Fernando Alonso believes that Ferrari’s second place in Sunday’s European Grand Prix at Valencia signals a genuine upsurge in performance on the part of the Italian team – and that the Prancing Horse has genuinely halved the performance deficit which separated them from the front-running Red Bulls at the start of the season.

“I think we all in Ferrari know our tifosi is expecting us to win," said the 2005-06 world champion. "At the moment we are not in that position. We are getting much closer. In the first few races we were 1.5 seconds behind, now it is six or seven tenths, so we have halved it. We will not stop working until we reach the performance of the car."

Alonso emphasised that he gained great satisfaction from clinching second place ahead of Mark Webber’s Red Bull after the final round of pit stops at Valencia, although Ferrari is going into the British GP on July 10 slightly worried that the nominated Pirelli tyre compound chosen for this right might be a touch too hard and thus might compromise their efforts to be fully competitive. 

However Pirelli moved quickly to assure all the teams that there would be no question of favouritism when it comes to finalising the tyre choice.

The Italian tyre maker’s director of motorsport Paul Hembery told AUTOSPORT: "It is a big challenge for us because we want to make sure that we have good racing. Equally, we don't want too many pitstops. Silverstone could be very hot - and if it is hot, fast and aggressive that for us is a big call.”