Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali believes Fernando Alonso's victory in Bahrain was a vital boost for his team after the troubles it faced in 2009.
Having opted to effectively write off the second half of last year so it could concentrate wholly on the design of its F10, Domenicali admitted that the pressure was on for the outfit to prove its decision was correct. With Alonso and Felipe Massa delivering a 1-2 finish, after race leader Sebastian Vettel slowed with an engine problem, Domenicali feels that his Maranello outfit has silenced the doubters who questioned its approach last year.
"Well, for sure this race is very important for the team," said Domenicali. "After a difficult season like last year, and after a very difficult decision that we had to take last year, everyone was ready with the gun to fire. But that is part of the game.
"This is the reason why I have to take certain responsibility. It is good because it shows that the decision was right. I have to thank all the people at home who worked very hard, they were staying together, because it is easy when you have a very bad season – everyone says you have bad people and it was better in a different period. But that is life. We know that. So, the only way to react is to come back with results."
Although the early indications from the Bahrain Grand Prix suggest that Red Bull Racing and Ferrari are the teams to beat at the moment, Domenicali is still mindful of how important it is to keep developing the car.
"What is important to see is that the car we have seen this weekend is a good base to look ahead for the future," he said. "The season is very, very long and we have to stay with our feet on the ground because I am expecting all the others to be very aggressive and very competitive. But we have seen a good car in both qualifying and racing conditions, and it proves that the work that has to be done is a lot still. But we are starting from a good pace."
Domenicali also thought it hard to single out who he felt Ferrari's main rival would be this season – with McLaren having shown much improved pace in the race compared to its qualifying performance.
"I think that I want to respect all the others," he said when asked about which of the teams he feared the most. "Red Bull Racing and McLaren are all strong because now we will see who will do a different step of development, who will come with new things sooner than the others, and we need to see what is the situation with the tires in the future in different grands prix, different configurations, different temperatures.
"So, I have a lot of respect for all the competitors. We have seen this weekend that everything is so close and marginal, and that during the race anything can happen. So it will be very, very long."
Ferrari will decide this week exactly what upgrades it plans to bring for the next race of the season in Australia.