Ferrari technical director Pat Fry says the focus of the Maranello-based outfit is currently on trying to improve qualifying performance heading into the third race of the new season in China this weekend.
Thus far, the new F138 has been a solid performer on race day but has lacked pace over a single lap – something that could also be said for last year's F2012.
Speaking ahead of the Shanghai race, Fry said that was something the team was eager to now work on with the 2013 machine, with the team feeling there was still plenty more to come in qualifying trim.
“We've shown reasonable race pace and on all the tyre types we have used so far we have performed well, however we still have a way to go to be quickest in qualifying and we are working very hard on that at the moment,” he said. “We've been concentrating on the longer runs, even if they are not as long as in the past, because this year we expect more pit stops during a race.
“However, we have not ignored our qualifying pace. I am sure there is more to come on this front, as we learn more about our car and start getting the best out of it. The key will be to try and move our car development programme forward quicker than the other teams do. It's a tough cycle that will last all year and we need to at least match our 2012 development pace if we are to perform better in qualifying.
“So far, we have worked well, all the way through from design to manufacture, improving on how we did things last year in terms of actually getting new bits onto the car. Also, our aero correlation is better.”
Ferrari will be seeking its first win of the new season this weekend in China, but Fry added that it was too early to say if the Shanghai circuit was one where the team would be strong.
“Shanghai is a challenging mix of different corner types and a 1.2 kilometre straight,” he said. “Is it going to suit our car better than some others? It is too early to say, as there are too many unknowns. For example, it will be the first weekend this year that we will use the Pirelli Soft compound, along with the Medium. At the end of this Grand Prix, we will have a clearer picture of how all the tyres compare to one another.
“To some degree, Shanghai will be another learning exercise for everyone, although we can say that our pace, relative to the other teams, has been okay on all the tyres we have tried so far.”