Ferrari looks forward to a better 2013




Ferrari looks forward to a better 2013

Ferrari looks forward to a better 2013

The Ferrari drivers have spoken about their expectations for 2013. Alonso: “As we are Ferrari, we can’t even contemplate not battling for the title and we won’t start the season 1 and a half seconds slower than the fastest car, as we did in 2012”. Then he hit back at accusations made by Red Bull that he was merely “a politician”, saying that he sees Hamilton as the biggest rival for the title.

Massa: “I want to win and I don’t feel neglected by the team. I almost quit last season, but that’s all in the past now”

Alonso and Massa are in a fighting mood as they prepare for the start of the 2013 F1 season at the now traditional Wroom event at Madonna di Campiglio.

Fernando Alonso is much more relaxed, so much so that he even joked about the fuss being made over the comments members of the Red Bull team made about him: “I don’t feel I’m good at ‘being a politician’. I was shocked by the comments! But they were a bit confusing, as first they claim that they don’t listen, that they don’t read, and that they don’t even gossip – then they admit that they’ve told their driver not to take any notice of what I’m saying! Perhaps someone wakes up in the middle of the night… to read my tweets!”That’s why Alonso is keen to stress that Hamilton “remains my biggest rival.

Or maybe it’s also because Lewis has shown he knows how to win in car that, at the start of the season, had been 2 seconds slower than the fastest car. I believe he’ll be competitive even at the wheel of a Mercedes. In 2012 they won in China with Niko Rosberg.

“With Lewis, they’ll be able to be in winning positions in many more Grand Prix.” However, Alonso did also say that he believed Vettel was a worthy World Champion: “At the end of the season, the result is always the right one, even if throughout the history of motor racing, there have been incidents that could have changed the outcome of the title race. It’s just like in football: one side wins the title and another team complains about the award of penalties or off-side goals. That’s sport!”

He also went on to confirm that he wouldn’t have a problem if he ever had Vettel as a teammate. “I’ve never had any problems with any of my teammates,” Alonso said, before heaping praise on Massa: “It’s been 3 seasons now that I’ve been saying that he’s one of the best drivers around, even if I do see some stunned faces in press conferences when I say that! His performances in the 2nd half of the 2012 season prove me right. The strange thing is that there has been a difference in our results over the previous 3 seasons. The gap has been too great – but I expect him to close the gap from now on.”

And what if Massa was ahead of him the in World Drivers’ standings, would he be happy to help him? “Yes, I’ve already helped him in the past.”

In the middle of the 2012 season Alonso had said he was racing against Adrian Newey [the Chief Technical Officer of Red Bull and the designer of the title winning RB6 – Ed], rather than against Sebastian Vettel, but, when asked whether Alonso believed he’d have won more world titles had Adrian been part of the team, the Spaniard was non-committal. “I don’t know. He’s only human and the technical staff at Red Bull is very good.

“I’m confident as the regulations are more or less the same as before. Last season, with the new set of regulations on the air flow around the exhaust pipes, we had a lot more doubts. I’m convinced we won’t be one and a half seconds slower than our rivals at the start of the season this time. It’s impossible to start the season worse than we did last season! Besides, we’ve strengthened the team: De la Rosa has joined us and he’s got a lot of experience on F1 simulators. He didn’t have a drive and getting him on board was an opportunity we took advantage of.”

Finally, Alonso said that the split between Hamilton and McLaren hasn’t weakened the team from Woking: “They’re still strong. Historically, they know how to build winning cars and they have a lot of experience. They’ll be difficult to beat this season.”

Starting 2013 the way his 2012 season ended: that’s Felipe Massa’s objective.

He would hope that 2013 is better than last season and that he will be competitive right from the start this time round. Massa had a nightmare start to the 2012 season, the first 10 Grand Prix putting strange thoughts into his head: “Yes, I thought about giving up. But I don’t think that now!” The turnaround came during the break in the Grand Prix season, in summer: The car improved in the 2nd half of the season, and the driver changed too.

Towards the end of last season Massa was quick – at times even quicker than Fernando. But now that, following the arrival of De La Rosa, Ferrari are becoming even more ‘Alonso-influenced’. Massa is almost 32 years old now – how long does he intend continuing racing for? “Until I feel the fire is still burning in my belly! Even if I don’t see myself racing until the age of 43, as Schumacher did.”

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