Fernando Alonso still thinks that Ferrari can be in the fight for the World Championship all the way to the finale in Abu Dhabi, despite the gap to Mercedes that was apparent in the first two races.
“It could be extremely said if I say no,” he said when asked by this writer if he really believed it was possible. “It’s the third race in the championship, Thursday afternoon. So definitely, yes. I’m still thinking that we can do a good job. It’s a very young car, very early days on the development of the car.
“All the things that we find, either on the wind tunnel or in the power area, they are not the steps that we are used to seeing in the last years, when you saw half a tenth, half a tenth. Now you see a couple of tenths in any steps, so I think there is very good room to improve in all areas, to become more competitive.
“And at the same time it’s the same for everybody, so we just need to be a little bit more clever than the other teams and find this extra. Unfortunately it seems that we started with a deficit, so we need to close that gap. But the potential is there and there is no question that we think that in Abu Dhabi we will be in the fight, that’s for sure.”
Asked about whether Hamilton or Rosberg was the favourite, he joked: “In fact Hamilton is one point behind me, so theoretically I’m more favourite than him right now! We’ll see Sunday afternoon, but right now…”
Alonso says it’s impossible to judge how much of the deficiency to Mercedes was down to the power unit to the chassis.
“It’s difficult to split the difference of the areas that they are stronger. We all know that the power unit of very efficient and quite strong, because we see all the cars they are very competitive with the Mercedes engine. If we see the McLaren car for example, finishing 84 seconds I think behind Hamilton, the Mercedes car has something also good. It’s not only the engine because they are performing well.
“We just need to improve the package, we just need to improve in all areas, and so better. We have the Red Bull example also. After a tough winter and some difficulties they managed to change the situation and become competitive very quickly. We will try to do better. It’s only the second race, a long way to go, and we are ready to fight.”