Fernando Alonso has said Ferrari
will have to do better in 2014 if they are to stop Red Bull
Racing's Sebastian Vettel
from making it five-in-a-row.
Alonso secured the runners-up spot in the Drivers' Championship last weekend in the USA, but while he was pleased with that he conceded that he knew he wouldn't be able to challenge for the title back in the summer.
“Obviously we start each year thinking of the world championship, so when you don't get the title, it's not been a good enough season,” Alonso told reporters on Thursday ahead of this weekend's season finale in Brazil. “We therefore need to do things better next year. We have to do better if we want to fight for the title because we were not good enough compared to Red Bull
“However, I am very proud to have finished second this year, because last year, even if we came second in the Constructors, I was left with a strange taste in my mouth as we came so close to winning the Drivers',” he added.
“This year's second place feels better because we clearly didn't have the second fastest car. I think I realised we would not win the championship around Germany or Hungary as we were too far off Red Bull
in terms of competitiveness and the Silverstone update didn't work well enough. And in Germany and Hungary we were not competitive at all going into the summer break.”
Meanwhile, Alonso confirmed he is now feeling fully fit after injuring his back in Abu Dhabi: “My back is okay now and for the last two nights I think it's been a hundred percent with no pain and I have been able to train in the gym and do some jogging also,” he continued.
“In Austin, I never thought of letting Pedro [de la Rosa – our test and reserve driver] have the car though. Once you have flown there and you are there, then you race!
“However, if there had only been one week between Abu Dhabi and Austin, I would have been unable to race. I had headaches [after the race at the Yas Marina], I was not 100 per cent. I didn't feel I would do a good enough job so it would be better for me not to drive. But slowly the inflammation came back to normal. I felt much better, and I flew to Austin to see how I was feeling there. In Austin, I was more or less ok, it was just on the limit.”
Finally, Alonso paid tribute to outgoing team-mate, Felipe Massa, who will be replaced by Kimi Raikkonen
“We have enjoyed four years of a productive relationship for Ferrari. We have worked very closely together and also built a friendly relationship outside the track, partly because of the programmes the team organises, such as the training we did in Lanzarote, as well as the time we spent together in Madonna di Campiglio. We've had a great time together,” Alonso remarked.
“On the track, there have been some ups and downs, in Felipe's case usually linked to what tyres we had, such as in 2011 when he struggled a bit more than me. But he has always been competitive and I hope that here he can do well in his home race in front of his home crowd. I am sure Ferrari, including myself, will give 120 percent for him to have a good weekend.
“I wish Felipe all the best for next year, even if I hope he won't be too strong [with Williams]!” Alonso concluded.