Ferrari vow to bounce back in 2012 12 Jan 2012
They have gathered in the Dolomites to meet and greet the media and sample some winter sports, but away from the slopes Ferrari are using their annual Wrooom ski event to analyse their disappointing 2011 season and outline their strategy for this years campaign.
The Italian team struggled to match both Red Bull and McLaren in 2011 and, although driver Fernando Alonso claimed a well-deserved victory at Silverstone, they eventually finished a distant third in the constructors stakes.
We came very close (to winning the championship) in 2010, a long way off in 2011 and we want to win it in 2012, said Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo. Thats easy to say, but harder to do, but we have an extraordinary sense of determination to get it done. We will launch the new car on February 3 and my hope, and that of all our fans, is to have a car that is competitive right from the start.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali harbours equally high hopes for the teams 2012 challenger.
Winning is our primary objective and I believe we are preparing ourselves in the right way for this," Domenicali said. "Everyone is working hard on improving the performance of the car, paying great attention to every little detail. It is definitely different, because it represents a clear break with the past in terms of the design philosophy.
"Its not that pretty, because the shape defined by the technical regulations does not leave much scope, but, and this is what counts really, our hopes are that it is at the very least quick! I asked our engineers, as far back as last summer to look into every little nook and cranny of the rules to push it to the limit.
The 2011 season proved particularly disappointing for driver Felipe Massa, who failed to make the podium once and scored less than half of Alonsos points tally for the team. Massa, however, is confident he will return to his race-winning ways this year.
After the last Grand Prix of 2011 in Brazil, I told myself that we had to be more competitive at every level and thats exactly what we are doing, said the Brazilian. Something also needed to change on my side and now I feel mentally strong and extremely motivated. I am well aware that this is an important year for me.
I want to read in the papers that Felipe is back, fighting for the wins and to do that, we need everything to be right: if we have a good car then I know I can fight for the title, as I have already done in the past. Sure, it bothers me not having won for such a long time and I have a strong desire to win again: however, I am calm because I know what I am capable of.
Team mate Alonso, who took fourth in the 2011 drivers standings, is also hopeful about the season ahead but hes determined to stay level headed.
I reckon we will have to wait for at least two or three races, which means up to Shanghai, to really understand what the hierarchy is, he explained to the assembled media. Maybe some people think that the tests mean something, but that is not the case.
"On paper, we have everything in place to do well, but I can be neither optimistic nor pessimistic, partly because I have only seen the new car in the wind tunnel and from the diagrams on the engineers computers."
Although hesitant about making predictions for the season ahead, he did reveal he was pleased with the teams recent technical signings, which he believes will prove invaluable as the team target championship success.
All the newcomers are absolutely welcome because they represent a breath of fresh air for the team and bring a new package of experience to the team, he concluded. Hirohide Hamashima (formerly Bridgestones director of motorsport tyre development) is a good acquisition because he looks after an area, tyres, where we suffered last year: we did not manage to maximize our potential, especially with some of the compounds and we hope this situation can improve.
Alonso and Massa are expected to begin testing at the opening session of the winter schedule, which will take place at the Spanish circuit of Jerez from February 7-10.
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