Fernando Alonso is feeling confident ahead of the F1 2011 season opener in Australia this weekend.

Alonso may have lost out on his third drivers' title in Abu Dhabi after a strategic blunder, but he and the Scuderia have enjoyed a good winter and if pre-season testing is anything to go by, Ferrari should again be right at the front of the pack and battling it out with Red Bull for ultimate honours.

"Finally, the moment has arrived! I was so impatient to get to the first race and the postponement of the Bahrain Grand Prix made the wait even longer. Yes, it did give the engineers more time to prepare and it meant the work could be done with less haste, but for us drivers, and I think the same applies to all my colleagues, the desire to go racing again is very strong," he wrote in his pre-event blog on the official Ferrari website.

"It was a very busy winter. After Abu Dhabi, there was not much time to get upset about how the 2010 championship ended. Immediately it was time to role up our sleeves and work on the development of the tyres and on the new car, without thinking too much about what happened. That mishap actually motivated us even more and I am sure that actually, it has made us stronger now. Ferrari is synonymous with passion for racing and all of us are determined to fight back and go for victory.

"We have covered so many kilometres in testing and have shown that we have reached a good level of reliability, which is always important. There are reasons to be optimistic, even if we cannot really be sure where we are compared to the others.

"At the last test, in Barcelona, we introduced a significant number of updates and here in Melbourne we have also brought a newer version of the front wing. We will see if it delivers the expected results, even if I think we will need three or four races to get a clear picture of the situation."

This weekend's event meanwhile is something of a milestone for Alonso, as it will mark the tenth anniversary his debut at the top level back in 2001 with Minardi. The Spaniard though remains just as committed to the sport.

"It was here ten years ago, that I first set out on the F1 path. I have spent twenty six of my twenty nine years behind a steering wheel, controlling four wheels and ten of those, the best of them, have been spent in the blue riband category. I never would have thought that things would have turned out this way and I have achieved so much more than I had hoped for when I was little.

"Now I want to continue and for a long time too, trying to have even better years in the future," he summed-up.



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