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Motorsport | Formula 1

Fernando Alonso © Gallo Images

Alonso hopes for answers in Germany



Fernando Alonso hopes for answers on his Ferrari's performance and the ongoing tyre saga at the next Formula One race in Germany on Sunday.

The former two-times world champion told dpa in an interview during a sponsor event in Hamburg ahead of the Nuerburgring Grand Prix that a mid-season change of tyres is unprecedented in the sport and that he hopes Ferrari won't suffer from it.

Alonso, 31, came third at Sunday's British GP in Silverstone which was marred by tyre blow-outs of several drivers including his teammate Felipe Massa, then leading Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and McLaren's Sergio Perez.

Debris from Perez's rubber flew just inches past Alonso late in the race as the Spaniard salvaged at least third place in what he named a not very competitive car. Alonso said the incident extremely dangerous and "unacceptable."

"You are behind one car and there are pieces of tyre or seal flying at 300 kilometres per hour. If they touch your helmet they will be like a bullet and will kill you," he said.

The authorities acted swiftly as the ruling body FIA waved an in-season tyre testing ban and tyre makers Pirelli will bring modified rubbers to Germany before making more changes for the next race on July 28 in Hungary.

As much as safety is a top concern, Alonso still has mixed feelings over the action taken.

"They changed the tyres. I think it is the first time in history that happened in the middle of the year. Some people will benefit, for some it will halt performance a little bit. Hopefully we will be among the benefit teams," Alonso said.

Ferrari were among three teams who vetoed the introduction of modified tyres last month in Canada as they did well on the rubbers first criticised for delamination by other teams including world champions Red Bull and their drivers' champion Sebastian Vettel.

Alonso has 111 points in the championship, trailing Vettel by 21 points going into Germany, where he won a third race last year at Hockenheim. But to achieve success again a better performance than last week is needed.

"We need to answer what is our real performance. We have been very good this year apart from the Silverstone weekend where we were not competitive, not good enough to fight with the top guys. So I am curious to sae if it was only one race or whether we lost performance somewhere," Alonso said.

Performance has been a long-standing concern for Alonso although he has taken two season victories and is the biggest rival of Vettel again as he seeks a first trophy with Ferrari after 2005 and 2006 success for Renault.

But it is not only Vettel Alonso needs to look out for, Mercedes have also improved in a major way, shown by five pole positions this season and two victories from Nico Rosberg.

"They are very strong. They have proven that they are extremely quick. Before it was qualifying, now they are also very quick in the race. I have no doubts that they will fight until the end. Nico and Hamilton will be tough contenders," Alonso said.

However, Alonso insists it won't be the end of the world for him if he fails again to land the title, and he certainly is not jealous of Vettel.

"Everyone has different careers. I have been successful in the past and I have been driving for top teams for many years. In the end you have one more title or one title less. But I have a lot of support and recognition from everyone else. This is better for me than one more world championship," Alonso said.

"It is part of my job. I try to do as best as I can. Sometimes I am fourth in the championship, sometimes second, sometimes i win. You need to be happy with yourself, with your mind inside. And I am happy now."

This appears at least partly due to his fascination with Japanese culture and that of the Samurai worriers there - which was also well-documented in various tweets and Facebook entries he made during the final stages of the 2012 season.

Alonso dismissed that these postings were mind games in the direction of Vettel, but rather named them self-motivation without wanting everyone else to understand.

"I have been reading books and am very passionate about Japanese culture in general. I got into the culture a little bit more and found a very interesting philosophy of life - not only for racing but also for the normal day life," Alonso said.

"I think there is a lot to learn in our society from the Samurai culture because sometimes we forget what the real problems are and what is not so important."

"It is to motivate myself first of all. I posted some things because I read them. They surprised me or motivated me to share with everyone else what I read and feel at this moment. The next race will be better, whatever. But in an ironic way with another philosophy."

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