Ferrari thinks it will be a matter of days before it freezes development of its current F60 and shifts all its focus onto ensuring that its 2010 car can fight for the World Championship.
Even though Felipe Massa scored a podium finish in the German Grand Prix to lift the Maranello outfit to within 2.5 points of third-placed Toyota in the Constructors' Championship, team principal Stefano Domenicali says his team will not keep pushing ahead with improving its car. When asked in light of the Nurburgring result at what point the team will freeze development of its 2009 machine, Domenicali said: "It will be very soon.
"We have already started some work on the new project, and in the next couple of weeks we will basically shift off to the new project in order to make sure we do not lose any time. We know that next season will be crucial, and we want really definitely to start with a different pace compared to this year. So it is a matter of days rather than weeks."
Massa's run to third in the German GP was the team's best result since Monaco and has pointed towards Ferrari having made progress with its car. However, Domenicali has urged caution in reading too much into the result marking a turning point for his team.
"I have to say that this year we need to be very careful, because it is very difficult to understand the performance of the car in different conditions," he said. "Even within a team on different days. If you look at the performance up and down, we saw for example a fantastic lap time from the Renault here that was amazing, and for us in different conditions it varies.
"The most critical element of the year is to understand what is happening with our car in different conditions with different tires. But after a couple of races we see it happening with all the teams, so it is not clear yet. We need to be very careful because races are, I don't want to say decided, but at certain moments these things can really make a difference. If you make a good start, if you are able to control the tire at a certain moment to get certain positions, then the race is not finished but it is something that makes a difference."
He added: "I would say that in Germany we were very good with Felipe and Kimi, we had a good start and I must say KERS here was working even though I said before that in Abu Dhabi we would like to do something special with it. So we saw something interesting at the start and then it was good to conserve the tires during the stint to use them when it was needed, and the team worked well, so at least I am positive and happy with the result. But we need to keep our feet on the ground because the others are not sleeping; the others are turning things around – look at what we have seen this weekend with Renault, McLaren and Force India.
"Unfortunately for Hamilton today, he lost the race and we don't know where he could have been because he had a puncture after contact at the beginning. You see these things are on the table when you are racing, so this year is more complicated than other times."