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Stefano Domenicali: "Fernando Alonso is a unique talent, he deserved to resurface as he is doing"


Interview with the CEO of Formula 1, who rejoices in the effervescence that the World Cup is experiencing and underlines: “It is a different sport than 10 years ago. It is a different kind of entertainment. We are in a different context. It's a different thing"

With Red Bull, Max Verstappen and even Fernando Alonso with his Aston Martin, sprint

races ,

controversies, Formula 1 is experiencing a new golden age, proclaim its promoters, the North American company Liberty Media, which bought the competition from British Bernie Ecclestone.

For the usual purists, the novelties that the company has gradually introduced give more meaning than ever to the name of the

great circus.

with which the World Cup has always been known.

The head of the circuit, the Italian Stefano Domenicali, CEO of Formula 1, born in Imola, in the shadow of the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit 57 years ago, has no doubt that the path they are following is the only possible path.

“F1 is a different sport.

It is a different kind of entertainment.

We are in a different context.

It's a different thing”, says Domenicali, who before being the great


of the circus was responsible for Ferrari in the years in which Fernando Alonso – “a unique talent” – lost two World Cups on the last lap driving the red cars .


Is your memory of Formula 1 more linked to the madness of the drivers or the fascination for cars?


My memory of F1 is the memories of my childhood in Imola.

To see the races behind the barriers, then inside the barriers.

Later, when at the university, working to consolidate the structure, then starting to work at Ferrari.

From that moment, I lived from the inside, with different roles, the evolution of F1.


Do you still go skiing with Fernando Alonso as the Spaniard said they would continue to do when you left Ferrari, in 2014 and he was the number one driver in the



Of course.

We keep skiing together, we keep seeing each other.

Although time passes and the circumstances and the role of each one change, certain relationships do not change.


This 2023, Alonso is once again the protagonist, a 41-year-old


fighting over the head with almost children like Verstappen... Is Alonso a gift for F1?


Alonso's return is fantastic news for him, for F1, for everyone... He is a model, a reference, for everyone.

He shows what you can achieve if you don't give up, if you continue to deliver... Fernando is a unique talent.

He deserved it.


With Ferrari and with you as boss, precisely, he suffered his most painful defeats...


Everyone knows it very well.

Fernando won two titles, but when we were working together he lost another two, in 2010 and 2012, in the last round.

But when one is able to rise again after those painful moments, and I can guarantee that we had a very bad time, that we suffered a lot, and he is there ready to fight again, he shows his great strength.

And now the whole world can see that he is a unique driver.

A great example for all.


It's a dream come true for your F1 model...


Of course, of course.

It's a great story.

And on top of that we have Max [Verstappen] there… This is an incredible moment.

Max is 25, he's young, and he's so dedicated, he gives it his all... And to see that Fernando, at 41, is capable of fighting with him, of being there, of showing himself so strong... It's magical, yes, magical.


In Spain, interest in F1 has resurfaced, which is followed again as it was 10 years ago...


And Fernando does not generate enthusiasm only in Spain.

Just go around the world.

It has already been seen in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.


But that will be with the old fans...


What's up, with young people, with young people.

It is so and I will tell you why.

Now all the drivers are very invested in social networks, very connected with the new generation, fresh meat for F1 that sees the drivers as new heroes.


You have talked about eliminating free rehearsals on weekends, saying that they are only of interest to engineers, not the public;

it has increased to six sprint


on Saturdays;

He talks about making every day of the weekend an important day, with results, with consequences... Are we talking about a different sport than the one inherited by the current owners of the circuit, Liberty, from Bernie Ecclestone?


It is a normal evolution, right?

It's a different sport because to grow you have to know exactly what element to press on.

I think it is very significant to see that in this exhibition [the interview took place during the inauguration in Madrid of

The Formula 1. The Exhibition

] one of the biggest photos is that of Bernie Ecclestone.

Bernie invented F1.

This is something that all of us who are part of this business must always remember...




But in life there is always a moment when things change, and when Liberty came along, first with Chase Carey and then with me, we saw that we had to give a new impetus.

F1 is a different sport.

It is a different kind of entertainment.

We are in a different context.

It's a different thing.


And not only the concept of the weekend seems to change, but also the scenario.

It is as if they wanted to take F1 out of the circuits of a lifetime and take it to the center of the cities...


I would rather say that what we want is for each Grand Prix to be different from the previous one and the next.

Each one has to be a different experience not only because of what happens on the track, but also because of what you see around the track.

This is important.

Now there is a

fan zone,

for example.

And this exhibition is another sign of what we think needs to be done.

Connecting the past with the future, traveling from the 1950s to the 1950s, from 1950, when the World Cup was created, to 2050... That's why I believe that if we want to leave an incredible mark on history, one person alone can't do anything .

The history of F1 is like a relay.

We have taken over and we have to keep up the pressure to continue growing and to push even harder.


Will the number of grand prix per season grow?

The 23 of now are not already many?


No. You never know.

Not long ago there were years in which it was difficult to think of 15 or 17. So we had to pay to have a Grand Prix.

Now, we're in a situation where there would honestly be a chance to be 30, even more, but we can't.

The requests are there, but we want to stay at 23, 24, a good balance between supply and demand.

And this only happens because F1 is growing, it arouses interest, the media pays attention to it... Otherwise, it would be impossible.


There is much talk about the importance of this rejuvenation process and the increase in audiences in the United States, where there will be three Grand Prix this season, of the Netflix series

Drive to survive...


Yes, yes,

Drive to survive

has done a spectacular job, but I think the reason we are growing is because we care about all the types of fans we have.

We are aware of social networks, traditional media, television, radio, YouTube...


To win in F1, who is more important, the engineer or the driver?


Both, of course.

One cannot live without the other.

It's quite clear.


So this year, with the Red Bulls so superior...


If the car is the best, even the best driver... Sorry, if the car is not good, not even the best driver... Of course.

I know very well, yes, but that's the way this game is.

In any case, you know the best from the good when they get close to the limit... And the drivers still make the difference.


The Aston Martin, Alonso's car, is a product of Dan Fallows, an engineer who learned from Adrian Newey, the Red Bull wizard... Nice fight between teacher and student on both fronts.

We will have to do a

Drive to survive

for engineers in the future, then, right?


It could be, it could be... Can you imagine?


Can Alonso win the World Cup?


Max is


but Alonso is very big


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Source: elparis

All sports articles on 2023-03-30

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