Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali sees Fernando Alonso’s charge to fifth place in Australia as a positive step, although he admits that the team still has a lot to do in order to improve the disappointing F2012.
Alonso set a surprisingly competitive race pace from his 12th starting position, although he struggled to get up to speed in the final stint in the cooler conditions after the safety car.
“I think we learned for sure a couple of things,” said Domenicali. “First of all the performance of today was not what we saw yesterday. Above all, the performance of the first two stints of the race was not too bad, considering really the situation. Then after the safety car something happened so we need to understand what was the real problem, because we saw a different race pace if you compare the first two and the last one. So this is the analysis that we have to do.
“I think on that respect today the race of Fernando was very, very good. Considering as I said the level of performance, to be fifth is something important. Considering the situation of the championship that I am expecting to see this year that it is vital that when we have so many problems to score these points.
“I would say that is a step forward, but we don’t have to hide behind that, because we are not happy about the performance of the car. What I’m asking to my engineers is to really as much as possible to try to fix the things that in their view are now much clearer.”
Domenicali insisted that the team knows what it has to put right, but denied that anything as serious as modification to the chassis was required.
“We have understood the problems of the car. This is clear. What I really need to say that after the understanding we need to make sure that we fix it, and not only fix it, but to fix it as soon as possible.
“In terms of the chassis there’s nothing going ahead. In terms of developments, yes, there are a lot of things that have to be improved, because I think there are two fundamental issues, one is the speed and the other thing is really the traction. Those are the two fundamental things that we really need to solve, and we really need hard to fix as soon as possible these major issues.”
He also conceded that the team would have to work hard to solve Felipe Massa’s problems. The Brazilian struggled to keep his tyres alive in the race and eventually crashed into Bruno Senna.
“The point was starting from yesterday Felipe didn’t feel he had a great balance on the car, and so it has affected the performance of the qualifying and also the race.
“So now what it important is to really analyse everything in order make sure that there is nothing strange, because that is the fundamental thing that we need to do, in order to help Felipe, to make sure he is performing without any extra pressure that I know that he has. He needs to be focussed really on his driving and we need to help him on that.”