Silverstone: The spirit of Ferrari’s pioneering “Pampas Bull” will be with Fernando Alonso when he takes on the Red Bulls at the British Grand Prix this weekend.
Two years ago the Spaniard marked the 60th anniversary of Ferrari’s first Formula One victory by driving winner Jose Froilan Gonzalez’s 1951 car around the same Silverstone circuit where the Argentine had triumphed.
Alonso went on to win the race that day and will try to repeat the feat on Sunday as his team again pay tribute to Gonzalez after his death in Buenos Aires two weeks ago at the age of 90.
“For me, Alonso’s win at this track in 2011 was one of the greatest of my career,” said Team Principal Stefano Domenicali.
“It was a special race, because we were going through a difficult season and to win exactly when we were celebrating the 60th anniversary of Ferrari’s first ever Formula One win was like a sign of destiny.
“It is very sad that just a few days ago, Froilan Gonzalez, the man who gave Ferrari that first win in 1951, passed away and we will be remembering him during this weekend,” added the Italian.
Alonso needs a win to rein in Red Bull’s triple world champion Sebastian Vettel, now a healthy 36 points clear of him after seven of the season’s 19 races.
Ferrari have won in Britain, home of eight of the current 11 Formula One teams, more times than anyone (16 in all) and Alonso has every chance of adding to that tally.
“I wouldn’t say that Vettel is favourite for this race. I’d say it’s Alonso,” McLaren’s Jenson Button told reporters ahead of a home Grand Prix that has yet to reward the 2009 champion with a podium finish.
Alonso was on pole last year but Red Bull’s Mark Webber, who also won in 2010, beat the double champion into second place while Vettel — winner at Silverstone in 2009 — was third.
Webber, yet to win this season, could be a bigger threat than Vettel at what amounts to a home race for the pub-owning, countryside-loving Australian whose house is a short drive from the circuit.