Fernando Alonso has fired a warning shot in Ferrari’s direction after the driver and team’s fourth year year in partnership without tasting championship success.
The 32-year-old has finished runner-up in three of his four seasons to-date with the Maranello-based team, which last won a World Championship title in 2007 at the hands of Kimi Räikkönen.
His 2013 campaign was derailed by a very poor car, the F138, which struggled in particular with a lack of qualifying pace.
For the first time since his maiden season with Minardi in 2001, Alonso failed to secure a single front-row start, which left him with a tough task to achieve decent results from too far down on the grid.
Despite this, the Spaniard still managed to claim two race wins – in China and Spain – and six further podiums, but he conceded that his quest to seriously challenge the ultimate title-winner, Sebastian Vettel, for overall championship honours was dead in the water by mid-season.
Nonetheless, the team has worked furiously behind the scenes to shore up its technical and driver line-up ahead of the 2014 season, which will see wholesale regulation changes that could significantly shake up the form guide.
“I think I’m in the best team to win next year and we will try to do so,” he told BBC Sport when asked about his chances of claiming his third World Championship title next season.
“We have new engineers and new designers coming in. We need to deliver and next year everyone in the factory feels that it’s time to do that.”
While Alonso has a contract with Ferrari until the end of the 2016 season, he has grown increasingly frustrated with the team’s inability to deliver him a championship-winning package, and has sounded off to the press much to the fury of the team’s senior leadership.
According to paddock rumour, Alonso has repeatedly been linked with a return to McLaren, with whom he raced in 2007, exiting the team after a single season.
His latest comments could be interpreted as a warning to the team to start to get its act together.