Alonso: Bigger updates in Spain
Ferrari ace says parts tried on final day at Mugello were only "small"
Last Updated: May 4, 2012 6:01pm
Fernando Alonso: Pleased to see wind tunnel/track correlation working
Fernando Alonso has stressed that the upgrades Ferrari brought to the final day of the Mugello test were only "small" and that the "important updates" for the F2012 will be introduced at Barcelona.
In wake of the Maranello team's underwhelming start to the season in the opening four flyaway races, the team have been readying the first package of development parts in time for the start of the European season in a bid to rejoin front of the field.
After trying out some initial updates on the second day at Mugello with Felipe Massa, a revised rear end on the F2012 was revealed for the start of Thursday's final day featuring repackaged bodywork and new exhaust outlets.
Alonso, who finished a competitive third on the end-of-day timesheet despite losing two hours mid-way through the morning following a crash, was pleased with how the upgrades performed and says this has given him renewed confidence for both "the short and long term".
However, he insisted that much more was to come for next week's Spanish Grand Prix, the results of which would really show if Ferrari have managed to substantially close the gap.
"The feeling I have after the test is a positive one," he said.
"We have introduced a few small, and I stress that word, aerodynamic updates, that have produced the response we were expecting and that is the most positive news, which means I am confident for the future, in the short and the long term.
"It means that what we see in the factory in Maranello has now also been confirmed on track. Furthermore, we have worked on other areas, especially the tyres, doing short and long runs, on set-up and also on starts, given we were also trying out a new clutch.
"I cannot say if today at Mugello we can claim to have made up some ground, but in Barcelona, we will have more important updates and we hope that there, we can begin to close down the gap that separates us from the teams currently at the top," added Alonso.
The two-time World Champion conceded that, in an ideal world, it would have been better to try out all the updates being brought to the next race on the track prior to the weekend - but insists that in reality Ferrari were right to maximise wind tunnel time on the bigger parts.
He also claimed that while important, the Spanish GP wouldn't define Ferrari's whole season and that it instead had to mark the start of a consistent upward curve for the team heading into the summer months.
"We have decided to favour development time in the wind tunnel rather than bringing forward all the new components to this test. Sure, it would be nice to be able to test all the updates on track first, but it is also nice that we can count on all the possible development potential for every single part," Alonso explained.
"Barcelona will be a key moment in the season, but not a decisive one. It's not a case that we will suddenly find ourselves back on pole position, because there is no magic button.
"We must start by no longer struggling to get through to Q3 and get closer to the top six, then continue with development in the following races, making a step forward in Monaco, Canada and Valencia also.
"That is the only way in which we can contemplate finding these seven or nine tenths - it's hard to assess exactly how far off we are on the basis of the first races - which separate us from the leaders. Certainly, I am not denying that next weekend's event is a significant one: we cannot allow ourselves to struggle to get into Q3 if we want to fight for the title."