The FIA press conference offered a few opportunities for journalists present to query Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. As you can imagine, the FIA decision was on everyone’s mind and the obligatory pressing of Alonso into rhetorical questions about a possible championship this year gained by a mere 7 points (which is what he gained by the team orders incident in Germany) were all the rage:
Q: (Tony Lopez â€“ La Vanguardia) Fernando, arriving at this point of the championship, do you feel this is your last opportunity for the championship, and do you need to take more risk?
FA: Well, obviously the less races to the end of the championship, the more problems you have if you have a bad weekend, so maybe not the last but one of our last chances will come here or Singapore maybe, to really recover some good points. There are still six races to go and I am still confident that if we are on the podium for all six and we win some of the races, you can very possibly be a contender in the last race, so we are still more or less calm about our chances but, as you said, knowing that Monza is important, Singapore as well, another DNF or another problem in a race will maybe be our last chance or our bye-bye to the championship, so hopefully we can do well here and start recovering some points.
And being more aggressive here? I think weâ€™ve been aggressive more or less every race in the last part of the championship. Halfway through the season weâ€™ve been attacking the races and trying to be on the podium with a more aggressive approach, and here will be the same.
Q: (Joris Fioriti – AFP) Fernando, you came to Ferrari to become a World Champion for them; would you consider it a failure not to be champion this year?
FA: Ah, no. For sure, every championship you start or every first race you arrive to a new season you want to become champion at the end and if you cannot arrive to that goal, for sure itâ€™s a disappointment for yourself and for the team because youâ€™ve been preparing the championship towards the victory at the end. But I think the word failure or disaster or those sort of things are a little bit too extreme. We are in a very competitive sport, we know our opponents are very strong as well, very competitive and the champion at the end is the one that deserves it most. If we are not champions, itâ€™s because we didnâ€™t do enough to do it, so letâ€™s wait and see what happens, but this first season at Ferrari, so far, has been incredible, it has been the best of my life and Iâ€™m enjoyingâ€¦ Iâ€™m a super-happy man, so we will see what happens in the end.
Q: (Livio Oricchio â€“ O Estado de Sao Paulo) Weâ€™ve already heard Alonsoâ€™s opinion of the World Councilâ€™s findings, but what about the rest of you? What did you think?
JB: Itâ€™s obviously not down to us. Our opinion doesnâ€™t really matter in this situation. The decision is down to the FIA and the governing body, and the important thing is that we get a clarification of the rule, so we will understand and we are all working towards the same regulations and working with the same regulations and thatâ€™s key.
VL: I think the most important thing is that itâ€™s clear for everybody that the rule is that and there are no games as in the past. Everybody did some kind of team play because itâ€™s important for everybody to reach the goal of the championship, but it has to be done in a certain way and itâ€™s important that everything is clear and you do it properly.
RB: I think everyoneâ€™s covered the case quite well. Nothing else to add.
JT: I respect the FIAâ€™s decision and I think itâ€™s good to clarify everything, so we know what we have to do for the future.
Q: (Ian Parkes â€“ The Press Association) Fernando, how do you feel that the incident in Germany has helped play a significant part in the FIA going forward now and probably changing the rule and maybe even abolishing the team orders regulation?
FA: I think, as I said, that itâ€™s something that is in the past for us and we need to concentrate on this race in Monza, so I think weâ€™ve already talked too much. All the August break we talked about the Germany incident. As my colleagues said now, Iâ€™m happy to see that the FIA will try to go deep in the rules and try to clarify if there is anything that is sort of not completely clear what is said in the rules and like this we will all be clearer about everything. No special feeling, nothing to say.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi â€“ La Gazzetta dello Sport) Fernando this is your first Italian Grand Prix as a Ferrari driver. How did you feel this morning arriving at the circuit?
FA: We came in a Fiat 500, very Ferrari red, so I felt a little bit of stress because people were running behind us, because the car is quite attractive, so it was a special feeling for that reason. Nothing changed other than that. Itâ€™s a normal Grand Prix for us. Obviously in the team or in the garage, when you are with the mechanics or engineers there is a very good atmosphere here. Some of them bring family to the grandstands or some friends. They really want to do well here, because of being in Italy etc, so for sure I think inside the team itâ€™s a special Grand Prix, so hopefully we can do well to make everybody happy.
Q: (Sarah Holt â€“ BBC Radio Five Live) Fernando, I just wanted to ask you about the decision yesterday. Was there any sense of relief from you at all that Ferrari had escaped further punishment because in a way itâ€™s helped keep your title challenge alive, youâ€™re still in it now?
FA: As I said, now I think weâ€™ve talked too much but you keep asking the same questions but the answers will not change. We were concentrating on Monza or in Spa two weeks ago, completely focused on the performance of the car and tried to be on the podium, trying to win races etc. The decision was something that we were waiting for and we were ready to respect whatever it was. Yesterday was the hearing and we were not playing a big part or a big role in it, the drivers etc, so we were just concentrated on the performance in the car. We respected the decision, we keep everything as it was, points etc, so nothing changed for us.
Q: (Ian Gordon â€“ News of the World) Fernando, you said here, a few years ago, F1 is not a sport and your then team boss said the championship had been fixed around a table when it appeared Ferrari had been a beneficiary. Many people in the sport think you had been a beneficiary yesterday. If you win the title by less than seven points this year, do you think that the title will be as good as 2005/2006 when you were maybe fighting against the odds?
Q: (Ian Gordon â€“ News of the World) Why?
FA: Because when you win the title, you win the title.
Q: (Ian Gordon â€“ News of the World) Do you think if you win the title this year you will have won it fairly, on the track, not in the Paris courtroom?
Ah, that unethical Alonso claiming a title while gaining from team orders…that would be weird wouldn’t it? And it would also be weird if he accepted that trophy by being 7 points ahead of Mark Webber for the title because Michael Schumacher aggressively put Webber in the wall and aliens fired lasers into Sebastian Vettel’s front wings making them useless and Mars was not in the house of Virgo so that means Lewis Hamilton would just have bad luck and…
Here is a rhetorical question ripe with ethical boundaries–what if team orders (or is it team strategy now) actually existed in F1 and several teams used coded language to affect the outcome of their cars on track? Not that this happens in F1 but what if it did? To make things worse, what if the FIA had no real way of proving it, beyond a shadow of a doubt, or had been lackadaisical in its application of the regulation and like all motor racing, rules are interpreted and pushed to the limit like flexi-wings and team orders. That would be weird wouldn’t it?