Fernando Alonso still has faith that Ferrari can deliver him a title-winning car
Partnership enters fifth year, but is yet to yield a championship
By William Esler. Last Updated: 27/03/14 4:31pm
Fernando Alonso: Still has high hopes for successful season
Fernando Alonso still has faith that Ferrari can deliver a car capable of winning the title despite once again finding himself on the back foot at the start of a season.
Since joining the Scuderia in 2010 only once has he stood atop the podium at the opening race of the year and that was his maiden race for the Italian outfit in Bahrain.
A further ten victories have followed in the intervening years, but as the partnership enters its fifth season, Alonso is yet to add to his two World Championships. Indeed, if he does add a third before the end of his career it will set a record for the longest gap between titles in F1 history, but despite another slow start in Melbourne, the Spaniard is not losing faith in Ferrari.
"Yes definitely," he told reporters when asked if he felt Ferrari could deliver a title-winning car. "I think that we have more potential than what we showed in Australia and we need to put everything in place and have a better weekend. We also understand that we need to improve as that will still not be enough as the Mercedes cars seem very strong.
"But we have the potential, the team has the facilities, the team has the talent to do a very good job and we are strong and we should be strong. We will do better I am pretty sure."
The Ferrari powerplant is not thought be as strong as the Mercedes engine, but Alonso says the team need to improve all areas of the F14 T and not just their V6 turbo.
"You need to find something to give you performance and we are working in all areas," he added.
"We know that we need to improve all areas of the car, but we will work hard and not stop and we will improve the car. It is true that the last couple of years we have had to catch up on the aerodynamic side. Despite all the things that we have in the beginning of the year, three years at Ferrari I have been fighting for the championship right to the end and I don't think this year will be any different."
Despite being unhappy with the performance of his 2014 car, Alonso maintains the 2012 was a far more difficult car even though he won in Malaysia and took the title fight to the final race in the F2012.
"I think 2012 was the most difficult starting point that we had," he added. "I remember the first test at Jerez very well and the car was not doing anything right and then we changed many things and arrived at Barcelona with a totally new car. We survived the first four races - actually we won here in Malaysia - but this year anything can still be shown. We have only had one race where everyone had concerns so were a bit conservative so we will see in the coming races.
"If we approach this weekend thinking we will win the race like we did in 2012 this would certainly be optimistic - but why not, this is Formula 1, but I think what we say in 2012 we will see one time in life."