F1: Alonso feeling confident ahead of start of new season
FERNANDO ALONSO believes he is far better equipped to challenge for this season's Formula One world title compared to a year ago.
Not only does Alonso feel in good shape physically and mentally, but more importantly his new Ferrari, the F138, is on the pace.
Alonso and Ferrari concluded the final pre-season test at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya yesterday by posting the second quickest time at the track over the eight days in which it was used.
That has put Alonso in good spirits ahead of the season-opening race in Australia on March 17.
"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," said Alonso, speaking at a Santander event in Barcelona.
"We have a better starting point and I have learned from some of the mistakes from last year.
"You can always improve as a driver in terms of tyre management and in terms of preparation and approach for a 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."
Alonso opted to skip the first test in Jerez in order to push himself in terms of his physical preparation and that has paid dividends.
But it is Ferrari's car, a radical improvement on the model unveiled last year and initially was a long way off the pace, that has him smiling.
"Last year I was obviously motivated and wanted to win, but I arrived in Australia and Malaysia without very much confidence of what we could do and without much confidence in the car," added Alonso.
"I did not have too much trust in what we were doing because, as I have said many times, we were a little bit lost.
"It was not in my mind to fight for the world championship last year because we were so far behind.
"We were 1.6 seconds off in Australia, so it was an amazing comeback from the team.
"Although I am more motivated than last year, it is true I need a better car than last year because we were too far off the leaders."