Berlin - Ferrari’s F1 boss says the team is under pressure to improve its Formula One car quickly, after a stuttering start, in order give Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen a realistic world title chance.
Stefano Domenicali has told the official Formula One website that the team must “make sure that we give them the best car we can. That is the urgent need, and it has to happen very soon.”
Alonso finished fourth in the opening two season races in Australia and Malaysia, and is evidently looking to improve on that in Bahrain this coming Sunday. Raikkonen, who won the last drivers' title for the scuderia in 2007 and returned to the team this season, was seventh in Australia and 12th in Malaysia.
“So far Fernando has proven to be fast immediately. Kimi needs some time to understand the car, but you can see he is getting there. I am sure from the drivers' side there will not be a problem,” Domenicali said.
Domenicali admitted that Mercedes is the team to beat after shining in the pre-season and winning the opening races with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
“If Mercedes keeps the pace it will be very difficult to match them,” he said.
Domenicali said that teams and engine manufacturers like Mercedes had an advantage after the sweeping rule changes because they can draw on their wide range of technology and expertise in all areas. But he said Ferrari is ready for the challenge and has invested heavily in development equipment that it didn't have in the past.
“We need to work to have a more efficient car; we need to work to have a better engine; we need to work to exploit better the balance between electric power and traditional engine power. Everywhere!” he said.
“Sure it was more difficult for us - and we knew that. But that is the beauty of the challenge. We have to fight so that we can keep up ... we love the challenge - it has always been part of Ferrari's nature and heritage.”