De la Rosa: ‘I’m surprised Alpine let Alonso escape’

De la Rosa: ‘I’m surprised Alpine let Alonso escape’

Stone of the Rose (51, Barcelona) is the sixth Spanish driver in Formula 1 history. He has raced 107 Grands Prix with five different teams, his last stop with Spanish team HRT. A second place at the 2006 Hungarian GP and a fastest lap in Bahrain are his trademarks in the Great Circus. But his work in the McLaren or Ferrari factories, off the screens, earned him points and championships. The Barcelonan attends AS to give his thoughts on Alonso’s new destination for the upcoming season. He also talks about the change Sainz made to dominate Ferrari and the new era of the sport.

-How do you see the signing of Alonso? A few weeks ago he said “the plan was to win again”.

“Of course, if Alonso goes to Aston Martin, it’s because his plan is to win again. I don’t think there’s a driver who signs for a team without thinking he’s not going to win. , I don’t say it anymore for Fernando, I say it in general. Above all, in this case, Aston Martin has an extremely ambitious long-term project. And I insist on the long term, because in Formula 1 you don’t go from top 15 in winning races the following year.

―You visited the Aston Martin headquarters, how did you feel about the factory?

―I really liked what I saw in Aston Martin. I saw a huge transformation of this Jordan team where I made my debut in 1998. They are preparing a new factory with a huge wind tunnel. But above all, what I felt was his ambition. They have a human group that is growing a lot and has a lot of talent.

―As commented by Otmar Szafnauer (alpine boss), Alonso did not renew as Alpine wanted an annual contract as, being a veteran rider, he was going to be assessed year by year.

―What surprises me is that they let Fernando escape. Having a special driver is very difficult, there are very few in Formula 1. And when you have one, you let go. At 40, can you consider yourself a veteran driver? In modern sport, if you take good care of yourself, 40 is the new 30. I think the passport is not important.

“There is no point in firing pilots every two years”

Stone of the Rose

―Alpine structurally in recent years has weakened. Important men have left the team.

―I believe that teams are created through a human group. There’s little point in firing pilots every two years, because ultimately the results come from working with your pilots. For example, when I was at McLaren, employee loyalty to Ron Dennis was great because they had been there for 20 years. And that was one of the conditions for which McLaren dominated for many years in Formula 1.

―Do you think Alpine will restrict information with Fernando for the rest of the season?

“It is standard practice that when a driver informs the team that he is leaving, he limits all technical information on the car or engine for the next season as much as possible. Also the evolution data in the wind tunnel, in addition to not allowing you to try the new car or engine in the simulator, this is normal and what Fernando will face.

―The most surprising thing about signing Alonso was the speed of his contract. Is a negotiation done in just four days?

“The basic terms of a contract can be agreed in ten minutes. Then, the small print of the contracts obviously takes more hours because a Formula 1 contract can be between 50 and 100 pages. But it’s more work for lawyers.

―Alpine told Piastri, but he later denied it. You have to be very clear about your contract with Alpine to refuse to ride with the French brand.

“The Piastri case surprises me a lot. In Formula 1 there is the CRB (the Contract Recognition Commission) which serves to ensure that these cases do not reach ordinary justice. So if you have a contract with Alpine and they filed it with the CRB, when you go to sign with McLaren, in theory they should take it over.

―Mike Krack, CEO of Aston Martin, believes it will not be easy to meet Alonso’s request. How’s it going at the factory?

―Working with Fernando is the best because there is nothing better than working with someone who will give everything for what you do. If the first is demanding, he also demands the others, but it’s always teamwork. Which world champion does not demand his team? (Laughs).

“Verstappen is on a higher level than the others”

Stone of the Rose

―Do you think Sainz is at the same table as Leclerc, Verstappen, Hamilton…?

“What I think is that at the moment there is no one at Verstappen’s table. He is on a higher level than the others, but Carlos is very close and I see him on the same level as Leclerc. , even if at the start of the season it was difficult for him to adapt to the car.

―Carlos achieved his best results of the last three seasons in the latter part of the year. Do you think this series will continue?

-Without a doubt. Carlos is a driver who never stops learning. He’s a lot like Fernando in that. He has already won a race, in the last test he beat Leclerc and he will be fighting with Leclerc, Verstappen and ‘Checo’. And watch out for the Mercedes because they are already there!

―Laurent Mekies, race director at Ferrari, said during the break that at some point they were going to opt for a driver.

“In all the teams, sometimes there comes a point in the season when the team orders start. The teams before starting a season establish their rules with the drivers. However, I think there are still a lot of races to determine the commands of the teams and everything will mark the distance between the pilots.

―Do you think that Ferrari risked too much in the search for performance and not so much reliability?

“The summary of this season is that Ferrari have made a very fast car, they have won races and they have focused on pure engine performance. The rulebook, with the power unit blocking, you So a lot of teams said, “Let’s focus on performance. And then they’ll look for reliability.”

―Has Leclerc already lost his options for the World Cup?

“With the numbers in hand, it’s clear he’s been the worst unemployed for Ferrari so far this season as he’s dropped a lot of points. But the mistakes are spread across the board. Leclerc made mistakes, but racing has also eluded him for reliability.But in this sport, you win and lose together.

“I know you’ve never driven one of these cars. But what differences are there with those of his scene?

“The big difference is the ground effect. The riders tell me that they are very difficult to ride because you have to be very aggressive on corner entry, but the riders don’t know if the downforce will be stable or not at that moment. And that explains the accidents of Leclerc in France or Carlos in Spain. They are very understeered cars and by nature it is more difficult for the driver.

-How do you assess the change in regulations? Next year, the height of the cars will not be able to exceed 15 mm.

“I think the intentions are good. Secondly, I am against changes in the regulations during the season. The rules are for everyone and there are teams that no longer have ‘porpoising’. So if they don’t have “porpoising”, it’s a preventable problem.

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DENIS CHARLETAFP

―We come from Spa, where he has not had good results in his career (three retirements in six races). In 2010 he finished 11th from 24th with Sauber, even reaching the points in the closing laps.

“Yeah, it was a weekend that didn’t start well because in qualifying it started to rain in Q1 and I was stuck because other drivers did a lap in wet and dry conditions. I made up a lot of places, but to finish 11th was to be the first of the losers. I put on an extreme rain tire at the end but the track dried out and I fell to 11th position. I remember coming off the track we got caught in a downpour that got us stuck and I thought if I had dropped that an hour earlier I would have even done a better podium! is the race.

―Is Formula 1 heading towards a similar scenario to other tests such as IndyCar where there are more races but less practice?

“We are in a new interpretation of Formula 1, where the World Championships of less than 20 races will be conspicuous by their absence. We went from two or three practices a week plus the Grand Prix ones to just a few winter tests and the Grand Prix free practice sessions. It is obvious that they want to do more races. The future is more racing and less training. I wouldn’t be surprised if soon we were talking about 25.

“It’s a matter of time before we have a woman in Formula 1”

Stone of the Rose

“What do you think of Audi’s entry? Everything indicates that they are going to buy part of Sauber. We even know that his alliance with Alfa Romeo ends in 2023.

“For me, the news is not only that Audi will enter, but that Porsche will also be part of Red Bull. That two premium brands are entering Formula 1, at a time when the automotive sector is changing, is synonymous that Formula 1 is doing well. The only thing it will do is raise the bar.

“A few days ago, Nico Rosberg said that women in F1 must have an opportunity, as they do in other competitions.

“Clearly it’s only a matter of time before we have a woman in Formula 1. This will be amplified because it will be the first competition to have a man-woman showdown. However, to arrive in Formula 1, there are several stages, in particular Formula 2. F2 cars are very physical because they have no power steering, unlike an F1 car. I think that’s the biggest hurdle for women, because such a physical car doesn’t let them shine. And then the best of the W series should go to F2. But as long as F2 doesn’t change, we won’t see a woman in F1, even if it’s a matter of a few years.

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