Fernando Alonso believes Ferrari is set to make big strides with its forthcoming developments, and denied that the next upgrade package is a "last-ditch effort" to rescue its title bid.
The former champion has not won since the Bahrain season opener, but following a dismal Turkish Grand Prix that saw Ferrari trailing Mercedes and Renault as well as McLaren and Red Bull, Alonso was a frontrunner all weekend in Canada and finished third after a tough battle for victory with the McLarens.
Having not changed its package at all for Montreal, Ferrari is now introducing significant upgrades for Valencia, which is understood to include a new exhaust system that will improve airflow over the rear aerodynamics. Alonso reckons this step will be the piece Ferrari needs to get firmly back in contention, and reminded critics of Ferrari's recent performance and that last year, during a much worse season, it still rallied to a string of podiums and a win with Kimi Raikkonen in the summer.
"We will have major updates on the F10 which I hope will allow us to up our performance level," Alonso wrote in his blog for Ferrari's website. "Following on from that, we have further developments in the pipeline which should arrive for England and Germany: which is to say that the European Grand Prix is simply the ninth round of the championship, not a last-ditch effort for Ferrari, which I heard some people saying. I don't see how they can say that given that we have not even reached the halfway point of the season and that after Valencia there will still be 10 grands prix to go.
"I've said it before and I'll say it again now: This is a stage event and the final one of those stages will not come until November in Abu Dhabi. There is still a long way to go and things can change very quickly, going either one way or the other.
"People seem to have forgotten that last year, in the middle part of the season and in a car that was getting ever less competitive, Kimi was the driver who had scored the most points."
Alonso added that the Canada performance proved that Ferrari had never really been in crisis, and that its Istanbul slump was just an anomaly.
"We were back to where we have been in practically all the other races, the one exception being Turkey, where for various reasons, everything about the grand prix went wrong, from every point of view," he said. "The normal situation is the one we have seen in Montreal, Monaco, Melbourne and Sakhir and all the other tracks where we fought for a podium finish.
"Maybe the results did not always match our potential, but I think the same can be said for all the top teams. In these first eight races of the season, all sorts of things happened – mistakes, reliability problems, bad luck – but we are still in the thick of the fight for both championships. The same can be said of McLaren and Red Bull, who have also missed out on points along the way."