• Chinese Grand Prix

Alonso prepared for 'difficult weekend'

ESPNF1 Staff
April 13, 2011 « Bahrain still hopes to reschedule race | »
Fernando Alonso finished sixth in Malaysia, behind his team-mate Felipe Massa © Getty Images

Fernando Alonso says he is preparing to experience another difficult weekend at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Ferrari have been off the pace of Red Bull and McLaren in qualifying so far this season, and while it showed an improved race pace in Malaysia, its best finish is Alonso's fourth position in Melbourne. Senior team members returned to Italy this week to try and find ways of improving the team's performance, but Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo warned there would be no quick fix, and Alonso said that back-to-back races meant there was little chance of progress.

"There is not much time to change cars so I expect difficult pace, a difficult weekend again," Alonso said. "The race is long. We arrive in China knowing that it will be difficult but we will have some opportunities if we do things right. We need to keep working in a good direction as we did [in Malaysia]."

Despite having yet to score a podium, Alonso said the team was more optimistic following improved race pace at Sepang.

"In Australia we were not quick enough in qualifying, [and] in the race we were struggling a lot and were 40-50 seconds behind the leader. I left Sepang much more happy because we were fighting with them. We did not expect to be fighting with them, so there is a very positive atmosphere now in the team."

Alonso also said there were going to be some upgrades on the car, but that Ferrari was unsure as to how effective they were going to be.

"In Shanghai, we are due to try a new front wing and a few other aero updates: let's hope they bring us something, but we will have to evaluate them very carefully in Friday's practice. Our aim in this Grand Prix will be similar to the one in Malaysia, which means to make the best of qualifying and try to exploit any opportunity that comes our way during the race."