Alonso out to banish Abu Dhabi demons

    Fernando Alonso has won two Formula One world titles, in 2005 and 2006.

    Story highlights

    • Fernando Alonso out to erase the painful memory of the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
    • Alonso needed a top four finish to win last year's drivers' championship but came seventh
    • Instead Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel took the title and has already secured 2011 version
    • Alonso heads into this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix third in the standings
    Fernando Alonso is determined to banish his demons in Abu Dhabi as he returns to the track where his 2010 Formula One world championship chances disintegrated.
    The Ferrari driver was in pole position to grab his third career title last year, needing to finish in the top four to claim the crown.
    But the Italian team took the decision to bring Alonso into the pits at an early stage and he spent the rest of the race stuck behind Renault's Vitaly Petrov, finishing seventh, and handing Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel his first ever world championship.
    A dominant Vettel hasn't looked back, retaining his title with four races of the 2011 season to go and Alonso admits returning to the Yas Marina circuit will be a painful experience for him.
    "It would not be honest if I told you I won't be a bit uncomfortable thinking about it when I see the paddock for the first time," Alonso wrote in his blog on Ferrari's official website.
    "But then the feeling will vanish and it will leave room for the present, which is about aiming to do well this weekend and in the future: to learn as much as possible with next season in mind.
    "It's right that it should be like that because in sport, as in the rest of life, you must always look ahead.
    "Abu Dhabi 2010 was an important stage in my career and I have no doubt that even through that bad day, my relationship with Ferrari has become even stronger."
    Alonso, from Spain, is currently third in the drivers' world championship standings, 13 points behind McLaren's British driver Jenson Button in second.
    But the gulf between Vettel and the rest of the field is underlined by his 134-point lead over Button.
    Alonso acknowledges that winning will be "difficult" in Abu Dhabi but says he is keen to fight for a podium place to counter last year's bitter disappointment.
    "I completely appreciate that winning will be very difficult," he said. "In this closing part of the season the relative positions are very clear but we have also seen there are some conditions in which we can fight for victory: as happened in Suzuka, for example.
    "We know if we all get everything right we can fight for the top three but our natural qualifying position is on the third row. Then in the race things can go differently but that is the realistic situation.
    "So our target is the podium. Apart from anything else that result would allow me to fill a gap in my trophy cabinet as Abu Dhabi is the only race on the calendar from which I have yet to bring home silverware."