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Page last updated at 12:17 GMT, Wednesday, 16 June 2010 13:17 UK

Fernando Alonso backs Ferrari to battle for F1 title

Alonso leads Hamilton in last weekend's Canadian GP
Fernando Alonso led race winner Lewis Hamilton during the Canadian Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso has warned rivals not to write off Ferrari ahead of the second half of the Formula 1 season.

The two-time world champion says that Ferrari's updates for next week's European Grand Prix in Valencia are only the start of a concerted push.

"We will have further developments for England and Germany," said Alonso. "Valencia is not a last-ditch effort."

The Spaniard lies just 15 points - the same as a third-place finish - behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

But Ferrari's pace has been disappointing this season since Alonso won the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on his debut for the team.

Last weekend, however, the Montreal circuit used for the Canadian GP, suited the Ferrari F10 far better, allowing Alonso to fight for the lead and eventually finish third.

I've said it before and I'll say it again now: this is a stage event, and the final one of those stages will not come until November in Abu Dhabi

Fernando Alonso

The Valencia city circuit has some similarities to Montreal; it has long straights and relatively slow corners, playing to the Ferrari's existing strengths of mechanical grip.

But a major breakthrough on aerodynamics has excited the team, and is due to feature on the F10 for the first time in Valencia.

The new development uses exhaust gases to move the airflow around the diffuser and rear beam wing more effectively. The concept is believed to be the key to the Red Bull RB6's stunning pace in fast corners this season.

In his blog on Ferrari's website, Alonso said: "We will have major updates on the F10 which I hope will allow us to up our performance level.

"Following on from that, we have further developments in the pipeline which should arrive for England and Germany, which is to say that the European GP is simply the ninth round of the championship, not a last-ditch effort for Ferrari, which I heard some people saying.

"I don't see how they can say that given that we have not even reached the halfway point of the [19-race] season, and that after Valencia there will still be 10 Grands Prix to go.

"I've said it before and I'll say it again now: this is a stage event, and the final one of those stages will not come until November in Abu Dhabi. Things can change very quickly."

Ferrari are said to have been staggered when they saw in the wind-tunnel just how much this feature improved things

Alonso said the team's mood had changed since the disappointment of being beaten by McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button in Canada.

"The sense of disappointment that we missed out on a win has been replaced with the awareness that we did actually get a great result," he said.

"We have to look at it as a glass half-full because on the Thursday we would have been satisfied with the thought of a podium finish.

"We were competitive throughout the whole weekend, both in qualifying and the race, which is very positive.

"In the first eight races of the season all sorts of things happened - mistakes, reliability problems, bad luck - but we are still in the thick of the fight for both championships [drivers' and constructors']. The same can be said of McLaren and Red Bull, who have also missed out on points along the way."

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see also
Alonso poised for leap to the front
15 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Alonso ready to retire after Ferrari
13 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Hamilton and Alonso battle in pits
13 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Superb Hamilton wins in Montreal
13 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari will bounce back - Alonso
30 May 10 |  Formula 1

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