Mercedes form during F1 testing not a worry to Alonso
|By Ben Anderson and Matt Beer||Thursday, February 20th 2014, 16:04 GMT|
Fernando Alonso believes Ferrari will be in the hunt with the Mercedes-powered teams at the front of the 2014 Formula 1 field, despite its muted Bahrain test form.
Mercedes-engined cars have led the way on both days at Sakhir so far, as Force India's Nico Hulkenberg set the Wednesday pace and Kevin Magnussen went quickest for McLaren on day two.
Alonso was second on the opening day and third on Thursday, and said he was not daunted by the large gaps that the pacesetters had had over their rivals.
"They are strong, no doubt," he said of the Mercedes teams.
"After Jerez and two days here, the Mercedes cars look to be performing in a strong position, but this is just a test.
"We don't really know how much fuel they really have, or the useage of the tyres, etc.
"So it's not a concern, not a worry.
"I think everyone will be on top of their problems more or less before Australia, so I expect the Mercedes engines will be strong in Australia, I expect Red Bull will also be strong in Australia, and Ferrari too.
"It will be a great competition."
Alonso managed 161 laps over his two days in Bahrain before handing over to team-mate Kimi Raikkonen for Friday.
He said that was enough mileage to begin to get on top of the F14 T.
"We understand it better," said Alonso. "Definitely every day it's a huge step in understanding the car, understanding the systems.
"We don't yet know everything in the car properly and all the things we have available.
"There are many things to discover and to get on top of and exploit in terms of performance as well. I think it's a big challenge for all the teams to be ready.
"I'm happy with how the team is doing. We did a good job during the winter. I think we are in good shape in terms of the amount of laps.
"I felt more comfortable straight away here in Bahrain and thanks to the simulator work everything is coming out automatically so hopefully we can concentrate on the performance, especially in the next test, which is the crucial one."
AUTOSPORT Live coverage of Bahrain testing will resume from 6am UK time on Friday