Shanghai, April 15, 2012 (AFP) - Former world champion Fernando Alonso said it will be another case of "damage limitation" for his poorly performing Ferrari team in Bahrain next week after he finished down in ninth at the Chinese Grand Prix.
The Spaniard has made no secret of his disappointment with the hard-to-handle Ferrari, and although he triumphed in Malaysia last month, he put that partly down to the rain that turned the race on its head.
Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali said after Shanghai, where Alonso's team-mate Felipe Massa was 13th: "There's no point denying that we are disappointed."
Expanding on that theme, Alonso warned Ferrari fans to expect more of the same next week.
"We knew this would be a difficult race and that's how it turned out," he said.
"Obviously, this does not leave me very optimistic for Bahrain, on a track where traction and speed are vital, exactly the areas where we are weakest.
"Once again next week it will be mainly a case of damage limitation. I don't want to think of the classification because the priority is to improve the performance of the F2012."
Despite that, he attempted to inject some hope, adding: "This does not mean however, that I have lost hope, quite the contrary."
He pointed to the drivers' championship, where he sits after three races third on 37 points -- 25 of them coming in Malaysia.