Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso intends to perform well this weekend at the Grand Prix of Canada to honour the legacy of the legendary Gilles Villeneuve who won the Montreal race back in 1978, driving for Ferrari.
After six Grands Prix, Alonso leads the drivers' championship with a slim three-point advantage over Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
“Leading the championship is only the beginning, it’s a starting point, because the ultimate target is leading the championship after the final race in Brazil in November,” says Alonso on the official Ferrari web site.
“It’s a long championship and the first six races brought us enough points to be in the lead, but we are well aware that we have to improve. We need to make the car faster, working hard, while making no mistakes and finding consistency, which is not the easiest thing to do in this championship.”
The Scuderia Ferrari admits that traction and top speed have been the Achilles Heel of the F2012 and the nature of the Montreal circuit highlights these two areas of car performance.
“I think we have improved the car in these areas since the beginning of the season and Canada will be a good test in this respect,” said Alonso.
The brakes get some serious use here and, as always tires will play a vital role and for this weekend, Pirelli is bringing exactly the same compounds used two weeks ago in Monaco, namely the Soft Prime and the Supersoft Option.
“It’s hard to say in advance, as this season has been so unpredictable with ups and downs for everyone over the course of six races” says Alonso. “However, I don’t see any reason why Ferrari should not be competitive in Canada, fighting for the top places come the end of the race. Winning races is not easy, neither is finishing on the podium, but the important thing is to score points and find a good level of consistency.”
The fact the circuit in Montreal is named after Gilles Villeneuve will have a particular significance this year, the 30th anniversary of his death and Fernando and Felipe were both in Maranello last month to mark the actual date.
“It was a very emotional event,” recalls the two-time World Champion.
“The anniversary of Gilles’ death was a very special day, with his son Jacques driving his father’s car at Fiorano, in front of his wife and daughter. Now we come to race at the circuit named after him and this city has always had a lot of Ferrari supporters, so we want to do well and give our tifosi and Gilles’ fans something good to cheer about," Alonso concluded.