Fernando Alonso sees no reason why Ferrari cannot fight for the Formula 1 title this year after his first day of running in the new Ferrari F138.
The Spaniard acknowledged there were still issues to resolve. But he believes Ferrari is in a far better position than it was at the same point last year and is confident of a good start in the Australian Grand Prix.
"We will be strong in Australia, that is where we need to be," said Alonso, who completed 110 laps on Tuesday and ended the day third-fastest overall. "We need to improve on what we did last year because obviously it was not enough, we finished second and we want to finish first.
"To improve on the first part of the year is not going to be too difficult, so we are relatively confident. I fought for the championship last year with a car that was two seconds off the pace in the winter. So we need to be positive and think that we will fight for the championship again this year if we improve the car a little bit."
The Spaniard added that the feel of the new car is similar to that of its predecessor. He put this down to the stability of the rules and is anticipating a series of upgrades that will be introduced between now and Australia that will build on that platform.
"The feeling with the car was OK, all as expected, a continuation of the Brazil car let's say," said Alonso. "This is a good thing, not like last year when we drove for the first time and were a little bit surprised on the bad side.
"We need to be in the group of the leaders and for that we need to do a good job this winter. For that, we are trying some parts on the car. We will try more in the last test and more will arrive for Australia, so Friday there will also be important."