Fernando Alonso believes Ferrari has cause for optimism after introducing its first round of upgrades for Turkey, but thinks the team still needs to be a second quicker before it can be satisfied.
Although Alonso repeated the fifth place on the grid that he has scored at every race so far this year, he was 0.6 seconds closer to pole in Turkey than in China, and encouraged by that progress.
"The car felt OK, more comfortable to drive and it seems more competitive," said Alonso. "We were 1.4 seconds off pole position in China; it is eight tenths here. So we are definitely moving in the right direction, but we need another second to recover and hopefully in the next two or three races we can do that."
Last year Ferrari was able to recover from a run of mediocre races to fight for the title going into the season finale, but Alonso is concerned that a repeat performance is becoming unlikely in 2011 as Red Bull is proving less fragile this year.
"It's difficult to compare the years, but I see similar situations – Red Bull very dominant – the only change is that they had a very dominant and very quick car last year and they were not scoring all the points on Sundays," he said. "So far in these three races they have done a good job and they've scored a lot of points."
The Spaniard said he was not too concerned about the improvements Mercedes had made for Istanbul.
"Mercedes have had a fantastic weekend so far and been very competitive," Alonso acknowledged. "It's true that we closed the gap with Red Bull and McLaren, but we have the added factor of Mercedes in the middle of everything. It's more competition. If you finish in front of everybody it's better to have this competition, if you finish behind it's worse, but it's the same for everybody."