February 26th (GMM).- Stefano Domenicali has admitted Ferrari will probably not field the fastest car at the 2013 season opener next month. For sure, the F138 is looking stronger than the F150 did a year ago.
Indeed, based on the results of the opening two tests of the pre-season, most rivals and pundits think world champion Red Bull is still in the lead.
Veteran correspondent Roger Benoit, of the Swiss newspaper Blick, ranks Lotus second in his early 2013 pecking order, followed by McLaren and then last year's runner-up Ferrari.
"The target is to be close together with the leading cars," Maranello based Ferrari's team boss Domenicali told Reuters.
"I would be very surprised if it (the F138) was the quickest at the first race. But if we are all close together in a couple of tenths, then the season is really long and everything is possible."
Last year, Ferrari and Fernando Alonso fought back into contention after a dire start, and both the Spanish driver and Felipe Massa have said the F138 is on "a different planet" compared to what they had early in 2012.
"It's another world. It's a totally different situation but we cannot underestimate that everyone is doing a good job, and as far as we can see from the tests I don't see a lot of changes in respect of what we saw at the end (of last year)." Domenicali said.
Still, their 2013 machine will probably not be dominant, the Team Principal warns.
"We need to make sure that we are close to the best car and then the team and drivers have to make the difference.
“In Australia it is not the end of the championship, it's just the start. We need to be careful and stay cool." He added.
It’s been five championships since the last Formula 1 crown was awarded to a Ferrari driver and to the team on the constructor’s side. It was 2007, the year Kimi Raikkonen snatched the title out of both McLaren drivers: Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.