Fernando Alonso has said that he is pleased to have qualified in sixth place for tomorrow’s United States Grand Prix given that the engine in his Ferrari F14 T is down on power this weekend.
Alonso is using an older engine so he can avoid taking a penalty and ensure that he has a fresh power unit saved for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which is worth double points.
Despite the power deficit, Alonso said that qualifying sixth was normal for him and Ferrari, so he was pleased with the result.
“We have been around fifth and sixth all year long in qualifying,” Alonso said. “Nothing will change probably now. I think maybe challenging [Daniel] Ricciardo.
“We were a couple of tenths down on the engine. We had some communications there after the Monza engine failure. At the factory we were discussing last week if we should use the sixth engine and start from the pit lane like Red Bull did.
“We’re using a very old engine, with a little bit less power and at least we don’t need to recover places. We chose the second option, so we are missing a bit of performance. Anyway, fifth and sixth is the way it is and I’m quite pleased with that.”
This way, Alonso will not need to follow Sebastian Vettel’s example and start the race from the pit lane.
“We are doing all of these things to avoid taking the sixth [engine],” Alonso said. “Of course, Abu Dhabi we must have no penalty because it’s double points, so if we manage here and we manage in Brazil, in Abu Dhabi we have no penalty plus a good engine. We have a better engine available. Here I can manage the races this weekend.”
Alonso does not think that he can finish on the podium in Austin, believing that Mercedes and Williams are too far ahead at the front of the field.
“I think Ricciardo and Vettel, who was doing competitive long-runs, I think he will be around us tomorrow. The McLarens, they are around us as well. We’ll see. The first four cars, Mercedes and Williams, are a little bit too fast for us if we are realistic. We just need to concentrate on that second race.”