Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo insists that the team can't afford a slow start again in the 2013 F1 season if it wants to emerge victorious in the title race.
The team struggled in the early stages of the 2012 campaign, with Fernando Alonso's surprise victory in Malaysia giving the team an unrepresentative position in the standings before the return to Europe – where it finally started to turn a corner with the F2012.
Strong drives from Alonso through the middle of the campaign allowed him to establish a healthy lead in the points race but the Spaniard was ultimately unable to see off the challenge of Sebastian Vettel when the Red Bull man hit a rich vein of form late in the year.
Despite the obvious disappointment of missing out on the title, di Montezemolo admitted that there was a sense of pride in the way Ferrari had remained in contention to the finish despite its problems, but said that there could be no repeat next year if it wants to win the titles.
“Not winning the title is the cause for great sorrow and great regret, because we always want to win and we came close,” di Montezemolo said. “I am proud of the work done by the team in having produced the most reliable car, for never having got the strategy wrong and for making no mistakes at the pit stops. Right to the end, the team did its duty.
“[However] even if we are the team that scored the most points in the last five races, even if I was pleased to see our two drivers on the podium yesterday, we lacked a car quick enough to get us to the front of the grid and that was the main problem we had all season.
“What happened this year stems what happened the previous year. On this topic, I will be asking for an in-depth analysis and an improvement in the organisation and work methods, because next year, we want to have a winning car right from the first race, which has not been the case these last two years.”
Di Montezemolo added that he had no doubt that Alonso would be a contender for the title in 2013 if the team can given him the right car.
“He will react like the whole team: the team is working to achieve what I have asked of them, which is to have a car that is quick out of the box and immediately competitive,” he said. “Fernando will react in his way, pushing even harder, aware that he will be unbeatable in a competitive car.”