Alonso expecting pressure from Mercedes

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In the first session, an engine failure shortly before the end, then in the second, a spot of bother with sensors and a basically unstable car – "it was a tough day," said Alonso on Friday afternoon at Interlagos.

One positive for the future, though, as far as he's concerned, the new Pirelli tyres for 2012. At any rate, Alonso has already been preparing for 2012: "We've been fiddling around a bit, mainly with the electronic control for wing settings next year, using loads of sensors to collect masses of data but we ran into a couple of problems."

He's not all that thrilled with the performance so far either: "In my opinion, as things stand at the moment, we are where we were in Korea rather than in Abu Dhabi, considerably behind McLaren and Red Bull and we're even under pressure from Mercedes, who made a very strong impression today."

"But as I said, that's the state of play today, and we need to improve the car a lot. We've actually found one or two things we can do overnight. We had problems mainly with rear end stability, so we'll make some adjustments and then I expect to have a much more competitive car tomorrow. And if it rains, it will be all change once again, anyway."