Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso was pretty downbeat following Friday practice for the Singapore Grand Prix, and while he said the team definitely isn't throwing in the towel, he also warned they have to be realistic.
Alonso was seventh in the opening session at the Marina Bay Street Circuit and while he improved one spot to sixth in P2, he ended up concluding the day a massive 1.442 seconds off the top time set by Sebastian Vettel, while team-mate Felipe Massa was a lowly 15th.
It was not the start to the weekend the Spaniard or the Scuderia had been hoping for and Alonso was quite frank in his assessment.
“We can't say this was a good start, because we weren't competitive,” he stated, “but if we consider that last year, at the end of a difficult weekend we managed to get on the podium, we definitely aren't throwing in the towel yet.”
“We have yet to analyse the data, but we certainly have to be realistic, because when you have one car in sixth place and the other in fifteenth, it's clearly not the result we were hoping for, without taking into consideration the updates we have brought for this race,” he continued.
“Now, we have a lot of work to do to find the right set-up and the best strategy. Then we will need to put in a very good qualifying lap and attack from start to finish in the race.
"However, we know that won't be easy because on tracks which require high downforce, we suffer more and, just as in Hungary, apart from the fact that Mercedes seem to be on a par with Red Bull here, there are others who also look strong, like Lotus and McLaren”.
Ferrari technical director, Pat Fry agreed things don't look great: “On Friday, it's never easy to understand where one is compared to the others, but certainly our main rivals seem to have something extra," he conceded.
Massa meanwhile wasn't at all happy with the balance of his car, although a brush with the wall in P2 showed he was still trying his hardest: “This was a difficult day,” he stated, “because I struggled to find the right way to move forward in both sessions.
“In the first session, we concentrated on evaluating various aerodynamic components, while in the second one, we managed to complete the programme, doing a long run, starting on the Supersofts and ending on the Mediums. Along with the team we decided to go in another direction to try and find a set-up with which I was more comfortable on this track.
"Unfortunately this did not produce the results we were expecting. I think that for tomorrow's qualifying we need to retrace our steps, trying to improve the balance of the car. I am sure it will be better and that I will manage to once again find the car I'm used to driving”.