Ferrari team prinicpal Stefano Domenicali has admitted the Scuderia need to give Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa a much better car if they are to stop the 'probably uncatchable' Sebastian Vettel.
The Maranello-based outfit had another rather mediocre weekend in Malaysia and while Domenicali felt a podium was definitely a possibility, in the end the squad had to settle for a 5-6 finish and just 18 more championship points. It is not the start to the season that was envisaged and he has promised they will bring out some developments 'as soon as they can', with some possibly even being introduced next week in China.
“We cannot be pleased with this result, because today, we had the possibility to finally leap up onto the podium,” Domenicali said after the second round in the F1 2011 World Championship. “Two incidents, linked one to a reliability issue (a failure of the moveable rear wing on Fernando's car) and one at a pit stop (a problem with the left front at Felipe's first stop) cost us very dear. It's a shame, because in terms of race pace the 150º Italia seemed much more competitive when compared to its qualifying performance, as we had already seen in Melbourne.
“Once again today one driver, Vettel, was probably uncatchable but we were capable of fighting with all the others. Felipe and Fernando both drove great races: it's up to us to give them a better car. We find ourselves in a situation where we need to be perfect to maximise our potential, given that we are lagging behind in terms of performance: we did not manage that and we must do all in our power to avoid that situation repeating itself.
“At the same time, we have to seriously ramp up the development of our car to make up the lost ground compared to the best.
“We will try and complete an analysis of the aerodynamics of the car as quickly as possible and introduce some developments as soon as we can, maybe right from the next race in China.”
Ferrari technical director Pat Fry meanwhile echoed those thoughts in his own post-race blurb.
“Today we had the potential to pick up rather more than these 18 points, but we didn't manage it, which leaves a slightly bitter taste in the mouth,” he continued. “Fernando could have made it to the podium, but the coming together with [Lewis] Hamilton, which led to the front wing breaking, meant he had to make an additional pit stop. Unfortunately, the Spaniard had to tackle the duel with his former team-mate at a disadvantage, as he was unable to use the DRS which failed after a few laps because of a mechanical problem.
“Felipe lost valuable position at his first pit stop because of a problem with the wheel nut on the left front wheel, otherwise he too could have been fighting for a podium place.
“From a strategic point of view, we scheduled three stops and that proved to be correct. Today, tyre degradation was less than what we had seen on Friday afternoon. The 150º Italia showed it had a good race pace, as indeed was the case in Melbourne.
“We leave Malaysia aware that we have a lot of work to do to raise our performance level and there can be no doubt about that, but it is also the case that, in the race, the gaps are not as big as in qualifying.”