Fernando Alonso says he feels Ferrari are a stronger team for the problems they have faced in recent seasons and insists the team can still fight for honours this season – if it can keep closing the gap to the front-runners.
Alonso is currently ten points behind Sebastian Vettel in the championship standings, although that tally was boosted somewhat by his surprise victory in Malaysia.
Aside from in the Sepang rain, the F2012 hasn't been a contender at the front of the field and although he admits that the current car is proving difficult to drive, Alonso said the struggles the team was encountering were making it stronger.
"It's like walking on a tight rope that is 30 metres above ground, you can never make mistakes," he told Gazzetta dello Sport
. "If you hit a curb in Q1, you're out. Same goes in Q2 if a wheel locks in a turn. But all this makes the team stronger. The mistakes we made in 2010 and 2011 with strategy, pit stops, and driver errors are not happening anymore.
"That's because the team, by walking on that tight rope, has reached a level of professionalism and confidence higher than you could imagine. The most important thing, the quickest car, is still lacking, but the struggles of these years have made the team improve at double speed compared to a normal year."
Again insisting that Ferrari won't give up in the race for the title, Alonso said the team needed to keep working hard to make the progress required to challenge for honours.
"We have kind of saved the first four races, but now we must react and take charge," he said. "In any case we will never give up.
"This is just the first step, we need to consistently make up the gap race after race. If things go bad in Montmelo [for the Spanish Grand Prix], it's not like our season is finished."