Fernando Alonso says his Ferrari team must be prepared to risk everything in trying to win races if it is going to have any chance of hunting down Sebastian Vettel in the World Championship.
The Spaniard's first victory of the year at Silverstone has reignited hopes that Ferrari could stage a comeback in the second half of the campaign, and its form at the Nurburgring on Friday suggests that the Scuderia is now right up there with the championship leaders. However, even though he and teammate Felipe Massa have enjoyed improving form from their cars in recent races, Alonso believes that its season's hopes now rest on it throwing caution to the wind and being prepared to take gambles.
"It means to be aggressive on the strategy, and don't be too safe in terms of response to different strategies compared to the others," said Alonso after being first and second quickest in the two practice sessions at the German GP. "It means to look at the usage of new tires in Q1 and Q2. In Q1, maybe we need to save tires to try to be on pole position in Q3 – to have more sets available there.
"And maybe [that means] one day, because you want to go through Q1 with a hard tire, you are out of Q1. But that is the risk we can take. We know that maybe one day we are 18th and out of Q1, and it is because we took a risk.
"It also means at the start, no problem to risk, as we have nothing to lose. So if we do a good start and get to the first corner, we try to overtake everybody and this is our approach."
As well as wanting Ferrari to be prepared to take risks, Alonso thinks it important that McLaren also improves its form, because he may need its drivers to take points off Vettel, too.
"We need to confirm in the next two races that we are quicker than McLaren," he said. "We were quicker than McLaren at Silverstone and we don't know here. Today maybe they were testing some different things and we need to see tomorrow in qualifying how quick they are.
"To beat Vettel in the championship we need a combination of things – it is not only Ferrari or me that can beat Vettel. We need the best possible combination of results for ourselves; we need a very strong McLaren car as well to take points from Red Bull. We need to be like six or seven teammates against Vettel, which is not easy to achieve."
Alonso added that he also hopes the German GP is not hit with poor weather, because he thinks Ferrari's advantage is not as big on wet tires as it is in the dry.
"I think, compared to our main competitors, we have more difficulties to warm up the tires and we have better degradation," he said. "One thing in our favor is the degradation in a long stint on the tires. From the middle of the stint to the end we are much quicker, but for the first five or six laps we are much slower.
"So, in case of wet conditions, you never get to very high temperatures and this better degradation is much less visible. We saw similar warm-up problems, and this is what we feel, what we felt in the championship, but also what we confirmed at Silverstone. When it was wet the Red Bull was clearly faster, but when it was dry they were not that quick – and it is the same with McLaren."