Ferrari drivers say Red Bull test form not a worry
|By Jonathan Noble||Monday, March 4th 2013, 14:07 GMT|
Ferrari duo Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa insist they are not worried that Red Bull has emerged from winter testing as the team to beat.
Consensus among rival teams is that Red Bull has a small advantage with its RB9, but that the leading teams all appear to be separated by just a few tenths of a second.
Speaking at a media event for Santander in Barcelona on Monday, the Ferrari duo accept that they do not have the fastest car, but also made it clear they have seen nothing yet that proves they will not be able to fight for the victory in Australia.
"It is difficult to judge rivals - it's impossible," said Alonso. "You cannot go to the training grounds of Barcelona football club and see if they will win Sunday's match – as they are only warming up.
"I don't think by seeing Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic warming up you will see who will win the game. We will see in Australia.
"We should not forget the goal we have, and we should not forget the 0.7-0.8 seconds gap we had to the rest at the end of last year.
"But we can be closer to Red Bull and McLaren, who will be the strongest this season."
Massa said he was particularly impressed by the on-track performance of the Red Bull, which he reckoned had all the hallmarks of being another winner.
"The Red Bull is a very competitive car," he said. "It is a very stable car and you can see, not just by being behind it, that it has a very good rear. They are consistent on long runs with tyre degradation.
"For me, it is maybe the most competitive car – as was shown in previous championships. They are really in a similar direction with their competitive situation.
"But there are other strong cars too. Mercedes looks good at this track, with the [single] lap times and they are not so bad on long runs either."
He added: "But we need to go to the first race and first qualifying to have a clear idea of exactly where we are. We are positive that we can start better season compared to last season, and I hope we can do that."
Although Red Bull may well lead a tight battle at the front, Alonso sees no reason why Ferrari cannot fight for the podium in Australia.
"We will not be the fastest ones, but we will not be 1.6 seconds behind like last year. We are starting from a better position.
"So if we finished fourth last year then why can we not do better this year?"