Fernando Alonso says he feels the new Ferrari F138 is '200 times better' than the car it has replaced, despite the fact that the Italian team has yet to try its latest upgrades ahead of the new season.
Alonso took over from Felipe Massa for the second day of the final Catalunya test and a busy day on track saw him complete more than 100 laps, although his planned programme meant he ended up bottom of the times as Ferrari elected not to chase a quick lap.
Despite that fact, and the fact that some upgrades won't be available until free practice in Melbourne, Alonso said he was pleased with the performance of the new car and felt that Ferrari is in much better shape going into the new season.
"We hope that we have reduced the gap [to the top teams] and we will arrive in Australia in better shape than Brazil, which means 200 times better than last year in Australia," he was quoted by ESPN
. “We have now a car that is responding well to what we change on the car. We have a car that is doing what we expected the car to do.
“We know that maybe we are not the quickest still, but the starting point and the potential of this car is there. We can touch it now. Last year it was a dream to make that car work. This year to make this car work it will be much more easy, that's for sure."
The Spaniard also insisted that he was sure that the F138 would give him a better chance to fight for the championship title.
"I didn't see any reasons to not think so,” he replied when asked if he could fight for the crown, “because last year was had a very difficult winter and we were completely lost. We didn't know what the car was doing. We didn't understand what was going on in the wind tunnel and on the track.
“With that car we still fought for the world championship until Brazil.”