The wait for the charismatic Fernando Alonso seems interminable. The scheduled time of 4.30 p.m. for the interview passes with the double World champion still nowhere in sight. A couple of coffees are what it takes to soothe oneself before the smart Spaniard, in the Ferrari colours, walks in, in a flash. He doesn't hesitate even for a moment and starts fielding questions straightaway with aplomb.
That Alonso is a man of strong will comes through clearly during the 20-odd minutes of interaction. “We just don't like to lose. Whether it's tennis or football we (Spaniards) don't like to finish second,” he said without batting an eyelid.
For someone who hates to lose, it has been very frustrating to perform well below expectations this season. “Ferrari lacked the aerodynamics this season. We had problems with the wind tunnel, but by the time we got it right, we had trouble with the aerodynamics,” he explained the reason for Ferrari's poor performance this year. “But we are making upgrades to our 2012 car. And we should come back very strongly next year,” he said.
But then, Alonso is such a good sport — he gives full credit to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull for the kind of success they have had this season. “They were simply too good. There was no way anybody could match up to them,” he said.
For all the frustrations he and Ferrari have had this season, Alonso isn't one whit frustrated. “Being with Ferrari is any driver's ultimate goal. As a child I always played with red cars, which, for me, became a symbol of racing, symbol of supremacy. Ferrari is a team with a winning culture,” said Alonso.
Has he set any targets for himself? “No, you can't set targets in F1. It is a complex sport. There are so many factors that contribute to winning a championship. If all of them come together, one becomes a champion,” he said.
Alonso is pretty eager to drive at the Buddh International Circuit. “Our preparation in the simulator has been quite good. We'll see a good race, we are going to have a wonderful weekend,” he said.