Domenicali: I would be very surprised if the F138 was the quickest

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F138

Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari F138

Ferrari are unlikely to have the fastest car when the Formula 1 season starts in Australia next month but they hope to be close enough for Fernando Alonso to make the difference, according to team principal Stefano Domenicali.

“The situation at the moment seems to be alright, alright with the programme that we have,” the Italian told Reuters at a Motor Sport magazine Hall of Fame event in London late on Monday.

“The target is to be close together with the leading cars… I would be very surprised if it was the quickest (car) at the first race. But if we are all close together in a couple of tenths, then the season is really long and everything is possible.”

Ferrari started last season with a car that was tricky to drive and some way off the pace but Alonso kept them in the hunt with some remarkable drives while the team pulled out all the stops to narrow the performance gap.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari and Stefano Domenicali (ITA) Ferrari General Director. Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday 20 July 2012.

Fernando Alonso with Stefano Domenicali

By mid-season, the Spaniard had a comfortable lead in the championship that was then eroded in the latter half by a resurgent Sebastian Vettel who reeled off a string of wins for Red Bull.

The end result was Vettel’s third successive title but the German and Alonso were still fighting for it all the way to the final race in Brazil.

Domenicali said the situation was very different from February last year, when Brazilian Felipe Massa first tested the F2012 and rang Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo to tell him the bad news.

“It’s another world,” said Domenicali. “It’s a totally different situation but we cannot underestimate that everyone is doing a good job, and as far as we can see from the tests I don’t see a lot of changes in respect of what we saw at the end (of last year).”

Fernando Alonso during Barcelona test

Fernando Alonso during Barcelona test

Eight drivers from four teams – Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Lotus – have been fastest over the eight days of testing so far although the Red Bull drivers have also sounded happy with their car’s performance.

Domenicali said the biggest challenge all teams faced in the first few races would be the new-version Pirelli tyres, designed to degrade quicker and create more pitstops.

“We need to make sure that we are close to the best car and then the team and drivers have to make the difference,” he added. “In Australia it is not the end of the championship, it’s just the start. We need to be careful and stay cool.”

  • Butterfly

    Here’s an idea, Stefano, how about you fire that retard in charge of design and hire the mighty Rory Byrne instead.

    Something tells me that’s exactly what Ferrari are planing on doing.

  • quattro

    “By mid-season, the Spaniard had a comfortable lead in the championship that was then eroded in the latter half by a resurgent Sebastian Vettel who reeled off a string of wins for Red Bull.”

    To be completly fair and correct, the editor should have mentioned that main reason for ALO loosing his “comfortable lead”, was (far from) that he was taken out not once but twice from behind – Both times it was Renault rookie drivers being too ambitious

  • McLarenfan

    Being honest Romain Grosjean worked for Red Bull last year

  • Imran

    ” Here’s an idea, Stefano, how about you fire that retard in charge of design and hire the mighty Rory Byrne instead.

    Something tells me that’s exactly what Ferrari are planing on doing.”

    are you even following the news?!!

  • fools

    actually it was Kimi and Romain Grosjean. Yes both Lotus drivers.

    Alonso to me did win it 2012. He was cheated. Thats obvious.

  • Butterfly

    Imran:

    Yes, I am.

  • MikeWon

    The remark seems too demoralizing to be anything other than a ploy to attract controversy. It is not surprising to hear of such contemptable utterances by some questionable sportsmen.