Fernando Alonso ended his two day testing stint in the F14 T and summed up the second session of the season with words of caution and confidence. “Every day we learn a bit more about the car and its systems. We have made a major step forward compared to the first test and the whole team is working well. Of course there is still a lot to understand and there are many elements we want to learn how to deal with as well as possible. Even the performance seems to be thereabouts, but now’s not the time to try and chase it. It will be a challenge for everyone to be ready for the first race of the season and that is our aim at the moment. There is still time to go looking for lap times. I have to say the team has done an incredible job: things went very well over the winter and we are now halfway through the pre season tests and look in very good shape. Despite the bad weather in Jerez we managed to complete a lot of laps. Here, in two days, we have done 161, so on that front we can be pleased. The work at Maranello has been well done and now it’s down to us to make the most of all its potential.”
With all the extra technology on this year’s cars, it’s not easy for the drivers to get the hang of so many new things. “I am beginning to learn more about the car, all its systems and finding the buttons is becoming more automatic and obviously that means we can go quicker and improve,” said Alonso at the end of the day. “There are still some small problems which we must try and resolve, just like when you buy a new domestic appliance, but that’s to be expected, given the radical new design. But every time we go out in the car, it gets easier and confidence grows and that’s why I think the most crucial test in performance terms will be the next one.”
When it came to a hierarchy down pit lane, Fernando would not be drawn. “I don’t think there’s any sense in that. We can say the Mercedes powered cars are competitive, and we can say we are competitive, but I’m sure that at the first race, the Renault runners will also be there. This is only a test and we won’t get a picture of the hierarchy until we are on track for the first Grand Prix in Australia.”
The biggest question mark at the moment hangs over reliability. “It’s hard to know what could happen in the first part of the season. Reliability will be vital and I dare say that in the first races, getting to the finish will mean you have got a good result. However, there has been so much work done at Maranello that we can definitely aim for that”.