Ferrari improvements encourage Alonso
May 4, 2012 -- Updated 1651 GMT (0051 HKT)
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso will be hoping to impress in front of a home crowd at the Spanish Grand Prix.
- Fernando Alonso is hoping Ferrari changes will deliver success at Spanish Grand Prix
- Two-time world champion is feeling confident after three days testing at Maranello
- Legendary team has been off pace this season despite his Malaysia victory
(CNN) -- Ferrari's hopes of a first world title since 2008 were effectively blown away before this season even started when the legendary Formula One team admitted the 2012 car was not up to speed.
Fernando Alonso shocked motorsport experts by winning the rain-hit Malaysia race in March, but otherwise it has been an uphill battle for the two-time world champion and his Brazilian teammate Felipe Massa.
However, improvements made during this week's test sessions at the Italian marque's Maranello headquarters have given the Spaniard encouragement that he might be more competitive in front of his home fans in the next race at Barcelona next weekend.
"The feeling I have after the test is a positive one," the 30-year-old said on the Ferrari website.
Take a ride with F1 champ Vettel
Mexico's new F1 hero
Ferrari unveiled the F2012 Friday, their car for the forthcoming Formula One season. The Italian team had planned to reveal the car Thursday, but heavy snowfall around the team's factory forced a postponement.
Ferrari unveil F2012
Michael Schumacher in the modern Silver Arrow while Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg takes the wheel of the 1955 model.
The Silver Arrow rises again
"We have introduced a few small -- and I stress that word -- aerodynamic updates that have produced the response we were expecting and that is the most positive news, which means I am confident for the future, in the short and the long term.
"It means that what we see in the factory in Maranello has now also been confirmed on track. Furthermore, we have worked on other areas, especially the tires, doing short and long runs, on setup and also on starts, given we were also trying out a new clutch."
Alonso finished seventh at the last grand prix in Bahrain, but this week his times have been marginally slower than that of race winner and reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel and Lotus' Romain Grosjean, who earned his first podium in the Middle East event.
Alonso, winner of the 2006 Spanish Grand Prix winner, did go off-track during testing, damaging his car's nose and losing two and a half hours of track time as the crew fixed it.
But he appeared unconcerned with the mishap, saying with a touch of irony: "I want to put everyone's mind at rest, my family and friends: I'm fine, no harm done after hitting the crash barrier at 7 km an hour."
Alonso is fifth in the drivers' championship, 10 points behind Vettel, but remains pragmatic about the importance of the May 13 race.
"Barcelona will be a key moment in the season, but not a decisive one. It's not a case that we will suddenly find ourselves back on pole position, because there is no magic button," he said.
"Certainly, I am not denying that next weekend's event is a significant one -- we cannot allow ourselves to struggle to get into Q3 if we want to fight for the title."
Part of complete coverage on
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 2255 GMT (0655 HKT)
Despite being a sport well into its seventh decade, only two women have ever driven in Formula 1 but Susie Wolff hopes to become the third.
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 1736 GMT (0136 HKT)
Jann Mardenborough on the similarities and differences between driving a race on a video game and driving a real F1 car.
February 22, 2014 -- Updated 1226 GMT (2026 HKT)
How Russian president Vladimir Putin helped turn a muddy hole in the ground into a $400 million futuristic grand prix track in Sochi.
January 22, 2014 -- Updated 1217 GMT (2017 HKT)
CNN's Rosie Tomkins speaks to Caterham F1 owner Tony Fernandes on the team's driver line-up for 2014.
January 22, 2014 -- Updated 1352 GMT (2152 HKT)
Popular Japanese racer Kamui Kobayashi is back in Formula One with Caterham -- and fan power has helped him return to the grid.
January 17, 2014 -- Updated 2228 GMT (0628 HKT)
NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas applies to enter a new team in the Formula One world championships.
January 15, 2014 -- Updated 2128 GMT (0528 HKT)
He is Formula One's undisputed No. 1, and next season Sebastian Vettel will have proof of that fact emblazoned on his Red Bull.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1417 GMT (2217 HKT)
Germany has only produced two Formula One champions -- and they can thank one man for spotting their nascent talent.
CNN's Amanda Davies travels to a small German town to discover the real Sebastian Vettel, F1's all-conquering champion.
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 1633 GMT (0033 HKT)
A new era of F1 looms large on the horizon in 2014, but what do the new rules mean for how we watch the sport? Get up to speed here.
November 17, 2013 -- Updated 2015 GMT (0415 HKT)
It is 5 a.m. on Sunday morning in Austin, Texas and the grid girls are already up and getting ready for the race.
October 17, 2013 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
Explore our interactive of one of F1's most important and complicated pieces of kit.
Today's five most popular stories