Fernando Alonso thinks that any hope of stopping Sebastian Vettel romping away to his second World Championship this year will be all but over after the British Grand Prix, unless his Ferrari team or McLaren show they have made a major step forward with their cars.
Although Sebastian Vettel is well clear at the front of the championship table, and currently holds a comfortable 77-point advantage over nearest challengers Jenson Button and Mark Webber, rivals still believe that there remains the possibility to turn the situation around in the second half of the year.
However, Alonso thinks that this weekend's British Grand Prix – where a tweak to the diffuser regulations comes into force – is key to the title fight going forward in terms of the changes that clarification makes and the updates that various teams have brought.
"I think we need to wait and see if either McLaren or Ferrari has a big improvement in the car and we are able to fight with Red Bull," said Alonso at Silverstone.
"Their car so far in this part of the championship has been too dominant. I think after eight races we should talk about eight wins from Seb with no mistakes – [because there was] the mistake in Canada and in China he was a little bit conservative. It is a dominant position that maybe we did not see since 2004, maybe Michael's [Schumacher] time. It is difficult to compete like this, and difficult to think about beating Vettel without a big improvement in our car or in McLaren's car for Jenson and Lewis.
"So, hopefully, here in Silverstone we can see a turnaround of this situation in terms of performance, and then we see. There is always the hope, there is always the motivation to win every race but we obviously need a step forward."
Alonso thinks that the best chances of a turnaround in the championship situation actually now depend on Vettel making slip ups – rather than other teams getting quicker.
"It is true that we need to win races, we need to improve our performance and be much more competitive than we are now," he said. "But, at the same point, we need some mistakes from Sebastian to recover the gap, because without retirements or problems for Vettel it is difficult to recover the gap to Vettel.
"He needs to do some mistake if we want to have some hope, and we saw already now in China and Canada that it may happen these mistakes. So we need to concentrate on our races, try to win every weekend we go to, even if we know it is difficult, but we need some help for sure."