Fernando Alonso believes it will be near impossible for him to repeat his 2012 performance in the future, as the Spaniard continued to insist he had a flawless season.
Despite having an inferior car for most of the season, Alonso took the championship battle down to the wire and lost out to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel's by just three points. The Ferrari driver won three races and finished on the podium 13 times out of 20 races. Alonso feels there was nothing he could have done better.
"You just have the feeling that some years you have done a good job and others when you feel there was something missing or something you wanted to change or want to improve for next year," Alonso told reporters during a media event in Madrid presented by his sponsor, Santander. "I think it's been a perfect year. It's going to be nearly impossible to repeat that in my career."
Ferrari had a poor start to the year in winter testing after its car proved to be very far from the pace of its main rivals ahead of the start of the season. Alonso is convinced there is no way the start of next season can be any worse, although he concedes Red Bull will still be the favorite given its late-season form.
"A worst start would be impossible," he said. "We were some 2.5 seconds off the pace in the Jerez test when the car made its debut, so it's nearly impossible that it will be worse, and so I expect a better start.
"But there's no doubt that Red Bull will be favorite at the start. They finished the season with a pretty strong dominance and [the] rules are more of less the same.
"They had a seven, eight-tenth advantage, so we need to close that gap in two months, which is not easy. There will be a lot of work, but the starting point will be much better than last year, which is not hard."
Despite admitting Ferrari will have to work hard to catch up with its rivals, the two-time champion remains hopeful that the Maranello squad can become the team to beat.
"I hope so. That's every team's goal: to be first and second on Saturday and first and second on Sunday. There are a few teams who have managed that recently," he said. "McLaren has done that a few times. Red Bull has done it over the past years. Even Lotus, there were times when they had both drivers on the podium.
"We haven't been able to do the job properly when it comes to the car performance, and that's one of the goals for next year. But it was also the goal for this year and it wasn't to be, so next year we will try to reach it."