Former world champion Fernando Alonso has said that he expects his former team Ferrari to feature strongly in 2017.
“I think they are better this year than last year, they seem more competitive,” Alonso told Brazilian publication UOL Esporte, somewhat going against the current tide of thought that Ferrari might have lost crucial momentum since the exit of technical director James Allison last month.
“It’s never easy to speak from the outside. Last year they were on the podium, but they’re 150 points behind the Mercedes and that’s not good,” agreed Alonso. “But it’s hard for anyone to compete with Mercedes.
“It’s not only a problem for Ferrari at the moment: Mercedes has such an advantage since the regulations changed. Maybe next year, with the rule changes, things will be mixed up a bit, and I’m sure that in that case Ferrari will be strong again.”
Alonso drove for Ferrari for five years between 2010 and 2014 and was three times runner-up in the world championship while at Maranello before moving to McLaren at the start of 2015, making way for Sebastian Vettel to join Ferrari alongside Kimi Raikkonen.
“They have Kimi and Sebastian getting along together and I’m sure they’re enjoying it, albeit missing competing for the championship. But I think next year they will be stronger.”
Despite the fact that McLaren is itself struggling to be competitive in Formula One since reuniting with Honda as its engine provider, Alonso insisted that he didn’t regret moving from Ferrari when he did.
“When I was there, it was a great time. We were fighting for championships. The team was very strong and happy.
“I felt it was the right time to go because 2015 and 2016 could have been demotivating going into the sixth, seventh years there and still finishing behind the Mercedes.
“I wanted to have a great time, not painful, so it was my decision [to leave.]”
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