Fernando Alonso, buoyed by finishing his 2013 campaign on the podium at the Brazilian Grand Prix, says that he expects to be in the mix once again when the new era of F1 starts in 2014.
The Spaniard, who has finished as runner-up in the world championship for three of the past four seasons, was powerless to prevent Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull making it four titles in a row as the performance of the F138 tailed off in the second half of the year, but remains confident that the Scuderia will bounce back as F1 heads into a new technical phase.
“I'm still optimistic for next year because I trust my team, I trust Ferrari preparation and philosophy for the 2014 car,” he claimed, “We will be a contender, always. Even this year, when we haven't been competitive and we only won two grands prix, and we were off the podium for the last six or seven [races], we finished second in the world championship. So, with whatever car that Ferrari does, normally you are a contender. That's my optimistic point for next year, not because we are on the podium or not on the podium today.”
Alonso will be doing his bit to ensure that Ferrari starts the year on the right foot, revealing that he expects to be occupied between now and Christmas.
“Obviously, we are quite busy with some events with the sponsors, and there are many activities in Maranello around Christmas time with the people working there, with their families, so we will use those days while we are already in Italy to spend some time on the simulator and to do some work, looking at next year's regulations,” he explained, “Christmas time will probably be the first time that we completely stop so, until 21 December, I think, we are still on.”
The mood at Maranello will undoubtedly be lightened during that period by memories of Interlagos
“Yeah, definitely,” Alonso acknowledged, “I think to finish the season on a high is always better. We missed this podium finish from many races and, today, we had a chance.
“Maybe, with rainy conditions, a wet race, we [would have] had a little more performance than in the dry but, at the end, to finish behind the two Red Bulls today is the maximum we could achieve and I'm happy for that.
“2013 has been an amazing year in terms of fighting and the number of points we achieved. We didn't win the championship, which is the goal every year, but, for next year, we reset again, start from zero with new motivations.”