Fernando Alonso says he still has absolute faith in Ferrari's ability to turn its poor start to 2011 around given its history of midseason improvement.
Despite looking strong in testing, Ferrari has yet to take a podium finish after three rounds of this season's championship, and Alonso is already 42 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel in the standings, with Ferrari's second driver Felipe Massa a further two points behind Alonso.
"It was definitely not the start of the season we were hoping for, for us and all our fans," said Alonso. "Fifty points between the two of us is not much and we know our performance is not good enough at the moment, but we are aware that this can change very quickly."
He pointed out that Ferrari had come from behind to fight for titles several times in recent years.
"I trust in the team: I know what it's made of and I can feel the will to fight back from everyone at Maranello," Alonso said. "In the past I have experienced – first as an opponent and then as an insider – how capable the Scuderia is of staging a comeback.
"I well remember when I was at Renault in 2006, that in the first part of the season I had built up a big lead but then Ferrari made such a good job of developing its cars that [Michael] Schumacher staged a great comeback, overtaking me with two races remaining.
"Then you only have to look at last year: first in Turkey and then in England, it was suggested we should already be looking to the following year, but we did not give up and we managed to be in the fight for the title right up to the final race. It sounds like a slogan, but it's the absolute truth: never give up in Formula 1."
He has also been encouraged by the way that McLaren has progressed from a disastrous testing period to winning races in the space of just a month.
"Formula 1 has always been like this: in one race you struggle to get into the top five and in the next, you're fighting for the win," said Alonso. "This year has been no exception to that rule: after the final test in Barcelona, everyone reckoned the McLarens were nowhere and then they always got on the podium, ending up with a win in China. At the same time, others were saying Vettel was unbeatable and then in Shanghai, we all saw how things turned out in the end. Three races are not yet enough to give a definitive judgment."
However, he acknowledged that it was going to take a huge push from Ferrari to get into title contention.
"This does not mean to say I am underestimating the seriousness of our situation, far from it," he said. "We have to work very hard to improve on every front. Success only comes when every element is operating at its best: the car, strategy, pit stops, drivers and everyone else included.
"I've stayed in touch with the engineers these past few days and I know there is no let up in the development of the car at Maranello. We have to catch up and we cannot allow ourselves to lose too much time, especially as the others won't be twiddling their thumbs over the coming weeks."