Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo says a more competitive showing from his team at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix will be the springboard his team needs to get itself firmly into the World Championship fight.
With the Italian team set to introduce a major upgrade to its F2012 in Barcelona, and the first components from that package having shown good track correlation at last week's Mugello test, Ferrari is under no illusions about the importance of a lift in performance this time out. Ahead of a plan for a further series of developments that are planned for the next few races, di Montezemolo feels the shape of the campaign will be defined by how Ferrari performs at Barcelona.
"I've just spent a long while with our technicians, and they are confident, but we need to see what the others have done," di Montezemolo told Rai Sport during a special event at Fiorano on Tuesday, commemorating the 30th anniversary of Gilles Villeneuve's death. "What I want is a more competitive car in Spain, and then we can go for it this season. This is what I've asked because we have a nice development program beyond Spain."
Di Montezemolo does not hide from the fact that he was expecting more from Ferrari at the start of the campaign - with the team having spoken all winter about its high hopes for this year's campaign.
"I was left disappointed with the way we started the season, I didn't expect it," he said. "From our technicians and data, I was given the impression of a different situation. Having said that, four races have gone by with four different winners, and one of these races was won by us. We are there and now we need to take a step forward with a more competitive car that is less difficult to drive and that gives confidence to the drivers."
Di Montezemolo also suggests that Ferrari's chance of success in F1 is being compromised by the fact that aerodynamics are now so important, which is why the team has been looking at recruiting design staff from elsewhere.
"Formula 1 is in constant evolution and this is why I've told my men that in these last two years we have been a bit too isolated inside Maranello, we need fresh air coming from the outside," he said. "We are a car manufacturer: for us the mechanical structure, the engine, the gearbox, the chassis, the suspensions are fundamental. These regulations instead wrongly make aerodynamics the fundamental element to win or lose, but that means that we needed to bring more aerodynamic competence and experience.
"We are doing that, and I expect to see an improved Ferrari in Spain with a view to further improve during the season because I want to win."