Massa favorite for early '07 - Alonso (GMM) World champion Fernando Alonso has admitted that Ferrari will travel to the Australian grand prix as favorite.
The 25-year-old told Spanish television 'Telecinco' that he might have to wait until at least mid-season until his McLaren single seater is able to compete with its Maranello based rival.
"There were some tests at which they did not look so great," Spaniard Alonso said, after Ferrari's Felipe Massa dominated the final session of the pre-season this week in Bahrain.
Referring to Ferrari, he added: "Now their experience with Bridgestone has put them ahead of us.
"The reality is that they are very strong and in the first half of the season they will have the advantage.
"We are going to have to be defensive in the first races and then attack when we know that we can recover what we have lost," Alonso said.
While Ferrari has enjoyed an uninterrupted relationship with Bridgestone, departed supplier Michelin's former teams including McLaren have had to switch ahead of season '07.
Alonso agreed: "We are still learning about these tires.
"Everybody wants to be the best at the first race, but this car is what we have and it is a good basis."
The reigning back to back title winner insisted that Felipe Massa is likely to be the "big favorite" for Australia, despite early expectations that Kimi Raikkonen will set the pace at the Ferrari team.
"Everybody thought Kimi was simply going to replace Michael (Schumacher)'s speed," Alonso continued, "but the truth is that Felipe is going very quickly and is very determined."