Fernando Alonso is remaining cautious ahead of this weekends grand prix in Australia. Sharing his thoughts at Ferrari, he feels that they are starting from square one this weekend and that Bahrain may not have been the best litmus test for performance.
Those words are perhaps consoling if you consider McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton praising the speed and performance of Red Bull’s RB6 car after the season opening race in Bahrain. Ferrari followed closely but never had the chance to prove it had what it takes to pass the Red Bull as reliability proved to be the Achilles heel for the energy drink team.
Bahrain also had another aftereffect, the rambling and clamoring for rules changes to improve the racing. Red Bull’s Christian Horner and McLrean’s Martin Whitmarsh both suggested mandatory two-stop requirements for a race while other suggested the series in general lacked to the proper regulations to create exciting racing.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber, perhaps the most vocal, suggested that not even mandating two stops would improve the racing. Webber doesn’t expect any difference in Melbourne this weekend and suggests that this is the way F1 is now.
F1’s commercial rights boss, Bernie Ecclestone, has suggested that it is too early to panic and he is in good company as Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso feels differently:
I think that many of us have given some hot headed comments immediately after the race in Bahrain. It’s true that the race in Sakhir wasn’t especially spectacular â€“ although for us Ferraristi it was great and exciting â€“ but it’s too early to talk about changing the rules. We have to wait and see different races and check the situation, without being emotional. Something that confuses the fans is changing the rules all the time.
The weekend in Melbourne is one of my preferred ones for the atmosphere at the paddock and in the city. It’s really special and it seems that everybody is following the event. There’s lots of action on the track and it’s good to see so many people on the grandstands. Let’s hope we can provide a good show to our fans, for more great satisfaction.
Perhaps tempers were flaring as the hype leading up to the start of the season was daunting. What will be an acceptable race? More passing? Exciting racing? Alonso thinks that may happen as Melbourne represents a track he likes:
I’ve been in Australia for a couple of days already. I came directly here from Bahrain to relax a bit before the two consecutive races in Melbourne and Malaysia and now I’m ready for the season’s second race. I stayed in contact with the team these days and I know that they worked hard in Maranello to get ready for the race. The one-two win in Sakhir gave us confidence and was a great result for the hard work during the winter on the track and at the works, but we can’t take anything for granted. We have to stay with our feet on the ground, keeping calm and staying concentrated: in Melbourne we’re starting from square one. Nothing has changed for me: there are four teams and eight drivers who can fight for victory and we have to give it our all to stay ahead of everybody else.
I like the Albert Park track. It’s quite a technical circuit with some pretty interesting corners. Overtaking has never been easy and what is even more important now, like on all city circuits, is the result in the qualifying. We have to see how the tyres behave with different fuel loads and temperatures, which will be different from the ones we had during testing and in Bahrain.
So is it square one for Ferrari? Can the Red Bull’s prove their pace in Bahrain was real and their reliability issues are a thing of the past? Will the race provide the fans with something different than Bahrain?