Ferrari has hinted that it may be prepared to abandon its push for Formula 1 glory in 2009 in favour of focussing entirely on 2010 if the current situation has not dramatically improved after the next couple of races, but Stefano Domenicali is insistent that there is 'no reason to panic' in its efforts to play catch-up, despite its worst start to a season in almost three decades.
The last time the Scuderia
had no points on the board after the opening three grands prix was all the way back in 1981, and the team has never gone through the first four races without scoring – ramping up the pressure substantially for this weekend's outing in Bahrain, where Felipe Massa has triumphed for the past two years in succession and Ferrari has won more often than it has lost.
The Maranello-based outfit is now pinning its hopes of a comeback on its 'double-decker' diffuser and new aerodynamic components for the struggling F60, but it is equally well aware that reliability needs to be greatly improved too, with Massa having failed to see the chequered flag in both Australia and China due to mechanical woes – on the latter occasion arguably losing a podium position.
One cause for concern is the controversial KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) technology, which Ferrari dropped for the first time in Shanghai over durability fears – but is hoping to re-instate in Sakhir. Should that and the introduction of the split-level diffuser not prove to be the catalyst for a significant upturn in form by the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona in just under three weeks' time, team principal Domenicali has suggested that development efforts may then turn wholeheartedly towards the F60's successor.
“We will see where we are after Spain,” the Italian is quoted as having said by the Associated Press
. “We need to stay cool. There is no reason to get in panic mode because that would be worse.
“There are too many things that can change very quickly. The priority is to move from zero points.”