Fernando Alonso has refused to speculate on how Ferrari will get on this year and he reckons they won't know the 'full worth' of the team's new car until Malaysia or even China.
Alonso goes into this season still looking for his first title with the Scuderia and still looking to repeat what he managed with Renault in 2005 and 2006, when he successfully secured the F1 drivers' crown.
“If I had a crystal ball I would tell you [how things will go in 2012],” Alonso told the Mail & Guardian
online at the Scuderia's annual Wrooom
event on the slopes of Madonna di Campiglio in the Italian Dolomites.
“But now it's January 12 and I'm not optimistic or pessimistic - but we are working every day.
“I saw it [the new car] in the wind tunnel, I saw the development programs but those are only numbers and lines on a computer. I can't say anything about how it will perform yet. We probably won't know until the second or third race the real worth of the car.”
Despite that though, Alonso believes the influence of ex-McLaren man Pat Fry, who took over as technical director in summer 2011, will start to be really felt now.
“When Pat arrived, he tried to change some things, and he was surprised by some of the ways Ferrari works. But by combining his different experience and approach, I think we can maximise our potential,” Alonso continued.
“The team has improved in all areas. The team is working more effectively and in a more efficient way the last couple months. Last year we had some problems with the wind tunnel, [but] otherwise the car was very good. If we do a good job [with the new car] we will be able to win races.”
Meanwhile, Alonso rebuffed talk that time is running out for him to win lots more drivers' crowns: “I've still got many years to come,” he added. “I'm 30 years old and there are guys racing at 42 or 43, so I guess every year I will improve a little bit.
“Maybe as you get older you lose some speed, but you gain experience so it compensates,” he concluded.