Fernando Alonso has warned Ferrari's rivals that the team will fight back into contention for the 2011 F1 title despite a tough start to the new campaign.
The Spaniard is already 42 points behind early leader Sebastian Vettel, while Felipe Massa is two points further back, with neither driver having managed to finish on the podium in the three races run so far.
However, Alonso said he was confident that the team will soon start to claw back the points it lost in the races in Australia, Malaysia and China, with the double champion having experience from both sides of the team battling back into contention.
"In the past, I have experienced, first as an opponent and then as an insider, how capable the Scuderia is of staging a comeback," he was quoted by The Age
. "I well remember, when I was at Renault in 2006, that in the first part of the season I had built up a big lead, but then Ferrari made such a good job of developing its cars that Schumacher staged a great fightback, overtaking me with two races remaining.
"So anything can be done. I know it was definitely not the start of the season we were hoping for - for us and all our fans."
Alonso added that his performance in fighting back into contention last year, and the rejuvenation of McLaren after a difficult pre-season, was an indication of how things could change through the remainder of the year
"It was suggested we should already be looking to the following year, but we didn't give up and managed to be in the fight for the title right up to the final race,” he said. “It sounds like a slogan, but it's the absolute truth: never give up in Formula One!
"After the final test in Barcelona, everyone reckoned the McLarens were nowhere and then they always got on to the podium, ending up with a win in China. At the same time, others said Vettel was unbeatable and then in Shanghai we all saw how things turned out in the end. Three races are not yet enough to give a definitive judgment."