Sep.21 (GMM) Fernando Alonso is the clear favourite to win the 2012 title.
That is the view of the man who has won more Formula One championships than any other in history -- Michael Schumacher.
"The gap is still quite big," German Schumacher, who drives for Mercedes, is quoted in Singapore by the SID news agency.
"Lewis and Sebastian (Vettel) need to go on full attack while Fernando can focus on protecting his points," said the 43-year-old.
"We saw that most recently in Monza, where he drove very cautiously and carefully," said Schumacher.
It is clear, however, that Ferrari is still on the attack.
"After the last two or three races, we can say that McLaren is also the favourite here," said Alonso, a two-time Singapore Grand Prix winner, "but our goal is to fight for pole position and win the race."
Some reports say the F2012 has been heavily revised for Singapore, after a less competitive performance on the similarly high-downforce Hungaroring in late July.
"There is nothing big. Just some details," a Ferrari spokesman told the Marca newspaper.
But another Ferrari source insisted: "We have a very good car for this track and for Japan."
At the recent Magny Cours young drivers test, Ferrari's Jules Bianchi and Davide Rigon tested a new front wing, and developments at the rear of the car.
Italy's Autosprint said a new diffuser is arriving from Maranello on Friday.
"If it is true that in Hungary we were not very competitive," Alonso is quoted as saying in Singapore, "is a different matter here."
The Mercedes is also sporting some significant updates in Singapore, the main one being a 'Coanda' exhaust.
"We suffered recently because the others had developments," Michael Schumacher. "Now we're getting some new things."