Mercedes’ rivals have acknowledged the gap to the dominant championship leaders will not be easily overcome.
Reports on Sunday suggested Red Bull was quickly catching up with the silver clad team in the development race, after Sebastian Vettel finished within striking distance of the second-placed Nico Rosberg in Malaysia.
“We can see we’ve got plenty to do to catch up with the Mercedes guys, who have done a super job. They’re in a strong position,” Red Bull’s team principal said.
After Sepang he added that: “It’s a big gap. They have plenty up their sleeve.”
“For Bahrain we can’t expect any miracles, because we are practicing again in just five days and so no teams are going to make any sudden, giant steps,” said the Spaniard.
“Top speed is also important in Bahrain and so I expect Williams to be strong as well. I want to be in the top five again.
“We need to keep finishing as close as we can to the top, so that we can think about the championship later on if the car is more competitive,” Alonso is quoted by Speed Week.
“To Mercedes there is a big gap, but to Red Bull and the others we are close,” said Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali.
“Obviously we need to aim to be on top, and from what we have seen, it is not easy to solve.
“So what I have asked of my engineers is to put in place a plan to close the gap that we can see so far because it is pretty clear. He added
“I don’t want to point fingers at any of our engineers, or anyone in our group because it is not correct, although for sure we need to get rid of the errors.
“Power delivery, traction, efficiency of the car, set-up, balance, we need to improve at all levels. That’s what I can see.”
As for McLaren, racing boss Eric Boullier was forthright when asked if the British team can close the gap to Mercedes for the start of the European season, when the first major development steps will be made.
“No,” he answered.
Is Boullier confident the gap can be closed at all in 2014? “That’s the right question,” he added. “Maybe by Europe next year, yes.” (GMM/ThisisF1)