Fernando Alonso is not expecting the Malaysian Grand Prix to be any easier for his Ferrari team, saying the Italian squad will have to race defensively again.
The Scuderia endured a difficult start to the season in Australia last weekend, with both Alonso and teammate Felipe Massa qualifying outside the top 10. Alonso recovered well in the race to finish in fifth, but the Spaniard's pace was no match to that of the leading teams.
With just one week between the Melbourne and the Sepang races, Alonso is aware that he can't expect things to be easier for Ferrari.
"In Malaysia, we will once again be racing on the defensive," Alonso said. "There's no other way we can go about it, given that the F2012 is practically identical to what we ran in Australia. We will have to try and adapt it as well as possible, knowing it won't be easy."
He added: "There are two points we will have to work on with great attention: finding the right compromise in terms of the aerodynamic balance and the tire degradation. Sepang has two real straights where, because they are very long, a lack of top speed carries a higher price than in Melbourne, where the two straights on which you could use DRS were reasonably short."
Alonso also said he is not putting much faith in the forecast for the weekend, which suggests rain will hit the track both on Saturday and Sunday.
"There is no other place in the world, the Formula 1 world that is, where it can go from sunshine to torrential rain in the space of a few minutes," he said. "Not even at Spa is the variability so acute. Those on the pit wall will have to keep their eyes peeled and look at the radar carefully to be ready for any possible change in the weather.
"At the moment, the forecast is for a high chance of rain, both for qualifying and the race, but honestly, I don't have much faith in the forecast. The important thing is to react promptly and grab every opportunity. The only thing you can be absolutely certain of is that it will be hot – very hot."