Valencia: Formula One champions Red Bull are several months ahead of Ferrari in terms of aerodynamic performance and will still be hard to catch despite rule changes, Fernando Alonso said on Saturday.
Spain`s double world champion qualified fourth for his home European Grand Prix with Red Bull`s world champion Sebastian Vettel on pole position and Australian team mate Mark Webber alongside.
Vettel has now secured pole at seven out of eight races this year and won five to take a 60-point lead in the championship.
Alonso is fifth overall, 92 points behind Vettel, with Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa a further 37 behind.
Alonso had challenged for victory at the previous two races but he refused to be downcast by Red Bull`s continuing supremacy despite a clampdown on engine maps and exhaust systems that offer a performance advantage.
"The development work on the car is progressing well, but we are a long way behind in terms of aerodynamics, which to put a time value on it means two or three months," he said.
"It will not be easy to catch up but we will do all we can to succeed."
Alonso will start Sunday`s race next to McLaren`s Lewis Hamilton, with Massa fifth and McLaren`s Jenson Button sixth.
He felt Ferrari still had at least a chance of a podium finish.
"I don`t think this was a disappointing qualifying, because even if there were those outside the team who built up expectations, within it, we were well aware of the situation," said the Spaniard.
"The aim was to fight with the McLarens and we did just that. Maybe we had hoped to be ahead of both, but instead we find ourselves splitting the two drivers.
"I did not expect that the very slight change introduced to the rules would change the order of things and that was the case: Red Bull was and still is the favourite," continued Alonso.
"We will see if at Silverstone, where there are more significant changes coming, something will happen, but we need to keep in mind that everyone or almost everyone will suffer a drop in performance."
The British Grand Prix is on July 10.