Fernando Alonso reckons the British Grand Prix in July will be the key indicator of whether Ferrari has any chance of fighting for this year's world championship.
After falling 74 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel as the reigning champion took his fifth win of the year in Monaco yesterday, Alonso expressed concern that his world title hopes were looking remote. He said that verdict was influenced by his initial disappointment at losing a race he was confident he could have won.
"Immediately after the race, I said the fight for the title was getting ever more difficult, not to say impossible," he wrote. "Sure, if Vettel ends up winning a race in which we felt there was a chance of victory, then you get a feeling of disappointment, but that does not mean we will not continue working hard at the track and back home on developing the car.
"Clearly the gap in the championship is widening all the time: we can do the math, but neither myself nor the team are used to throwing in the towel."
With the forthcoming Montreal and Valencia tracks relatively unusual, Alonso said it will be the return to a more traditional venue at Silverstone in mid-July that shows whether Ferrari is competitive enough to stay in the title hunt.
"Already today, I've been talking to the engineers about the new parts we will have in Montreal, but above all, of the steps forward we must take for Silverstone, when we will be back at a track which requires a lot of aerodynamic downforce," he said. "That's where we will really see how our season is going to pan out. Up until then, we want to and we must believe in ourselves."