Abu Dhabi: The spectre of 2010 holds no fear for Ferrari's Fernando Alonso ahead of an Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that could again make or break the Spaniard's hopes of a third Formula One title. Two years ago, Alonso arrived for what was then the season-ending race as the championship leader. He left empty-handed after Ferrari made a strategic error and he spent half the race stuck behind Vitaly Petrov's Renault with his dreams disappearing.
This time he lags Red Bull's double world champion Sebastian Vettel, who took his first title in Abu Dhabi that evening in 2010, by 13 points with three races - including Sunday's at Yas Marina - remaining. Alonso was confident he would not have the same problems again, however.
"Now, thanks to the KERS (energy recovery system) plus DRS (the driver-activated rear wing), we improve a lot these situations...to avoid boring races or races where you cannot overtake at all in some kind of circuits," he told reporters on Thursday. "So I think the systems are working very well and we saw a lot of action in the last two years so I don't think that for today we have any worry for this race or the next races to repeat that kind of situation."
Two years ago, Alonso arrived for what was then the season-ending race as the championship leader. He left empty-handed after Ferrari made a strategic error.
Alonso remained confident, despite Vettel winning the last four races and seeming to have clearly the faster car, that he could still win the title. "We believe and we trust in our job and our team," he said. "We don't give up and we will fight until the end.
"When things become stressful, when things become difficult, I think we can deliver 100 percent...the team has a lot of experience fighting for world championships." The Spaniard said it was crucial to be hot on Red Bull's heels to be able to take advantage of any mistakes they might make, and recognised that mechanical failure could strike anyone at any time.
The Red Bull, he observed, looked slightly more fragile than the Ferrari with Australian Mark Webber losing his KERS in India last weekend. "We need to find perfection this weekend, or these next three weekends, and be very close to them and attack all the race," he said.
Alonso said Ferrari, who are 91 points behind Red Bull in the constructors' standings, would have some new parts fresh from Italy to improve performance. He denied media reports in Italy and Spain of discord between him and the team after he finished second in India last Sunday and said he would have words with the journalist responsible.
"It was a very nice invention from the Italian media, quite creative to be honest," he said. "We know, and it's a fact that we are slower than Red Bull. We all agree on this. "We are working very hard, and very united, to improve this situation."