At the end of winter testing, Ferrari's team principal Stefano Domenicali shared his thoughts on how he expects the season to take shape. He highlighted that especially in the first races, reliability will be the most important factor.
Just like most other competitors, the Italian believes Ferrari could do with a bit more testing mileage to prepare itself for the start of the season, even though it isn't too bad compared to its competitors.
“The rule changes for this season have been so radical that I’d say to get a consensus you would need further tests before the championship gets underway. In our case, we are taking a lot of data back home, which we will now analyse in depth. Some aspects deserve more attention to achieve the performance level we are looking for, while others maybe just need a bit of fine tuning. Once back in Maranello, we will do all in our power to rectify the things that aren’t working properly yet, so that we can be as well prepared as possible in Melbourne.”
In winter testing, it became clear that Williams and Mercedes appear to be in great shape to start the season as both ran fairly reliably and usually competed against each other for the fastest times.
“I believe, we could see big changes from the first race to the second and from the second to the third", Domenicali said. "With everyone bringing in developments all the time. At first, reliability will be the key, because without it you don’t score points. I also think that some teams that are struggling at the moment will be able to catch up, while teams that currently seem to have a slight advantage could see a plateau in their performance, allowing the others to close the gap. From what we have seen so far, there are two teams out in front, Mercedes and Williams. After them, it could be us.”
Domenicali does admit though that a lot of work remains to get ready for Melbourne. In fact, there's a lot more work to be done than can be finished in time, hence difficult choices have to be made.
“From our side, we know there is still a mountain of things for our engineers to develop. What I’m interested in and what I have specifically requested is that we define a list of priorities and stick to it. One aspect we will definitely be looking at is the relationship between the turbo engine and the electric energy recovery systems and there’s much to do in this area. On the other hand, we return to Maranello knowing that the figures we saw from the car during the design phase have been correlated at the track and that’s already a good starting point.”