Alonso set for new season

Ferrari unveils new F150 car in a glitzy ceremony

The Spaniard, whose new facial hair has amused everyone except his mother, helped unveil Ferrari's F150 at their factory on Friday in a glitzy ceremony witnessed by some of Italy's top industry figures.

“I have a good impression of the car,” Alonso, beaten to the drivers' title by Sebastian Vettel in last year's final race, told a news conference.

“At this presentation we have seen the potential of Ferrari, we are the only team that can do a launch like this.” The one blip seemed to be the media fascination with his beard, first displayed at Ferrari's ski retreat in mid-January when his late-night magic tricks and more relaxed manner won him a new cult audience among F1 fanatics.”

Asked if the Mexican-style beard would still be there come the first race in Bahrain on March 13, he said: “I don't think so. My mother doesn't want it.”

She does want her son to snatch back the world title he claimed with Renault in 2005 and 2006, something Alonso is cautiously optimistic.

““I will feel more confident with this year's car, more comfortable, it will be more predictable. I know the team now,” he said, aware that new additions this year like KERS and a moveable rear wing make F1 driving more complex.  “The first sensations at Feb 1 are less important than ever. Driving is more difficult yes, when you take a road car or a GT maybe you enjoy yourself more.

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