Fernando Alonso has called on Ferrari to stay calm as it seeks to resolve its current issues, despite the Spaniard admitting there is no quick fix to the problems the team has faced so far with the new F2012.
The Spaniard secured fifth place in Melbourne last week despite starting twelfth after a spin in qualifying, although he was never in contention to challenge for a place on the podium.
Speaking at Sepang ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend, Alonso said that Ferrari remained united as it worked towards the goal of challenging for wins this season, although he said it was going to take time for the Scuderia
to catch up with its rivals.
“We need to work hard every day and night to catch people up,” he said. “We need to stay focused and work more than the others knowing that we are a little bit behind now. But the championship is long. We stay calm, we stay focused, because we see a lot of determination in the team. We see the team with a very good atmosphere, (we) trust each other in the team, we are very united, so the time will come to us.
“We are not in the situation we wanted to start the 2012 championship but after 11 years in Formula One I think you understand how long the championship is, what you need when you have the best and what you need when you don't have the best car – which is sometimes more points or less points. But as far as our targets and our goals (are concerned) we need to score as many points as possible in these [next] couple of races and in a very short period of time try to be on the podium and win races. If we manage to do that we have plenty of races to recover the gap. If we don't manage to do that it's because someone else did a better job than us.
“I don't think it will be one race in which we change the car. I think at every race we will try to make improvements as we did over the last few years and it won't be just for us; I think everyone will make updates at every race. We just need to make ours work a little bit more. Obviously we have a little advantage from that because our car needs more speed and maybe it's easier for us to find than for some others whose cars are maybe more developed than ours. New parts will slowly come at every race and hopefully they work, but there's not one magic race or one magic moment when we think things can change. I think we will work day and night and as I said before; the team is very focused on that and I see great reaction from everybody, so I expect a strong Ferrari soon.”
Alonso added that he hoped Sepang would be kinder to Ferrari than Albert Park, although he said he wasn't getting too carried away about his chances.
“Hopefully yes but I don't think so, to be honest,” he said. “We have been testing at different circuits: Jerez, Barcelona and then in Australia with more or less the same car with the same problems on it. The cars are nearly identical for everybody compared with Australia, I guess, so I don't think there will be big surprises here. Let's wait and see, and try to adapt the car to the circuit, the conditions, the heat.
“In the race anything can happen. In Australia with a good start and the stops and the strategy you can put yourself in a decent place. We will try to do a similar race here and try to defend as many points as possible.”