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Domenicali: We Need To start with A Car That Is Equal To Our Competitors
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Ferrari
Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  01 Feb 2013   |  6:39 pm GMT  |  69 comments

Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali believes that this year’s car, the F138, must be on a par with its competitors from the outset in order to give the Maranello based squad their best chance of winning their first Formula One Championship since 2007.

Speaking at the launch of the car at Ferrari HQ today, Domenicali says that they must make amends for a slow start last year, which cost them Championship points in the early stages of the season, and hit the ground running in order to compete with McLaren and Red Bull.

“The key objective that we must have is of immediately delivering a competitive car to our drivers,” Domenicali acknowledged. “Unfortunately in recent years we have at the beginning of the winter not been able to be right on top of what we are doing. I don’t think we can expect a car that is much faster than the others – this would be fantastic. We have to keep our feet on the ground and have a car that is equal to our competition.”

Despite a poor start to the season, performance wise, Ferrari came very close to claiming the Drivers’ World Championship with Fernando Alonso last year, having led a large proportion of the season and finally ending the year just three points off Sebastian Vettel.  And although they held this lead, it was more a case of others having reliability issues, rather than Ferrari producing the fastest car on the grid.


Alonso agrees with Domenicali and believes that we will not see a reoccurrence of seven different winners in as many races, and his team will need to be fighting for victories from Melbourne through to Sao Paulo.

“It will be very difficult to repeat what we saw last year with seven different winners from the first seven races,” said Alonso. “That was a one off. With things a bit more stabilised, the top teams emerged at the end of last season, so I think highly there will be two or three teams who will win the majority of the race.” He added: “We need to be one of them.”

Alonso is most likely correct in his presumption of a more stable field, as this year brings relatively minor changes in design rules to what we saw in 2012. With this being the case a slip-up from any of the leading teams could see them suffer a larger points deficit then we saw during the mixed up early phase of last year.

The F138 will have its first track outing at Jerez next week at the hands of Felipe Massa and development driver, Pedro de la Rosa. Alonso will take part at the second pre-season test in Barcelona.

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69 Comments
  1. hero_was_senna says:

    Ferrari’s last World Championship was 2008. I’m assuming you meant their last Drivers title.

  2. Almidano A says:

    FERRARI! FERNANDO!
    This is the year of Fernando and Ferrari!

    Please my friends who support Scuderia Ferrari have faith in Stefano and in Pat Fry and all the team. Alonso will not fail to bring glory in the beautiful red car.

    1. Edison says:

      It is the same story since 2010. There we go again.

      1. Gudien says:

        **Edison** you’re quite right. One does get the feeling, however, that with few changes from last season the Ferrari will be closer to the competition than in the past.

        It’s a long season and a lot can happen.

      2. Edison says:

        **Gudien** indeed you are rigth. Ferrari hope to have a match car with Red Bull and McLaren. They think if the cars are matched, Alonso will make the difference. If McLaren do not delivery a winner car, 2013 will be 2 horses races with Alonso and Vettel fighting until Brazil.

    2. clyde says:

      Pat fry is no Adrian newley While Vettel is almost an Alonso ….And thats where the difference lies :-)

      1. F1fan4life says:

        Well said Clyde. Stefano its really simple to win the title you must have the fastest car. There is no need to discuss starts and finishes. Just look at the last world championships. In 2010 and 2012 Alonso simply drove better than the others and missed titles because of Ferrari. Because of Ferrari… the last world titles have gone to the guy in the fastest car. The fastest car has not been Ferrari in a long long time. Your drivers name is currently worth more than your teams name Stefano, in an F1 season.

  3. Seán Craddock says:

    “their best chance of winning their first Formula One Championship since 2007″

    *2008*

    1. Sam says:

      2012, 2011 and 2010 were Vettel. 2009 was Button, 2008 was Hamilton (hence the dream team of 2 British back to back champions in 2010). 2007 was KR in the Ferrari.
      No wonder James didn’t bother to reply to you guys. He knows what he is talking about.

      1. Seán Craddock says:

        Ferrari won the constructors championship in 2008

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        The article wasn’t posted by James..

      3. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Ferrari won the 2008 constructors championship.

    2. Simmo says:

      Driver’s title?

    3. Chris says:

      Ironic to, 2007 was a championship that Mclaren chucked away for Alonso and Ferrari should never have won it.

      Me thinks Domenicali is living on borrowed time!

  4. AJ says:

    Ferrari taking ideas from Sauber. Partnership with Man U on the cards?
    http://t.co/Tso6jz0U

    1. Anne says:

      Sounds a little bizarre. The Tifosi are going to hate that.Juventus would make more sense. Or Real Madrid because Alonso is a big fan.What´s in for McLaren, Arsenal?

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        I don’t see it Anne.
        Ferrari is owned by Fiat, who also own Juventus

      2. sasidharan says:

        Not with etihad written all over…

    2. Simmo says:

      Very intersting – lucky for them Man United logo is yellow and red!

    3. Moog says:

      That would be scary, the F1 equivalent of Fergie Time would see the races going on and on until a red car was in the lead :)

  5. Andrew C says:

    If the car starts off badly, would anyone be surprised to see Alonso and Vettel swap places?! Alonso has to be getting tired of this. He must feel like the years are wasting away.

    1. Tim says:

      I agree Alonso must be growing tired of all the ‘this year is our turn’ talk. But if Ferrari are uncompetitive why would Vettel want to move?
      Can’t see that myself, so long as RBR continue to provide the best car I would expect Vettel to stay put. He knows which side his bread is buttered.

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      Difficult one to call. He will see whats going on behind the scenes and where Ferrari are improving.
      Also, he made mention over the winter of his season last year and the recognition he received. I believe he is more respected for his performances as a fighter than either Schumi or Vettel have received in dominant cars.

      Shumi, for eg, between 1996 and 1999 was astonishing. Between 2000 and 2004, he didn’t have to fight at all.

      1. Rockie says:

        His personal opinion would be different to PR who would rather be a fighter than a winner ?

    3. Anne says:

      I came across some reports that say Rory Byrne has been and is working in the development of next year car, like in the good old days. With that in mind if I was Alonso I wouldn´t go anywhere.I don´t know how much impact Byrne had in this year car. But he was at the presentation ceremony. Byrne is not just a consultant

    4. Anne says:

      For all those interested

      F1 : South African designer tasked with 2014 FIA Formula 1 regulation Ferrari entry

      Saturday, 02 February 2013 10:03

      Byrne
      Byrne working on Ferrari’s 2014 car – Rory Byrne, Ferrari legendary former chief designer, was at the launch of the team’s 2013 Formula One car at Maranello on Friday.

      He told Auto Motor und Sport he is actually “working full steam” on the Italian team’s project for the 2014 car, which will be powered by the all new turbo V6 rules.

      “It’s a nice car,” the South African, referring to the newly launched F138, laughed, “but it’s all child’s play compared to what awaits us in 2014.”

      Until then, Ferrari has the 2013 title to win after a so far five year championship drought, and boss Stefano Domenicali confirmed that his designers have adopted some “extreme solutions” to compete with Red Bull.

      “We are just waiting for Newey to complain about our rear suspension,” Auto Motor und Sport quoted a team insider.

      The German report said the insider is referring to the rear profile that duplicates the 2012 Red Bull, only more extremely.

      F1SA.com

  6. Moog says:

    This to me shows a lack of confidence with Ferrari, they’re normally one of the more bullish (no pun intended) and overstated teams. So for them to say that they’re just hoping to be on par really says something.

    1. Bring Back Murray says:

      Yes, they’re usually all mouth and no trousers aren’t they. A refreshing change!

    2. W Johnson says:

      Good point. Last year’s disastrous start will have played its part in lowering their confidence.

      I think McLaren may a difficult start this year because like Ferrari last year have now switched to a differnt front suspension (pull rod v push rod). This is a big change to understand. A recent article on this website suggested that the 2013 McLaren could be fast at the outset of the season but in truth we really don’t know until they hit the track.

  7. Val from montreal says:

    Its nice looking, clean body with that copied coke-style rear from the F-2002,paint job is beautiful … That Santander money sure does go a long way ! But soon we will see the beast from Milton Keynes …This car in Massa’s hands looks quick !

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Imagine in Alonso’s!

  8. Scuderia McLaren says:

    How annoyed is Lewis going to be if it’s a Jenson Button Mclaren – Fernando Alonso Ferrari front row…

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s a long game..

    2. Tim says:

      I expect he would be annoyed, but I think it more likely he would be astonished.
      In the last 60 odd races JB has managed 1 pole and FA 4.

      1. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Haha, good point Tim.

        Nothing like stats to sober up a silly fantasy.

        ;)

    3. Nige says:

      Don’t write off Lewis, I predict he will surprise everyone with a front row quali first race!!

      1. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Don’t get me wrong Nige. Writing Lewis off is the last thing I will do. The boy is quick and epic and unstoppable when on form.

        Was just a funny thought I had, imagining Lewis’s mindset if he sees his old car in the hands of Button battling with his old nemesis and now BFF ‘The Samurai’.

        I am very excited about 2013. Q3 in OZ can’t come quick enough!!!

    4. Val from montreal says:

      Look at Alonso’s pole stats carreer record … In 198 grand prix’s Alonso managed only 22 pole positions despite him beeing in 6 of the best cars these last 8 years … 16 poles in a Renault , 2 in a McLaren and only 4 poles in 3 years at Ferrari ….. Schumacher just in 1996 equaled Alonso’s entire 3 years at Ferrari , obtaining 4 pole positions against the Williams of Hill and Villeneuve … The 1996 Ferrari was far from being 2nd quickest that year … Alonso’s good but never was the fastest …. His Renault maybe but not him ..

      1. Amritraj says:

        How many poles did Lewis get in 2009 and 2011 please?

      2. Scuderia McLaren says:

        +1

        Excellent Post

      3. Mingojo says:

        I don’t think Alonso had the fastest car the last 5 years. However, since Fernando has been driving for Ferrari, Lewis has finished every WDC behind Alonso.

      4. Kay says:

        1. Poles don’t give you points or WDCs
        2. Even Alonso himself said he isn’t the fastest, that goes to Hamilton in his opinion.

        So why the bashing?

  9. Elie says:

    More importantly they need both drivers in the top 4 spots- from the first race.

  10. goferet says:

    No joking a Ferrari that’s on par with it’s competitors is a pretty strong package for if you take into account it’s other strong points such as a pretty fast get away from the grid and being easy on it’s tyres then here you have a winner.

    But it remains to be seen if Ferrari can get better of the others taking into account the fact that the competition at the top is pretty stiff at the moment.

    If Ferrari were fighting just one or two teams then they would have had a say but as things are, the top is pretty crowded at the moment and it’s about to become more so with the emergence of Mercedes.

    So basically what am saying is Ferrari need a car that’s above the competition in qualifying in that it can easily pole for as we have seen the last couple of seasons, a driver can’t win the driver’s title unless he achieves a minimum of 5 poles in a season.

    Also if you take into account the fact that ever since the blazingly fast merchants in Vettel and Lewis joined the circus way back in 2007, Alonso has found life a little bit difficult i.e. qualifying is the key to success.

    As an example, Massa almost won the title in 2008 because he is pretty quick over one lap as shown by his qualifying at Singapore 08 among other.

    As for the point of having a more stable grid this season, well, if a midfield driver such as Maldonado can get a good result this year >>> It will really build his stock immensely because no one would expect it i.e. No tyre randomness playing a part.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Alonso has almost won more times than Lewis and he has had significantly fewer poles than 5. I think, if anything, Alonso has proved that a stalking horse can rack up the points without poles if they are reliable and consistent.

      Although Vettel has proven your point that its certainly much easier to win from the front.

    2. Bring Back Murray says:

      “If Ferrari were fighting just one or two teams then they would have had a say”

      That’s an interesting viewpoint.

      I’d have said with Hamiltons move to Mercedes, McClaren in general will be alot weaker and Ferrari / Alonso will be fighting it out with the Red Bull team.

      If Vettel has a slight off day than Alonso’s more likely to take max points, rather than Hamilton getting in on the wins and podiums.

      If Alonso can score consitently and pray for a couple of bits to fall off the Red Bull from time to time then perhaps he’s got a chance

      1. Tim says:

        If Alonso can score consitently and pray for a couple of bits to fall off the Red Bull from time to time then perhaps he’s got a chance…

        Wasn’t that the same game plan they used last year?

      2. Random 79 says:

        …and finished only 3 points off. With a decent car to play with that game plan should work.

    3. Mingojo says:

      I think Alonso didn’t have a car fast enough to get pole consistently since he moved to Ferrari. However, he was able to challenge Vettel in two of the last three WDC. Do you think Vettel would have done better than Fernando if he would have drove any of the last three years Ferrari car? I don’t think so.

  11. Martin says:

    Nice use of fantastic by Domenicalli – as the word comes from fantasy.

    A key thing for Ferrari could be how much cooling the engine needs and its effect on side pod size and shape. I might spend time checking the Sauber and Torro Rosso from 2012 and 2013 when they come.

  12. goferet says:

    And although they held this lead, it was more a case of others having reliability issues
    ———————————————–

    Coincidentally, this is how Alonso won his two titles >>> reliability issues happening to others.

    In this sense Alonso reminds me of the Fed Express ~ Roger Federer in that he never gets injured and thus is able to maintain consistency throughout the year.

    As for Alonso, he rarely has reliability issues while everybody else is falling off a cliff.

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Never realised that. Your right!!! Sort of wins via attrition. Kimi is 2005 and Michael in 2006 were much faster on their day, yet FA win due to poor rival reliability at critical moments. Almost happened in 2012 again!

      1. Bring Back Murray says:

        Well we did have the luxury of Alonso going up directly against Hamilton in 2007 and they were pretty much even on pace in that year. Do you think if Kimi and Alonso were ever in the same teams, Kimi would have beaten him? Michael may have shaded him back in his prime…but I reckon he would have more than held his own against Kimi on outright pace

    2. f1fan123 says:

      ‘Coincidentally, this is how Alonso won his two titles >>> reliability issues happening to others.’

      Basically Alonso builds up a lead in the first half of the season and switches in calculative driving mode thereafter, meaning not taking any risks and trying to maintain the lead with solid but not too ballsy drives. It worked fine with Kimi and Michael but didn’t work with Vettel, maybe because of Vettel’s stronger mindset?

      ‘As for Alonso, he rarely has reliability issues while everybody else is falling off a cliff.’

      This is amazing, is Alonso not so hard on the equipment as the likes of Kimi, Michael or Sebastian?

    3. Simmo says:

      It’s all about striking the balance between a fast and fragile car, or a slightly slower one which is reliable.

      So in that sense Ferrari are going right somewhere.

    4. Tim says:

      That’s a very good point. One of his great strengths is accepting that a third or fourth place is better than a DNF.

      1. david nelson says:

        Which Lewis Hamilton apparently does not.

      2. Tim says:

        I completely agree. I like LH and he is undoubtedly quick but he could take a leaf or two from FA book. Fans moan about how McLaren lost LH 100+ points through unreliability and tactical errors etc but LH threw away quite a few points himself. Incidient with PM comes to mind. I understand that PM was completely to blame but the incident could and should have been avaoided. PM was always coming by as his car was much faster (at that stage of the race) and LH, in my opinion, should have given him best.

  13. AENG says:

    Time Time & Time will tell, and finaly let’s just wait RBR to appear and it’s interesting to hear form JA preliminary comparation report of 3 top cars.
    Though I think Mclaren’s 1st impression should be supreme, and again let’s glance at RBR’s shape lines.

  14. Bring Back Murray says:

    Alonso will just be dragging that team along as usual, with poor old Massa running around in 10th every race. Same old same old.

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Actually I think Massa might be the surprise if 2013. I do think he will be ‘closer’ to The Samurai than he was in 2012. How much I don’t know, but I don’t think he will be destroyed again. Just my speculative view based on my perception of second half of 2012.

      1. Irish con says:

        Wonder what the differs in points was between massa and alonso from spa until the end of the season was. I don’t think it would be too bad. I suspect the differs between webber and vettel would be bigger.

      2. Bring Back Murray says:

        Hmm we’ll have to wait and see on that one. To be honest I only think Massa really clicked into Gear last year when his job was publically put on the line. Ferrari will have to “motivate” him a lot sooner on this season if he starts off poorly again. The Master needs someone along side him taking points off the other teams, not fighting it out with the Force India’s.

      3. albert says:

        felipe ‘s performance will be critical for ferrari as fernando would have had a bigger lead last year if felipe had had a few more podiums to take points away from their rivals.

      4. Random 79 says:

        Although I have nothing to back it up, I think Massa just lost confidence after his injury. When Ferrari more or less gave him and ultimatum it forced him into a situation where he *had* to go fast, ended up beating Alonso a bit, and so got his confidence back.

        It’s not certain that he’ll do better this year, but I wish him the very best of luck.

  15. Don says:

    The car looks better than last years car…. that ugly nose on last years car jinxed it…. anything is an improvement!

    Here’s to 2013 been Ferrari’s year!

  16. david nelson says:

    Every year, at about this time, I think that Ferrari will produce ‘that’ car and storm it. However, they haven’t had the fastest car since 2004 at best. As stated above, Alonso does make a difference. I think they may still struggle to have a really competitive car. Looks better than 2012. Which ever way it goes can’t wait!

  17. Kristy says:

    I’ve been searching for a variety of places which will allow us to donate my automobile, and just how to deduct it from my taxes.

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