Ferrari's poor Abu Dhabi form is purely because Yas Marina is a difficult track for its car and not a sign of declining competitiveness, insist Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.
The pair were a long way off the pace in practice and had to settle for eighth and 11th in qualifying, with Massa ahead. The Brazilian believes Yas Marina simply highlighted how poor the 2013 Ferrari Formula 1 car is on traction.
"I think this is a track where traction is so important," said Massa. "It makes a big difference, and traction has been a problem for a long time with our car.
"Depending on the track we can suffer more, and this is not a good track for us. And with very hot conditions, it's even worse. I was discussing it with Fernando and before qualifying we were pretty scared that it was going to be difficult to get to Q3."
Alonso agreed with Massa's assessment, but was optimistic that the race might be better.
"Sometimes we've seen races where it's good to start in position 11 with new tires, so hopefully tomorrow we'll see another one," said the Spaniard. "I think there's nothing we can do. Obviously, we would like to be more competitive, but we know that on some tracks we struggle a bit more historically, and we've confirmed that this year.
"Normally on Sunday we improve our performance. We have to have a clean race, as starting at the back it is easier to get it wrong. You have to risk more to overtake, but that's nothing really new. We will attack in the race and recover positions."