Ferrari out in front says Alonso

Mon, 12 March 2007, 10:11

World champion Fernando Alonso departed Europe on Monday morning convinced that Ferrari are favourites for the season opening Australian grand prix.

Before leaving for Australia, the McLaren driver said at a sponsor event at the weekend on the streets of Spanish city Santander: “After they dominated in the last tests, Ferrari is in my view the benchmark at the moment.”

Alonso, 25, said: “We are going to be among the favourites but just because Michael (Schumacher) has gone does not mean that Ferrari has given up trying to make the best car.”

Alonso’s countryman and team test driver Pedro de la Rosa, however, is more optimistic, telling the Spanish TV network ‘Telecinco’ that the Mercedes-powered MP4-22 could be a match for its red rival in Melbourne on Sunday.

“It’s true that Ferrari made an impression in Bahrain (testing),” he said, “but we won’t know how it really is until qualifying.

“We are not afraid of them because we have had a great pre-season as well.

“You have to remember that this is formula one and it is not going to be a walk in the park for anyone.”

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