You learn a lot about someone when they’re winning – and you learn even more about them when they’re not. That old saying crossed my mind this week when it dawned on me that at this Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, it would have been 364 days since Fernando Alonso last won a Formula One race, the longest drought of his career since the “lost” Renault year of 2009 when he was biding his time before heading to Ferrari.
That Alonso’s final year of his second stint at Renault proved fruitless was of little surprise; what has been stunning is just how long it has been between drinks for the Prancing Horse. The regulatory revolution ahead of the 2014 season gave the two teams that produce their own engines and chassis in-house a distinct advantage, but Ferrari has scored just one podium in the first four races as Mercedes has decimated the opposition in a way that even Red Bull couldn’t manage over the past four seasons. Fortunately for Ferrari, if there’s any track where Alonso can make a difference, it’s the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
Alonso always seems to produce some magic at home – witness his starts of the Spanish Grand Prix in 2011, 2012 and 2013  – and there’s nothing more certain than the Spaniard transcending the performance of his car this Sunday. While teammate Kimi Raikkonen remains almost anonymous in this year’s world championship and has had to fend off questions about his lack of motivation after just four races back at the sport’s most famous team, Alonso has scrapped for what he can, and has somehow elevated himself to third in the world championship. The Spanish Grand Prix is typically never the most spectacular of any Formula One season – the familiarity of the drivers and teams with the oft-used testing venue puts paid to that – but Alonso’s charge will be as worth watching as ever.
A comprehensive Spanish GP preview through the eyes of Alonso features on Episode 54 of ‘The Inside Line’, while we also take some time out this week to reveal an interesting insight into Sebastian Vettel’s mindset . And for followers of all things Ayrton Senna, we look at the commemorative day at Imola last week, where the likes of Alonso, Raikkonen and Senna’s former teammate Gerhard Berger paid their respects.
Catch ‘The Inside Line’ on SPEED TV Australia (Foxtel/Austar channel 512) at 7pm on Wednesday May 7, and also on ESPN (Foxtel/Austar channel 508 in Australia) on Thursday May 8 .
 Quick, watch these before someone very important demands they get taken down …
 Sadly, we learn nothing about said mindset when his teammate is faster than him. Well, not that we didn’t know already.
 Props to ESPN for their TV ad promoting the show. Which we didn’t know about, but hey, we’ll take it …