Ferrari LogoBoadilla del Monte, 20 December –An end of year in the company of children and talented youngsters for Fernando Alonso, who spent today at a Karting Gala at the Santander Bank head office at Boadilla del Monte, near Madrid.

The Spanish driver, along with his colleagues and fellow countrymen Marc Gene and Pedro de la Rosa, handed out the prizes to the winners of this contest for young talent, who will also get the opportunity to have a test with the Ferrari Driver Academy at Fiorano.

Fernando and Pedro also enjoyed mixing in with over a hundred kids, who are always at the centre of end of year festivities. Fernando replied to questions from his little fans, some quiet mischievous, others witty, while Pedro gave a first lesson in road safety to those who, in the future, will be driving on two and four wheels on the roads.

It’s a theme close to everyone’s heart and one in which the FIA has for many years involved Formula 1 drivers, as they are the ideal role models especially for the young. Confirming what an important topic this is, there was a surprise visitor to the event, someone who has played his part in the history of motor sport, the President of the FIA, Jean Todt. Meanwhile, Marc Gene ran a seminar for the young kart drivers, along with Carlos Abella, director of sports promotion for the Spanish automobile federation and Pablo de Villota, in charge of F1 sponsorship for the Santander Bank.

Inevitably, Fernando Alonso could not miss the opportunity to speak to the Spanish motor sport press, gathered at the home of one of the Scuderia’s main sponsors. “I have faith in Ferrari and I am happy to be able to work with Raikkonen, a driver who has a rare talent and from whom I can learn a lot,” he said. “The experience he and I have will be vital to develop the car: the most important thing is that we work together for Ferrari and that a red car is first across the line, no matter which one.

“Why am I optimistic? Because I’m in the Scuderia,” continued the man from Oviedo. “Maybe now there are those who believe that it would be better to chose Red Bull, but Ferrari is always the winning hand and one has to have maximum faith in them. I hope we can improve on 2013, maybe making the most of the rule changes to be at the same level as the best.”

Fernando confirmed he will carry number 14 on his Prancing Horse as from 2014. “It’s always brought me luck, ever since I won at the age of 14, on 14th July in 1996, with a kart that had the number 14,” he explained. Let’s see it if still brings me luck.”