You can't stop what's comin'
Thursday afternoon at the Korea International Circuit and I’m in Ferrari’s paddock-based HQ.
Behind the partition to my right the Scuderia’s main man, Fernando Alonso, is finishing a telephone conversation in his native tongue. A cheery “adios” heralds the end of the call. Five seconds later and here he is, hand outstretched; a firm handshake and he’s ready to talk photo shoot.
I’m here to talk him through the plan and I have the client’s brief ready to show him. Exhibiting uncommon interest – for an F1 driver at least – in what I and the client would like, he leans in and listens intently to my requests: look like this, stand like that – but above all, do what you do and just be cool.
Nodding his head, Alonso seems receptive to my requests.
Flicking through the pages of the brief, we arrive at the final visual. Carefully drawn on the paper is a creative’s study of a driver exultantly celebrating a glorious grand prix win.
“I can sort all the other shots, Fernando, but this one,” I gesture at the image in question, “well, it’s down to you”
Without a pause, back comes his reply: “No problem, we do that one on Sunday.”
A wry grin cracks across Fernando’s face but that’s it, he means what he says. We agree to meet in the Ferrari pit box at 16.30 and I take my leave.
At the appointed hour the shoot goes well, and Fernando executes his poses with the necessary levels of coolness.
As for that final shot, come Sunday evening – and, well, you know the rest…
Confidence in his ability is not something this double world champion lacks, and why should he? An awesome run of results – save for his Belgian mishap – has vaulted Alonso to the top of the world championship standings, with a mathematical chance of securing his third title next time out at Interlagos.
Sure, he’ll be using an engine two races old and the Red Bulls will fly, no doubt locking out the front row once again. But on Sunday November 7 would you bet against another wretched Red Bull race, pressured into mistakes and overly worked Renault engines, by you know who?
It’s certainly true that thoughts often provoke reality, so get your cameras ready, because Fernando is ready too.