“Hamilton still my biggest rival,” says Ferrari’s Alonso

Team announces plans to split efforts across 2013 and 2014 seasons

Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton holds up his trophy next to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel (l) and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso (r) after winning the F1 Grand Prix in Texas, US, last year.
Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton holds up his trophy next to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel (l) and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso (r) after winning the F1 Grand Prix in Texas, US, last year.REUTERS

The 2007 season is remembered fondly by Formula 1 fans, mostly thanks to the blistering competition between Spanish driver Fernando Alonso and his then-teammate at McLaren, the rookie Lewis Hamilton. Such was the rivalry between the two — both on and off the track — that Alonso left the team by the year-end, going back to Renault before making his much-anticipated move to Ferrari.

But it seems that for the Spaniard, Hamilton is still the driver to watch out for, despite the fact that in 2013 the Briton will be driving for Mercedes, a team that’s not expected to field a competitive car.

Speaking at Ferrari’s yearly press event, at the Madonna di Campiglio ski resort in the Dolomites, Alonso cited Hamilton as his main competition.

“I do not know who will be my main opponent for this season, he who has the best team, with the best year in terms of preparation, luck, testing, all of these factors, will help a driver or team to come on top of others,” he told reporters. “But as for strongest opponent, who is the strongest driver? My answer is Hamilton. It was true last year, it was true this year.”

Also at the event, team principal Stefano Domenicali announced that the team would be splitting into two different work groups this year: one that will focus on the 2013 car, which will not see any major changes from last year, and another that will work on 2014, when a number of new regulations will come into force, including the introduction of turbo-charged V6 engines.

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