Fernando Alonso has dismissed suggestions Ferrari will throw in the towel on this season should they fail to deliver on Sunday.
Alonso has so far performed wonders this year in a car far from on a par with its rivals, notably winning a rain-hit grand prix in Malaysia to leave him 10 points adrift of Sebastian Vettel in the championship standings after four races.
For this weekend the Ferrari carries a raft of updates designed to hopefully propel them firmly into contention for the title.
Sporting a new exhaust concept and rear bodywork, the belief is if it works at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, it will prove reliable for the rest of the European campaign at least.
After topping the timesheet in first practice, albeit understood to be on a relatively low-fuel run, Alonso was 1.2secs adrift of McLaren’s Jenson Button in the second session after concentrating on long-run pace.
The acid test, though, will be tomorrow in qualifying, a stage on which Alonso has struggled this term, with his highest grid slot eighth.
More pain in Spain and Ferrari may start to look towards next year, however, Alonso does not believe that will be the case just yet.
“I don’t think so,” said Alonso when asked whether Ferrari would stop development this season if all failed to go to plan this weekend.
“We need to see how the car works here, and if it does, fine. It will be a good step, the first of many we have to make during the next couple of races.
“If the step is not good enough, because others improved the same as us or more than us so we remain in the same position, then we need to work harder, for Monaco, for Canada.
“We will bring more new parts, adopt a more aggressive approach or whatever, because the championship is long and we will never give up in May after four races.”
Alonso concedes Ferrari’s reputation goes before it, adding to the pressure on the Maranello marque to correct their problems.
“Obviously we have new parts, but everybody has new parts,” said Alonso.
“Because it’s Ferrari there are quite a lot of expectations every race we go to. It seems like only Ferrari is bringing new parts.
“We believe we’ve made a step forward on what we had in Bahrain, but we also know it’s not the last step we have to make.
“It’s a continuous work, that we need to start here in Barcelona, trying to improve our qualifying position and our race pace.
“But in Monaco we have to bring new parts, in Canada we have to bring new parts, but we will not be bringing a new car to every race as it seems we have brought here to Barcelona.”