It's like starting from scratch, says Alonso
4 April 2014 – Ferrari's Fernando Alonso has argued that teams are effectively "starting from scratch" at this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix, given the different track conditions experienced under floodlights.
Although two four-day pre-season tests were staged at Sakhir, drivers toured the circuit under artificial lighting for the first time during Friday evening's second practice session.
Alonso ultimately ended the day third fastest, and says he has been able to gather plenty of valuable data for the rest of the event.
"After many daytime races, it was really strange to be running here in the dark even if it was not very different to the other night time races, so we just have to get used to it," said Alonso.
"From this aspect, today was very useful, especially FP2, to learn about the behaviour of the tyres and the car. Even if we did a lot of running here in winter testing, now it's like starting from scratch and one has to adapt to the new indications coming from the differing track conditions."
Although the Spaniard finished more than a second adrift of Lewis Hamilton's pace-setting Mercedes, he says there is no reason for Ferrari to panic about its current position.
"We know our strong points and the areas we must focus on to improve, but we must not overreact in trying to close the performance gap," he said.
"At the moment we must make steady progress while still keeping an eye on reliability, which has brought us a good points haul in the first couple of races, which is always very important."