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Ferrari sees start of 2009 season as crucial

Ferrari sees start of 2009 season as crucial

Ferrari director Stefano Domenicali believes that rule changes and cost-cutting measures in Formula One mean the Italian team will have to be competitive from day one of the 2009 season.
A new ban on in-season testing means that teams can only try out technical improvements during the practice sessions on race weekends. The move, along with changes to the cars, has made Ferrari wary about the team's prospects.
"This year I'm very cautious because we're starting with a project that isn't an evolution from the previous years," Domenicali said Wednesday at Ferrari's annual winter retreat in the Italian Dolomites.
"I think the crucial factor will be being competitive right from the start since we can't evolve during the season."
Ferrari unveiled its 2009 car _ the F60 _ on Monday. In line with new rules to enable more passing, the car features big modifications in aerodynamics. The front wings are wider than before, while the rear wings are higher and narrower.
Felipe Massa, who lost last year's driver's title to McLaren's Lewis Hamilton by one point in the final race of the season, likened the car to a smaller Formula 3 version.
The first official tests of the F60 are scheduled for next week in Portimao, Portugal, along with the cars of other teams. The season begins with Australian Grand Prix on March 29.
"Starting with the test in Portimao we will compare ourselves with the other teams. It will be interesting to see where our car is and where our opponents are," Domenicali was quoted as telling ANSA news agency.
"Massa is very fresh and has a lot of desire. He really matured last season. Kimi Raikkonen can't wait to get in the car, and he will in Portimao. He wants to show, as president (Luca di) Montezemolo joked, that he's back to being his normal self and not his twin."
Raikkonen won the driver's title in 2007 but dropped to third last year.
Domenicali dismissed speculation that Fernando Alonso could leave Renault for Ferrari, whose drivers are under contract until the end of 2010.
"It's tough to say more than what has already been said on this issue. Our drivers have contracts signed, even though, as Montezemolo said, 'Who will live will see,'" Domenicali said. "Fernando is a great driver but we are more than happy with ours."


Updated : 2021-06-25 06:27 GMT+08:00