Alonso sits out Jerez test
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso has played down the significance of his absence from the opening pre-season test at Jerez next week.
The Maranello team's 2013 car, the F138, was unveiled on Friday and will be put into action for the first time at the Spanish circuit on Tuesday, with Alonso's team-mate Felipe Massa and test driver Pedro de la Rosa sharing the duties.
Alonso will not drive the F138 until the second pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya starting on February 19, but the Spaniard is unconcerned by the schedule.
"The first test is a general test in which one checks that all the components are put together properly," said Alonso.
"Given the short amount of time available, we have decided that I will concentrate on the following tests.
"In the meantime, I will continue with my preparation and will follow the Jerez test, keeping in touch with Felipe and Pedro and analysing the data acquired by the engineers.
"To be 100% fit from now until November will require combining training and resting."
The arrangement also suits Massa, who is eager to get back on the track as soon as possible after ending 2012 with a string of significantly improved performances.
"The first test is very useful to understand the direction in which we should go and where we need to do the most work," the Brazilian said.
"Last year, I had a very positive second half to the season and I really want to get back on track and continue with the work that has seen me improve a lot over the past years."
Meanwhile, Alonso has dismissed the prospect of the new season witnessing anything close to last year's return of seven different winners from the first seven races.
Regulation changes prior to the start of the 2012 campaign levelled the playing field to such an extent that no one team or driver managed to take the series by the scruff off the neck until deep into the year.
The man who ultimately emerged ahead was Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, who went on to claim his third consecutive drivers' title, but he was run close by Alonso who recovered from a disappointing start to the campaign to lose out on the crown by just three points.
Alonso believes settled regulations will see the usual suspects challenging for the wins in 2013.
"I think it was a one-off as a result of the regulation changes," Alonso said when asked by reporters about the unpredictable nature of the grid at the start of last season.
"Now, with things a bit more stabilised, we saw at the end of the season the top teams emerge and so I think it will be highly unlikely we will have seven races and seven winners.
"There will be three teams who win all the races and we have to be one of those," Alonso added, alluding to perennial frontrunners Red Bull and McLaren.
Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali believes it is crucial the team hits the ground running in Melbourne on March 17.
"The key objective is to immediately deliver a competitive car to the drivers," Domenicali said.
"Unfortunately in recent seasons we have not been able to get to the start of the season right on top of what we are doing like our competitors.
"We need to be competitive from the start of the season."