Ferrari is confident it will be fighting at the front of the field at this weekend's German Grand Prix, as it bids to help Fernando Alonso further extend his lead at the head of the World Championship.
With the team having made impressive progress from its disappointing pre-season performance, Alonso's triumph in Valencia and pole position and podium finish at Silverstone have left the team bullish about its chances this time out.
"The car was good in Valencia, it was also good in Silverstone," Alonso's race engineer Andrea Stella noted. "And as Hockenheim is a mix of the slow speed of Valencia and high speed of Silverstone, I would expect Ferrari to be competitive in Germany."
Although Alonso has been battling near the front of the points' table for much of the season, thanks to some inspirational performances earlier in the campaign, Stella confesses that being in the position it is in right now would have been hard to predict in the build-up to the campaign.
"At the start of the season it would have required one to be extremely optimistic to imagine such a situation," he explained. "But in this sport, things can change very quickly and we have always maintained a positive attitude. The current situation is the result of this attitude combined with a lot of hard work."
Despite the progress – which has helped Alonso open up a 13-point lead over Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber – Stella says there remain areas of big improvement that Ferrari can chase, with the main one being its lack of top speed.
"You always want to get more and more top speed as it brings benefits in terms of reducing the lap time and it makes life easier during the race," he said. "But of course, top speed is the counterpart to downforce – in a way, if we are limited when it comes to top speed, that is partly because our car is performing well when it comes to downforce. However, it is definitely an area where we are trying to improve for the future."