Alonso admits McLaren are behind

McLarenCoinciding with de la Rosa’s admission that McLaren are a step behind their rivals, World Champion Fernando Alonso has also stated he thinks his team are not leading the pack quite yet.

“I think Ferrari is a little bit ahead of everybody,” he said. “Really quick and really consistent – and I think BMW, Renault, Williams, McLaren will be very close on timed laps,” said Alonso after completing the final test of the pre-season in Bahrain, where the Ferrari team were the pace-setters most of the time. We cannot make any mistakes in Australia or else we are out of the pace.”

Both Massa and Raikkonen have impressed in testing, with Massa the only man to break the 1 minute 30 second barrier at the Sakhir track – a feat that was apparently done when he wasn’t even on a low-fuel run.

Having seen the pace of Massa, Alonso believe that even without Schumacher, the Maranello based team have an excellent chance of the title this season. “I think they are 50/50,” Alonso said. “Everybody thought Kimi was coming into Ferrari and keeping ahead and the number one at Ferrari. And now everybody has realised that Felipe is very quick as well. So for me, it’s not a suprise – either of them can win.”

Alonso also admitted that McLaren are not yet sure why the Ferrari is stronger than them however he is confident that his team will catch up to the red Ferrari’s soon. “Nobody knows at the moment,” Alonso commented. “Ferrari is quick over a single lap and quick over the long runs. I think we need to keep improving the car – grip, power, whatever it is. We keep learning about the tyres and improving the car into the tyres.

“And for sure, Ferrari have much more feeling about the Bridgestone. But it’s the same for everybody. For sure, the team will try and improve the car before Melbourne there is two weeks to work in the wind tunnel and that’s an area where we can find something and put it on the car straight away. And I’m confident that we’ll have something more in time for Melbourne.”