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Highlights of our Q&A with Fernando Alonso at the Spanish GP

F1 Exp. Spain 2018 Friday 033

Last weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix, we welcomed Fernando Alonso as the special guest for our Paddock Club Party on Friday night. Here’s the highlights of his Q&A with James O’Brien, in which the Spanish champion talked about his hectic 2018 schedule, pursuit of the Triple Crown and aspirations for the rest of 2018.

James O’Brien

Let’s talk about your fitness and diet regime. You’ve got to be super fit to be an F1® driver. You can’t just go and eat a burger. You have to watch what you eat, don’t you?

Fernando Alonso

You start really early in the year. January, February you prepare for the whole season, these months are crucial. This year, I’m doing two Championships; F1® and the World Endurance Championship, so I race nearly every weekend. With travel and time zone differences, there’s very limited time for training. I have to be careful with what I eat. Especially in different countries. I have to be careful of any risk that can affect my performance. But it’s something I’ve been doing for many years. This is my 18th Formula 1® season, so I just keep doing what I know is good for my body.


 

James O’Brien

You made your Formula 1 debut 6277 days ago [Australian Grand Prix, 2001]. Do you remember it?

Fernando Alonso

It was nice to get into Formula 1®, it had been my dream for many years as I worked my way up in karting and other series. Eventually, one day you are in Australia making your debut. I remember calling my father on Saturday before the race. He told me to enjoy the race, because maybe it’s your last one. I said thanks, but what do you mean? He said, “you arrive into Formula 1, many things can happen. Maybe your performance won’t be good enough and the team will want to change the driver. Whatever happens, you will know for the rest of your life that you have raced in Formula 1, at least one Grand Prix!” Eighteen years later, I’ve raced in many more than that.


 

James O’Brien

Good advice Dad. Two World Championships later and you are now aiming for the Triple Crown. Congratulations by the way on winning the 6 Hours of Spa last weekend! This has put you in good stead for Le Mans. How is the training program going for that?

Fernando Alonso

The Endurance Championship is another challenge that I have this year. The Triple Crown involves winning the Monaco Grand Prix, the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Indianapolis 500. Those three races are the most iconic in the world, and only one man in history [Graham Hill] was able to win all three. I would love to attempt to win all three. Le Mans is coming up in one month’s time. We won the first Endurance race, so hopefully we keep up the momentum.


 

James O’Brien

Let’s move away from F1® for a moment. I understand you run a karting school, cycling team, eSports team and your own fashion range. When do you get time to drive race cars?

Fernando Alonso

Every weekend! There are no races on week days yet, so that’s when I do a few other things. The karting school is probably the biggest activity. In the north of Spain, we have our headquarters. But we recently opened a karting school in China that will bring 40 new karting circuits, and we will try to expand even more. My eSports team is more recent. Today we have seven drivers and they are competing this weekend in Berlin, doing the World Rally Championship at a big arena with 20,000 people. I’m also a shareholder in the Kimoa brand and we try to promote it around the world.


 

James O’Brien

You have a new Renault power unit this year in the back of the McLaren. Looking good so far, and you’ve outscored points already from the last few seasons. What are your hopes and aspirations for the rest of the season?

Fernando Alonso

The top three teams maintained the gap that they had last year, but we want to close it as soon as possible. We have had some good points results this year, but we are still lacking some performance. We have a new car this weekend with some aerodynamic updates. It felt much better today and our aim in qualifying is to be in the top 10 for the first time this year. We started 13th in the last couple of races and finished 7th. If we can start in 8th or 9th, then maybe we can finish higher than 7th! That’s our target for this race and the rest of the Championship.


 

James O’Brien

Your performance on the 1st lap in Azerbaijan was pretty incredible, to get that wounded car back to the pits. What was going through your mind?

Fernando Alonso

Stay away from the walls! I only had two wheels on the car, so I had to turn left 90 or 100 degrees on the steering wheel to keep the car going straight. The left corners became quite challenging, because you don’t have any more steering lock. Here you can go on the grass or the asphalt before returning to the track, but in Baku you hit the wall. So, it was my main concern but we managed to change the tyres and return to the track. The car was damaged, especially the floor part, but we managed to score points which was definitely a one-off performance for me and the team.


 

James O’Brien

What’s your favourite Formula 1® track?

Fernando Alonso

Suzuka in Japan for driving, I love that track. As an F1® weekend in general, I think Monaco. The track layout is difficult, but the atmosphere is special. Qualifying in Monaco is 99% of the race. On Sunday, it’s the most expensive train of cars around going around the circuit.

Want to meet a current or legendary F1® driver this year? We already have some big names lined up for our Paddock Club Parties and Champions Club, including Damon Hill, Jenson Button, Robert Kubica, Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon. Stay tuned for more announcements soon EXPERIENCE F1

Topics: Spanish Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso

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