MELBOURNE, March 15th, 2014 (F1Plus / Jacob Polychronis) Fernando Alonso simply wants to complete the Australian Grand Prix despite qualifying in fifth position during the first new-look qualification session of the year.
Alonso was somewhat indifferent to his position on the grid after Saturday’s action in which he posted a time of 1.45.819. The time was just shy of 1.6 seconds behind the pole-sitter, Lewis Hamilton. Instead of eyeing a podium position, Alonso spoke of the uncertain reliability of cars for this season.
“You cannot take finishing the race for granted which we have probably been doing for the last couple of years. – We say that the first priority is to finish the race.”
Regardless of his cautious attitude, Alonso remained satisfied with his performance in qualifying, as fifth place appears to be justified by the Ferrari’s performance.
“I think fifth is more or less where we have been around all weekend; in practice, in the dry and wet conditions. So [I’m] relatively happy with the position we should be.
“The car has been well balanced all weekend in all conditions. We have had zero problems so far.”
Driving in the wet ‘not fun’
The lack of experience in wet conditions in 2014 meant that once the heavens opened late into Q1, teams were largely under-prepared. Subsequently, Alonso did not enjoy his time in the car.
“Well, today was not fun first of all. [It was the] First time in wet conditions with this 2014 car. [We’ve had] Zero practice and then it is raining in Q2. So that’s probably not fun at all. Then with all the changes we need to do it is a little bit more difficult to drive and to get everything right.”
Furthermore, the sport’s drastic regulation changes has left Alonso believing that there is immense room for teams to improve throughout the season.
“Last year we started with a car at 95 per cent. We found a total performance of 5 per cent for the rest of the year. This year everybody is starting at 60 per cent because the cars are too new for everybody so many things can improve for everybody, not only for us.”
Alonso begins his charge for a third drivers’ championship when the season starts tomorrow in Melbourne.