Fernando Alonso is confident that Ferrari can again challenge for the F1 world championship title in 2014, but admits that it is hard to know what to expect just yet.
The Spaniard was speaking at the launch of Ferrari's new F14-T in Maranello, where he was joined in scarlet for the first time by new team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. The pair will form potentially the strongest partnership on the grid in 2014 – although Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg may want to have a say about that – but need Ferrari to have produced a better car than it managed with 2013's F138, which ended the year trailing both Red Bull and Mercedes in the constructors' stakes.
“Kimi and me, as a team, should be very strong on paper, because we have had success in the past,” Alonso, a double world champion with Renault in 2005-06, stated, “But, as with every year, we are starting from zero. If we do well, we will have a very strong team and we can deliver good results; if we don't do good enough, other teams will have the best pair. It is up to us to deliver…”
Having replaced Raikkonen at Maranello at the end of the 2009 season, Alonso has twice come close to taking a third title, but ultimately had to watch as Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel racked up four in a row. With the Milton Keynes team yet to show its hand in the design stakes for 2014's new technical regulations, and the first on-track comparison not due until pre-season kicks off at Jerez on Tuesday, Alonso admits that everything is speculative at the moment.
“We are in the fifth year with Ferrari so, hopefully, I can repeat some of the success we had in the last four years,” he said, “We have had good opportunities, especially in 2010 and 2012, when we were very, very close to winning the championship, but this year we will try again and, hopefully, this time we will win one.
“In 2014, F1 will change a lot with the new regulations, and that will have some implication with the driving style, but I am looking forward to discovering this new F1.”