Domenicali: We can’t be happy how testing went considering our goals

Stefano Domenicali (ITA) Ferrari General Director.  Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday 14 October 2011.
Stefano Domenicali is not happy.

Mar.6 (PVM) Ferrari have admitted that they are not happy with where they stand after twelve days of Formula 1 pre-season testing, with team principal Stefano Domenicali and Fernando Alonso coming out at Maranello to rally the troops as the team step up another gear to sort out the ‘complex’ F2012 ahead of the forthcoming Australian GP.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012 with rear wing covered. Formula One Testing, Day 4, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday 4 March 2012.
One wonders what Ferrari had to hide in Barcelona?

Speaking to team staff on Monday, Domenicali declared, “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 has [yet] to start.”

“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,” said the team boss.

At the same meeting, Fernando Alonso echoed Domenicali’s words, ““Above all I want to thank you all for the work you’ve done. These were some very intense months and weeks and I know that you’re giving it your all, that you’re working 24/7 on the track and here at the Works to provide me and Felipe [Massa] with a strong car.”

Adding, “The new single-seater has some characteristics, which are difficult to understand and maybe we’re not where we want to be yet. But we’ve all lived through many F1 seasons and we all know very well that until we’re in Australia we don’t really know where we stand regarding the others.”

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari. Formula One Testing, Day 3, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday 3 March 2012.
Fernando Alonso watches the action on his day off in Barcelona

Reports that Ferrari are in trouble with the F2012, ahead of the season opener in Australia, have been gathering steam especially in Italy where the media have high expectations of their ‘national’ F1 team.

The Spaniard alluded to this unique pressure on the Scuderia, saying, “There’s lots of talk and many ideas, but nobody knows the truth. For example yesterday Red Bull, considered by many to be the front-runner, had only a few laps and the last time on the sheet: if something similar had happened to us, [all] hell would have broken loose, but here nobody really noticed it.”

“More than ever we have to give it our all to improve, from the one who’s responsible for the rear-view mirror to the one who’s responsible for the piston. We’re united and we’re giving it our all, because we all want the same,” said the double world champion.

“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,” concluded Alonso.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012. Formula One Testing, Day 4, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday 4 March 2012.
Fernando Alonso on track with Sebastian Vettel on the final day of testing in Barcelona

On Sunday, when asked in Barcelona if Ferrari expected to be on the podium in Melbourne, the team’s technical director Pat Fry replied, “In the hunt for the podium in Melbourne? At the moment I’d say no.”

The Englishman, who was recruited from McLaren in 2010, explained, ““We are disappointed with the performance level seen at these tests and I think we have a lot of work ahead of us. Clearly the decision relating to the exhausts that we took last week meant we took a few steps backwards in terms of development.”

“How much? Difficult to say right now. In testing, you can only make assumptions regarding what fuel loads the other cars are running and it will only be in Melbourne that we will get a clear answer as to whether we have to be very disappointed or just a little, how far we really are off the front runners and consequently how much ground we have to make up to get there,” said Fry.

Subbed by AJN.

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