Fernando Alonso insists that Ferrari has been stronger in 2011 than it was last season, despite the Spaniard heading into the final round of the year with just one victory to his name.
Alonso's win at Silverstone is the only time he has taken to the top step of the podium in 2011, while team-mate Felipe Massa has failed to even make it into the top four in any of the races run so far this season.
A number of podium finishes have ensured that Alonso remained in contention for honours until the Singapore Grand Prix and could still secure second in the championship and he admitted that – despite the lowly number of victories – the team had shown it was stronger this year than in 2010.
“I will remember it as a not bad season overall from a personal point of view and how the team approached this season, improving in areas where we were weak last year,” he said. “The team has been stronger and I feel that with a competitive car next year we can be very strong and fighting for the world championship. Last year, our starts and strategies were not so good and we had a conservative approach to the races and we improved in all those areas this year. Now, all we need is the car that can do it.”
Admitting that he wasn't concerned whether or not he beats Jenson Button to second in the standings in the season finale in Brazil this weekend, Alonso said he was confident of being able to challenge for the crown next year with Ferrari having worked hard to learn the lessons of 2011.
“This year, we were competitive in terms of the mechanical side of the car and there is not much difference between the various engines between the teams and tyres are the same for everybody,” he said. “So the key point is aerodynamics and getting the tyres to work properly right from the first lap, as part of a more aggressive, less conservative approach to the year.
“Why am I confident I can challenge for the championship next year? Because I am at Ferrari.”