- Second Bahrain Test - Day Four
Mercedes and Williams better prepared - Ferrari
Stefano Domenicali admits that Mercedes and Williams appear to be in a better position than Ferrari ahead of the start of the season in two weeks.
Mercedes and Williams not only topped the mileage count over the three tests, but they also set the two fastest times over the two tests in Bahrain. Ferrari completed roughly 1,000km less than the two Mercedes-powered teams and Fernando Alonso's best lap time in Bahrain was over a second off Felipe Massa's benchmark.
"At the end of this session we have done around 4,000km, Mercedes has done close to 5,000km - or 4,900km or something like that - and Williams was more or less close to that," Domenicali said. "That means that at the end of the day they have prepared better for the start of the season - that is a fact.
"We know that we have some big competitors in front of us, but we are here for that. In such an environment where the new powertrain is introduced, we have seen Mercedes acting very well so far. But they are a monster and we are smaller, and we want to show that even if we are smaller we can do a fantastic job."
However, Domenicali thinks reliability will be the key to the opening races of the season.
"We need to start from this consideration knowing there is a huge amount of work to be done. But that's normal in such a different environment. So far I believe it's important to put down the priorities that we need to fix, mainly at the beginning on the side of reliability. At the beginning that will be the key point and then of course you develop and fix the problems you have seen.
"I think that we can consider what we have seen in the first three [test] sessions, and Mercedes and Williams seem to be in very good shape, but that's [only] what we have seen so far. I think we have a good base but we need to develop it and solve all the things that are on the table. There is a lot of potential that needs to be deployed or discovered and this is the objective that our engineer needs to fix as soon as possible, because the points that we will score at the beginning of the season will be very heavy."
Domenicali brushed off rumours that the Ferrari engine is underpowered and heavier compared to its rivals, but admitted there was still work to do on the energy recovery system.
"First of all, I don't know [about the rumours] because I have heard so many numbers around it. I know what is for sure the situation on our side, and I can guarantee that what I heard are numbers that are throwing the dice in the air [and seeing what lands]!
"To be serious, I think that the most important thing we need to understand on our side is how to manage the balance between the electrical power, the ERS, the MGU-K and the battery. All those things have an effect in terms of horsepower and that's really something which I believe there is a lot of potential to take out."