Alonso plays down Ferrari hopes of revival in Shanghai

Fernando Alonso is not expecting to see an upturn in Ferrari's qualifying pace in China this weekend despite a dash by several of the team's key players to their Maranello headquarters after last Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.

Team principal Stefano Domenicali, technical chief Aldo Costa and engineering boss Pat Fry all returned to Italy after the race in Sepang instead of travelling straight to Shanghai for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix. The Ferraris of Alonso and team-mate Felipe Massa were around a second slower than the pace-setting Red Bulls and McLarens in qualifying during the opening two rounds of the campaign – a statistic that left the pair floundering in the pack come the races and without a podium finish to their credit.

It was hoped a gentle nudge to the staff back at Ferrari HQ could go some way to turning the corner, but two-time world champion Alonso does not envisage there being a quick fix this weekend. "There is not much time to change cars so I expect difficult pace, a difficult weekend again. The race is long," he said after finishing sixth in Sepang, one place behind Massa. We arrive in China knowing that it will be difficult but we will have some opportunities if we do things right."

Having appeared to be Red Bull's nearest challenger in pre-season testing, Ferrari's dismal qualifying pace thus far has arguably been the biggest surprise of the campaign's opening weeks – eclipsing even McLaren's upturn after turning in some woefully underwhelming testing times.

At least in race trim the new Ferrari appears to have some grunt, with Alonso enjoying good tussles with both Red Bull's Mark Webber and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton last Sunday, albeit aided by the fact the Australian had lost his KERS and the Briton was battling excessive tyre wear.

"We need to keep working in a good direction as we did [in Malaysia]," Alonso continued. "In Australia we were not quick enough in qualifying, [while] in the race we were struggling a lot and were 40-50 seconds behind the leader. I left Sepang much more happy because we were fighting with them. We did not expect to be fighting with them, so there is a very positive atmosphere now in the team."

Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo has tipped his team to dredge up an "amazing response" to their early-season problems. "I am definitely not satisfied with the way the season has begun, but I have complete faith in the people here," Di Montezemolo said. "I am sure there will be an amazing response. I know everyone is working flat out and I have great faith in the human and technical strengths of our people.

"I believe the period when the most we can hope for is a podium will soon come to an end."

Sport
footballLIVE: All the latest from today's Premier League matches
News
newsNew images splice vintage WWII photos with modern-day setting
Arts and Entertainment
The star dances on a balcony in the video
music
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines