Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has warned fans of the Scuderia not to expect a turnaround in form ahead of Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix,
The Italian joined technical director Pat Fry in travelling back to Maranello between the Australian and Malaysian rounds but, with just a week between races, admits that there was little the team could do to turn around the disappointing performance of the F2012. Neither Fernando Alonso or Felipe Massa made the top ten shoot-out qualifying in Melbourne, although the Spaniard's exit was, admittedly, self-inflicted after spinning into the gravel.
"For sure, I'm disappointed by the performance of the car, no doubt, but, on the other hand, what I need to make sure is that, at home, we need to push on the development of the car because we know what are the problems with this car from the other weekend," Domenicali explained, "Nothing has changed on that. I am confident that our engineers will solve the issues we have as quickly as possible because, in such a close field, a little step makes a difference and, in such a close battle, when you are in a difficult moment, you need to score points because everything can happen.
"I'm not happy as I said, but not to be happy doesn't help, and I've asked my engineers to be focused on the job because that is what they have to do. In one week, I think it is important at least [that] we have identified issues on the car and we are working at home to solve it. At the moment, we need to maximise what we're doing on the track and that's it. In the race, everything can happen, so we need to be focused then. With no magic stick, you can't do anything."
Massa's poor form in both pre-season testing and at the opening round in Melbourne has led to some sections of the Italian media to call for the Brazilian to be replaced, with the likes of Jarno Trulli and Adrian Sutil being mentioned as possible replacements. Domenicali, however, insists that the team will be doing all it can to make Massa's life easier, even though there was again a sizeable performance gap between his two drivers in opening practice.
"We had a programme today with some changes on the car to verify some different configurations and tomorrow we will have the best package because, in this moment, I would say, for him, it's important to feel the confidence around him," he reasoned, "And not only him because the team has a lot of pressure.
"In terms of what we have seen today, we were trying to work with different programmes on two different drivers and, tomorrow, we will see the situation. Today, there is nothing I can say that is going in one direction or the other. The work of today was done in order to make sure that, tomorrow, Felipe has the best car in the best condition. This is the thing we have to give to him.
"On the other hand, what we did was to make sure that the focus on the programme has to be there at home with the engineers, mainly in the aerodynamic department. I've asked Pat to be spot on, on the case, in order to make sure that now that there is a lot of meat on the fire, we need to make sure this meat will be delivered as quickly as possible, as there is no time to lose."