Stefano Domenicali in 'no doubt' Ferrari well in mix of leading teams after two races
Team chief thinks Red Bull still hold the edge, however
By James Galloway. Last Updated: April 2, 2013 11:24am
Stefano Domenicali says he has seen enough from the opening two rounds of the season to be certain that Ferrari are positioned firmly in the leading group of title-chasing teams.
While both championship tables have a familiar look to them after the first two rounds of the year with Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull already leading the way respectively, the competitive order has proved fluid with the reigning Champions, Lotus, Mercedes and Ferrari all having challenged for victory so far.
However, while he admits Red Bull still appear to hold a slight edge over everyone else ahead of next week's return to action in China, Ferrari team boss Domenicali is convinced the F138 is also right in the mix.
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"I don't know exactly where [we are], but for sure between the leaders," the Italian declared.
"There are tracks where our car will perform better; there are certain tracks where some others will perform better than ours.
"For sure Red Bull, in my view, is still the strongest at the moment, but we will see.
"Mercedes have done a step, Lotus is very competitive. It will be an interesting and challenging season, but we will be there - no doubt."
Mixed weather conditions and concerns over tyre life across the opening pair of race weekends in Australia and Malaysia also served to skew the picture, with Lotus, for example, impressively winning at the opening round but then finishing only sixth and seventh a week later at Sepang.
Domenicali acknowledges such fluctuations in form have been hard to make out, but in thinly-veiled criticism of rivals Red Bull and Mercedes, said Ferrari weren't about to go on the attack over Pirelli's latest specification tyres.
"This championship is very long," he added.
"We have seen that the performance of the others is very good but we also have seen that during these two races there were so many different performances between different cars in different conditions that it was almost impossible to understand something.
"I see a lot of overreaction from some teams on the tyres but another thing in my view it's better to stay cool and calm, as in life."
The Ferrari chief also said it wasn't any particular cause for concern that despite having a far more competitive car at the start of this season, Fernando Alonso's early exit in Malaysia meant they were actually further off the pace in the title race than 12 months ago.
"Last year we were crying about the fact [we were not competitive] but after two races we already had one win and more points [than now]," he pointed out.
"So I know that, but it doesn't matter because at the end of the day the championship is very long and it is important to stay cool and calm and make sure from the package we deliver the best.
"In terms of development, of course as everyone will do, we will try to develop the car and this is the target for every race."