Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali says he is not getting carried away by his team's strong start to pre-season testing this week.
Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso dominated proceedings at Valencia in Spain with both drivers the only men to lap under the 1m12s barrier. Alonso ended up quickest of all with a best time of 1m11.470s. But despite that performance, Domenicali is still wary of the team's opposition – and thinks the characteristics of Valencia, allied to hugely varying fuel loads, mean the picture from testing is still not clear.
"There are no miracles in Formula 1: if you want to be fast you have to work hard for months and months and then you'll meet your competitors, who have as much capacities and are as motivated as you," he told the official Ferrari website. "We can't take anything for granted and we shouldn't delude ourselves by indications, which could be completely misleading. We can't work like in football where two good or bad results are enough [for you] to pass from riches to rags or vice versa."
He added: "We know very well that the tests' lap times, especially this year, have to be handled with care. Using an expression from football, we're still in 'August football.'
"We can't forget where we were in terms of performance at the last GP last year. There is still a lot of work to do to close the gap and there are still many problems we have to solve. And then we don't know the fuel loads the other cars had on board, so it's impossible to get a clear idea of the relative strengths on the track. Maybe someone also wants to play hide and seek, and some still have to present their cars."
Domenicali was delighted, however, at the perfect reliability Ferrari enjoyed – as it completed the test with any major drama.
"If there is one thing we're really satisfied with then it's the reliability the car has shown," he said. "More than 1,400 kilometers driven is a very good start and we need to ensure that the intense work at the test stand, and in terms of simulations over the weeks before the debut on the track, will bear fruit.
"In Valencia we also started to get to know the new Bridgestone tires' behavior, also related to the fuel load. But the data is still absolutely relative: this track is not particularly demanding on the tires and the temperatures weren't the ones we'll have for example during the season's first three races."
The other aspect that has left Domenicali happy is the way that Massa and Alonso got down to work with the team.
"They were both very happy with how things went. Especially regarding the car's reliability. They are both extremely motivated and have a great desire to drive: it would have been frustrating if we hadn't started on the right track here. Both Felipe and Fernando know that we have to work a lot and they already gave many indications where we have to improve the car."