February 19, 2013 (F1plus).- Fernando Alonso has at least one reason to feel more optimistic about his chances for a crown in 2013. His Ferrari F138 is not far from the top teams and it has now performed well under his driving in his first time out this pre-season.
The Spaniard hit the track for first time in the second round of testing at Montmelo, Barcelona after missing the first two weeks ago at Jerez.
"We need to improve on what we did last year because obviously it was not enough, we finished second and we want to finish first. To improve on the first part of the year is not going to be too difficult so we are relatively confident.” Alonso said in direct reference to last season.
Nevertheless, the always-cautious Alonso made sure people did not misunderstood his views and “pleased” level with today’s performance by stating that a championship crown fight is not like a sure thing.
"I feel reasonably pleased with this first day and I can say I share Felipe’s opinion that the car is on another planet compared to the one we began with on the first day of testing last year.
"The programme for this first session in Barcelona is aimed mainly at improving reliability, with the target of completing more than a hundred laps every day." Alonso said.
The Spaniard lapped 110 times and finish the day third fastest overall. Alonso mentioned that his sensations over the F138 were not far from last year as the car is an evolution.
"The feeling with the car was OK, as expected more or less," Alonso said." It's a similar continuation of the Brazil car, let's say, so it's more or less the same feeling. I have the same seat, I have the same pedals, I have the same everything so when you jump in the car more or less the performance should be the same as Brazil.”
However, he did make a quick comparison in regards last year experience during the winter testing that had left the team worried.
"... so this is at least something good, not like last year when we drove for the first time we were a little bit surprised on the bad side.” Said Alonso.
Alonso also conceded that the enduring amount of work the team faces is a challenge, and there’s still a lot to understand about the car and particular the new Pirelli tyres their behavior.
“We have a lot of work to do; a lot of work to do in the next days for the tyres, for the aerodynamics, for some new components and experimental things that we have in the car.
"Tomorrow, we will complete what we were unable to do today and we will focus on car set-up, to adapt it as well as possible to the tyres.
“You only have one lap to understand what you put on the car because then you are two, four, six seconds of the pace. But it's the same for everybody so we need to understand these new tyres better than the others if we can and try to make them last as much as possible." Alonso added.