Stefano Domenicali says Ferrari are in much better shape ahead of the 2013 season

Scuderia endured a nigthmare pre-season in 2012

By William Esler.   Last Updated: 26/02/13 2:54pm

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Stefano Domenicali says Ferrari are in much better shape than they were ahead of the 2012 season, but does not expect them to have the quickest car in Melbourne.

The Scuderia endured a nightmare pre-season last year, with their car fundamentally slow and only the brilliance of Fernando Alonso kept them in Championship contention during the first four flyaway races.

The F138 appears to be a major step forward, with Felipe Massa saying he has a "good feeling" about the car. However, Domenicali does not expect them to be quickest at the Australian GP.

"The situation at the moment seems to be alright - alright with the problems we have," said the Ferrari Team Principal.

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"We will soon know the exact situation, although not in Melbourne because that is only the first race.

"But my view, the target, is to be close to the leading car. I will be surprised if we are the leading car because with the stable rules we were not the quickest at the end (of last season).

"But if we are close together, within a couple of tenths (of a second), then with such a long season anything is possible.

"We need to make sure we are close to the best car, and then the team and the driver has to make the difference."

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