Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali is optimistic that his team will enjoy better times both on and off the track next year, after its troubled 2009 campaign.
The Maranello-based outfit only won one race this year with its F60 outclassed by Brawn and Red Bull Racing, and Ferrari found itself at the center of the political turmoil that nearly resulted in a breakaway championship happening. But, with Ferrari having begun work on its 2010 car early, Domenicali is upbeat about the progress being made – and he is sure there will be less politics as well next season.
"This year was difficult for many reasons, but we need to look ahead," said Domenicali, after collecting a Gregor Grant trophy on behalf of his team at the AUTOSPORT Awards. "We know that it will be a challenging year for us and so we need to make sure that we are doing a good job. This is what the engineers are trying to do.
"The car is progressing, but to what extent is difficult to say because we don't know what the others are doing. For sure we will have a clean start next year but until the first race we cannot win. The season will be very long and we will go step by step."
When asked if he shared Luca di Montezemolo's hopes of a less political year in 2010, Domenicali said: "I am optimistic because we cannot go lower! I think that we will go higher. Everyone realizes that this is not what we need."
Domenicali also said that there was excitement at the team about the arrival of Fernando Alonso. "I think that that's normal when a new driver is coming," he explained. "He brings fresh air into the team and Fernando with Felipe, we are looking forward to starting the season. I also want to wish Kimi Raikkonen all the best with his new challenge in rallying, because I'm pretty sure that he will do a great job."