Fernando Alonso promised that Ferrari will arrive at the next Barcelona test in much better shape than it has been in Jerez, following a week of mixed fortunes during the first preseason running.
Although Alonso topped the times on the final day of testing on Friday after some short runs in the quicker morning conditions, Ferrari technical director Pat Fry admitted earlier in the week that he was not happy with the progress the Scuderia had made. But while there remain question marks about the Ferrari – with Alonso admitting that reliability is one of his chief concerns – he is sure the team will spend the next week getting itself sorted for the second preseason test at Barcelona later this month.
"I still think there is a long way to go until Australia, in terms of how many days and how many tests we can do," he said. "The progress in these four days has been quite big for us. Maybe not in performance or times or whatever, as I don't know what the times were like in the first two days or what were the track conditions in the first two days compared to now, but definitely all the tests we did and all the understanding of the car has been positive for us.
"We will arrive to Barcelona much more prepared than how we arrived in Jerez. That is what Pat also tried to say yesterday: We arrived in Jerez thinking about one idea of the car, and maybe it was not exactly like that. But we have worked around it and found the performance there, and found the happiness and level of confidence of driving this car now in day three or day four. So day one in Barcelona will be a much better starting point."
Despite his faith that Ferrari will have a better time in Barcelona, Alonso also thinks it vital the team's testing program not be blighted by the reliability issues that limited running for both himself and Felipe Massa and at Jerez.
"There is still a lot of work to do," he explained. "At the moment, we need to keep understanding the car a lot, as maybe we understand 20 percent of what we need. And, in the next days, we will try to get the rest.
"Still, there is a lot of work to do in the setup, because we concentrated here mainly on the aerodynamics and the constant speed, and some different tests, but there is a lot more to come from the setup. There are only two more tests, unfortunately, because we are one test less than last year. So at Barcelona, we need to maximize the time on the track as perhaps it is the only negative thing of today, that in eight hours available of track time we only did 39 laps. So, in Barcelona, we need to do more than 100 laps because all that information in those laps will be valuable."
One area that Alonso feels the team has sorted is the tire warm-up issue that Ferrari suffered last year.
"It seems we can extract the maximum on the opening lap, something we couldn't do last year," he noted. "As for things to improve, the aerodynamics and reliability, because between yesterday and today we have done few laps."