Fernando Alonso talking to the press previewing Australian GP. (Photo: Getty Images)

talking to the press previewing . (Photo: Getty Images)

Fernando Alonso was in an optimistic mood in Melbourne today, and the Spanish ace says that is well prepared for the start of the season – and he’s fully motivated.

“It’s a good challenge this year with all the changes in the regulations and all the possibilities we have in this new championship,” said Alonso. “I’m motivated and I’m ready, and optimistic as well. Every new season you think you can do well, and this year is no different.

“I think we had a winter with, OK, some days that were not 100 percent. We had some problems on the car, but generally speaking I think we had a trouble-free winter in terms of the reliability of the car. We didn’t find anything wrong with the car in a way, which probably sounds pessimistic, but for this year’s regulations it was quite good, and everything on the car worked as we predicted. With that base, with that starting point, I think we have good potential in the car, and a good possibility.”

However, when it came to predicting what a realistic target might be, Alonso admitted that he is taking a low-key approach for now, especially given the issue of reliability.

“It’s not like other years when you arrive here and you have a more ambitious target. I think this year everyone is more calm and everyone is a little bit more cautious about the possibility of finishing the race. But I think if we do everything right, we should be ready to do so, and see finally where is our level of competitiveness. It’s probably a different year and a different feeling starting this championship.”

Intriguingly, Alonso even played down the problems suffered by Red Bull and says that the world champions could still be a threat this season.

“Well, I think we need to be also cautious on that. It was only testing, and there are no points in testing. Red Bull is a super team, a strong team, and we need to see how they perform in a race weekend, where it counts. I still think that they will be strong this year, and we’ll see. If in this part of the championship, if they have some problems, we need to maximize those points, because maybe in a couple of races they will be back at the top. It’s important to start on the right foot.”

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