x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Alonso: 'Whatever teammate comes in the future will be part of Ferrari'

Gary Meenaghan speaks to Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso enjoys the sunshine in Valencia.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso enjoys the sunshine in Valencia.

Ahead of the second of two Spanish races this season, Alonso talks about potential new teammates, winning the European Grand Prix in front of his home fans and watching Spain fail to deliver so far at the European Championships.

Stefano Domenicali has said he is sure you and Sebastian Vettel could "easily coexist" while racing for Ferrari. What are your thoughts on his comments? Will Sebastian soon be your teammate?

Rumours with Ferrari are always the same: when I won the 2005 championship with Renault, I was linked to Ferrari immediately - and I arrived in 2010. So, if Sebastian is linked now, maybe he'll arrive in five year's time. Every summer it is the same with Ferrari, but at the moment we repeat the same thing: extremely happy with Felipe [Massa]. Whatever teammate comes in the future will be welcome, will be part of the team and part of Ferrari.

You have never won in Valencia but finished second here last year behind Vettel. Would you be content with second place again or are you intent on standing top of the podium?

Well, difficult question. Sure, getting some podiums now, in the next couple of races, especially in July when we have three races in four weeks, it will be important to have some consistency in this very important month. But, just now, we only think about victory, because we want to win, especially here in Spain, in front of our fans and we will try our best. Difficult question because we know second in this type of championship is also good points.

In the past, how much involvement have you had in selecting your future teammate? Do they ask you what you think of him, whether you could work together?

In the past, never. Now at Ferrari, yes. I'm in Italy every week, so when we are there, sometimes I see the president, I see Stefano and we talk about development of the car, we talk about GT - now there is some work on a new GT car that they are doing some test with at the end of year - we talk about the future of Formula One, about Corsa Clienti, which is owners of old Formula One cars that they want us to take to some circuits to teach some senior drivers, and also about the future andteammates as well.

I know you are a huge football fan and are following the European Championship closely. What do you make of the Spanish team so far? Are you enjoying watching them? And have you spoken to Romain Grosjean ahead of Spain's match against France?

I enjoy it, I watch all of the Euros. I will watch [tomorrow] here in the motorhome with some friends. I haven't spoken yet with Grosjean at the moment, but I will. I'm enjoying Spain so far. I think we are very privileged to have this national team, this generation of players. Probably, we will remember this generation in a few years' time. Now it's very easy to criticise, but we will regret this soon.

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

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