Fernando Alonso has marked the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix as a key event to assess whether Ferrari has made any gains in its performance after the three day in-season test at Mugello.
The Italian team has struggled with its car this season, although it limited the damage well in the first four rounds of the championship, admitting that it needs to make significant improvements if it has to challenge for the title this year.
“I cannot say if today at Mugello we can claim to have made up some ground, but in Barcelona, we will have more important updates and we hope that there, we can begin to close down the gap that separates us from the teams currently at the top,” Alonso was quoted on the team's website. “We have decided to favour development time in the wind tunnel rather than bringing forward all the new components to this test. Sure, it would be nice to be able to test all the updates on track first, but it is also nice that we can count on all the possible development potential for every single part.
"Barcelona will be a key moment in the season, but not a decisive one," the Spaniard pointed out. "It’s not a case that we will suddenly find ourselves back on pole position, because there is no magic button. We must start by no longer struggling to get through to Q3 and get closer to the top six, then continue with development in the following races, making a step forward in Monaco, Canada and Valencia also.
"Certainly, I am not denying that next weekend’s event is a significant one: we cannot allow ourselves to struggle to get into Q3 if we want to fight for the title,” he added.
The two-time world champion also played down the importance of the exhaust configuration tried on the final day of the test.
“There’s no difference in terms of driving compared to the one I tried on Tuesday,” Alonso went on to explain. “The exhausts are not the critical area this year, which can be seen from the fact that so far, cars with different configurations have won and, in Bahrain for example, the Red Bull won with the downward facing exhausts, but the quickest car on track was the Lotus, which has straight ones.”