Jerez: Formula 1 Superstar Fernando Alonso Clocks Fastest Lap In First Preseason Test Stop As New Ferrari Debuts, Eyes First Race

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Say what you will about Ferrari and its Championship prospects. But one thing’s certain. Fernando Alonso is on a mission.

Oakley’s Spanish Formula 1 Superstar kicked 2012 off in high gear with a surprise at the season-opening four-day test at Jerez, Spain, early February – clocking the fastest lap on the final day of the stop.

Following a challenging week for Fernando’s Ferrari team, his 1 minute, 18.877 second lap was clocked seven-tenths faster the rest of the field on that Friday.

Rocking a new 2012 model machine, the two-time F1 Champion blazed his way into the year on a high note.

But as all gear heads know, testing is…well, testing.

The new F2012 being driven by the Italian team has run into a few bumps in the road as it began the “breaking in” process. But Fernando was quick to point out that any concerns early on, were far too premature.

“There has been a tendency, especially from the media, to say that the car is bad and we are not having a good winter, but they don’t understand,” he said in late February, rocking his Oakley performance eyewear. "We are very calm because the car is very complex and there’s no reason to believe that it won’t be quick. The thing that is costing all of us is to get back the grip lost at the rear of the car by the blown diffusers ban, but I think it will be recovered soon.”

And there’s no doubt that the media is continuing the pressure on Fernando’s team as the season’s first race in Australia approaches (late March).

Despite the defending championship team’s (Red Bull) problems at the Barcelona test last week, the press is closely scrutinizing Ferrari.

“There’s lots of talk and many ideas, but nobody knows the truth. For example [Sunday] Red Bull, considered by many to be the front-runner, had only a few laps and the last time on the sheet: if something similar had happened to us, hell would have broken loose, but here nobody really noticed it.”

But despite the expectations and the pre-season critics, there’s absolutely no doubt that Fernando Alonso has his eye on one thing. Another Championship.

“I just want to remind you of an episode two years ago: at the last test in Barcelona we were fifth behind Red Bull, McLaren, Sauber and Force India and two weeks later we gained a one-two win in Bahrain. What counts is not to be first in the first race, but in November, at the end of the Championship.”

Check out a unique video of Fernando and his team engaging in physical training for the season a few months ago (in his Oakley performance eyewear, of course):