Ferrari bracing for a tough and closely fought season

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.

Ferrari is bracing itself for another closely-fought Formula One World Championship contest in 2013, after 2012 proved to be one  of the most dramatic seasons in memory.

Last year, no fewer than six separate teams won grands prix – a rarity in F1 – and for 2013 the regulations are not changing significantly.

“The stability of the regulations is always a condition that favours greater similarity in the performance of the competitors,” team boss Stefano Domenicali is quoted by Brazil’s O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.

“I don’t think anyone will come up with anything critical, as Brawn GP did in 2009 or Red Bull in 2011, to create a great imbalance,” the Ferrari chief added.

Steve Nielsen, Toro Rosso’s new sporting director, agrees.

“The operation of the exhaust to generate downforce will remain the key this year,” he is quoted.

“But the teams basically depleted the possibilities for discovering something really new in that area last year,” he added.

It is for that reason that some expect the drivers to have a greater influence than usual on the results in 2013.

“Lewis [Hamilton] arriving [at Mercedes] definitely strengthens Mercedes,” said Sir Jackie Stewart. “He is able to get more out of a car that is not the best than anyone else.

“Sorry…Fernando as well,” the triple world champion added.

Felipe Massa, however, thinks that even within the confines of the similar 2012-2013 rules, Ferrari still has room to improve.

“We finished the last season well,” said the Brazilian. “Not as well as McLaren and Red Bull, but we may have been the fastest in development.

“Our margin for progress is still great,” he insisted. (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.