Raikkonen, Alonso say podium Ferrari's goal for F1 2014 opener
|By Jonathan Noble||Wednesday, March 12th 2014, 11:36 GMT|
Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso believe that Ferrari can target a podium finish in Melbourne's Formula 1 season opener this weekend.
Although there is great uncertainty about the competitive order ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, Ferrari's drivers are upbeat that their team has the possibility to put together a fairly strong start to the year.
Raikkonen reckoned that it was impossible to state whether or not Ferrari could challenge favourites Mercedes for victory, but believed his team could be in the mix near the front.
"It is difficult to say [if Ferrari can win]," he said. "It is the aim for sure, but there are so many unknowns coming this weekend.
"Maybe we did not have the best test in the last days, but I think we have done most of the things that we were planning to do.
"We have to see how we start, try to do our best and try to be up there, finish the race and hopefully be on the podium at least.
"We can only do our best and see where we end up, and if we do everything right we should be up there."
Alonso agreed that the podium could be within Ferrari's reach, adding: "We need to see where we are and how competitive we are.
"I think we cannot be too pessimistic or too optimistic, because it is probably a blind race for everybody in terms of performance.
"If we do everything right then the points and even the podium is a possibility.
"If we do a very small mistake, maybe the race is over this year - we need to concentrate 100 per cent."
FIRST RACE NOT DEFINITIVE
Alonso is adamant, however, that the outcome of this weekend will not necessarily give a definitive indication of title prospects because development progress is so rapid.
"The first race or first two races are a little bit less representative than any other season," he said, when asked by AUTOSPORT about the prospect of a changing competitive picture early in the season.
"But I prefer to start in a good way and the others to catch up - but we will see.
"Mercedes looks strong, as we saw in testing, but it was only testing. We see what the reality is.
"It is the same with Red Bull. Many talk about their problems but maybe we arrive to the first race and they are up in the front.
"Everything is still to discover but we need to concentrate on our things which are already a lot."
His belief about a Ferrari fight back if it does not start the season strongly was echoed by Raikkonen.
The Finn said: "We try to do the best that we can and, if there are other teams that can be faster, that is the case sometimes. But we haven't done any racing.
"Wherever we are going to be we know we have some work to do, and we will do it.
"And hopefully whatever the situation is on Sunday, we try to turn it around and make it better."