BARCELONA, March 4, 2012 (AFP) - Ferrari technical director Pat Fry admitted on Sunday that the Italian giants will struggle to make the podium at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in two weeks' time.
Fry was speaking after the final pre-season test wound up at Montmelo, a four-day session that saw former world champion Fernando Alonso manage only the fifth-fastest time of 1min 22.250sec from an exhausting 240 laps.
Team-mate Felipe Massa was ninth on the time charts overall with 1min 22.413sec after completing 227 laps.
Kimi Raikkonen, in a Lotus, was the fastest overall with Sergio Perez, in a Sauber, McLaren driver Jenson Button and Daniel Ricciardo, in the unheralded Toro Rosso, all finishing in front of the lavishly funded Ferraris.
"In the hunt for the podium in Melbourne? At the moment I'd say no," Fry told the Ferrari website.
"We are disappointed with the performance level seen at these tests and I think we have a lot of work ahead of us. Clearly the decision relating to the exhausts that we took last week meant we took a few steps backwards in terms of development.
"How much? Difficult to say right now. In testing, you can only make assumptions regarding what fuel loads the other cars are running and it will only be in Melbourne that we will get a clear answer as to whether we have to be very disappointed or just a little, how far we really are off the front runners and consequently how much ground we have to make up to get there."