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Ferrari: We have our work cut out to catch Mercedes

18 Mar 2014

Ferrari say that increasing the efficiency of their F14 T car is paramount if they are to close the performance gap to pre-season favourites and Australian Grand Prix winners Mercedes.

Both Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen scored points in Melbourne, taking the flag in fourth and seventh places respectively, but with Alonso finishing over half a minute down on victor Nico Rosberg, the Italian team know they have much to do.

“While we can take some satisfaction from the reliability shown by the F14T, it is clear that we have our work cut out to improve our car in order to compete on equal terms with the Mercedes team,” technical director James Allison told the Ferrari website.

After qualifying fifth in Albert Park, Alonso was unable to progress any further in the race (only Daniel Ricciardo’s exclusion elevated him to fourth), and although his fastest lap was less than two-tenths down on Rosberg’s, it was set near the end of the Grand Prix on a light fuel load, whereas the German’s was recorded on lap 19.

“There is plenty about the F14T that is working very well,” stressed Allison. “The starts and the pace in the corners - especially the high speed ones - are particular strong points, but we need to work further on the stability under braking and the speed on the straights.”

Ferrari have been plagued by poor starts to the championship in recent years, but Allison believes that the wide-ranging rule changes for 2014 mean that there should be the chance for them to make dramatic in-season gains.

“All the recent seasons in F1 have been characterised by a fierce development battle from March until November,” he said. “With all the new regulations this year, the opportunities to improve the car are legion and we can expect the race to improve the cars to be even more intense than normal.

“Our competitiveness was not acceptable in Melbourne, but we intend to fight our way back up the grid with the improvements that we will bring to the car.”

After the Australian race, Ferrari lie third in the constructors’ standings on 18 points, 15 behind leaders McLaren and seven behind Mercedes.