While Alpine had a problem free three days in Bahrain during winter testing, it doesn't look as though Fernando Alonso believes the team have the pace to really make their mark in the midfield battle just yet.
The French outfit completed the three days of winter testing in Bahrain with just under 400 laps completed, good enough for fourth overall. However their solid, if unspectacular pace, was noted by Alonso.
"Alonso is like a bull despite the accident, the progressing years and whatever they want to say," Spanish journalist Antonio Lobato told Radio Marca.
"The Alpine has reliability. I inquired about it with Fernando and he told me that while their work is complete, 'we are a little slow'."
In terms of the rest of the grid, Lobato pointed out that Mercedes remain the team to beat despite their struggles, though he believes Red Bull have closed the gap.
"The cars are a continuation of last year, so there have been no great improvements," Lobato stated. "Mercedes are the standouts and the team to beat, but it was seen by all that they have a nervous car. The great advantage that Hamilton has is that it is a beast entering the curves. I see it a bit like what happened at the end of week: on Friday they were nervous but on Saturday when they had to bounce back they did it.
"The tests are not reality, but it seems that Red Bull are closer. Ferrari have some positives because they completed so many laps and did not have reliability issues."