F1: Fernando Alonso demands Ferrari work 'day and night' to give him fighting chance

The Prancing Horse has been off the pace so far this season

Fernando Alonso has called on Ferrari to work “day and night” in an attempt to fire the ailing marque back to the front of the grid.

Ferrari's failings this season were laid bare under the glare of the spotlights at the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday.

On a track where power is critical, Ferrari found themselves lacking in that area, resulting in Alonso finishing ninth and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen 10th, both just over 30 seconds adrift of race-winner Lewis Hamilton.

With Mercedes the benchmark following their dominant start to the season, Alonso is again facing another catch-up campaign and a potential fifth year at Ferrari without a world title.

"Sunday's race was complicated for us, even if we knew what to expect, because with its long straights the track showed up our weak points," said Alonso.

"Although we did all we could, we can't be happy with our level of performance and now our sole focus must be on working day and night.

"The season is in its early stages and we can stage a recovery. We have the resources and the potential to do it and it's all down to us."

The teams return to the circuit on Tuesday for the first of four two-day tests this year as in-season testing returns to Formula One.

Whilst Ferrari know they cannot now alter anything to do with the new power unit as they have been homologated, they can focus on improving their aero package to find time.

"The test is very important," added Alonso.

"We have a very aggressive programme, which we need as our rivals will not just be sitting back and watching."

Team principal Stefano Domenicali claimed the weekend overall was "as difficult as we had thought it would be", with the grand prix one "we must forget".

President Luca Di Montezemolo attended his first race this year, and he would have been far from happy with what he witnessed as Ferrari struggled to make any inroads.

Domenicali has also emphasised the critical importance of the next two days in Bahrain, saying: "I expect to see an initial step up in terms of quality.

"The team must not get downhearted, even if things have not turned out the way they should so far.

"They must continue to work in order to step up a gear as quickly as possible."

PA

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