SUZUKA, Japan (AP) — Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso says keeping the 2013 Formula One title chase alive will not be his top priority in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.
Championship leader Sebastian Vettel would clinch his fourth straight title on Sunday if the Red Bull driver wins and Alonso, his closest rival, finishes ninth or worse.
However, Alonso said he is more concerned with the race for the constructors' championship. Ferrari has 284 points, just one ahead of Mercedes with five races left.
"The aim is definitely not just to finish in the first eight to keep the championship alive, because if Vettel doesn't win here, he will do it in one of the next races," Alonso said. "Now we need to pick up points for second place in the constructors' championship and for that we need to finish ahead of Mercedes, who are only one point behind us."
Vettel's teammate Mark Webber claimed pole position on Saturday and will be joined on the front row by Vettel. Alonso finished eighth in qualifying and will start from the fourth row.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton starts on the second row while his teammate Nico Rosberg lines up on the third row with Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa.
Alonso has been consistently in the top eight this season, although he was an uncompetitive sixth in last weekend's Korean Grand Prix.
Alonso, who won in Japan in 2006 and 2008, trails Vettel by 77 points in the drivers' standings.