Fernando Alonso insisted that the new Ferrari is 'on another planet' compared to the team's 2012 machine after taking part in his first day of pre-season testing in Barcelona.
Alonso elected to miss the Jerez test to continue his preparations for the 2013 campaign away from the circuit, with team-mate Felipe Massa and test driver Pedro de la Rosa doing the initial running for the Scuderia
Eager to get as many laps under his belt as possible, Alonso topped the 100 lap mark on his first day at the wheel, ending up just three-tenths of a second off the benchmark time set by Nico Rosberg.
Speaking afterwards, Alonso said he was pleased with the early performance of the car which is in stark contrast to twelve months ago, when Ferrari's early running was beset by issues that would ultimately blight its season.
“I feel reasonably pleased with this first day and I can say I share Felipe's opinion that the car is on another planet compared to the one we began with on the first day of testing last year,” he said. “The programme for this first session in Barcelona is aimed mainly at improving reliability, with the target of completing more than a hundred laps every day. Then, at next week's test we can concentrate on performance. Tomorrow, we will complete what we were unable to do today and we will focus on car set-up, to adapt it as well as possible to the tyres.
“I knew from looking at the Jerez data what sort of car I would find here today, as in fact we know more or less what we will see at the first race in Australia, in terms of what new parts we will have and how many tenths they will produce. This is down to all the work done over the winter in the wind tunnel and the numerous tests which confirm that the parts that are on their way will give the expected results.”