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Not enough on-track respect in F1 - Alonso

ESPNF1 Staff
May 9, 2012 « Ferrari 'more confident' ahead of Barcelona - Montezemolo | McLaren set to run new nose in Barcelona »
Fernando Alonso made reference to Gilles Villeneuve's exciting battle with Rene Arnoux at the 1979 French Grand Prix © Sutton Images
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Fernando Alonso believes there is not enough on-track respect between drivers in Formula One at the moment.

Alonso made the comments in his latest blog on Ferrari's website in which he reflected on the anniversary of Gilles Villeneuve's death on Tuesday. Villeneuve, the father of 1997 world champion Jacques, raced in Formula One in the late 1970s and early 1980s and was known for his committed but fair style of wheel-to-wheel racing.

Possibly Villeneuve's most famous race was the 1979 French Grand Prix in which he battled wheel-to-wheel with his good friend Rene Arnoux as they fought over second position in the closing laps of the race. Alonso does not think such a battle would be possible in the modern era.

"What I know of the father [Gilles] came only through films and obviously, the one I remember best is the duel he had with Arnoux at Dijon," Alonso said. "Unfortunately, these days, we no longer see this sort of fight because there are more difficulties to deal with: the cars are now dominated by aerodynamics and those sorts of passing moves are no longer possible.

"On top of that, there was definitely more respect then than there is now between us drivers, partly because they knew that, in those cars, they were risking their lives. I don't want to say that today things are done incorrectly, but I believe there is not that mutual respect, at least not from everyone, that there was back then. It's a problem that goes back a long way, to the junior categories and I think the time has come to try and get it back."

Looking ahead to this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, Alonso said he was hoping updates to his Ferrari would improve his competitiveness but warned against expecting too much.

"The immediate future means the Spanish Grand Prix," he added. "In Montmelo, we will be counting on making a step forward, but we won't know until Saturday if we have and if so, how big a step it is. We have updates on the F2012, some of which we tested in Mugello last week and others which we will try out on Friday in free practice. Clearly, having limited the damage in the first four races this year, we must turn things around. Having said that, it's not the case that if we are not on pole in Barcelona then it's the end of the world… The important thing is to make progress, reducing the gap as much as possible, first this weekend, then again in Monaco and after that, in Montreal, Valencia, Silverstone…

"The season is very long, with sixteen races to go, the same number that constituted the entire calendar back in 2003. We must continue to work day and night, just as did Gilles' mechanics, whom I met at the track yesterday and just as our guys do today. I will be flying with them to Barcelona this afternoon. With the same spirit of wanting to win and being prepared to fight with all one's strength to achieve that, which is the spirit that has driven me ever since I was a kid racing karts."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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