Barcelona: Spanish Formula One driver Fernando Alonso is preparing for the forthcoming season with renewed optimism, given that this year he will be racing with a faster car.
Alonso lost out on the World Championship last season after a dramatic final race which saw Sebastian Vettel complete his hat-trick of World titles for the Red Bull team, reports Xinhua.
Alonso, meanwhile, complained that he had been forced to compete with a slower car, which placed him at a handicap in the faster circuits.
This year, however, he believes he may no longer have to deal with that disadvantage and his feelings have been strengthened by practice sessions at the Montmelo circuit close to Barcelona.
"Last year I was two seconds slower than the fastest cars in the practice sessions," said the Ferrari driver.
"The feelings that I get from this car are good, more or less what I was expecting and there have been no surprises, which is positive in itself, because last year we were all a bit surprised and not in a good way in the trials," continued Alonso, who said that his current car had "evolved," and there was "nothing to surprise the driver."
However, Alonso admitted there was still a long way to go before his car was ready to compete in the opening Grand Prix of the 2013 season, which will be held in Australia March 17.
"We had a few problems when we carried out trials in Jerez and we will have to make a lot of laps before we know if the car is really trustworthy. We are more or less now at the same stage at which we ended last season, but the aim is to get to Australia with some big improvements, with new pieces we will introduce in the last test," he said, adding a note of caution.