Alonso: It will be a surprise if Red Bull is not in front of everybody

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso during a promotional event in Melbourne

Red Bull kept their cards close to their chest in winter testing and it would be a surprise if the Formula 1 champions were not setting the pace at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, according to Ferrari‘s Fernando Alonso.

“I’m not sure about McLaren but Red Bull 100 percent they didn’t push the limit of the car because they have this advantage of the last three years that they have a very dominant car, and they feel comfortable,” the Spaniard told reporters at the team’s Melbourne launch on Thursday.

“They feel optimistic and they will use the full potential in the race when arrives the time.”

Red Bull finished winter testing in Spain with little fanfare, with reigning champion Sebastian Vettel, the only driver among the leading five teams not to have topped the end-of-day timesheets, suggesting they had not ticked all the boxes.

While Alonso expected Red Bull to have maintained their edge, he was thrilled with Ferrari’s new F138 car, describing it after testing as “200 times better” than its predecessor.

Fernando Alonso did laps around Albert Park on his bicycle

Fernando Alonso did laps around Albert Park on his bicycle

“It will be a surprise if Red Bull is not in front of everybody after the advantage they had last year, but I am also confident, and I am optimistic that we have reduced this gap a lot,” added Alonso, dressed in a pair of jeans and a team shirt. “So, maybe we are not the fastest, but we are not 1.5 seconds behind as we were last year.”

“This year, there is some consistency through the grid and I expect the five top teams to have a little advantage, but of those five teams, it is very difficult to say after winter testing which of them will have the extra two or three tenths that can produce a win”

“It’s very close and difficult to choose one favourite. I think Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus and Red Bull all showed potential at different times during testing, indeed in different races last year, so it’s hard to choose.”

Alonso, who won championships with Renault in 2005 and 2006, finished second behind triple world champion Vettel last year despite his F2012 car being plagued by mechanical problems for much of the season.

Sebastian Vettel and race winner Fernando Alonso on the German GP podium during the German Grand Prix at Hockenheimring on July 22, 2012 in Hockenheim, Germany.

Sebastian Vettel and race winner Fernando Alonso on the 2012 German GP podium

It was the second time he had finished runner-up to the German in three years and Alonso said it was time to change the equation in his fourth season with Ferrari.

Key to that would be a podium spot in the season-opener at Albert Park circuit, said the Spaniard, who has grim memories of last year’s race when he finished fifth after starting 12th on the grid courtesy of a spin onto the gravel during qualifying. His Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa crashed out of the race after qualifying 16th.

Is the F138 good enough to win at Albert Park was a straightforward question from a Spanish journalist.

“I don’t know at the moment,” the man from Oviedo. “It is dangerous to make any conclusions based on sector times in testing. However, we can say we are happy with what we achieved during the winter and got through the programme we had planned.”

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F138

Fernando Alonso Ferrari F138

“As for this circuit, I like it a lot and I have always been very comfortable here, producing a good performance. The same applies to Malaysia so maybe these two races provide the chance to score good points, but I don’t know just how quick we can be.”

“Every year you start with fresh motivation. It doesn’t matter really what happened the previous season or how you finished the championship,” Alonso mused. “But it’s true that in the fourth year of (being at) Ferrari … we really need to change this result.”

“This year we have a better car to start the championship and we just need to keep improving race and race. If we fight to the last race with (this) car this year I am much more optimistic.” (Reuters & Apex)

  • Mark

    Forza Ferrari!

  • Mark

    Whos impersonating me? fk man… change that name. Forza RB.

  • fools

    Alonso for the 2013+ WDC!

    I am aching for this season to begin.

  • Tamburello_1994

    Winter testing will be a memory come qualy-time. . . . As I said . . The more things change, The more they stay the same.

  • Forza Ferrari

    Can’t wait for FP1 to start already! Forza Ferrari!!!

  • seeing scarlet

    8 hours 40 mins, tic tic tic tic

  • Trendo

    I am just fed up but his comments… Just accept Vettel is your nemesis, a class world champion. As long this guy is around, no chance for alonsos, lewises or the likes.

  • Butterfly

    @Trendo:

    Let me explain:

    Sebastian Vettel has had Adrian Newey designing and developing his cars ever since he came into F1 – well, from the time he drove for Toro Rosso, anyway.

    Fernando Alonso, on the other hand, has never had a good car designer by his side. Ever since Rory Byrne (a match for Newey) retired from design duties at Maranello, Nicholas Tombazis has “designed” the red cars, and it shows.

    When Red Bull were using aero-elastic wings and exhaust gases to seal the diffuser, Ferrari were still trying tweaking the front wing Rory Byrne left from 2004. They (Ferrari) finally last year figured out how the front-wing endplates need to work.

    Remember those sparks coming of the Ferrari front wing in India 2011?

    I mean, how many times since 2009 has Ferrari had a car that could take pole position in the dry?

    I would also like to remind you that Vettel was totally lost at the beginning of last year when the car was good but not perfect. It was Webber getting the results and looking down on his teammate.

    To sum it up: You may have a soft-spot for Vettel for some reason (you may actually be a loser cheering for the champion), but when it comes to driving, the hierarchy is Alonso, Hamilton, everybody else.

    Have a nice day.

  • Butterfly1

    @Butterfly

    My dear, after the first 5 races of last year, Seb had actually scored more points than Mark. You can check for yourself.
    Say something good about a person if you can.Else, you can shut your big bloody mouth.

  • Mark

    butt:

    “Fernando Alonso, on the other hand, has never had a good car designer by his side.” Last time I checked, and I check F1 news every day… Alonso was driving a Ferrari. Yeah, a fking Ferrari. F-E-R-R-A-R-I the best team in history, maybe?. Ferrari, top class team with top class engineers. Top class car brand with top class designers. Are you fking kidding me? “never had a good car designer” F U C K I N G H I L A R I O U S !!!

  • Butterfly

    Retard:

    I said Alonso has never had a good F1 car designer in his team, not that Ferrari hasn’t had one. Rory Byrne thrashed Adrian Newey in 99-04, it’s just that Alonso wasn’t part of Ferrari back then.

    You can’t say the current Ferrari chief designer is any good. Even a retard like you can’t say that.

  • alonso_is_slow

    Schumacher did not need the best car to become champion. Only alonso needs it.

  • Tamburello_1994

    A post from Butterfly 11 March, 2013 at 8:06 pm on the “Red Bull bosses really worried or putting on Oscar award winning act?” thread:

    @Lauda Fan:

    “Actually, Ferrari is the best team in F1, despite RBR’s good designs in recent years.

    Of course, I’m talking about the 2013 Ferrari, not, say, the trainwreck Alonso came to drive for in 2010. They’ve improved a lot, and all that remains is that good design, which they appear to have this year.

    They have the strategy, pit-stops, the driver(s), the development team. Their wind-tunnel is under repair, but other than that, everything’s A-level over there.”

    Be advised Butterfly, Some here are cataloging your bullsh*t for later use. Just not gonna let you change your story as you see fit. You’re entitled to your own opinion, But not you own facts. Try to keep the two separate and you might avoid this in the future.

    Tricks are for kids.

  • Butterfly

    @Tamburello_1994:

    Actually, I still stand by what I wrote there. It is true that Ferrari are only lacking a good design. Strategy is perfect, pit-stops, too. The development throughout the season is top-notch as well.

    I admit I’m surprised to see that F138 is still 8 tenths off the pace, although, compared to the F2012, it has solved the traction and balance issues. It just needs more speed, and I reckon it’s the fundamental design that’s flawed.

    That illusive good design will come, although I doubt it will be Nicholas Tombazis doing it. This guy’s probably gonna get fired this year – just a guess.

    2009-2013 and he’s still incapable of designing a proper race car.

    As for those who are “cataloging” what I write… don’t really care, to be honest. Ferrari *is* the best team in Formula 1.

    If you don’t like it, you can go f&uck yourself, mate.

  • Mark

    butt:

    “Fernando Alonso, on the other hand, has never had a good car designer by his side.” I still can’t believe I read that.

    Yeah, Alonso has a sh*tty design team on his side. After all this years being the best, Sir Fernando Alonso deserves a Marussia or a Caterham. Not a sh*tty Ferrawhat? who are those? Ferr… Ferroru Ferrari? never heard of them. F430? F458? Enzo? FXX? 275GTB? 599XX? what the f*ck are those aberrations? He certainly deserves better. Alonso deserves a team who actually can win 5 straight WDC’s, you retard.

  • Tamburello_1994

    :)

    Mission accomplished.

  • madnessisfame

    Its too early to judge the new Ferrari…but i wouldn’t be surprise if it will struggle again as it did since the last 2008 design…Ferrari might be a great team because of its history specially during the Schumi era…but this Dumbenicali managed team is gong no where…Ferrari are no innovative like the Mclaren, RBR or even the Lotus…they always come in late with a patched up car imitating designs from others…but does have a fast engine helping the drivers to enjoy exiting corners …reliable but always so hard to drive…understeering issues most of the time…the 2012 car was the worst design…and then ooohhh yes the wind tunnel is to blame…what the fu*k…the car was a piece of shit and if it wasn’t for Fernando, Ferrari would have been easily beaten by end of season by the mid fielders teams like the Sauber or Force India…Alonso has accumulated double the points Massa who had almost won it in 2008…and then team bosses vote Alonso the best driver in 2012…big fu*cking deal…with all respect…he is probably the unluckiest best driver on the grid being at the wrong place so far…but then maybe the F138 is hiding some fortune for him & Massa this season since Ferrari claims they have changed their designing strategy…GOOD LUCK Ferrari

  • Butterfly

    @Mark:

    Did you not read what I wrote there? I am talking about an F1 car designer, you retard, not a road car designer.

    Ah, nevermind…

    What the F’s wrong with you? Not enough seks?

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  • El Cabezon

    It really blows my mind to see people still supporting a cheating sack of shit like Alonso.

    Let’s face it, it’s the Vettel/Hamilton era.