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Domenicali confident Ferrari can make up ground

The 16-time constructors’ champions, coming off a disappointing campaign during which they failed to challenge Red Bull and McLaren, struggled during pre-season.

Stefano Domenicali : work to be done.
Stefano Domenicali : work to be done.
Image: OmniSports

FERRARI BOSS STEFANO Domenicali admits his team still have work to do ahead of the Formula One season opener.

The 16-time constructors’ champions, coming off a disappointing campaign during which they largely failed to challenge Red Bull and McLaren, struggled during pre-season testing.

Technical director Pat Fry has all but ruled out a podium finish at the Australian Grand Prix on March 18 after the struggles, and Domenicali said Ferrari needed to improve.

“It’s obvious that we can’t be happy with how the test went considering our goals, but let’s not forget that the championship still has to start,” he told staff at Ferrari’s Maranello base.

“This is just the starting point and we have a very long season ahead of us. We know that there are some areas where we have to work a lot, regarding reliability and performance, but I’m expecting some great responses from you all and the wish to show who we are.”

Ferrari were expected to be a serious contender this season after finishing a huge 275 points adrift of Red Bull in the constructors’ championship last campaign. But Spaniard Fernando Alonso and Brazilian Felipe Massa, who were fourth and sixth respectively in the drivers’ standings last year, struggled to make an impact during pre-season testing in Barcelona.

Alonso, the two-time world champion, said being at the top of the championship at the end of the season – not the start – was all that mattered.

“There’s lots of talk and many ideas, but nobody knows the truth. For example yesterday, Red Bull, considered by many to be the frontrunner, had only a few laps and the last time on the sheet,” he said.

“If something similar had happened to us, hell would have broken loose, but here nobody really noticed it. We’re united and we’re giving it our all, because we all want the same. I just want to remind you of an episode two years ago. At the last test in Barcelona we were fifth – behind Red Bull, McLaren, Sauber and Force India – and two weeks later we gained a one-two win in Bahrain.

“What counts is not to be first in the first race, but in November, at the end of the championship,” he added.

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