Korea defining Alonso ready for Vettel fight as leader insists Ferrari won't buckle
07:35 GMT, 11 October 2012
Fernando Alonso has every confidence Ferrari will not cave in under pressure from Red Bull as the 2012 season reaches a critical moment in South Korea this weekend.
Alonso has led the drivers' championship since winning the European Grand Prix at Valencia, but he is in danger of becoming the hunter rather than the hunted with Sebastian Vettel lying just four points behind the Spaniard.
Vettel took the win at the Japanese Grand Prix as Alonso was eliminated following a first-corner clash with Kimi Raikkonen.
Under pressure: World championship leader Fernando Alonso knows he faces a battle with Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel in Yeongam
The Korea International Circuit proved to be a strong track for Red Bull in 2011 as Vettel took his 10th victory of his remarkable march to a second world title.
A repeat of that result this weekend would see the German leapfrog his rival, and with a lack of qualifying pace undermining Ferrari's race efforts, Alonso appears to be facing an uphill battle.
But the 31-year-old is backing the Maranello squad to help him take the title battle all the way to the final race in Brazil.
'I am sure we can be in the fight right down to the wire,' said Alonso.
'The people who are working on the car are the same who have done the job so far and there's no reason to think they can't do a good job again now.
Walk this way: Alonso arrives at the Korea International Circuit on Thursday
Start me up: Ferrari mechanics prepare Alonso's race car before the start of the first practice session
'Let's not forget that, if I am still leading the Championship, it's because we have been capable of improving the car significantly compared to the start of the season and also because we are capable of always getting the most out of what we have to work with.
'We have not been gifted anything, indeed Spa and Suzuka deprived us of places that were easily within our grasp.
'It's not through some sort of divine miracle that we are in this position, it is down to the work of all us, from first to last. Formula One is a team sport: you win and you lose together.'
Ferrari will bring several small updates to Yeongnam as they look to keep Alonso in the hunt, with a more considerable upgrade to be introduced ahead of the Indian Grand Prix.
In the shade: Vettel appears relaxed as he gets ready to continue his battle to retain his world title
Technical director Pat Fry said: 'We are currently closer to McLaren but there's still a gap to Red Bull, so we need to keep working on car development.
'I think looking back at recent races, we have been bringing small updates to every race, even if we made a few small errors in Singapore, but we worked out what they were and sorted them out in time for Japan.
'When you have a constant drive for performance, you need to take some risks and there will be four small updates on the car in Korea, with more significant changes in the races after that.
'Overall for the last five races, we need to stay calm and ensure that everything we do counts. There's more to come, even if we have a way to go to catch up. But we are never going to give up and we'll be trying all the way to Brazil.'