping ferrari and mclaren will step up to the challenge and produce a good car

  15. Robbie (@robbie) said on 14th March 2011, 14:22

    Yeah I think people read into testing times what they want to see…but when you think of it, look at how they sat last year during the bulk of the season compared to each other…Red Bull, Ferrari, Mac, and then Merc and Renault and everyone else were quite distant from those top 3…sounds to me like the general order hasn’t changed much…by all accounts Red Bull and Ferrari made less drastic changes this year over last year’s cars than some other teams who needed to make bigger changes to attempt bigger advances in order to catch up…

    So it feels to me like Red Bull and Ferrari were trying to tweak their already pretty good packages without taking unnecessary wild-design risks, and naturally the other teams have had to go more indepth with changes to find the lap times they are missing…so if these two top teams take the lion’s share of the points on average, it just remains to be seen who is the strong third place car that knocks on their doors, and who is then relegated to the weakest segment of available points and thus remain in the distance.

    I’m intrigued that a handful of weeks ago FA said his biggest threat this year would come from MS because he is a 7 time WDC, and I thought that was merely headplay through the media to downplay the threat that the two Red Bulls will provide. I now believe even moreso that that was what FA was doing, because you would think that after MS set the fastest time the other day, that would give FA even more fodder to downplay the Red Bull threat and claim MS was the threat, not his more likely rivals who he’d be trying to psych out. I guess FA doesn’t really believe MS will be a threat in his Merc, even with possible last minute improvements to their package.

    And I think if FA downplays some of the other teams like Sauber or Torro Rosso who showed a bit of pace in testing, it is because he knows that even if they show for now they have improved over last year with the changes they have made to their new cars, they will not be able to keep up to the top teams with in-season development as time goes along.

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