Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has told his rivals that he is better prepared ahead of the new season than last year – and he believes this year will be stronger.
The double world champion led the championship for much of 2012, despite having an inferior car to the Red Bull and McLaren, but missed out to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel by three points.
But after training hard during the winter and showing good pace in winter testing, setting the second fastest time on the final day in Barcelona, Alonso has high hopes for this season.
“Last year was the best year of my career and I was very happy with the performance, but I think this year will be better,’ said Alonso, who won the title in 2005 and 2006 with Renault.
“We have a better starting point and I have learned from some of the mistakes from last year.
“The trust, confidence and motivation are better than any other year and pit-stop wise, with starts, all these things, we are constantly learning. I have prepared better. I am better than last year.
“You can improve always as a driver. I am more motivated than last year, but I need a better car than last year because we were too far from the leaders.
“I expect the team to have a better car. We don’t ask to be half a second in front of everybody, but two tenths behind is OK.”
Ahead of the season-opening race in Melbourne, Ferrari technical director Pat Fry was cautious about his predictions for the race, suggesting there will be some “shocks” in the race because of the uncertainty of the tyres.
The teams have experienced high levels of degradation during testing due to the cold conditions, leaving teams unsure how they will react in warmer conditions such as in Melbourne.
“There are still going to be a lot of people learning things in Melbourne to be honest,” said Fry. ” [In Barcelona], the tyres, they grain massively, so what you see here is not necessarily going to carry over until Melbourne.
“I think there will be a few surprised people and a few shocked people. I think it is going to be fairly mixed up to be honest. I wouldn’t like to predict where we will be.
“It will be interesting to see if it is 30 degrees [in Melbourne] like it was there a few days ago. Then it will be a different story to [in Barcelona].”