|Born||July 29, 1981||Nationality||Spanish|
|Team||Ferrari||F1 Debut||Australia 2001|
|Career statistics to end 2012|
|Pole Position(s)||22||Fastest Lap(s)||19|
The news that Fernando Alonso will miss the first F1 pre-season test at Jerez in the first week of February will have set tongues wagging.
What’s Alonso up to? Didn’t Ferrari come out of the blocks like a tortoise in 2012, and wouldn’t he want to make sure that it doesn’t happen again after missing his third title by just three points at the end of the year?
Not so silly: get in another couple of weeks of R&R, focus on physical fitness, let Felipe do the early set-up and development work, step in when he’s good and ready…
Ready for another World Championship is a fair assessment of Alonso, who yearns to emulate his idol Senna’s triple crown – and now has Vettel to match as well after just falling short last year.
Alonso took his personal tally to 30 Grand Prix victories in 2012, which puts him in the highest company: only Mansell, Senna, Prost and Schumacher have scored more.
But for incidents outside his control, most notably the first-corner fiasco with Grosjean at Spa-Francorchamps, Alonso’s title run would not have suffered the late-season stutter that allowed Seb to streak away.
Mature, combative, unwilling to admit defeat – and perhaps with a dash of good old-fashioned cunning thrown in as well – Fernando now seems the most complete driver on the grid. Like Mark Webber, he will pass the 200-race milestone early in the new season.
Can Maranello make a car to match his multiple strengths? Maybe we should ask Massa when that first week at Jerez is over. The Brazilian will be the first man to know that Ferrari’s efforts will be directed towards making Alonso the main man in 2013.