Fernando Alonso says he is convinced Ferrari is able to make up the deficit to the likes of Mercedes to challenge for the title this year.

Despite new regulations it has been a similar story for Alonso at Ferrari, with the car only capable of fighting for the third row on the grid and requiring him to try and recover towards the podium. With Mercedes enjoying a clear advantage both in terms of car and power unit performance, Alonso enters his fifth season at Ferrari with a car unable to win races on raw pace early on. However, asked if he felt Ferrari was still able to deliver a pace-setting car, Alonso replied: "Definitely.

"I think that we have more potential than what we saw in Australia and I think we need to put everything in place and have a better weekend. We also understand that we need to improve and it's not enough, especially as the Mercedes car looks very strong. But we have the potential and I think the team has the facilities and the talent to do a very good job.

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"We are strong and we will do better, I'm pretty sure. We know that we have been bad at the start [of seasons] and it seems like a repetition of the last couple of years, but this is with different rules and a different rate of developing this year and the hope is still perfectly there."

Although unsure where Ferrari lacks the most performance compared to Mercedes, Alonso said he sees no reason why he can't challenge for the championship this season.

"I don't know really how to answer. With aero or power or whatever we are lacking, you need to be clever and you need to find something that gives you performance. We are working on that and we know we need to improve on all areas of the car, some of them more than others, but we will not stop. We will work hard and improve the car.

"It's true the last couple of years we have tried to catch up on the aerodynamic side, which is always a little bit unpredictable because sometimes you find something in the windtunnel that gives you a tenth and other times it gives you four tenths.

"This is a little bit unpredictable and the same might happen this year with the power unit, but despite all the things that we have at the beginning of the year or in the first race, in four years in Ferrari I have fought three times until the last race, and this year I don't think anything will be different. We will fight hard."