Alonso: More still to discover
Fernando Alonso says Ferrari remain on a voyage of discovery with their 2014 car but is encouraged by the fact there are no "big issues" with the F14 T as the countdown continues to Melbourne.
On the day F1's 12-day winter testing programme reached its halfway stage, Ferrari enjoyed another encouraging day in Bahrain as Alonso completed 96 laps and proved the only non-Mercedes-powered car in the top four of the timesheet.
The Spaniard, who now hands over the car to new team-mate Kimi Raikkonen before returning to Sakhir for next week's final test, said every lap continued to throw up something of note in the F14 T, but added the fact Ferrari was still racking up the laps boded well.
"It's important to do laps and we learn things and probably from these two days we discovered some more issues that the car is having. Every lap there is something on the electronics side.
"We have so many things this year that we can tune a little bit better and we can improve it. So slowly we are getting in a position where we are more comfortable.
"We are not as good as we would like to be at this point and [there are] still many things to discover and many things to improve, but at least we are able to do 160 laps in two days with not big, big issues in the car. This is good for the team and the motivation for everybody."
With this winter already proving the most challenging for the sport in recent memory, Alonso acknowledged the uncertainty had the potential to stir up widespread excitement heading into the season - even if the teams were continuing to experience what he likened to multiple computer resets.
"From outside it's very exciting what Formula 1 can be, especially at the beginning of the year," he said.
"On the team's side there's a huge amount of work going on. It's challenging, for everyone. We like that challenge and we are working to get on top of the little issues that are happening.
"It's new in a way. It's not a mechanical new technology, there are not aerodynamic issues. We are talking about computers, numbers and electronics. That we all experience in our homes and some resets in our computers in our normal day. So imagine in a Formula 1 car? So we are in that area at the moment."
And with just six days of track action now remaining before Practice One gets underway in Melbourne, Alonso added: "It's going to be tight, it's going to be challenging, but in a way I'm happy with how the team is doing."
Raikkonen's table-topping lap on Day One at Jerez aside, the fastest times on each day of testing so far have gone to a Mercedes-powered car.
Alonso admitted that it was no secret that the German manufacturer's works outfit and three customer teams were performing well, but insisted Ferrari had no reason to be apprehensive yet.
"They are strong, no doubts," the 32-year-old acknowledged.
"After Jerez and these two days in Bahrain the Mercedes-engined cars are in a strong position, but this is a test. You don't really know how much fuel the cars have, how is the usage of the tyres, etcetera at the moment. So it's not a worry."
The Sky Sports F1 Online team will be providing live commentary of all three winter tests, with live updates from trackside also on Sky Sports News.