Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali is confident his Italian outfit is in the top group that will be fighting at the front of Formula 1 this season, but would not say his team is out front.
With Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa both upbeat about the progress of the F10 in preseason testing, Domenicali believes the defining factor this season will be in how quickly teams can bring updates to their cars.
"What we could see, and considering all the unknown factors in the testing, I think that we've shown that we can be competitive and are part of the top group in terms of pure performance and also on the long run," Domenicali told the official Ferrari website. "This is an important result considering how we ended the last season just a little more than four months ago in Abu Dhabi; we've worked a lot over the last months. Now we have to continue with the F10's development, because this will be the key to this season."
Domenicali believes the battle for glory in F1 this season is finely balanced, with no team enjoying the kind of advantage that Brawn GP enjoyed in 2009.
"I'm not used to making forecasts, but it's clear that it will be a very balanced championship, not like last year," continued Domenicali. "Before the tests, we thought that there might be four teams able to fight for the title. But from what we've seen so far, there might be even more. Furthermore, there are still some questions to be solved, such as the tires' behavior at high temperatures and the race strategy management, just to name a few.
"With the performances so close together, a slight mistake will be enough not to enter Q3 [in qualifying], which means that we have to give it our all, all the time: team, drivers, and car. We know that we're fighting against very strong teams from a very different season, who have worked very hard during the winter and who want to win. We're ready for the challenge ahead."