Fernando Alonso has admitted that he and the Ferrari team will have to be wheel-perfect in the next few races if they are to continue to press their world championship claims this season.
Despite being quoted as saying that he saw the Scuderia as title favourite in a recent interview with the Spanish media, the double world champion conceded that, while the F10 had won the opening race in Bahrain, it was no longer the best car in the F1 field. Even with the expected developments being brought to the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend, including the latest attempt to copy McLaren's F-duct -Alonso insists that he does not see too much changing in the balance of power, with Ferrari still chasing the likes of Red Bull and McLaren.
"I think everybody we will introduce something here, but I don't think it is huge or that we change the car completely," he noted, "It will be very small modifications, mainly aero updates and some improvements in the engine in terms of reliability.
"I don't think that anything will change dramatically here. Maybe it will depend from circuit to circuit and not depend on the modifications, but we saw in winter testing that the last test here was nothing special for us. We were not competitive enough in the last test in winter, so we expect there to be a lot of work to do tomorrow and Saturday so that we can change that situation and be as competitive as we were in some other places.
"In terms of the F-duct, we will try some more parts tomorrow. It's not decided yet if we will use it or not on Saturday and Sunday, so tomorrow is another important day of evaluation of the system and we will see how it works."
Alonso acknowledged that the team's target for the coming races in Spain, Monaco and Turkey had to be to take as many points as possible and ensure that they remained in contention for the championship heading into the second half of the year.
"For us, [the aim] is to maximise our potential in the coming races," he confirmed, "I think, in the first part of the championship, we had a very strong car, but maybe we did not take all the points we should, so there is no room for mistake in the next few races if we are to recover the leadership of the championship as soon as possible."
Perhaps the biggest mistake of Alonso's season so far came at the start of the Chinese Grand Prix, where he jumped the lights and was forced to serve a drive-thru' penalty before going on to finish fourth in a rain-affected race. Admitting that conditions, and the ensuing confusion as rain came and went, helped him recover the situation, the Spaniard conceded that it was important not to repeat the error.
"Yeah, the start in China was quite good," he smiled, "I overtook two cars, and I think I could have overtaken more if I had started a little bit earlier. I think it was a mistake on my part, a big mistake, but this is already in the past and I'm sure that I won't do it again. Hopefully, I will try not to repeat the same mistake again or any other mistake, because it's not the way you fight for the championship. Thanks to the chaotic conditions in the race, we were able to recover some positions and get some good results, so I was lucky at the end of the race."