Fernando Alonso is optimistic ahead of this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix, and thinks that he could even challenge the super quick Red Bulls on an historic weekend for his Ferrari team.
“Istanbul will be a very important race for us,” says the Spaniard, “not just for this championship, but also in terms of the history of Ferrari, as it will be the Scuderia's eight hundredth Grand Prix.
“That will be a further motivating factor to get a good result and try and make it to the podium, hopefully ahead of the Red Bulls. The team has worked very hard in the days following the Monaco Grand Prix and I leave for Turkey in a confident and optimistic mood.”
Alonso didn’t take part in qualifying in the last round in Monaco, having damaged his car too badly in Friday practice. The two-time world champion thinks that he is doing well this season despite not having everything his own way on race day: “If you think that, of the first six races, four times I found myself last or thereabouts after the opening laps and I am third in the world championship, three points off the leader, I have no reason not to be confidentâ€¦”
Since Monaco, Alonso has been in Maranello to prepare for Turkey on the Ferrari simulator. Being a keen cycling fan, he has also been attending one of the key stages of the Giro d'Italia, the San Vigilio di Marebbe – Plan de Corones time trial.
At 12.9 kilometres, all uphill, and on poorly surface road, it is a big challenge for the participants. “It [was] my first time at the Giro and I'm very happy to be here,” said the Ferrari driver, who visited the South Tyrolean stage along with Stefano Domenicali. “I am a friend of Carlos Sastre and I am here to support him and all the other Spanish cyclists.”
Fernando followed his friend Carlos' progress along the entire stage on the back of a support motorbike, and then took part in the prize-giving ceremony. There he met another fellow countryman, David Arroya, who managed to keep the pink jersey as race leader.