- First Bahrain Test - Day Two
All bets are off for Australia - Alonso
Fernando Alonso says there is no way of knowing who will be on top at the opening race of the season in Australia, following another inconclusive day of testing in Bahrain.
Alonso completed his fourth day behind the wheel of the new Ferrari F14 T on Thursday as the teams reached the halfway point in their pre-season testing schedules. Ferrari has been making steady progress, while Mercedes has shown an impressive display of reliability and world champions Red Bull have struggled.
But Alonso thinks victory is still up for grabs for anybody who can make the finish line in the opening few races.
"It's definitely strange and challenging for everyone," he said. "It's not easy to bet this year for the people that normally bet on Australia. I think it will be extremely tough for everyone to know and have an idea what can happen in Australia and the first couple of races.
"Our target should be to finish the race, and if we can finish the race at the first three or four grands prix that will automatically mean a good result because not many teams will finish. But that is challenging."
Alonso said the Mercedes-powered teams look the strongest at the moment, but believes their rivals will solve most of their problems in the remaining six days of testing.
"They are strong, no doubt. After Jerez and the two days in Bahrain the Mercedes-engined cars look to be performing in a strong position. But it's just a test and we don't know how much fuel they have or the usage of the tyres etc at the moment. It's not a concern or a worry and it's not the Red Bull performance or Renault performance.
"Everyone will be on top of the problems more or less in one way or another in time for Australia. I expect the Mercedes engines to be strong in Australia, I expect Red Bull to also be strong in Australia and Ferrari too."
Alonso said Ferrari was starting to feel more comfortable with its new car but that the list of improvements still seemed endless.
"I think it's important to do laps and we are learning things. Probably from these two days we discover some more issues that the car is having and every lap there is something on the electronic side, with so many things this year, that we can tune a little bit better and improve. We are slowly getting into a position that we are more comfortable with but we are not as good as we would like to be at this point. There are still many things to discover and many things to improve - a list. We are able to do 160 laps in two days without big problems and this is good for the team and the motivation of everybody and thanks for the hard work done in Maranello during the winter."