Alonso: There is no magic button but I am confident for the future

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012 in the gravel trap. Formula One Testing, Mugello, Italy, Day Three, 3 May 2012.

Fernando Alonso's Ferrari F2012 in the barriers on the final day of testing at Mugello

May.4 (GP247) Fernando Alonso endured the inconvenience of  a mild off on the final day of testing at Mugello which cost him a couple hours of track time, on a day that the Ferrari F2012 sported some significant upgrades which appear to have instilled renewed confidence in the Spaniard.

Fernando Alonso in the revised Ferrari F2012

Fernando in the revised Ferrari F2012

At the end of the day he explained somewhat sarcastically of his Turn 12 excursion, “First of all, I want to put everyone’s mind at rest, my family and friends: I’m fine, no harm done after hitting the crash barrier at seven kilometres an hour.”

On serious note, Alonso said of the final day at the Ferrari owned track, “We made up for the time lost this morning in the afternoon in terms of quantity, given that the final mileage is more or less what we had planned for, but not in terms of quality, because the track had changed [by] this afternoon, mainly because of the wind.”

“However, I am very pleased with these three days of testing. The feeling I have after the test is a positive one. 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.”

Fernando Alonso

Fernando at Mugello

“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.”

“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.”

Fernando Alonso

Fernando hitches a lift after his excursion on the final day of testing

“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.”

When asked for feedback on the new exhaust layout, Alonso explained, “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.”

Fernando Alonso

Fernando in the Ferrari pit garage

Regarding the first in-season testing since 2008 the 28 times grand prix winner said, “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.”

Alonso lies fifth in the championship standings, with four races run, but is only ten points adrift of leader Sebastian Vettel as the F1 circus heads to Barcelona for the Spanish GP weekend starting on 11 May.

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