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Domenicali: Podium 'encouraging start' to F1 2013
19 March 2013
Stefano Domenicali was far from down-hearted after Fernando Alonso lost out on victory in the 2013 F1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on Sunday.
"From our side it is for sure encouraging to have a good start, no doubt," said the Ferrari team principal. "I said at the beginning our target was the podium, and we did that.
"We are leading the constructors' championship, and this is a good sign for the people at home who are working quite hard," Domenicali added, before going on to sound a note of caution.
"For sure we need to be prudent because this is only the first race," he said. "The championship is for sure very long.
"There will be so many things that will change in the next couple of races in terms of understanding, in terms of race preparation, in terms of tyre management," he pointed out.
"We need to be solid in the points where we are strong, and improve where we need to improve. For sure the championship this year will be very intense this year up to the last race."
Domenicali said that he'd predicted the competition would be very tight at Albert Park, and had been proven right.
"We had a group of cars that is quite competitive," he said. "We saw Red Bull very strong [in qualifying], Mercedes very strong as expected.
"We saw a different picture during the race," he continued. "We saw a very consistent Lotus, with a good race pace," he said, adding that he'd expected as much from the pre-season testing at Jerez and Barcelona in Spain.
"For sure, the global picture of what I've seen during these two days, three days - very intense, more or less what I was expecting if you look back at the testing.
"Red Bull has been always the best team in the last couple of years so they will for sure try to understand what was not right in their situation with regards to tyre management," he cautioned. "And don't be surprised if you see McLaren recovering the situation very soon, because they are a great team, so they will do it very soon."
But with only a few days between the season opener in Australia and round two at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, there is little time for McLaren to turn things around in time for Kuala Lumpur - which means that it's better to be Ferrari right now, knowing that things are coming together nicely.
"We need to be focused on our job, maximise our situation and our package because to focus on ourselves is the only thing we can do," agreed Domenicali. "What the others will do is not something that I can really influence.
"If we can distract them we will do it - but I would prefer to stay focused on our job," he said.