Fernando Alonso remains confident that he can fight back against Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's late championship charge, saying that, at any point this season, he would have gladly accepted being told he'd trail the German by six points with four races to go.
Acknowledging that his Ferrari has seldom been the best car in the field, as Red Bull and McLaren swapped supremacy, the Spaniard's better consistency saw him lead the standings until the Korean Grand Prix two weeks ago, when Vettel's fourth win of the season – and third in a row after Singapore and Japan – finally overhauled what had once been a 40-point chasm. Despite now facing what many expect to be a tough battle to reclaim the advantage, Alonso is far from pessimistic.
“My situation is quite good,” he insisted, “You could say it's the second best situation as we are almost on the same points total as Vettel with four races to go and there is every possibility open for the championship.
“If we had been offered this situation back in February, we would have signed for it! And again in July, August or even September, we would have signed. We plan to fight for the championship all the way to the end.”
The pace of development, particularly at Red Bull, appears to have left Ferrari floundering, with Alonso himself having been quoted as trying to hasten improvements for the F2012, but the Spaniard maintains that all is not lost.
“It's true that, in the last few races, Red Bull has been very strong and quick, but we have seen all year that there have been ups and downs for everybody, so we need to improve our situation and our level of competitiveness and try to catch them,” he explained, “I think it will be a battle of packages: everyone will have his own strong points and weak points.
“At the moment, we have seen that Red Bull maybe has the fastest car, especially on Saturday. They will try and make the most of this strong point and we will try to use our strong points. It is a matter of pushing everything to the limits now; the car development, the strategy and the approach to the weekends, but that is no different in fact to what we have been doing all year. We were leading the championship up until Korea thanks to our consistency and through avoiding making mistakes. We have produced 16 perfect races and now we must produce another four. If we do that, we will be very close to winning the championship.
“My motivation is better than ever – and it's not just me, as the whole team is very motivated. We have struggled all year with our car, especially in the first part of the season but, now, with four races to go, we are going on full attack for the last month. Everyone in the team wants this championship.”