Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali has set his sights on a podium finish in Australia

Team Principal expecting usual challengers at the front in 2013

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 07/03/13 5:12pm

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Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali has set his sights on a podium finish at the season opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

The Italian is predicting a tight battle at the front of the field in 2013 and after a much more positive pre-season than last year, the Scuderia head to Albert Park quietly confident of being competitive.

Despite this, Domenicali has set a modest goal for his team, as he looks to establish a platform to build on for the season ahead.

"A podium in Australia would be a good base on which to build the kind of successes we need," he said.

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"I expect that the teams who finished in the top positions in Sao Paulo will repeat that in Melbourne, probably with a reduced advantage - that's what we are all hoping for, anyway.

"Unless someone else has done an exceptional job I'm convinced that Ferrari will be in the battle to the end."

One of Ferrari's biggest travails in 2012 was a lack of correlation between their wind tunnel in Maranello and the data they got from the track, which led to the team switching their development work to the Toyota facility in Cologne.

Domenicali is confident, however, that the team will not experience those problems again this season.

"Our work in the wind tunnel is an element that gives us faith in the area of aerodynamics, where 90 per cent of the performance comes from, so we can work with a certain calmness," the 47-year-old added.

"The stability of the rules is another guarantee that there won't be surprises with any exceptional creative solutions that make a big difference, and I'm especially confident given the changes we made last year."

Last season saw smaller teams, such as Sauber, challenging the established front runners for podium positions, but given the demands of building a car for the new rules in 2014, Domenicali does not expect the midfield teams to sustain that form.

"I'm sure that over the course of the season the competition will reduce because the demands on all the teams for the 2014 project cannot be underestimated," he added.

"We are talking about a car that is completely different to what we've seen before and there's a risk of missing the boat: the smaller the organisation, the greater and the earlier the resources they will have to invest in the new project.

"Meanwhile for the big teams, the exercise will be to balance the resources required to keep up the development to be competitive right to the end with the attention that needs to be dedicated to 2014 to avoid the risk of being left behind."

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