Fernando Alonso is confident that Ferrari will be able to make a number of steps forward in the upcoming races – after denying that the team’s planned upgrade for Valencia is a ‘last ditch effort’ to remain in the title hunt.
Ferrari has endured a varied start to 2010, with victory in the season-opener in Bahrain followed by disappointments in Monaco and Turkey. However, in Canada the Scuderia appeared to be on top form, with Alonso challenging for victory and Felipe Massa, despite crashing at the start, setting continuous quick laps.
Subsequently, Ferrari is hoping to bring a number of upgrades to its F10 at the next round of the championship in Valencia – including a new exhaust system which is designed to improve airflow over the rear aerodynamics of the car.
Although Alonso sits fifteen points behind Lewis Hamilton at the top of the drivers’ standings, the Spanish driver believes these upgrades will allow Ferrari to claw its way back into both championships.
“We will have major updates on the F10 which I hope will allow us to up our performance level,” he wrote in his blog on the Ferrari website. “Following on from that, we have further developments in the pipeline which should arrive for England and Germany: which is to say that the European Grand Prix is simply the ninth round of the Championship, not a last-ditch effort for Ferrari, which I heard some people saying. I don’t see how they can say that given that we have not even reached the halfway point of the season and that after Valencia there will still be ten Grands Prix to go.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now, this is a stage event and the final one of those stages will not come until November in Abu Dhabi. There is still a long way to go and things can change very quickly, going either one way or the other. People seem to have forgotten that last year, in the middle part of the season and in a car that was getting ever less competitive, Kimi was the driver who had scored the most points.”
The double-world champion admits that he felt mixed emotions after last Sunday’s Grand Prix – a race which Alonso may have won, had it not been for traffic.
“A couple of days on from the race, the sense of disappointment that we missed out on a win that was within our grasp has been replaced with the awareness that we did actually get a great result,” he said.
“We have to look at it as a glass half full because, on the Thursday we would have been satisfied with the thought of a podium finish. We were competitive throughout the whole weekend, both in qualifying and the race, which is very positive. We were back to where we have been in practically all the other races, the one exception being Turkey, where for various reasons, everything about the Grand Prix went wrong, from every point of view.
“The normal situation is the one we have seen in Montreal, Monaco, Melbourne and Sakhir and all the other tracks where we fought for a podium finish. Maybe the results did not always match our potential, but I think the same can be said for all the top teams. In these first eight races of the season, all sorts of things happened – mistakes, reliability problems, bad luck – but we are still in the thick of the fight for both Championships. The same can be said of McLaren and Red Bull, who have also missed out on points along the way.”