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Five things to look forward to in 2013 (Part 5) - Alonso's championship quest - The third title for Spain's double champion remains elusive... for now

Published by Christine

Pocket F1 Handbook

This series celebrates the launch of my latest book, the Pocket F1 Handbook : Guide to the 2013 Grand Prix Season which features all you need to know about drivers, teams and tracks for the coming year. There's also a top ten list of things to look forward to over the coming months, and in anticipation of the first race, we're looking at five of the items - expanding on the topic and counting down until the Australian Grand Prix. This is the final item, Fernando Alonso's aim for another title.

If there's one thing Fernando Alonso has learned by now, it's how to handle missing out on a championship gracefully. Let's be clear, his misfortunes have nowhere near the heartbreak that was experienced by his soon-to-be teammate Felipe Massa in 2008, but Alonso is starting to make a habit of getting close to the goal and missing out in the final moments.

Two back-to-back championships with Renault in 2005 and 2006 broke the momentum of stale action we had seen from the dominant Ferrari years. Since then, Alonso has been seeking for the right team to take a third - proving he can do it in different machinery, with a different team. McLaren didn't work out, a stint back at Renault wasn't going to do it, but Ferrari, now that's a different story.

Disappointment in Abu Dhabi in 2010 saw him miss out to Vettel by just four points. Disappointment in Brazil in 2012 saw him lose out to the German again, by three points. The last few years have been a constant case of so near and yet so far.

Alonso's championship positions
Fernando celebrates in Abu Dhabi
Credit: Pirelli S.p.A.

Alonso was at the top of the championship standings for much of 2012, which was a surprise to everyone involved. The Ferrari car wasn't as fast as any of the team had hoped, and it was through consistent performances more than anything else that Alonso managed to keep his lead. When Red Bull found their way and turned up the heat, there was little Ferrari could do about it.

This year, the team are confident they have a better starting point, and if that's the case, they may be able to remain near the top of the championship battle for 2013. Fighting for the title for another year may be exhausting but Alonso's got the hunger to do it. He's lost out on becoming the youngest triple world champion, and he has been losing records to his German rival for several seasons. I can imagine it being his number one goal to halt another Vettel obliteration!

Some rate Alonso very highly as one of the best drivers on the grid, others think he lets himself down on occasion, but having the Spaniard in the championship battle ensures it will be an exciting thing. Of all the things that you could find fault with in Alonso, determination, passion and belief are not included.

Last year was the best year of my career and I was very happy with the performance, but I think this year will be better. We have a better starting point, and I have learned from some mistakes of last year.

You can improve always as a driver in terms of tyre management, and in terms of preparation approach for the grand prix. The trust, confidence and motivation are better than any other year and pit stop wise, with starts - all these things, we are constantly learning.

I have prepared better; I am better than last year.

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