Alonso: Title fight begins in Barcelona

Fernando Alonso has declared that his bid for the 2010 world championship will start in Barcelona after a unpredictable start to his campaign.

Although Alonso started the season on a high, with victory in the opening round in Bahrain, he has since endured three troubled races – including a retirement in Malaysia.

However, the Spaniard believes that he can take alot of positives from the latest batch of ‘flyaway’ races and that they will help him attempt to get his title bid firmly on track.

“The championship always starts in the first race, but it’s true that it’s just a race to confirm the good sensations you’ve had during testing,” Alonso told reporters at a media event for personal sponsor Santander in Madrid.

“But it’s true that in Europe it is time to show who is going to fight for the title and who isn’t.

“The first races can be atypical races with changing weather all the time, so now in Europe it’s the moment of truth to show who is going to be in the title fight, and also for the teams to prove they can develop faster than their rivals. It’s the start of a nice fight.”

Although Alonso has admitted that he has been frustrated with some of his performances this season, he is delighted to once more have a chance to challenge for the title, after two years at Renault.

“There’s always frustration on Sunday afternoon when you don’t achieve all the points you should have scored, but from a more general perspective, after a week home, these four races have been very positive.” he said. “Being third in the championship, very few points away from the leader, I believe is a very good situation.”

“With the potential that we have, with the super team that I have, this is just the beginning and I have a real chance to fight for the world championship, something I couldn’t even think about last year after four races.

“I’m enjoying it again, and I’ve felt that bug from winning a race or winning the championship again, and that’s the most positive thing about the start to this year.”

Alonso also downplayed Ferrari’s reliability issues, adding: “The car is fine. For one reason or another we haven’t managed to score as many points as we wanted, but I think we are going to have a good car again in Barcelona. I’m not worried,”

“As for the engines, we have found the problems that we had. I know there have been things written about the valves and the air consumption system of the engine, which are completely untrue, as it usually happens.

“So we are quiet because we have found the problems and we’ll try to do the rest of the season with an engine that’s 100 per cent reliable.”

Alonso attended the media event on Monday to renew his personal sponsorship deal with Santander, where it was also announced that the Spanish financial giant has insured the his thumbs for five million euros each.

“Alonso’s thumbs are a symbol, as well as being essential for driving a Formula One car, in that they make a sign of victory and show that everything is under control and well protected,” Eurosport reports the bank as saying.