Ferrari surprised Alonso so close to Vettel

Alonso and Vettel at the 2011 European GP ( Ferrari)

25 April 2012 by Ryan Wood

Ferrari admit they're pleasantly surprised by how small the gap between Fernando Alonso and leader Sebastian Vettel is in the Drivers' championship.

The Spaniard, having won the Malaysian GP, sits just 10 points behind the current champion, whom also has one win to his name this season.

Whilst Ferrari admit they would have happily taken the championship position had it been offered to them in Australia upon discovering the poor performance of the F2012, they're not resting on their laurels as they attempt to extract much needed pace from the car.

Feature: Read why Alonso should be happy with his season so far...

"Clearly we cannot be happy with the way our season began but, after the winter tests, we knew the first four races would be very tough," said team principal Stefano Domenicali.

"We managed to limit the damage, especially in the Drivers' championship, in which Fernando Alonso is fifth, just ten points off the leader.

"In both races, Fernando gave his all and managed to get all the potential out of the car," continued Domenicali. "The team worked well: honestly, if when setting out for Melbourne, it had been suggested we would be in this position with one of our drivers, I would have struggled to believe it."

With the upcoming in-season test in Mugello next week, Ferrari know they've got their work cut-out if they're going to out-develop their rivals.

"However, it is equally clear that now we must step up a gear, right from the next race," he added. "Our engineers are well aware of this and are working day and night to give our drivers a much more competitive car than we have seen on track in these first four races.

"The coming days will be very important, during which the primary objective will be to push as hard as possible on the development of the car: next week we have three days of testing at Mugello, but it’s not definite that all the updates planned for Barcelona will be seen then. We must try and make the most of every minute available to us to increase the performance of the F2012."