Team principal Stefano Domenicali has urged Ferrari to keep pushing in order to fight for the championship this year and has admitted the team still needs to make "a massive step" to continue to race at the front.

14659 - Ferrari must not become complacent - Domenicali

Fernando Alonso is level on points at the top of the championship with Sebastian Vettel after finishing second at last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, but with the order still mixed Ferrari is wary of becoming complacent. The first stage of a major upgrade appeared to offer Ferrari a decent step forward over the weekend, with Alonso qualifying on the front row and in contention with for victory until the final few laps, but Domenicali said his team still has a lot of work to do.

"I think there has to be a push from all the engineers at home to improve the car," he said. "If we want to win this championship we have to do a massive step and keep pushing and keep improving the downforce mainly. With all the problems that I think we had since the beginning of the season, to be on top of the drivers' championship means that at least we are there. But there is a lot of improvement that we need to bring home because our target has not changed."

He said the good result in Spain would act as motivation for the staff back in Maranello.

"I'm happy because I saw that the job [we've done] in the last weeks has given the right sign in terms of trend, but we know that it's not enough," he said. "I'm happy for my people that at least they showed that the job they are doing is moving things in the right direction."

Alonso finished the race three seconds shy of race winner Pastor Maldonado, but earlier in the final stint he was closing on the Williams and Domenicali said the tyre performance went off just at the wrong time.

"We had an issue with the last set of tyres, we were not able to maximise the performance. In fact there was a moment when I thought we could have beaten Pastor Maldonado because we were closing him down very quickly, but then unfortunately we lost the tyres and we had to manage them because Kimi [Raikkonen] was coming up behind very quick."

Domenicali also suspected that the performance of Alonso's Ferrari was hampered by a bit of rubber getting stuck in its rear wing.

"We had some [tyre] marbles wedged in the middle of the wing which made the car quite unstable, but we are waiting for the car to come back to look at that issue. But it was also clear on the data."