Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali says his team is now working 'day and night' to improve its F2012 before the start of the European leg of the F1 season.
The team sits fourth in the championship standings after the opening four fly-away races, although more than half of its total came thanks to Fernando Alonso's surprise victory in Malaysia.
Speaking as Ferrari returned to Maranello to start planning for next week's test at Mugello, Domenicali admitted that the team had always known it was going to be a difficult start to the season after a troubled winter testing programme and said the focus now was on improving the car ready for the Spanish Grand Prix next month.
“A first cycle of four races came to an end and so we can make a very early first assessment,” he said. “Clearly we cannot be happy with the way our season began but, after the winter tests, we knew the first four races would be very tough. We managed to limit the damage, especially in the Drivers' championship, in which Fernando Alonso is fifth, just ten points off the leader. However, it is equally clear that now we must step up a gear, right from the next race. Our engineers are well aware of this and are working day and night to give our drivers a much more competitive car than we have seen on track in these first four races.
“The coming days will be very important, during which the primary objective will be to push as hard as possible on the development of the car: next week we have three days of testing at Mugello, but it's not definite that all the updates planned for Barcelona will be seen then. We must try and make the most of every minute available to us to increase the performance of the F2012.”
Domenicali added that Ferrari was looking to the long-term with changes being made to ensure there is no repeat of the issues that have been faced this season.
“We are intensifying the process of changing our working procedures in all areas and, at the same time, we are strengthening our efforts in areas where we are weakest, such as aerodynamics. It's a long term project and one that President Montezemolo is studying at first hand and it is vital to the future of the Scuderia.
“Formula 1 has changed so much these past few years and we have not always been up to speed with these changes. In this area too we need to step up a gear.”