Alonso to start on clean slate


MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, January 13 – Former double world champion Fernando Alonso insisted he has put last season's last gasp title disappointment behind him as Ferrari prepare for the new Formula One season.Alonso led the championship standings going into the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi but a misjudged pit-stop sent him down the field and into heavy traffic.

Alonso got stuck behind Renault’s Vitaly Petrov and had to watch on in frustration as Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel streaked away to claim the race win and world title.

"With regards to Abu Dhabi, you win and you lose together, in that moment we believed (the pit-stop) to be the right choice but now I don’t want to think about it any more," said Alonso from Ferrari’s joint event here with Ducati to introduce the new Formula One and Moto GP seasons.

"To spend one more minute thinking about it would be an advantage for our opponents," he added.

And Alonso repeated team principal Stefano Domenicali’s assertion on Wednesday that the team is aiming to take a step up this season.

"Our objective is to fight for two titles, the drivers’ and constructors’," he said.

"It would be great to repeat what we did during the last season and to try to win the world title."

And as for who he expects to be his major rivals, Alonso is expecting the resurgence of an old adversary.

Asked who the favourites are he replied: "In January I would say (Michael) Schumacher, he’s a great driver and if he has a good car he will be the rival we should fear the most.

"However, I hope the Ferrari will be competitive and that my main rival will be (teammate) Felipe Massa.

"And there’s no doubt that Sebastian Vettel will be one of the favourites, next year he will be calmer as the world champion and will drive better than last year."

Although he was well off the pace last season and never in the title running despite finishing on the podium in the first two races, Massa is hoping to rediscover his 2008 form this coming season.

That year he missed out on the title to McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton on the last corner of the last race.

"If I can drive as I want to I know I can have a say in the world title," he said.

"I know I didn’t have a good season last year in which I especially struggled with the front tyres because I never managed to find the right grip but this is a new season with a new car and already I have a good feeling."

And Massa concurred with his teammate about the status of Ferrari legend Schumacher, who won five of his seven world titles with the Scuderia, although he now drives for Mercedes.

"For what he’s won Schumacher will always be the number one but I’m ready for the battle, also with Alonso," he said.