Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali admits the team’s new car is unattractive but says its performance is more important.
Speaking following the unveiling of the new Ferrari F2012, Domenicali said: “Well, actually, it’s not really so pretty from my personal perspective.
“But this is a value that doesn’t count in Formula 1. As you know these kinds of choices are coming from both technical and regulations constraints. And the choice is to try to maximise the performance of the car.
“And as our chairman has already said the fact that it is ugly or very nice doesn’t count a lot. The most important thing is that the car has to be performing. And in that respect we will see really if it’s true or what is the level of our competitiveness at, I would say, just the qualifying at the Grand Prix in Melbourne.”
Domenicali said the car was the product of a change in direction from the team: “I’ve asked for a change in the approach of the design of the car and what you can see from the car we have launched just now, it’s for sure very different.
“It’s a different approach both from the mechanical point of view and also from the aerodynamic point of view. So that is for sure something that it seems we have achieved. But I will be happy only when I will see that this car will be competitive.”
He expects the same teams to be competitive in 2012 and said he’s not underestimating Mercedes:
“I would say that the competition will be against the usual drivers and teams. They are all very strong, I respect all of them. I would say as always we have Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes – do not underestimate them because for sure they want to show how good they are after some difficult seasons.
“And we have Kimi [Raikkonen] back again. I know that he is very strong. He will want to show his level of competitiveness, because he is very, very strong.
“So I think it will be a very interesting season, I’m very convinced about it. There will be a lot of drivers who will want to fight for the win.”
Domenicali added that 2012 will be an important year for the sport: “There are a lot of political things we need to address. We need to make sure the regulations are right for the future. We will guarantee the transfer of technology from F1 to the road car side.
“We need to make sure that the commercial for the future will consider the need of the tifosi (fans), the need of the tracks, of the organiser, of the television, the media and the new media, and we need to actively go to the young generation.
“So a lot of points that, for sure, are important. Because we as Ferrari have been in Formula 1 since the first day, and we want to stay there for a long, long time.”
Ferrari have also confirmed an extension of their sponsorship from Santander, who will back the team until 2017.
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Image ?é?® Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo