Fernando Alonso admits that Ferrari is still trying to gain a full understanding of it new F2012, with the Spaniard arguing that the car appears to be 'quite complex'.

So far in pre-season, Ferrari appears to have found itself on the back foot compared to its rivals, with the aggressive design of the new car not working as well as expected straight out of the box.

It means the Scuderia is still trying to learn about its car while the likes of Red Bull and McLaren have been able to find a strong base to work with, although Alonso said that wasn't necessarily an indication that the team will be off the pace when the season gets underway in Australia.

"It's true that we keep getting information out of the car, information that we should already have in our pocket, but the car seems quite complex and we need to keep understanding better what the behaviour is," he was quoted by ESPNF1. "But then I remember last year when we did a race distance in the first day and we were one and half seconds behind Red Bull in Australia. Race distances are always welcome, but I would prefer to have a performing car and then we find reliability than have a very strong car that is slow.

"You always try to win straight away in the first race of the championship if you want to be a contender. That was the target over the winter but at the moment maybe we don't know exactly where we are. Maybe we are not the fastest but definitely we are not the slowest. We need to wait and see at the final test and the hotter temperatures in Australia - Q3 in Melbourne will be the time to see where you are."

The Spaniard added that he wasn't shocked to see Red Bull being quick so far with its new car, and said it was down to Ferrari, McLaren and the rest to be creative to catch the champions.

"Red Bull look competitive - that's not a surprise - it's been continuous in the last two or three years and it's difficult to get it wrong completely so they will always be there," he said. "McLaren and Ferrari need to be a little bit more creative to catch up with Red Bull and I think that is what both teams have done. McLaren and Ferrari chose different solutions, different philosophies maybe, but we will see the results first in Melbourne and more importantly in November."