|© AP Photo/Manu Fernandez
Ferrari may have a car which is on a “completely different planet” than its predecessor but the challenger will not be the quickest in the field come the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
The Italian team is hoping that its car is not more than a couple of tenths off the pace in Melbourne, pegging its challenge instead on the long season that features 19 races.
"The target is to be close together with the leading cars... I would be very surprised if it was the quickest (car) at the first race,” team principal Stefano Domenicali told Reuters.
The Italian reasoned that although the current situation is “alright” the team however cannot underestimate a possibility that its rivals may have made significant progress over last season.
"In Australia it is not the end of the championship, it's just the start. We need to be careful and stay cool," he added.
Last year, Fernando Alonso lost the title to Sebastian Vettel at the final race of the season despite the Spaniard driving a significantly underpar Ferrari compared to its immediate rivals.
As a result, Alonso was hailed for his performances, a feat that the double world champion has admitted would be difficult to replicate. [REPORT]