Fernando Alonso crashed out of his 200th F1 race in Malaysia.
The Spanish driver, who took victory at the same circuit last year, looked set for a good race having qualified in third. However he damaged his front wing at Turn Two when he nudged Sebastian Vettel as he fought for the lead of the race.
Alonso chose to stay out on circuit with the damaged front wing rather than pit for a new one. Unfortunately the front wing broke and became wedged underneath his Ferrari on the finish straight causing him to slide into the Turn One run off area and see an early end to his 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix.
After his first day at the wheel in 2013, Fernando Alonso on Tuesday had a stiff neck and a cautious round of optimism about the new Ferrari.
The Spaniard said he was “reasonably pleased” with his day of work in Barcelona, which left him third on the timesheet and a hundredth ahead of his 2012 title rival Sebastian Vettel.
The psychological war may also have begun on their first head-to-head this year, with Alonso cheekily overtaking Vettel on the narrow pitlane entry as the test day officially concluded at 5pm, according to the Swiss newspaper Blick.
Alonso then told reporters the F138 was “ok” and “more or less” what he expected based on the car he raced to the podium in Brazil last November, and Felipe Massa’s feedback after the initial Jerez test.
“This car is a continuation of the previous one,” he said, after posing with the red car featuring the sticker of new team sponsor UPS.
“I did not have any surprises, which is a good thing because last year we were a little surprised, and not in a positive way,” added Alonso.
“We need to be optimistic and think we will fight this year for the championship if we improve the car a little bit.”
At the very top of the times was Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, but earlier in the day he had a gearbox issue.
“The basis of the car is much, much better (than the 2012 one),” said the German, “but we are having a few too many reliability problems at the moment.”
Ferrari on Friday denied rumours Fernando Alonso is nursing an injury.
Most suspect that the Spaniard is sitting out the Jerez test this week so that the new F138 car can be ‘shaken down’ by Felipe Massa and Pedro de la Rosa ahead of Alonso’s debut on the much more representative Barcelona track.
But one or two whispers in the Jerez paddock this week suggested Alonso may have injured a rib whilst karting last month.
However, as the double world champion is currently running and cycling in Dubai and happily posting photos to Twitter to prove it, a Ferrari spokesperson said on Friday: “It’s obvious how hard Fernando is training at the moment.
“This rumour (about the injury) is utter nonsense and totally untrue,” Ferrari added.
Jerez is struggling without Spanish hero Fernando Alonso.
The 2012 runner-up and Ferrari driver elected to sit out the opening test of the pre-season in favour of cycling training in a hot country — possibly the Canary Islands.
His absence has led to mostly “empty grandstands” as the rest of the formula one world tests at Jerez in southern Spain, Brazil’s Globo reports.
“We have 25 to 30 per cent more journalists this year,” Jerez’s media boss Raul Zarzuela said.
“Everyone wants to see the new cars — it’s almost like a grand prix,” he added.
But “The absence of Alonso has hurt the interest here (in Spain),” Zarzuela admitted. “We (Spain) are in (economic) crisis, of course, but it only costs 10 euros for the whole day.”
Fernando Alonso will not drive Ferrari’s 2013 car until the second test of the pre-season, the Italian team has announced.
Maranello based Ferrari said it will be Felipe Massa at the wheel for the first three days of the four-day test at Jerez early next month. And it will be new test driver and Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa making his Ferrari debut on the final day of running.
“In the meantime and throughout all the first part of February, Fernando Alonso will intensify his physical training”, Ferrari said in a report on its website.
The team said the double world champion will only debut the as-yet unnamed 2013 Ferrari at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, where he will drive for the first three days of the second four-day test.
Ferrari’s racing duo will then share the running at the final Barcelona test, meaning that Brazilian Massa will head into the start of the championship with six days of running under his belt, compared to Spaniard Alonso’s five. Ferrari justified de la Rosa’s day of running on the basis that his new role will be principally focused on simulator driving.
“His day on track on 8 February will be very important,” the website report read, “as it will allow both the team and the driver to work specifically on looking at the correlation between the virtual and the real experience.”
Meanwhile, Brazil’s Totalrace reports that Nico Hulkenberg will be giving Sauber’s new C32 its debut at Jerez, before teammate Esteban Gutierrez takes over for the second half of the four-day test.
Dr Helmut Marko is bitter because he was turned down “several times”, Fernando Alonso has claimed.
Following Red Bull and Ferrari’s 2012 title battle, a verbal spat broke out between Spaniard Alonso and Austrian Marko, who is Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz’s right-hand man.
Marko claimed that while world champion Sebastian Vettel is fully focused, Alonso is too “busy with politics and funny comments”.
Alonso retorted: “Some (people) say they don’t read them (Alonso’s comments), don’t hear them and don’t see them, before adding that they are not influenced by them — so clearly they do read them, maybe at night.”
Now, the feisty 31-year-old Ferrari driver has hinted Marko is bitter because of how many times he rejected Red Bull’s interest in his highly-rated services.
“After hearing ‘no’, it always hurts a little more each time,” Alonso is quoted by Brazil’s Totalrace.
If Pastor Maldonado was the penalty king, then Fernando Alonso is the master of fair play in 2012.
That is the finding of Brazil’s Globo Esporte, having compiled a list of the official FIA penalties attracted by F1’s 24 drivers this year.
Williams’ Maldonado tops the list with 15 penalties; almost double the tally of the penalty runner-up Sergio Perez, whose 8 penalties was also matched by world champion Sebastian Vettel’s official infractions.
At the other extreme is Ferrari’s Alonso, whose tally of zero penalties is matched only by German backmarker Timo Glock.
“I have no miracles, I make my miracles the correct rules,” the Spaniard tweeted shortly after the conclusion of this year’s 20-race calendar.
Fernando Alonso insists he is unmoved after being labelled a ‘sore loser’ in the wake of his 2012 championship defeat.
Even amid his title battle with Sebastian Vettel, the German media said Ferrari’s Spaniard reverted to ‘dirty tricks’ to psychologically unsettle his adversary. And afterwards, there were rumours that Alonso was firmly involved in the heightening of the ‘yellow flag’ saga over Vettel’s allegedly illegal overtake in Brazil, earning him fresh rebukes from within Germany.
“Frankly, I’m not that interested in what the opinion is of me in Germany or elsewhere,” Alonso said at Ferrari’s end of season event at Valencia at the weekend. “What I know is that people who see me in the streets hug me and call me gladiator or samurai. What matters to me are the 1200 people in the Ferrari family who gave me a standing ovation at a dinner.”
Indeed, many in the paddock believe Alonso has improved even since his title-winning days at Renault mid last decade, and would have been a more deserving 2012 champion.
“Before,” Alonso agreed, “the people had a more or less good opinion of me, but now I notice a whole different level of respect, which I did not have when I won in 2005 and 2006. And then, to be one of the greats of formula one, it’s not enough to win titles, you must also tackle seasons like the one just ended.”
Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport quotes him adding: “I don’t have as many titles as Fangio or Schumacher, but I’m one of the best.
“Senna won three and is considered the best, even though others have more. When I retire, I will have the titles I have and I hope I am considered the best,” he is quoted by the AS sports daily.
Ferrari has clamped down on Fernando Alonso’s activities on social media websites Facebook and Twitter, according to the German magazine Focus.
It is reported the clampdown is the result of several controversial updates by the championship-charging Spaniard, including a photo he posted in Austin of himself and Felipe Massa holding a huge gun, with a caption declaring title war on Sebastian Vettel.
“There are a lot of interesting things I could tell the fans during a race weekend, but of course there is also a press department that keeps an eye on me constantly,” Alonso said.
Fernando Alonso’s former teammate thinks the Spaniard could have been this year’s world champion at the wheel of a Sauber.
Nelson Piquet jr, who was Alonso’s teammate at Renault in 2008 and 2009, thinks the 2012 Ferrari has been outclassed by the likes of Lotus and Sauber this season.
“The Ferrari is worse than those two, but sometimes a miracle is done because of Alonso. I think if he was in a Sauber or Lotus he would be world champion easily,” the Brazilian, who switched to Nascar after the 2009 ‘crashgate’ scandal, told Jovem Pan radio.
“I see those cars (Lotus and Sauber) in the front sometimes, but there is always the question: is it the car or the driver?” added Piquet, now 27.
The Brazilian looks back at his F1 career with some sadness, but insisted: “Alonso was not guilty of anything. It was great to have a teammate of his level.
“Before, when I was testing with Fisichella and Kovalainen, I could go at the same pace, but when I started to be with Alonso, I was suddenly half a second slower. Alonso made me work like crazy to find that there was more in me.”
Of F1’s next generation after him, Piquet said: “The two at Force India look good, and those at Toro Rosso seem better than Buemi and Alguersuari.”
Commenting on some others on today’s grid, he continued: “Maldonado has always been fast but makes many mistakes.
“Perez has done a few good races, but we don’t know if that’s just because of the car. I think Button will be better than him at McLaren.”