• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Alonso aims to push Red Bull to breaking point

ESPN Staff
November 1, 2012 « Lotus can still win this season - Raikkonen | Rosberg has confidence in 2013 »
Fernando Alonso: "We don't think that we will close the gap completely to Red Bull five days after India" © Press Association
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Fernando Alonso is not expecting to match Red Bull's pace at this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but he plans to be close enough to push championship rival Sebastian Vettel into a mistake or a mechanical issue.

Vettel has won the last four races by margins of roughly ten seconds or more as he has built a gap of 13 points to Alonso at the top of the drivers' championship. Ferrari is attempting to hit back this weekend with a series of updates, but Alonso admitted he was not expecting to match Red Bull for pace.

"We've made some good preparations and there are some new parts coming that we will have to check tomorrow," he said. "We don't think that we will close the gap completely to Red Bull five days after India, I don't think there is any magic button or magic part in Formula One [that can do that], but we will try to get closer and put some more pressure on them.

"They have had four very easy races where they have had a lot of margin and they can make little mistakes without any penalty, so we want to be close enough to take advantage of anything they don't do perfectly. We need to find perfection over these next three weekends and attack all through the races."

He said he would try to push Vettel's Red Bull to breaking point and expose the reliability issues the team has struggled with this year.

"We know that Red Bull is sometimes a little bit more fragile because we saw at the last race that [Mark] Webber lost the KERS. So we need to push them, we need to be at the limit all the race through because if they have easy races ... for example if the KERS had failed in Vettel's car in India, no-one would have noticed because he was so far in front. We cannot do another race with them 30 seconds in front; we need to be right there."

Alonso went into a little more depth about Ferrari's preparations this weekend, but stopped short of naming exactly what the updates would be.

"The changes have been mainly for set-up work and adaptation to the circuit. Abu Dhabi is quite different to India, especially with the last sector being so complicated and demanding for the car. There are also some new parts arriving from Italy to improve the performance but, as I said, you cannot change the car from black to white in just five days."

He also scotched rumours that he had fallen out with Ferrari technical director Pat Fry after the Indian Grand Prix.

"It was an invention in the Italian media; it was very creative. We were not really frustrated because it's a fact we are slower than Red Bull. We all agree on this - the team, me, the fans - and we are working very hard and we are united to improve the situation."