Fernando Alonso has said that Ferrari is ready to fight back this weekend at the Chinese Grand Prix after a tough start to the season.
The team has failed to record a podium finish so far in 2014, and in Bahrain its drivers picked up just three points (the exact same number of titles that Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen have between them). With the championships already slipping away and a sixth straight season without a crown on the cards, team principal Stefano Domenicali fell on his sword and resigned earlier this week.
After such a difficult week, Alonso is ready to fight back at a circuit where he has won twice before.
“We’re here to try to improve the situation a little bit, be a little bit more competitive, more than we have shown in the first three races,” the Spaniard explained in the press conference on Thursday in Shanghai. “We’re here to fight back.
“I think we need to be honest with our situation. It’s not where we wanted to be. I think there is a lot of room to improve. We need to become better in all the areas from the car.”
Alonso is banking on the team gradually improving across the course of the season before launching an assault on pace-setters Mercedes in the second half of the year.
“There is a long way to go,” he said. “The championship is very long and we know that probably in the first [part] of the championship we will not be as competitive as Mercedes or some of the teams that now they are on top.
“But as I said we need to maximize what we have in our hands now, try to score as many points as possible and hopefully we can be very competitive later in the season.”
Domenicali’s position has been taken by Ferrari’s former North America CEO Matteo Mattiacci, but president Luca di Montezemolo will also be playing a bigger part in the F1 division of the Italian marque.
Once again, problems with the Ferrari car appear to have ended Alonso’s hopes of a third world title after just a handful of races. However, his never-say-die attitude and enormous ability means that we can’t truly rule him out of the running until we’re well into the 2014 season.