F1: Alonso gives warning to rivals
Ferrari man has better car, feels a better driver05 March, 17:06
The 31-year-old Spaniard considers his 2012 campaign, when he finished just three points behind Red Bull's title-holder Sebastian Vettel despite having a car that was much slower, the finest of his career so far - even better than his championship-winning seasons with Renault in 2005 and 2006.
But he says he can get even more out of himself this year, which should be alarming for his competitors, as Ferrari look to have prepared a much faster car for 2013, on the basis of the F138's performance in tests.
"I think always you can improve," Alonso told reporters.
"Last year was the best year of my career and I was very happy with the performance, but I think this year will be better.
"We have a better starting point and I have learned from some mistakes of last year.
"You can improve always as a driver in terms of tyre management and in terms of preparation approach for the grand prix.
"The trust, confidence and motivation are better than any other year and pit-stop wise, with starts, all these things, we are constantly learning.
"I have prepared better. I am better than last year".
Both Alonso and his Brazilian teammate Felipe Massa have said the F138 is on "another planet" than its predecessor, the F2012.
"I feel optimistic and confident, because the car responds the way I had expected," Alonso said with less than two weeks to go to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
"If I think back to last year, my state of mind was very different - we knew we were two seconds off the pace, we were all pessimistic and worried, because we felt it would be difficult to get into Q3 (final qualifying) in Australia and that turned out to be the case. "This year however, we are working on closing a gap of between 0.7 and 0.8 of a second, which is where we were at the final round in Brazil last year.
"I think we are on the right road to being closer to the quickest, which will be our aim in Melbourne".