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Fit and fast Fernando

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F1 Mole | 06:24 UK time, Thursday, 12 March 2009

In Barcelona

All eyes are guaranteed to be on local hero Fernando Alonso in Barcelona but this week he has been that bit harder to spot.

Buoyed by Renault's hot form in testing, the double world champion has really got his game face on as he ducks between the thronging fans in the paddock at this week's major pre-season test.

But there is something else that is different about Alonso - how much weight he has lost.

The Mole has no idea how much hair weighs but gone are the long, messy locks that have become synonymous with Alonso while he has been at Renault.

Replacing that style is a short number all the better to show off his sharply defined chin because gone, too, is the hint of a jowl around his cheeks.


That's not to say Alonso was overweight before - Formula One drivers are some of the fittest athletes in the world.

But Renault say the 27-year-old has lost between two and three kilos since the end of last season, and that's down to a new training regime this winter.

Instead of lifting heavy weights to bulk up, Alonso has been doing more cardiovascular work to reduce muscle and he says he has spent most of the break out and about on his bike.

The reason for Alonso's shrinking waist - and hair - line is the introduction of this year of kinetic energy recovery systems (Kers) into F1.

The system, which gives drivers an extra boost of 80bhp for up to 6.7 seconds per lap, weighs about 35kg.

That is not much less than the amount of ballast teams were routinely using in 2008 to bring their cars up to the minimum weight limit of 605kg with the driver on board.

Last year the teams could put that ballast on board wherever it helped the weight distribution and centre of gravity the most - making the car go faster.

But with Kers taking up much of that difference this year, the teams have much less flexibility to use ballast to tune the car.

So the less the driver weighs, the more ballast the team can add to the car - and in the right places.

One driver who must have followed a similar weight loss plan to Alonso is Brawn GP's Rubens Barrichello.

He must be kicking himself now.

The Brazilian looks like he has put himself through a horrible diet only to find out that, as things stand, Brawn GP have no plans to run Kers at any point during the season.

Time to head to hospitality, Rubens. Just don't tell Fernando.


  • 1. At 08:06am on 12 Mar 2009, Dave Hedgehog wrote:

    I hope Alonso, Renault and BMW are all able to put in a serious challenge for the title this season.

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  • 2. At 09:08am on 12 Mar 2009, vertigo_timbo wrote:

    it looks like it's going to be one of the most exciting seasons in year - itv must be gutted!

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  • 3. At 11:32am on 12 Mar 2009, druss_the_legend wrote:

    Apparently Alonso has been training on the bike with Tour De France winner Carlos Sastre. If that does not get one fit...

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  • 4. At 11:48am on 12 Mar 2009, maceonline wrote:

    Where are you getting your facts moley, its 6.6 seconds alap, and it only weights 15KG.

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  • 5. At 12:13pm on 12 Mar 2009, simonoram wrote:

    I'm guessing Alonso's new look and weight loss is a ploy to take our eyes off the hideous Renault!

    Must admit though, BMW and Brawn GP look like springing a few surprises, I'll be cheering Jenson all the way.

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  • 6. At 12:38pm on 12 Mar 2009, LondonMadHead wrote:

    it doesnt matter how much weight alonso has lost, he's still not going to win the world championship.

    its lewis all the way!

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  • 7. At 12:57pm on 12 Mar 2009, DannyF wrote:

    For the first time in a long time I might start watching F1 again, sounds like it's gonna be a great season, I've just lost interest over the last few years. Would love one of the smaller teams to spring a suprise, but don't tell my mate who has recently started working at McLaren

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  • 8. At 7:31pm on 12 Mar 2009, DonnyAsh wrote:

    It would be very interesting to see Brawn GP have some success this season, and testing indicates that they might. It would however, be embarassing to Honda.

    Honda invested a higher proportion of funding into their team than others - they were one of the weathiest teams on the grid, and compared to other teams had rather less sponsorship.

    But all this investment showed little return. If Brawn GP do well, it will prove that more money doesn't neccessarily mean more success. I suspect that Brawn GP will be on the tightest of budgets this year.

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  • 9. At 12:01pm on 13 Mar 2009, jenksta wrote:

    With regards to the comment above, if Brawn GP are competative this season it won't be embarressing to Honda at all. It will be down to the fact Honda ploughed millions of pounds into the development of the 2009 car from about June 2008. They actually ran a hybrid 2008/9 car before they decided to pull out of the sport.

    Thats ignoring the fact that they employed one of the most talented and succsesful designers/team bosses in the history of F1 from the start of 2008 (Brawn) and that this is the first car he has developed since he joined.

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  • 10. At 8:44pm on 13 Mar 2009, DonnyAsh wrote:

    Jenksta, I don't dissaggree with you on the level of funding and expertise that was invested, as I mention above. I merely state that if Brawn GP were to show some success, it would be without the Honda name, as this years car will be powered by a Mercedes engine.

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  • 11. At 4:15pm on 24 Mar 2009, robertbarron1 wrote:

    Im a Ferrari F1 Fan but i do hope that this season will be allot closer, as in different race winners other then 2 teams.

    As for Brawn GP we must remember that the slower teams would have ben working on the 2009 Car for most of last season as their 2008 car was not completive therefore giving them a slight advantage at the start of the season.

    what a great season its going to be

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