Ferrari: Don't draw conclusions

Thursday 13-February-2014 07:02

Stefano Domenicali has urged F1 to back away from its tendency towards "self-destruction" by not damning the new rules before the first grand prix.

Formula One has undergone a major overhaul of the regulations ahead of this year's Championship and not all the new rules have gone down well.

A swap to 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines and a new 100kgs fuel limit per grand prix has led to some predicting that only half the field will finish in Australia and that those who do will have to drive conservatively rather than race.

These predictions were given some weight at the opening test in Jerez where the Renault runners - including reigning Champs Red Bull Racing - struggled with reliability while several drivers spoke of GP2 speeds.

However, Domenicali has urged the sport not to focus on the "scaremongers" but rather move forward in a "constructive manner."

"In this situation, it's best not to rush to draw any conclusions, and play into the hands of those scaremongers, as a propensity for self-destruction serves no purpose," he said. "Every time there are changes, there are discussions, which is natural.

"We have only had one test so far when there were never more than four or five cars on track at the same time. Let's wait until we see all 22 together before saying that everything's gone wrong.

"Once a path has been chosen, one has to move forward in a constructive manner. If after a certain period of time we see that an element of excitement is really missing, such as engine noise, then we can see how best to react.

"Personally, I don't think this aspect will keep people away from the racetracks. We should be more concerned with the grand prix event as a whole and we need to find a strategy to attract youngsters to our sport, which today has a hardcore of fans aged between 35 and 50.

"We need to get back to having the car seen as an inspirational theme and not just as a means of transport, which adds nothing to our existence.

"At Ferrari we want to put a lot of effort into this aspect, as shown with initiatives such as getting the public to name the Formula 1 car, or the on-line photo competition, 'snap your passion,' which will see four winners come with us to the final test in Bahrain, an initiative that has attracted a lot of attention, especially with youngsters."

Ferrari, though, were one of the teams that had a better start to the pre-season with the team completing the second most number of laps and showing some solid pace compared to rivals.

As such the Ferrari team boss is optimistic about the Scuderia's chances although remains cautious.

"I am always cautious, not through a fear of saying what I think, but because I am well aware how quickly things change in this sport," Domenicali added.

"In Jerez, we saw the F14T get off on the right foot, responding well to changes, while the basic data corresponds to the parameters established in the wind tunnel and there were no bad surprises.

"Clearly there is still much to do because it's impossible to start with a perfect car in a season featuring so many changes. The start of the championship will be full of unknown quantities and it is far too early to make any sort of prediction. I think we will start to understand a bit more only at the last Bahrain test.

"My optimism is based on the fact we know which areas need working on: caution is always a good approach, but that doesn't mean the people working on this project lack the commitment or the will to show our competitors how well we can do things at Ferrari.

"I have to say that what pleased me the most was the attitude of the team. Everyone is united in tackling the problems and in trying to resolve them, aware that the challenge ahead is both demanding and exciting."

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