Fernando Alonso named Red Bull as his main competitors heading into the first race of the year.
Speaking to journalists in Barcelona he said: “This year I am very happy with the winter [test]. I am very realistic: I know we are not alone, I know we are racing with Red Bull and a few other teams. It will be decided by very small details.
“It?óÔé¼Ôäós up to us in Australia, Malaysia, and China to do a better weekend than them. I think all the cars are very close at the moment, there is not one completely ahead of everyone. We need to make our best.”
Alonso feels Mercedes have made progress as well: ?óÔé¼?ôMercedes have improved. Red Bull are strong, they are the favourites.
“I think McLaren will be there in the end. Maybe this year also Renault and Williams who have done good work in the winter. It will be very open going into Australia.
“Hopefully we can be there and on the podium and then in three to four races we?óÔé¼Ôäóll have a much clearer idea where we are.
“There are many possibilities this year, there could be two to three pit stops. Sometimes it may be better to sacrifice some laps to maybe make one stop less.”
He said he was happy with the car’s performance and reliability so far: “We have a clear idea of our performance and we know that the car is performing well, we are more or less happy.
“We know we have made a lot of mileage in the winter testing. We have good reliability.
“We have got all those laps on the new tyres and I?óÔé¼Ôäóm sure that will help the team. We don?óÔé¼Ôäót know if our 100% will be enough for Australia. For Melbourne we?óÔé¼Ôäóll hopefully bring new parts, maybe at the last moment.”
Asked whether the cancellation of the first race at Bahrain was an advantage for Ferrari he said: “No it was not an advantage. We would have had the car ready for Bahrain.?óÔé¼?Ø
He also dismissed Jaime Alguersuari’s suggestion the extreme difference between the tyres could lead to situations where a Ferrari on worn tyres could be overtaken by a back-of-the-grid team on fresh tyres.
Alonso competed only a handful of laps in today’s wet session but said even that small amount of running had been beneficial: “Yes it has been useful.
“I would have liked to have tried the intermediate tyres today and get more experience with the rain tyres.
“We simulated starts, situations behind safety car today like what we had in Korea last year. We would have a bit of an advantage over teams like Red Bull who haven?óÔé¼Ôäót been here today if we have race like Korea.”
With pre-season testing now finished Alonso said he was as confident now as he had been 12 months ago:
“I was very confident last year. We had a good winter last year and we arrived in Bahrain in a very strong position.”
Looking ahead to the season he said: “The quickest and best car usually wins the championship at the end.
“Strategy is important. Maybe one or two races a year are decided by a very good strategy. You can be very quick but make a mistake in your strategy and you can lose a victory.”
Quotes and additional reporting by Leandra Graves
2011 F1 testing
- Young Drivers Test Day 3 in pictures
- Vergne completes third day on top in Abu Dhabi
- Young Drivers Test Day 2 in pictures
- Vergne stays quickest on second day of test
- Italian F3 pair complete Ferrari test
- Jean-Eric Vergne leads first day of young drivers test
- McLaren cover least test distance with new car
- Rosberg: Mercedes are “on the up”
- Second Barcelona test day 5 in pictures
- Hamilton: reliability and pace concerns for McLaren
Image ?é?® Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo