Fernando Alonso, the favourite to win this year's Formula One world championship, has suggested that his difficult experience in partnering the British driver Lewis Hamilton at McLaren in 2007 helped him to “grow up” and was good preparation for joining his new team, Ferrari.
“2007 was very difficult but I learnt a lot personally,” he says in an interview to be published by the Guardian on Tuesday. “It was good for my career to take that step of joining McLaren and growing up. I learned how to work with a team and also to withstand the media pressure. The difficulties I had were coming from the team and the media. Now I am much more prepared for everything in F-1 — and in life as well.”
Jenson Button, like Alonso in 2007, arrives at McLaren this season as the reigning world champion and it is widely expected that tensions could emerge between him and Hamilton. “Obviously I don't know how McLaren is now but if Jenson arrived in my time then, for sure, it would be very tough for him,” Alonso told the Guardian. “But, hopefully, it's now better for Jenson because I learned a lot from that season and McLaren did as well.”
Alonso confronts rumours that he has a strained relationship with his new team-mate, Felipe Massa. “People are only writing these things because they know we are very strong.”