In an early warning shot to his F1 2010 rivals, Fernando Alonso has labelled the Ferrari F10 'the best car I've ever had' – as he contended that whilst rival teams have been quick to demonstrate their potential during testing, the Prancing Horse has been keeping its powder dry and will only reveal its true form once the real action gets underway in Bahrain.
In the hands of both Alonso and team-mate Felipe Massa, Ferrari's new baby has proven to be fast and consistent throughout pre-season testing to-date, be it at Valencia – where the Spaniard led an ominous and commanding Maranello one-two on the final combined timesheets – or Jerez de la Frontera.
Other drivers have confessed that they believe the scarlet machine is the one to beat at this stage of proceedings [see separate story – click here
] – and despite winding up 1.5 seconds shy of the ultimate marker set by reigning F1 World Champion Jenson Button for McLaren-Mercedes last week, the Oviedo native confirmed that his adversaries have good reason to be worried.
“It is already the best car I've ever had,” the 21-time grand prix-winner told Spanish sports newspaper AS
, as he eyes a third drivers' crown in the top flight to add to his back-to-back title glories with Renault in 2005 and 2006. “There is no reason to be pessimistic.
“Red Bull, McLaren and Renault have gone quick and shown their cards; we are still hiding ours. If I was with another team I would be looking at Ferrari, because everything so far is working very well.”
Whilst insistent that he is underestimating nobody, Alonso did add that one reason Ferrari's competitors have been so rapid over the past week could be down to lapping on low fuel to simulate qualifying runs – and as the Scuderia
bids to recover in 2010 from its worst campaign at the highest level since 1993, it is clear that the 28-year-old's hopes are high of springing a surprise when the starting lights go out in Sakhir in just under three weeks' time.
“This is where Red Bull and McLaren are showing very fast,” he opined of the low-fuel outings, “and it is certainly the basis for trying to improve the performance of the F10 at the next test in Barcelona.”