Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has called for a return of his team’s ‘domination’ from the early 2000′s as Red Bull appear at their most vulnerable in years.
The Italian issued the challenge to his team while declaring that 2014 seems to offer the best chance for Red Bull’s rivals to get “back in the game” after four years of double championship success for the Milton Keynes team.
“We dominated for five years, they (Red Bull) did it for four and I think now we must make sure we get back to winning,” he is quoted by Italy’s Tuttosport.
“I have utmost respect and praise for what they have done, knowing that today we all get back in the game. We’ll see,” he added.
Certainly Ferrari need to end it’s now seven-year drought without winning a driver’s title, something they last achieved back in 2007 with the returning Kimi Raikkonen.
The new car had a steady start in Jerez completing a decent level of mileage while also putting up the only real competition to the Mercedes powered cars.
Now team principal Stefano Domenicali, for whom many people believe this is a very important year, is looking to continue their momentum as the second test begins in the warmer climate of Bahrain.
“It is impossible to start with a perfect car in a season where so many changes are made,” he is quoted by Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“We still have much work ahead.”
As F1 embarks on a new engine-led time, with development of the new V6 power units taking a bigger role over aerodynamics, the man who many believe led Red Bull to it’s recent domination, designer Adrian Newey, is struggling to incorporate the needs of the new units into the RB10 while maintaining the edge in car design.
On the contrary, Mercedes and McLaren appear to have done just the opposite with both Silver cars pounding round Jerez completing hundreds of laps as well as topping the timings.
“Reliability is the keyword for the first five, six races,” team chairman Niki Lauda is quoted by Osterreich newspaper.
“Who is the best prepared will be furthest ahead,” he predicted.
But the Austrian legend admitted that while the achievements in Jerez were positive, the main task of developing and testing the new W05 begins in Bahrain.
“Jerez was an engine test,” said Lauda. “Now the real preparation begins.”
Though the triple world champion would only concede any indications of a pecking order would come after the second Bahrain test, and it would be wrong to “write off” Red Bull, Lauda does believe Mercedes is in a better position to achieve it’s ultimate aim.
“We want to be world champion as soon as possible,” he told Kleine Zeitung newspaper.
“Whether it is this year or not, you cannot say yet. My personal goal is that it happens in the next two years.
“This is a hard goal, but that’s how it should be,” the F1 legend added.
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