Fernendo Alonso 'convinced' of title challenge
Fernando Alonso has said that he is "convinced" that Ferrari will supply him with a car to fight for the driver's title this season after picking up his first podium in Turkey.
Following a disappointing start to the season which saw Ferrari off the pace of Red Bull and McLaren, it has started to close the gap over the last two races in China and Turkey. Alonso's third place was his first podium since Brazil last year, and he said that the ability to challenge at the front had been a long time coming.
"It was about time because we'd missed out on finishing a race in the top three for too long," Alonso told the Ferrari website. "But what was especially important was to fight for the top places until the end. That already happened in China with Felipe and in the two previous races we were also close to the podium: finally we have now achieved what we were capable of."
Alonso warned Ferrari not to be satisfied with its achievement, saying that it needed to improve the car in qualifying trim to be able to fight for race victories.
"Third place was also important for the morale of the team. We were all unhappy with a start to the season that did not live up to expectations and we know how much good it does to see that the efforts expended every day are paying off.
But we certainly can't be happy with a third place and what matters most is that we must be much more competitive in qualifying. If we always start from the third row or lower it's a struggle to fight for the podium. We have a lot of irons in the fire and we hope that as early as next week in Barcelona we will have new parts that allow us to take an important step forward in qualifying as well."
Alonso also said he had renewed confidence in his ability to challenge from the title having compared his performance in the same four races last season.
"You know I like playing with numbers - and as I travelled backwards and forwards between home, Maranello and Turkey, I made a comparison between my first four races of last year and those of this year in the corresponding grands prix. What came out of this little game was that compared to 2010 I'm eight points short (49 versus 41) but in the same four races, this year I've brought home 13 more points compared to last year (41 versus 28)."
He also admitted that the gap to the leader was a lot bigger than it was at the same point last year, but that he had been a similar amount adrift after Silverstone and still managed to go in to the season finale as favourite.
"It's true that my current gap to the top of the drivers championship is much greater (52 points) compared to what I had after Shanghai 2010 (11 points) but I well recall that after Silverstone we were 47 points away and we only had eight races left. Today we still have 15 grands prix to come.
This shows that you can look at the same thing in two different, even completely opposite ways. What matters are results and we've started to make the podium: we must do that regularly and if so I'm convinced that we will again be able to fight for the title."