Alonso: A trial by fire in Malaysia
19 March 2012 – Ferrari was reasonably satisfied after the Australian Grand Prix, a race which always was set to be a damage limitation exercise. After a disastrous qualifying session, Fernando Alonso scored ten points for fifth place. However, the Spaniard admits that this weekend’s encounter at Sepang could be even more difficult.
“We knew it would be a very complicated race and I am happy I managed to bring home a useful number of points,” said the former double World Champion. “There was a tough fight with Maldonado; when I saw he’d gone off the track I breathed a sigh of relief, but I am sorry for him because it’s a real shame to finish a race like that.
“We still have a lot of work to do to reach those who are ahead of us; not just McLaren and Red Bull, but also Mercedes and Lotus. We are probably a second off pole and there are seven or eight teams who are all very close to one another.
“In one sense that’s good news because, if we can improve by a few tenths, we can make up a few places. Next week in Malaysia will be a trial by fire because Sepang is a very demanding circuit, for the cars and the tyres.”
Since testing began in February, Ferrari has suffered from a significant lack of rear downforce – proven by both Alonso and Felipe Massa, who both spun off the Albert Park circuit over the course of the season-opening race weekend.