Despite Pat Fry's assertion that he will not be happy unless the F138 is clearly faster than its rivals at the opening F1 race of the season in Melbourne, team principal Stefano Domenicali says the Scuderia is merely aiming to be in the same ballpark as the likes of Red Bull and Lotus.
If the Italian team is there or thereabouts, according to Domenicali, Fernando Alonso should be able to use the sort of form he showed last season to not only close the gap, but potentially put Ferrari ahead of the pack. The Spaniard had a far less competitive car at the start of 2012, but won in Malaysia and led the championship until the Japanese Grand Prix in September.
"The situation at the moment seems to be alright, alright with the programme that we have," Domenicali told Reuters
during the Motor Sport
magazine Hall of Fame inductions in London, "The target is to be close together with the leading cars. I would be very surprised if [the F138] was the quickest at the first race but, if we are all close together, within a couple of tenths, then everything is possible."
Domenicali agreed that the situation was very different from last year, when Ferrari feared the worst after being off the pace in testing, but insisted that the team could not afford to be complacent when faced with opposition that will be working just as hard to ensure that it sets the pace in Albert Park.
"It's another world, but we cannot underestimate that everyone is doing a good job,” he confirmed, “As far as we can see from the tests, I don't see a lot of changes in respect of what we saw at the end [of last year].
"We need to make sure that we are close to the best car and then the team and drivers have to make the difference. Australia is not the end of the championship, it's just the start, so we need to be careful and stay cool."