02:41 - Source: CNN
Experience Alonso's world up close

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

Story highlights

Double F1 world champion talks to CNN about 2014 season, tech changes and Schumacher

Spaniard says Ferrari's new F14 T is showing "some good signs" but there is "a lot of work to do"

The 32-year-old will race alongside Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari this season

Alonso concedes new noses are "ugly" and that cars need to be "fast and beautiful"

CNN  — 

Fernando Alonso could be forgiven for exuding an air of misty-eyed contentment as he sits among his own motorsport memorabilia at Madrid’s Canal Art Center.

Visitors have been poring over the Spaniard’s silverware, cars and kit ever since the exhibition celebrating his near 30-year career opened last December. But he insists now is not the time for reminiscing.

“If you ask me this question in 10 years’ time I will tell you less, because two championships are more than I could dream,” the Formula One driver told CNN.

“If you ask me right now and I am in a middle of a competition, I am hungry for victories; hungry for success – I will tell you that two championships are not enough.”

Since winning his second world F1 title for Renault in 2006, Alonso has endured a frustrating time on the track. A three-year deal with McLaren ended prematurely after one season following a souring of relations with team boss Ron Dennis and his driving partner Lewis Hamilton.

A return to Renault in 2008 saw him slip from third place to fifth in the drivers’ championship – a season that will be forever remembered for the so-called “Crashgate” affair – and a year later Alonso registered just one podium and finished ninth overall in his worst showing since debuting for Minardi in 2001.

The switch to Ferrari in 2010 has been more productive, yielding 11 grand prix wins and 31 podiums in 77 starts. But a third world title has remained just out of reach – the 32-year-old has finished second to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel in three of the past four seasons.

But it’s anyone’s guess what might happen this year, with all teams and drivers grappling with a new car following a complete overhaul of F1’s technical regulations.

With the first pre-season testing session now complete, Ferrari have learned much about their new-look F14 T.

Alonso finished second fastest on the final day in Jerez, Spain and completed the second most number of laps overall. By contrast, reigning champions Red Bull managed just 20 laps over all four days.

“These were four very demanding and important days to give us something to work on over the coming days in Maranello,” team principal Stefano Domenicali told Ferrari F1’s official website.

“The important thing is to do as many laps as possible to give our engineers the data they need to continue with the development of the car. It would be premature to make any precise evaluations,” he added.

Alonso agrees saying it’s too early to judge how the Italian team might fair this season.

“We are discovering every day new things about the car and new possibilities, so I think the potential is there,” he said.

“The car has some good signs and, let’s say, the philosophy that the car has been designed is just what we are seeing now on the data. So there is nothing wrong, nothing to be pessimistic about, but a lot of work to do.”

Lower noses, raised eyebrows

Along with smaller engines – 1.6-liter V6 turbos replace 2.4-liter V8s – come smaller fuel tanks (100 kilos compared to around 150 last year) and a range of chassis alterations. The most obvious of these changes has been the lower nose cone, which is now a maximum height of 185 millimeters compared to last season’s 550 millimeters.

Alonso concedes it’s a bit of cosmetic surgery that all teams have struggled with aesthetically.

“They are ugly, yeah. We have to be honest with that, you know, with our fans and ourselves first of all.

“So probably we will get used to these new aesthetics, let’s say, but the first moment they are not good enough because people look at Formula One like excellence of motor sport, of aerodynamics, excellence of performance and technology – and when you see those front part of the car, it doesn’t look like all the things we’ve been saying.

“So I think we will find different solutions. I’m sure the engineers are clever enough to make the car fast and also beautiful.”

Un-Finn-ished business

Alonso will also be forging a new partnership with new teammate Kimi Raikkonen this season.

The flying Finn, who won his only world title driving for Ferrari in 2007, makes up one half of the most interesting Formula One pairings in recent times, and one which will test both men’s skills on the track and their powers of diplomacy off it.

“I think he’s very talented so that is a huge help and a huge motivation for myself first and also for the team, because the team knows it has to deliver a good car because Kimi will deliver a good result,” Alonso said.

“I know I need to deliver my best, if not I cannot be in front of Kimi, so that is only good and positive news for Ferrari.”

Positive news for Ferrari, and everyone involved in F1, would be any improvement in the condition of Michael Schumacher.

The German’s agent Sabine Kehm announced last week that the 45-year-old, who has been in a medically-induced coma for over a month, was having his sedation reduced to start the “waking-up process.”

Schumacher, who won five of his seven world titles with Ferrari, suffered severe head trauma in a skiing accident at the French Alps on December 29.

“I think we are (all) still in shock, after nearly one month,” Alonso said.

“The day that I received the news I could not believe it, to be honest, because he is not a man that you think will have any problem.

“He was the man that can beat anything and can win any race and can do anything without any worries, so to see him and to see the accident…

“We are all hoping every day to have some good news coming from the hospital … all (the) drivers have huge respect because he was the man that motivated us and he was the man who we were looking at when we were go-kart drivers.”

Alonso’s quest for a third drivers’ championship title begins in Melbourne on March 16.

Read more: Schumacher doctors start ‘waking up process’

Read more: F1 rips up the rulebook - 2014 changes explained