Fernando Alonso was in positive mood at the end of the Mugello test, despite his day being interrupted by a crash.
Alonso damaged the front of the car in a low speed impact with the barrier, and lost some two and a half hours in the garage.
He remains optimistic about the team’s prospects for the next race in Spain and beyond as the latest updates come on stream.
“The feeling I have after the test is a positive one,” said Alonso. “We have introduced a few small, and I stress that word, aerodynamic updates, that have produced the response we were expecting. And that is the most positive news, which means I am confident for the future, in the short and the long term.
“It means that what we see in the factory in Maranello has now also been confirmed on track. Furthermore, we have worked on other areas, especially the tyres, doing short and long runs, on set-up and also on starts, given we were also trying out a new clutch.
“I cannot say if today at Mugello we can claim to have made up some ground, but in Barcelona, we will have more important updates and we hope that there, we can begin to close down the gap that separates us from the teams currently at the top.”
Alonso said the biggest updates will not be seen until the Spanish GP.
“We have decided to favour development time in the wind tunnel rather than bringing forward all the new components to this test. Sure, it would be nice to be able to test all the updates on track first, but it is also nice that we can count on all the possible development potential for every single part. Barcelona will be a key moment in the season, but not a decisive one.
“It’s not a case that we will suddenly find ourselves back on pole position, because there is no magic button. We must start by no longer struggling to get through to Q3 and get closer to the top six, then continue with development in the following races, making a step forward in Monaco, Canada and Valencia also.
“That is the only way in which we can contemplate finding these seven or nine tenths – it’s hard to assess exactly how far off we are on the basis of the first races – which separate us from the leaders. Certainly, I am not denying that next weekend’s event is a significant one. We cannot allow ourselves to struggle to get into Q3 if we want to fight for the title.”
The Spaniard played down the significance of Ferrari’s latest exhaust spec: “There’s no difference in terms of driving compared to the one I tried on Tuesday. The exhausts are not the critical area this year, which can be seen from the fact that so far, cars with different configurations have won and, in Bahrain for example, the Red Bull won with the downward facing exhausts, but the quickest car on track was the Lotus, which has straight ones.”
Finally he said that he liked the idea of the in-season test.
“I prefer this calendar to last year’s because after the first races, one understands a lot more about the car and so one can make modifications that have a sense to them.
“Indeed, for me I would do more tests during the season. Then, I must say it was a pleasure to be driving at this circuit again. One lap here is worth a hundred at other places, without considering that one day here is worth a year’s work on the simulator, at least as far as I’m concerned.”