After his first day at the wheel in 2013, Fernando Alonso on Tuesday had a stiff neck and a cautious round of optimism about the new Ferrari.
The Spaniard said he was “reasonably pleased” with his day of work in Barcelona, which left him third on the timesheet and a hundredth ahead of his 2012 title rival Sebastian Vettel.
The psychological war may also have begun on their first head-to-head this year, with Alonso cheekily overtaking Vettel on the narrow pitlane entry as the test day officially concluded at 5pm, according to the Swiss newspaper Blick.
Alonso then told reporters the F138 was “ok” and “more or less” what he expected based on the car he raced to the podium in Brazil last November, and Felipe Massa’s feedback after the initial Jerez test.
“This car is a continuation of the previous one,” he said, after posing with the red car featuring the sticker of new team sponsor UPS.
“I did not have any surprises, which is a good thing because last year we were a little surprised, and not in a positive way,” added Alonso.
“We need to be optimistic and think we will fight this year for the championship if we improve the car a little bit.”
At the very top of the times was Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, but earlier in the day he had a gearbox issue.
“The basis of the car is much, much better (than the 2012 one),” said the German, “but we are having a few too many reliability problems at the moment.”