Our priority is to finish - Alonso
Fernando Alonso admits Ferrari is only concerned with finishing the Australian Grand Prix as it heads to Melbourne unsure of where it sits in the pecking order.
Alonso completed the second most laps out of anyone over the winter but the jury is still out on Ferrari, after being overshadowed by Mercedes and Williams in the pre-season. Though Ferrari starts the season with two world champions at the helm for the first time since 1953 Alonso insists he is not getting carried away with thoughts of winning the opening race until he gets back behind the wheel.
"We have no idea what the performance is going to be until the weekend," Alonso said. "We can just maximise the potential we have in our hand. It is not as for granted as it was last year that everyone was 100% ready for the opening race. This year we will see more problems for everybody so the first priority is to finish. If we can do everything well we can do well. It's very difficult to tell how competitive we are at the moment and we will know some answers in 24 hours or 48 hours. We will know a little bit more than we know now."
Alonso is not convinced by the argument the spectacle of Formula One will be hampered this year by drivers holding back to conserve fuel, as he does not feel the difference will be noticeable to those outside of the cockpit.
"In qualifying as usual you can [drive flat out], and some laps in free practice, and some laps in the race. I don't think there will be a big difference compared to previous years, especially since Pirelli arrived as we have been managing the tyres a lot for high degradation. I think it will be hard to see from the viewers or the grandstand if we are saving fuel because it may be one tenth or half a tenth difference in the lap time."
Alonso also has a similar impression on the new changes to the qualifying format, though he is excited about the prospect of fresh rubber in Q3.
"I think it will not be a huge difference from the outside. There were some cars which did not run in Q3 or did only one lap now maybe we will see an extra lap for everyone. Apart from that there's no difference in approaching the qualifying for the drivers and the teams. Change is welcome to see more cars on track. I've arrived many times with no new sets of tyres for Q3 so now I'm happy."