Domenicali: Ferrari will be in the battle to the end 07 Mar 2013
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali is confident that his team will be involved in the title fight from the off this season, after a promising winter test programme.
Unlike in 2012, when the Scuderia started the year off the pace of their leading rivals, Domenicali expects 2013's initial running order to be similar to that seen at the end of last season - with Ferrari firmly in contention.
I expect that the teams who finished in the top positions in Sao Paulo will repeat that in Melbourne, probably with a reduced advantage - thats what we are all hoping for, anyway, he said.
What are the factors that have convinced me that Ferrari has made a step forward? The new business structure, the working methods, the modifications to the equipment that we have used to work on this car, the consistency of the results compared with our targets and what we saw in the recent tests - these all seem to tell us that we are on the right path at last compared to the past.
So, to make an analysis that is purely centred on ourselves, unless someone else has done an exceptional job Im convinced that Ferrari will be in the battle to the end.
Although victory at the season-opener in Australia would provide a huge boost to Ferraris title ambitions, Domenicali insists that the team would be satisfied with less: A podium in Australia would be a good base on which to build the kind of successes we need, he said.
Whats more, apart from the actual performance of the car, our work in the wind tunnel is an element that gives us faith in the area of aerodynamics, where 90 percent of the performance comes from, so we can work with a certain calmness.
The stability of the rules is another guarantee that there wont be surprises with any exceptional creative solutions that make a big difference, and Im especially confident given the changes we made last year.
Given the rule stability, Ferraris chief designer Nick Tombazis believes that the two key performance factors in 2013 will be tyre usage and the development of exhaust systems.
With the exhaust exits we can reckon on updates during the season and while the differences might not be visible, they could offer a significant margin for improvement, he reasoned.
Of course, we wont be the only ones working on this area, the others will too. Bit by bit, as the regulations stay the same for longer, the room for invention decreases, but with the exhausts there is still much that can be done.
And when it comes to the tyres, keeping an eye on degradation will be very important, as being quick over a single lap will not be enough.
But whilst Ferrari have what Tombazis describes as a well defined development plan for 2013, Domenicali is mindful that the team must keep an eye on their 2014 car project.
Im sure that over the course of the season the competition will reduce because the demands on all the teams for the 2014 project cannot be underestimated, he said.
We are talking about a car that is completely different to what weve seen before and theres a risk of missing the boat: the smaller the organisation, the greater and the earlier the resources they will have to invest in the new project.
Meanwhile for the big teams, the exercise will be to balance the resources required to keep up the development to be competitive right to the end with the attention that needs to be dedicated to 2014 to avoid the risk of being left behind.
Ferrari have officially confirmed that Rory Byrne, the designer who oversaw the team's early 2000s dominance, will be contributing to their 2014 car project.
(He) has so much experience that it would be foolish not to involve him, said Tombazis.
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