Jerez, Spain - Double Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso has stressed he’s happy to work alongside Kimi Raikkonen as the Finn returns to Ferrari after a five-year absence.
Raikkonen was the last man to win the Drivers' championship for the Italian team back in 2007 as Alonso's four-year spell has coincided with Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's reign of dominance.
Alonso could at least be assured of his superiority within his own team in recent years, but with the more decorated Raikkonen having replaced Felipe Massa there has been no clear word out of the team's headquarters in Maranello over who will be its No.1 driver.
This is not the first time that Alonso has been challenged by the arrival of a team mate as he was usurped by an inexperienced Lewis Hamilton during an unhappy one season stay at McLaren in 2007.
However, Alonso said he would do whatever it took to help Ferrari get back on top in 2014.
“With Kimi we were together in Maranello for a couple of days on some promotional things. At that point it was half work, half fun, though, so we have plenty more work together to come.
“Every evening we have a report with every lap Kimi did in the first two days and every lap I did today.
“We work together, as we always have during these four years in Ferrari. After that we talk with the engineers every evening as well to work out any problems we might be less aware of as drivers.
“In terms of performance we just do whatever the team needs us to do.”
Alonso got his first taste of action in the F14-T as Ferrari consolidated its solid start to the season on the third day of pre-season testing in Jerez on Thursday.
The 2005 and 2006 world champion logged 58 laps as he finished fifth fastest.
And he believes mileage rather than speed is key early on as the entire paddock adjusts to new technical regulations that have forced significant changes to the cars from last season.
“The car just got onto the track three days ago and we are still in the very early stages.”
“We need to do as many laps as possible here and at the next testing session in Bahrain because any lap is welcome given the change in the rules and the information the laps give us.
“We had a couple of months not driving and just being on the simulator so going back to the real car on a nice sunny day was very good.”
One of the teams that has struggled most with the change in rules has been Red Bull as it has managed just 14 laps through three days of testing.
‘EVERYTHING BECOMES BIGGER’
However, Alonso is not yet taking it for granted that Vettel will be hampered by a significantly inferior car than he has over the past four years.
“The media always make a lot of the testing because there are only two or three in the year. It is normal that everything becomes bigger if you have a good day or a bad day.
“In terms of preparation and approach, the Australian Grand Prix is what you need to aim for and we still have so many things to learn before then.”