April 2, 2014 (F1 Plus / Rosie Baillie) - Fernando Alonso is predicting a tough race for the Maranello based team in Bahrain this weekend and says the team need to improve quickly to beat their rivals.
“We can expect a tough race, as some of the competition is very strong and we will have to raise our game to close down the gap as quickly as possible.” he said.
Long straights at the Bahrain International Circuit mean straight line speed are important. The double world champion says one of Ferrari’s priorities is to improve their top speed.
“The most difficult aspect of the Sakhir circuit is the braking, as there are long straights followed by heavy braking, then a tight corner and another straight.” he said.
“Braking performance and the feeling you get from the brakes gives you the confidence to attack and so get a better lap time.
“Apart from that, another priority will be to work on our top speed.”
Alonso expects things to be made even harder by tyre degradation and fuel-saving.
“We will have to save fuel more than in Malaysia and the tyres will be affected by the temperature in the Bahraini desert.” he said.
Teammate Kimi Raikkonen had a tough weekend in Malaysia, finishing 12th after accident damage affected his cars performance.
The said said the key to a strong Sunday in Bahrain was getting the set up right as soon as possible.
“There are not so many corners on this Sakhir track, but it seems to be very difficult to get a perfect lap, due to the combination of high speed sections and some very low speed corners.” Raikkonen explained.
“You would think with only few corners it would be easy to get the lap right, but it’s actually quite complicated. The key will be to find the right set-up as soon as possible and then we can improve the car over the weekend.”
Ferrari head into the Bahrain Grand Prix 3rd in the constructors’ championship, 13 points behind McLaren.