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“We are not in the situation we wanted to start the 2012 championship, but after 11 years you understand how long is the championship.”

On Thursday, Alonso and other members of the Ferrari team held a ceremony at turn 11 of the Sepang circuit in memory of MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli, who was killed there last year.

“Racing here will always be sad a little bit and it will be tough knowing one of our colleagues died here, so will be difficult to race,” Alonso said.