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Editorial | Marco Genis: Alonso, boy to man

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MARCO GENIS ALONSO, BOY TO MAN

11 December 2016

It’s not easy to find a story to tell about my “adventure” with Fernando Alonso. I’ve known him since he was a 12 year old kid. He raced with me until he was 17 and we’ve always kept in touch ever since, even after he became World Champion. Our friendship goes well beyond the racing world. So it’s not that I don’t have stories to tell; it’s the opposite, I have too many…

For instance, I could tell you about the first time I saw him race. It was a round of the Catalonia regionals. At the time, it was still just Fernando and his dad and that was their first race of a certain level. They were up against experienced rivals on a track they’d never been on. Yet, despite all this, he won, making everyone immediately aware of his potential. He raced with me for the following 5 years after that, even if he lived about 1000 km away. Whenever we had a race event, say in Italy, he’d fly from Oviedo to Barcelona, I’d go pick him up at the airport and from there we’d continue by car. A few minutes and he’d be fast asleep; it was one straight nap until we got to destination every time. Let’s just say he wasn’t a great travel mate…. Especially at the beginning, when we still didn’t know each other well; I’d ask him something and the most I’d get out of him was “yes” or “no”.

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He’s still kind of like that. He’s a shy, reserved guy, who wants to lead life as normal as possible and sometimes this makes him seem detached or even “rude”. But when he’s with friends, with people who really know him, he’s different, trust me.
Take the last times he came to race in Lonato, for instance. We’d gotten the ball rolling a year before: we met up at a race event and Fernando told me he was hoping to spend a full day karting and asked if I could get something organized. To be honest, at the time I thought it was just one of those things friends say, but that we’d never really get around to it. Instead, he called me out of the blue a few days before the practice for the F1 in Jerez. We were testing in Lonato and when I told him, he replied: “Ok, see you there”. Two days later, there he was. When he arrived, he called up Kubica to see of he’d like to join him. Said, done. We barely had time to get the kart ready and they were both out on track. I don’t know how many other guys of their caliber would’ve done the same: race on a crowded track, like your average Sunday karter… I’d told him that with a little extra time, I could’ve organized something more private. Know what he’d replied? “But it’s no fun if there’s nobody on track!” That’s Fernando Alonso for you!

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