LONDON, April 29, 2011 (AFP) - Two-times champion Fernando Alonso remains utterly confident that Ferrari are poised to mount a fight-back in this year's
Formula One world championship.
After failing to enjoy a single podium finish in the season-opening races in Australia, Malaysia and China, the team are struggling in the drivers'
world championship. Alonso is already 42 points behind defending champion and current leader Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull with Felipe Massa, the second Ferrari driver, a further two points adrift.
Alonso said: "I trust in the team -- I know what it's made of and I can feel the will to fight back from everyone at Maranello."In the past, I have experienced, first as an opponent and then as an insider, how capable the Scuderia is of staging a comeback. "I well remember when I was at Renault in 2006 that in the first part of the season I had built up a big lead, but then Ferrari made such a good job of developing its cars that (Michael) Schumacher staged a great fight back -- overtaking me with two races remaining.
"So anything can be done. I know it was definitely not the start of the season we were hoping for -- for us and all our fans. "A total of 50 points between the two of us is not much and we know our performance is not good enough at the moment, but we are aware that this can change very quickly."
Alonso also recalled last season when he fought back to take the title battle down to the wire in Abu Dhabi at the final Grand Prix where Vettel won to be crowned the youngest champion F1 history. He said: "Then you only have to look at last year -- first in Turkey and then in England.
"It was suggested we should already be looking to the following year, but we did not give up and we managed to be in the fight for the title right up to
the final race. It sounds like a slogan, but it's the absolute truth -- never give up in Formula One!"
The 29-year-old pointed to McLaren as an example of a team that has revived its form and fortunes. The Spaniard said: "Formula One has always been like this -- in one race
you struggle to get into the top five and in the next, you're fighting for the win. This year has been no exception.
"After the final test in Barcelona, everyone reckoned the McLarens were nowhere and then they always got on the podium, ending up with a win in China.
"At the same time, others said Vettel was unbeatable and then in Shanghai, we all saw how things turned out in the end. Three races are not yet enough to
give a definitive judgement.
"This does not mean to say I am underestimating the seriousness of our situation, far from it. We have to work very hard to improve on every front.
Success only comes when every element is operating at its best: the car, strategy, pitstops, drivers and everyone else included.
"I've stayed in touch with the engineers these past few days and I know there is no let up in the development of the car at Maranello.
"We have to catch up and we cannot allow ourselves to lose too much time, especially as the others won't be twiddling their thumbs over the coming
Alonso's statement came after Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo claimed the next few weeks will be critical for the team's ambitions. Before the
season began, he said Ferrari's goal was nothing less than the championship - a comment that heaped pressure on the team.
Alonso, however, has enough experience to know that it is too soon for anything to be conclusive and believes that the team can begin to revive its
fortunes next weekend at the Turkish Grand Prix