Fernando Alonso feels he is going to need to get more out of his Ferrari to improve his chances of overcoming Sebastian Vettel and winning the Formula One title at this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix.
Alonso was only fifth-fastest on the first day of practice Friday, while Vettel was second with his Red Bull, behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton. Alonso teammate Felipe Massa was fourth.
"We have not yet found the ideal balance on the car, so there is still a lot of work to be done with the engineers going into the rest of the weekend," Alonso said.
Alonso comes into the season finale trailing Vettel by 13 points, meaning he has to win the race and hope the German driver finishes fifth or worse. Anything but a podium finish will keep Alonso from clinching his third title regardless of Vettel's position at the end.
"We know we have to score 14 points more than Vettel for the championship and not lose the same number to McLaren to maintain our second place in the constructors' (championship)," the 31-year-old Spaniard said. "Our targets are clear, but also difficult to achieve."
Alonso said the unpredictable weather in Sao Paulo makes it more difficult for the team to find a good setup. It was extremely hot on Friday, but the forecast is for colder temperatures and likely rain during Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race.
"The predictions are for very different conditions from Saturday to Sunday, further reason to concentrate on the best choices when it comes to preparing the car for qualifying, but especially for the race," he said.