Fernando Alonso believes Ferrari has the structure and staff it needs to rediscover its title-winning form, but he is refusing to get too carried away yet about its prospects for 2012.
Speaking at Ferrari's Wrooom media event at Madonna di Campiglio in Italy on Thursday, Alonso said that he was optimistic about the way his team was preparing for the season ahead – but reckoned it would be some time before it knew just how competitive it would be.
"We are all optimistic," said Alonso. "Everyone is giving their best, but until perhaps Malaysia or China, race two or three, we will not be able to know how good the car is.
"I know we are going to have many winter tests, and you may consider those as races, but until China we will not be able to know the potential of the car."
Alonso said his confidence for the season ahead had been lifted by the restructuring and recruitment drive that Ferrari has undertaken following the arrival of Pat Fry – who is now the team's technical director – last year. Although the full benefit of these changes may not be realized for some time, Alonso believes Ferrari has what it takes to bounce back from a disappointing 2011 campaign.
"When Pat arrived there were some changes, a restructure, some re-organization in the team," he explained. "The team has been working more effectively and in a more efficient way in the last couple of months, so I think the results, if they come, should come immediately.
"I don't think we need any time. Last year we had problems with the wind tunnel, some issues with correlation. This year, if we get over our wind tunnel issues, the results should come, and if we do a good job we are able to win races. If we do not do a good job we will not be able to."
Alonso also believes that Ferrari has benefited from the arrival of outside staff, because it has been injected with new concepts to help move it forward.
"All the people arriving are very welcome and give you some fresh ideas, and a fresh approach for different things," he said. "When Pat arrived in Ferrari [from McLaren], he tried to change a couple of things and he was surprised in some ways about how Ferrari worked, and the difference between his experience and the Ferrari approach.
"If you combine all the best things in your experience you can maximize the potential of yourself and team, and with Pat it was something like that. With experience, you try to get the best of everything, and I think the team has improved in all areas."