Amid Ferrari’s performance crisis with the struggling F2012 car, the Italian team has emerged from the opening ‘flyaway’ races with a solid head of steam.
He might be just fifth, but Fernando Alonso is a mere 10 points off the lead of the drivers’ world championship, after a see-sawing pecking order emerged from the overseas races in Australia, Malaysia, China and Bahrain.
The Spanish driver admitted mere days ago that the F2012, at present, is perhaps the “sixth or seventh” best on the grid. But next up is the test at Mugello, where major upgrades to the car – so significant that some sections of the media are expecting a ‘new Ferrari’ – will be tested ahead of its Barcelona debut.
Sepang winner Alonso’s latest surprise was to finish ahead of the best McLaren in Bahrain.
“If we had said that beforehand, it would be unthinkable,” he told Antena 3 television. “It was another race where we have limited the damage pretty well.
“We were eight points behind the leader, now it’s 10. We have spent the first four races outside Europe losing ten points, which I think is more treasure than we deserve. For Montmelo (Barcelona) we have to be better. We have to stop depending on others and start depending on ourselves,” added Alonso.
Asked how much he is expecting the F2012 to improve, the 30-year-old was coy.
“I have said it could be one tenth, maybe two, one and a half … but we may not be in the same situation as before.”
Alonso was also critical of the stewards’ decision to leave Nico Rosberg without a penalty on Sunday, after the German driver forced him off the circuit whilst defending position.
“He also did the same to Hamilton, so it’s two to zero for him (Rosberg),” said Alonso. “But if there was a wall there, you would have to be talking to someone else now …”
On Twitter, he sarcastically added: “I think you are going to have fun in future races. You can defend position as you want and you can overtake outside the track! Enjoy!”