The Cunning of Fernando Alonso

I’ve been think about Fernando Alonso’s absence from the Jerez pre-season testing ever since he announced he wouldn’t be attending.

Ted Kravitz from Sky made a very good point yesterday when he mentioned while filming at Jerez, that Jerez is not a track representative of the conditions the F1 circus would be put up against throughout the season. While I always knew this, I find it fascinating that Fernando considered this when he contemplated his pre-season schedule.

Fernando pretty much has Ferrari wrapped around his little finger, so Ferrari denying his request to sit out Jerez probably wasn’t going to happen.

What Fernando has done is very clever though. By only attending the tests in Barcelona, he will only have firsthand knowledge of the F138 from a circuit that is not only representative of the conditions they will have throughout the season, but from one they will actually race on. He won’t have to grapple with feedback he might have accumulated from Jerez that could potentially steer him in the wrong direction in terms of car setup. He has pure, reliable and, most importantly, relevant information.

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Felipe Massa will no doubt have realized Fernando Alosno’s plans. The Spaniard’s fairly lame media excuse for missing this test of needing to “mentally prepare” himself more wont hold for long. I didn’t believe that from the moment he said it. If there’s one man on earth that is mentally prepared for anything, it’s Fernando Alonso.

The specifics of Fernando’s plan are this: Felipe gets three days in Jerez with de la Rosa taking the fourth. At Barcelona, Fernando will get three days during the second test and potentially three days in the third test, depending on if Felipe gets his 6th allowed testing day or whether that has been lost to de la Rosa in Jerez. Most likely, Fernando will get three days for each Barcelona test. This means he will have potentially accumulated more knowledge about Barcelona than any other driver before the season starts, barring some mechanical issue that sidelines him for an extended period if time. This could put him a step ahead of the entire F1 field before the season even starts. This will be massively helpful in case the Ferrari turns out to be another dog of a car this year. While that is not likely to happen as impressions the new Ferrari are quite positive, it never hurts to be prepared.

The fact of the matter is, Fernando has taken advantage of a situation that could put him in very good stead for the upcoming season. A season which promises to be as exciting, if not more exciting than last year, and that makes him more cunning than any other driver in the field.

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7 thoughts on “The Cunning of Fernando Alonso

  1. Well he might not be the only one mentally strong as it’s said above, i would say that Vettel is a bit ahead of him in that field, playing so smart last year and was so stable in 2011. In 2010 Alonso cracked under pressure when it was most needed.

    Alonso is smart is stable is all-round driver and two time world champion but Vettel is maybe a bit more from all of that

    • I agree with you that he’s not the only mentally capable driver. Remember to consider how bad 2012 was going to be interns of Alonso’s car. It was terrible. But he managed to keep his head and stayed I championship contention. Vettel had a better car than him all year last year but still had his moment of weakness like in China. 2012 was a defining year for Fernando.

      I see where you’re coming from, though.

  2. Fernando only wishes he was Seb!

  3. Alonso already stated in 2011 that he wouldn’t test in Jerez ever again, although he did test in 2012 he made it quite clear in 2011 that testing in Jerez was useless.
    I beleive that if it weren’t for Grosjean in Spa, i think it was, Alonso would’ve been champion with a quite inferior car to Vettel.

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