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Ferrari prioritise becoming second-best 2014 team

15 Apr 2014

After experiencing their least competitive showing of the season in Bahrain, Ferrari’s engineering director Pat Fry has said that the team’s short-term priority is to establish themselves as the second-best team in F1 racing - not to catch runaway championship leaders Mercedes.

Following the race in Sakhir, in which Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen claimed ninth and tenth places respectively, the Italian team undertook a detailed evaluation of their F14 T in a bid to extract more speed from a car it was hoped would challenge for the world title.

“Since the Bahrain race, it’s been a very busy time for us, as we examined all areas of car performance from the power unit to suspension configurations and aerodynamic improvements,” Fry said in an interview on Ferrari's website.

“We are naturally working as hard as we can on closing the gap to the top teams, with Mercedes having a reasonable lead over the rest of the field.

"Currently, our first priority is to establish ourselves as the second best team. We are looking at all areas of the car - power unit, aero, suspension. We are trying to make as big a step as we can for each and every race.”

Whilst Ferrari admit that the characteristics of the Bahrain circuit highlighted the weaknesses of the F14 T - in particular its suspected horsepower disadvantage - they are hopeful of a more competitive showing at this weekend’s race in Shanghai.

“China’s an interesting track with a good mix of corner types,” Fry explained. “It begins with the long slow speed corners early in the lap, then a mix of high speed ones in the middle sector, plus a very long straight, about 1.3 kilometres worth, where you need to tune the cars for maximum top speed.

“However, even with this straight, normally in Shanghai, you find yourself running more towards the top end of the downforce range and with that long straight providing the one real overtaking opportunity, I’m sure everyone will be looking to trade off speed to make sure you can both attack and defend.”

The race in China will be the first for Ferrari’s new team principal Marco Mattiacci, who replaced Stefano Domenicali earlier this week.