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Alonso still sore over Monza penalty
September 28, 2006 17:39 IST
Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso cares little about how popular he is with the fans, so long as he remains a winner.
The Renault driver shrugged off a survey, published this week by the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA), that saw Ferrari's Michael Schumacher register four times as many votes in a popularity poll.
"I don't want to be popular at all. I only want to drive the car and to win," the Spaniard told reporters at the Chinese Grand Prix on Thursday.
The 25-year-old is just two points clear of Schumacher, chasing an eighth championship before he heads off into retirement, in the title battle with three races remaining.
While professing indifference about his popularity, Alonso still cared plenty about a penalty imposed by stewards in Italy three weeks ago that triggered angry claims that the fight for the championship was being manipulated against him.
He made it clear that he could never forgive or forget what happened in Monza.
Demoted from fifth to 10th on the grid by stewards who ruled he had impeded Ferrari's Felipe Massa in qualifying, Alonso said prior to the race that he no longer considered Formula One a sport and sees no reason to change that opinion in Shanghai.
"I think the same [as before]," he said.
"When I say something it is because I think that, not because I am angry or whatever.
"I feel that, many people feel that, but nobody says it.
"Formula One is my job, my life, and I enjoy so much driving the car. But I still think the same.
"In the other categories there is sport and here there is a little bit of everything," he added.
"It's a big show, for everybody. A lot of TV cover a lot of money involved in Formula One, TV rights and sponsors and everything and the driver is part of the show.
"There are always things happening that don't happen in the other categories of motorsport."
The Spaniard, sounding relaxed and sporting a new mustachioed look, said he would not let the incident distract him in the title battle.
"I will put it out of my head for this race and the rest of the championship," he told reporters.
"But I will not put out of my head in my career or my life or ever.
"I have some memories and of some things that happened in go-karts, in many races that I did in 20 years and what happened in Monza will always be there.
"I was angry there, disappointed and frustrated. I still have the same feeling now, disappointment and frustration, but I don't carry anything in the car or in my normal day," he added.
"There are things that you never forget but when you get to the next Grand Prix... there are too many things going on to remember anything from the last race. When you drive the car you forget everything."
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