‘Title heartbreak motivates Ferrari’
Fernando Alonso on Thursday said two tough near-misses in the past three seasons would motivate Ferrari as the celebrated Italian team seek their first Formula One drivers world title in six years.
Alonso said he felt "privileged" to have come so close last year, when he missed out on his third world title by just three points, and in 2010, when he was only four points back in the standings.
In both instances Alonso, who won in 2005 and 2006 with Renault, was shaded by Red Bull ace Sebastian Vettel, who is now seeking his fourth championship in a row starting with Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
But the Spaniard said it would all be worthwhile if he could become Ferrari's first drivers champion since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007, a triumph which followed Michael Schumacher's golden run from 2000-2004.
"Not many people have the opportunity to be on the podium in Formula One, even less people have the opportunity to win races and very few people have the chance to fight for the world championship," Alonso said at Albert Park.
"So I feel lucky and privileged to have those opportunities.
"Sure, we lost two times in the last three years in the last race and we want again to have the possibilities to fight for the world championship. Hopefully this year we can change the final result.
"But it is the normal thing for the sport and this will give me and the team extra motivation to really have one happy result at the end of it."
Alonso added that this week's race in Melbourne was almost impossible to predict with all 10 drivers of the top five teams – Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Lotus – capable of victory.
"It's difficult to know who can win this race. We need to wait and see and answer some questions. Winter testing didn't answer them," he said.
"I think the top five teams have a little bit of advantage, maybe it's not the same as last year but we saw seven different winners in the first seven races.
"I expect this year with the consistency in the rules that the top five teams will have a little advantage and not have many surprises in the first few races."
Alonso added: "All the leading teams have shown some potential on different days in testing and races last year and I think it's difficult to choose."