Fernando Alonso does not think the engine problems Ferrari has had so far this year will disrupt his title bid too much.
The team had to change the engines on both its cars prior to the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix, and Alonso then retired with a spectacular engine failure late in the Malaysian GP. Although each driver is now limited to eight engines per season and given grid penalties for exceeding this limit, Alonso said Ferrari had everything under control.
"At the moment we are not too worried," he said. "Obviously, we don't want to lose any engines or have any problems with the gearbox or anything like that. We've been very strong all winter so we cannot be happy with the problems we've had in the first races. But in terms of engines, the plan hasn't changed too much. The only difference now with the engine problems we had is that we will use more kilometers with the engines on Fridays, so later in the season some Friday engines will be a little bit older. But in terms of race engines on Saturday and Sunday, we will stay with the original plan."
He was also relieved that his failure happened during what was already a difficult race, rather than when he was set to win. Alonso was only running ninth when he retired at Sepang, as Ferrari's qualifying mistakes left him 19th on the grid, and he had then been hampered by a time-consuming gearshift problem.
"I think it's very important to finish all the races, but obviously when you have to have a DNF, it's better to retire when you're ninth as I was, because I only lost two points," said Alonso. "When you are in the first three positions, you lose a lot more points. OK, it was a shame to retire, but I think sooner or later all the drivers will have a problem, because this is life. So, hopefully I lost only two points."