Fernando Alonso has admitted that Ferrari has to 'improve a lot' as the start of the new F1 season draws ever closer.

The new F2012 has struggled for performance during pre-season testing in Spain, leaving the Scuderia on the back foot heading into the Australian Grand Prix.

Technical director Pat Fry has already questioned whether or not a podium finish will be achievable in the early stages of the season and while other teams have refused to count the team out of the equation, Alonso insisted there was a lot of work to be done.

Related Articles

"It is always difficult to draw conclusions from testing," he said. "Everyone works according to their own programme and you cannot make a true comparison. We definitely still need to improve a lot, working on our understanding of the F2012, adapting my driving style to a new car which, with the loss of aerodynamic downforce at the rear and the new Pirelli tyres, is a bit harder to drive. We know in which direction we need to go in terms of car development and that's an important step.

"Sure, we will have to grit our teeth for the first few races, but first of all, we have to see exactly where we are in terms of being competitive and then give our all to bring home as many points as possible in this early stage of the championship. I know the fans always expect to hear me say that we can obtain such and such a result, but the truth is that we cannot say with certainty where we are. We must wait until Saturday evening at six, after qualifying and a bit longer still, until after this first run of races outside Europe."

Alonso added that it was important for the team not to panic as it works to resolve its current issues.

"We have to stay cool and calm and take one step at a time, starting with the race in Melbourne, where we will get an initial impression," he said. "Once we know where we stand, then we can set ourselves more precise targets. One thing's for sure, with the will to win that inhabits everyone at Ferrari and with the history we have behind us, we feel a responsibility to do well: for us, for our fans and for our partners and that goes for all of us.

"We must all pull together to reach this target."