Fernando Alonso insisted that the fight to prepare for the 2011 F1 season had been put into perspective by the huge earthquake and tsunami, which struck Japan on Friday.
As teams were busy completing a fourth day of running at Catalunya, Japan was dealing with the destruction caused by the earthquake, which measured 8.9 on the Richter scale and led to a devastating tsunami which wiped out large areas of the Japanese coast and caused damage as far away as the United States on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.
Alonso was the amongst the drivers to comment on the tragedy following Friday running in Barcelona, admitting that F1 was low on the list of priorities at such a difficult time.
“Confronted with a tragedy like the one that has struck Japan today, Formula 1 and all its problems to do with tyres, wings and engines is way down the list of priorities,” he said. “Today, my thoughts go first and foremost to the victims and their families.”
On track, Alonso ended the penultimate day of testing with the second quickest time behind Michael Schumacher with the Spaniard happened with the continued reliability and performance of the new Ferrari 150° Italia.
“Once again, the car has proved to be very reliable, which is always good news,” he said. “The updates that the team prepared for this last test have improved the handling of the car and today we managed to do a good simulation of a Grand Prix weekend, with reasonable lap times.
“Where are we compared to the others? Today, we are all together here in Barcelona. But joking apart, we will only discover the truth in Melbourne. Tyres used, fuel loads, test programmes: there are too many parameters in play and they can make a big difference in terms of outright performance. Right from the start of these tests, we have always concentrated on our own work, trying to improve the car and be reliable: how clever we have been, we will see in two weeks time.”
Alonso then failed to complete a timed lap on the final day of testing after heavy rain at the circuit restricted him to just five sighter laps, with Ferrari then electing to pack up and head back to Maranello due to the conditions.