Alonso: Room for improvement
Spaniard admits Jerez test has not been plain sailing for Ferrari
Last Updated: 14/02/12 9:08am
Fernando Alonso has insisted that there is still plenty of room for improvement in the F2012 - even after setting the fastest time on the fourth and final day of the Jerez test.
After a modest opening three days to the winter, the new Ferrari finally flexed its muscles early on Friday morning as Fernando registered the second-quickest time of the week, an eye-catching and table-topping 1:18.877.
The result left the Spaniard in a positive mood as he reflected on the week - even though a technical glitch limited his Friday running to just 39 laps.
"We learned a lot about the difference of the car [compared to last year's], it's been a learning test for us, a lot of constant speeds for us to do the aero and mechanical tests," the former World Champion told Sky Sports News.
"Overall, it has been a positive four days for us and understanding the car. But obviously with a completely new concept and a completely new design there is a lot of room for improvement for us and that's what we need to focus on in the next couple of tests."
Despite Friday's headline time, the introduction of the F2012, which Ferrari say is a marked departure from its predecessor, has been seen as solid rather than spectacular.
The Scuderia's new technical director Pat Fry said he has not been happy with progress while Ferrari were also moved to deny that Alonso's quick laps on Friday morning were not 'glory runs'.
Whilst acknowledging that the going has not been smooth, Alonso stressed that learning as much as possible about their new car this week would stand them in good stead at the second test in Barcelona.
"There is still a long way to go to Australia because of how many tests we can do. The problems we've had in these four days have been quite big for us - maybe not in performance or times or whatever," he said.
"But definitely, all the tests we did and all the understanding of the car has been positive for us and we will arrive in Barcelona much more prepared than when we arrived in Jerez."
He added: "We arrived at Jerez thinking one idea of the car and maybe it was not exactly like that. But we work around and we found the performance there and we found the happiness, or the level of confidence of driving this car now.
"So day one in Barcelona will be a much better starting point."
Alonso also said that it was far too early to predict whether or not the F2012 might be a title challenger.
"At the moment I think we need to keep understanding the car a lot. We understand 20 per cent of what we need; at the next stage we will try to get the rest," he added.
"There are only two more tests unfortunately, because we have one test less than last year. So in Barcelona we need to maximise the time - maybe that's the only negative thing of today.
"Eight hours available track time, or maybe nine hours, and we only did 35 or 36 laps. So in Barcelona we need to do 100 laps, or more than 100 laps, because with that information those laps will be worth it."