Ferrari has reacted in a 'rational' manner to its worst start to a Formula 1 World Championship campaign in 28 years in 2009, Stefano Domenicali has underlined – with absolutely no room for 'emotions' if the Scuderia
is to get its challenge back on-track and achieve its goal of fighting for title glory.
As the defending constructors' champions, Ferrari was widely expected to be at the forefront of the action once again this season – but the reality has been anything but. Not only has the F60 proven to be off the pace, but neither 2008 drivers' chase runner-up Felipe Massa nor former F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen have thus far notched up any points at all – and if such a situation persists following this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir, it will mark the Maranello-based outfit's most abject start to a campaign in history. Be that as it may, team principal Domenicali warns, this is no time for histrionics.
“For sure we are not happy at all,” he acknowledged, “but that is the nature of the situation. It is obvious, but what I can confirm to you is that all the people inside FIAT are reacting to the negative start to the season with a positive attitude, as that is the only way to do it. If you go with the mistaken way of approaching things with emotions and with no rational idea it is even worse. We understand that the pressure is outside.
“It is part of the game and it is normal – the only thing we have to do is work and react. We know that we have a lot of things to do in all the different areas, but what I would say is disappointing is that for sure in the first three races, in the way that the situation has evolved, we should have taken some points even if we did not show the best package in terms of the car. That is the biggest disappointment that we have now.”
Indeed, with no changes to the F60 since Shanghai, Ferrari knows it is likely to face another tough weekend in Bahrain – a race it has won for the past two years in succession. On the positive side, Domenicali does see the potential for 'massive' future development with its new split-level diffuser – a 'prototype' of which he contends should be ready to run in the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona in a fortnight's time – even if he admits that improvements 'will take time' and concedes that there may have to come a point where the team simply admits defeat and switches its full focus to 2010.
“We know that we have done the maximum that we can in order to anticipate everything that we can,” the Italian urged, “but I do not want to say that there will be a break point because we will not give up. We need to push up to the moment where really, mathematically, it's impossible, because it is not the nature of the way that we normally work.
“We know that all our competitors are working flat-out and we will see. The only thing that will be different is really now the rate of development. If we have a different slope with a higher corner, maybe we can catch up. If we are slower, for sure it will be very difficult.”
On the subject, finally, of the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA), Domenicali stressed the importance of equality from team to team and of having 'the same profile for everyone', suggesting that the 'double-decker' diffuser row has in effect created two different playing fields in the top flight in the early part of 2009 – one for the haves, and the other for the have-nots.
“We should think of how many things have changed over the last year,” he stated. “If you look back, even if you look back further, you see many times we have had to change the lines on what we wanted to do. For sure, this is not helping the situation. I know that we need to be pro-active and react to the general situation that we have, that's for sure, but we don't have to over-react when we change something.
“I think what is not good in this situation is that we have too many things that are different from car to car and from team to team, and it's difficult from the outside to understand that we are doing the same championship – this is one fundamental point that we have to avoid for the future. I think on that, both the FIA and FOM (Formula One Management) and the teams should make sure that this is not going to happen in the future. We need to have stability; we need to have the same profile for everyone.”