Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali says the team are planning to switch all their efforts to the 2014 car at the end of September.
Teams face a big decision as to when to stop developing this year’s car to allow them to divert more resources to next year when the regulations change dramatically with the introduction of new 1.6 litre V6 turbo engines.
Ferrari are third in the constructors’ championship, 94 points behind Red Bull with eight races remaining. In the drivers’ standings, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is second, 46 points adrift of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, with team-mate Felipe Massa seventh, 130 behind.
The Italian team have decided to keeping pushing until the end of September, which will be after the Italian and Singapore Grands Prix, and then decide whether to continue pushing in pursuit of Vettel and Red Bull or completely switch their attentions to 2014 to ensure they don’t lose ground from the start of the season.
Domenicali told www.f1.com: “September is the month where we will basically start to shift, as the 2014 project is very complex. At the end of September we will then basically switch everyone, depending, of course, on how the situation is with the championship.
“All the top teams realise that if they want to be a force in 2014, then they have to start very quickly to switch resources, as it is a very complex matter – especially for the big teams. My guess is that we might see huge surprises next season in terms of the pecking order.
“In my view – and as far as I remember – the changes that we are facing are the biggest changes we have ever had in Formula 1. It is really important to get it right, otherwise you’re lost.”
Domenicali also said that he would like to retain Massa, whose contract expires at the end of the season, for 2014 – however, he says the Brazilian, who has driven for Ferrari since 2006, must start to deliver results immediately.
Massa’s future at the team was the subject of speculation at this time last year but a strong run of results saved his seat. The Brazilian continued that form into the early part of this year but following two crashes at the same corner in Monaco in May, his form has dropped off and he is now 84 points behind team-mate Alonso.
He has scored just two podiums since the start of last year and is without a win since 2008, the year where he challenged for the world title before missing out by a point to Lewis Hamilton.
Last time out at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, Massa’s fastest lap was eight tenths slower than team-mate Alonso’s best. While the Spaniard finished second, Massa crossed the line seventh, 26 seconds behind his team-mate.
Domenicali said: “We have to wait and see. My favourite choice would be, of course, to keep Felipe because Felipe is a very good guy – very dedicated to the team – and when you look around there are not so many drivers out there that you swap and they immediately deliver.
“But, of course, we need good results from Felipe, so that’s why we will not rush as we have to make the right decision for the team. As soon as we have made up our minds we will announce it officially to silence the rumours once and for all. When we are ready.”