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Montezemolo: It's been tough but Ferrari can improve 12 Apr 2011

Luca di Montezemolo (ITA) Ferrari President.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 19, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Saturday, 13 November 2010 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 150 Italia leads Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 150 Italia.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 10 April 2011 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 150 Italia makes a pit stop to change his damaged front wing. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 10 April 2011 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 150 Italia.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 10 April 2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB7 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 150 Italia battle for position.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 10 April 2011

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has admitted that his team are going to have to dig deep to recover from their slow start to the 2011 season, but he is optimistic that they can turn things around. After two Grands Prix, the Maranello outfit are third in the constructors’ standings with 36 points - half the number scored by championship leaders Red Bull.

"I am definitely not satisfied with the way the season has begun, but I have complete faith in the people here, who know how to react when the situation is tough,” Montezemolo told Ferrari’s official website.

"I am sure there will be an amazing response. I know everyone is working flat out and I have great faith in the human and technical strengths of our people. I believe the period when the most we can hope for is a podium will soon come to an end."

The 150° Italia displayed strong race pace in Australia last month and at Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, but drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have found themselves constrained by the car’s relatively poor qualifying pace. In Sepang, for example, Alonso and Massa qualified in fifth and seventh and, despite their best efforts, finished the Malaysian event in sixth and fifth.

“In the race, I saw Ferrari at the same level as the best and barring a couple of incidents we were definitely heading for the podium,” continued Montezemolo. “I also spoke at length with Alonso for get his impressions of the car and I could tell he was confident in how things went in the race, even if we have a lot of work to do to improve."

But while Montezemolo is certain the team will eventually solve the car’s issues, he is expecting another tricky Grand Prix in China this weekend.

“I hope we see some improvement, especially in qualifying and to see us be as competitive as we were in the (Malaysian) race," he said. "But I reckon that will be difficult as I don't think Ferrari can turn it around in the space of a week. I know from (team principal) Stefano Domenicali that everyone has got their heads down working hard.”

After Sunday's Malaysian event Domenicali, technical director Aldo Costa and deputy technical director Pat Fry elected to return to Ferrari’s Maranello factory to help push the team’s development pace forward in person.

“The main problem we need to deal with is our performance the day before the race in qualifying which is not at the same level as the teams that are currently best,” explained Domenicali. “It is vital for us to react immediately, because we have seen how rapidly things can change in Formula One. Back at the factory we have to have a big push to understand our lack of performance.

“We need to push a lot to upgrade our aero package because aerodynamics is the key to it all. We need to understand as soon as possible why the performance on track has not matched the figures coming out of the wind tunnel. If we have not a clear picture, then we need to change the direction of the work we are doing in terms of development.”

Ferrari will be back in action at this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, which will get underway at the Shanghai track from April 15-17.

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