On the eve of the European Grand Prix at Valencia, Fernando Alonso said all is not lost in his and Ferrari’s quest to win the world championship this year, but admitted that the team was having “a very bad year.”
He also said that his own performance is as strong as at any time in his career and compared his performances to his team mate Felipe Massa, “These seven races.. I think I drove the best seven races of my career, with the best qualifying laps, compared to my teammate, compared to last year,” he said.
After a slow start where he qualified fifth in the first four races, Alonso had a chance to win both the last two races in Monaco and Canada, where he qualified second, but he wasn’t able to make it happen.
Speaking on Thursday he said, “I think we need to have the best car. If we have the best car we can win the title because there is plenty of time and plenty of races to recover. If we are fifth or sixth, as we are normally in qualifying etc, it’s very difficult because you cannot get the pace that everybody is doing.
“I think the championship is long. We need to concentrate, race by race. We will try to be on the podium, we will try to win every race we do. Obviously this is sometimes very difficult or impossible but this is our aim.
“This is also some pressure that you have when you are at Ferrari or when you are Ferrari. You need to win every race that you do, you need to win every championship that you do and despite these seven races when I think I drove the best seven races of my career, with the best qualifying laps, compared to my teammate, compared to last year, comparing different years, the starts etc.
“Even with that, it seems that the season has been a very bad season so far, which, in some ways I agree with, because we are Ferrari, we are obliged to win every race but in some other ways, I think we need to understand and respect our rivals and to work harder than them and to close that gap in the near future.”
Alonso didn’t want to raise hopes that the changes in the off throttle diffuser rules from Silverstone and the engine mapping changes this weekend in Valencia will put the Red Bulls behind the Ferraris. He sees it that Red Bull have the performance to be able to push when they want to and take it easy at other times.
“I don’t think it (the rule change) will massively change qualifying. I think Sebastian was quickest in qualifying (in Montreal). It’s true that it wasn’t one second, it was two tenths, but he was the quickest in wet conditions at the start of the race.
“We were following him and he was nearly eight tenths or nine tenths quicker than us on Sunday with race mapping. We saw a superior car at that moment, a dominant car, the Red Bull, in qualifying and in the race as well. It seems that sometimes they push a little bit more, sometimes a little bit less. Because of that, in races you seem a little bit closer.”