Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo has played down suggestions that the Prancing Horse may be poised to ride roughshod over the Formula One pack, claiming that its Bahrain GP result should not be taken as a guide to the season ahead.
Fernando Alonso led Felipe Massa in a 1-2 for the Scuderia in Sakhir, but inherited the victory after polesitter Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull went lame in the closing stages. Although Alonso insisted that he was biding his time before looking for a passing opportunity, race form suggests that that may have been harder than the Spaniard expected had Vettel's car remained healthy.
The Ferrari result was still a notable return to form after a frustrating 2009, in which the now departed Kimi Raikkonen took its only victory and Massa succumbed to a serious head injury, but, although he has lauded Alonso's arrival, de Montezemolo is urging caution when predicting the balance of power for the rest of 2010.
"We need some great humility in this race," the 62-year old urged in the run-up to this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, "We know that we have to work and there is still lots to be improved, such as performance and reliability - it's important to stay realistic.
"In Melbourne, it will be fundamental to have a good qualifying on Saturday because, as usual on city circuits, to start from the front will determine the final outcome."
Montezemolo's view echoes that of the current championship leader, with Alonso insisting that no-one should get carried away by the 1-2 result in Bahrain.
“It gave us confidence and was a great result for the hard work during the winter on the track and at the factory, but we can't take anything for granted," the Spaniard admitted earlier in the week, "We have to stay with our feet on the ground, keeping calm and staying concentrated.
“In Melbourne we're starting from square one. Nothing has changed for me - there are four teams and eight drivers who can fight for victory, and we have to give it our all to stay ahead of everybody else.”