Fernando Alonso says Ferrari needs to improve after he was unable to finish higher than fifth in the Australian Grand Prix.
With Nico Rosberg finishing 35 seconds clear of Alonso despite a safety car period which bunched up the pack, it is clear Ferrari is some way off the ultimate pace Mercedes can set. However, Alonso also struggled to match the performance of the two McLarens ahead of him while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen finished less than three seconds clear of the Toro Rossos, and he said Ferrari needs to find more pace.
“We are not happy with the performance that we showed today, we need to improve,” Alonso said. “I was not able to challenge McLaren for the podium positions, Kimi was running between the two Toro Rossos and Kimi won the race here last year so is not happy with the performance probably. But on the other side it is just the first race of the championship, we cannot become crazy about what we saw today. We know we need to work and we are ready to do so to arrive better in two weeks' time in Malaysia.”
The main area Alonso struggled was in straight line speed as he got stuck behind the Mercedes-powered Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.
“I was not able to overtake or to attack Nico on the straights, even using the DRS, and obviously with the pace advantage I had because after the pit stop – I think the team did a fantastic job doing a very quick pit stop at the right time to do it, two laps after Nico – we could overtake Hulkenberg and after that we were one or 1.5 seconds faster than Hulkenberg. So the pace was there but overtaking was not possible today.”
However, Alonso feels it is an issue that Ferrari can rectify in time for the next race.
“We'll see. We just did the first race of the championship, there are many things to analyse and to look a little more in detail for Malaysia. It will change circuit to circuit. It will change not only on the engine side but also on the downforce level that you run; we saw Force India running very light downforce last year and was one of the cars that was faster on the straights. So I think that before making any conclusions we just need to analyse the race and do better for Malaysia.”
Alonso was later promoted to fourth place when Daniel Ricciardo was excluded from the race for exceeding the maximum fuel flow