Despite the apparent dominance of the Red Bull team, Fernando Alonso has admitted that it is tough to predict the outcome of the Chinese Grand Prix while the weather in Shanghai remains unpredictable.

The first two days of the fourth round have been dry, but rain has been forecast for the race, although no-one is quite sure how heavily or when it will fall. As a result, Alonso insists that strategy could play a large part in determining the result, and remains confident that Ferrari can be a factor.

"I think tomorrow's race will be determined by the weather: when it will rain, if it's wet all race, only the first part, only the middle, or only the end?" the Spaniard explained, "We don't know, [but] anyone can win those types of races because there is so much difference in terms of lap time if you make the right choice at the pit-stop or whatever. If you make a wrong tyre choice, you put on intermediates when you should have put on extremes or vice versa, you can lose ten seconds a lap. That's the problem of wet races for us, for the teams, for the championship contenders. It's very nice to watch a wet race on TV, but it's very risky for us.

While some observers believe that Red Bull's RB6 will still be the car to beat in the wet, the double world champion points out that, for all the rain that fell on pre-season testing - and again in both Australia and Malaysia - there is still a lot to understand about the relative performance of cars and drivers when the conditions turn nasty.

"It's true that we had a winter with a lot of wet sessions but, to be honest, we don't really know how competitive we can be in the wet, because no-one runs in the test at the same time with the same age of tyres and the same fuel, so nobody knows. I think we will be okay tomorrow. We did some laps in Australia and unfortunately, at the wrong time, some laps in Malaysia as well, but those Q1 laps seemed competitive as well, compared to the other guys at the same time, so we will see. Wet conditions are always tricky."

Despite his optimism, however, Alonso admits that he would rather the Chinese race be dry as he attempts to notch up his second win in four races for Ferrari and close the two-point gap to championship leader, and team-mate, Felipe Massa.

"I would prefer dry but, if it rains, it's the same for everybody and this is in a race situation," he conceded, "A wet qualifying always makes it more difficult because it depends on which moment on the track you get because you can improve three or four seconds but, in a race situation, you are always on the same lap as everybody, so it's the same for all of us.

"If it rains tomorrow, it will be fine, it will be interesting to see how the race develops but, as I said, with the potential of our car and how good it normally performs at race pace, I think a dry situation would be more normal for us."

Polewinner Sebastian Vettel has a history of winning in the wet, taking his first grand prix win in a Monza downpour and heading a Red Bull 1-2 in similar conditions in China a year ago.

"I think it will be raining tomorrow, it is just a question when really," the German noted, "Bahrain was pretty straightforward, but we are not afraid of any rain. For Sunday, it looks quite bad if you look at the weather. It will rain, the question is will it be wet the whole race or after the start at some point. We will see, but we have good memories of the wet conditions last year.

"You will probably have to ask some of the local people, they know a bit more, but the good thing is that it doesn't get colder tomorrow. I think Wednesday and Thursday was pretty cold, so it shouldn't get colder, but still it will rain. It could be a wet race, a wet start or a dry start and then rain at some point. We will see. If the rain comes, it is best to start at the front, which we do, as you are the ones who see the best, so that is quite important. No matter what, dry or wet, we should be well armed for tomorrow."


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment