Fernando Alonso says he is hopeful that Ferrari will be able to challenge towards the front in Canada this weekend, with the Spaniard insisting that the latest round of the F1 season will give the team an idea of whether it will be able to challenge at the front through the remainder of the campaign.

Alonso goes into the event sitting three points clear at the head of the championship standings despite Ferrari being on the back foot with the new F2012 since the start of pre-season testing.

Victory in the wet Malaysian Grand Prix has been key to Alonso's challenge, and with the team working to improve traction and top speed with the car, the double champion said he was looking forward to seeing if the car could again display front-running speed at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

"I think we have improved the car in these areas since the beginning of the season and Canada will be a good test in this respect," he said. "Hopefully this weekend we will see a competitive Ferrari and that will be very important for us, not just for this race but also for the rest of the season.

"I don't see any reason why Ferrari should not be competitive in Canada, fighting for the top places come the end of the race. Winning races is not easy, neither is finishing on the podium, but the important thing is to score points and find a good level of consistency."

Although currently top of the standings, Alonso said that plenty of hard work still lies ahead for Ferrari if he is to secure his third championship title with further improvement required if he is to remain out front.

"Leading the championship is only the beginning, it's a starting point, because the ultimate target is leading the championship after the final race in Brazil in November," he said. "It's a long championship and the first six races brought us enough points to be in the lead, but we are well aware that we have to improve.

"We need to make the car faster, working hard, while making no mistakes and finding consistency, which is not the easiest thing to do in this championship."

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