Stefano Domenicali has revealed that Ferrari will attempt to get a head start on winter testing over the remaining four races of the season, but insists the main objective is still to win races. Ferrari is no longer in the running for the constructors' championship and Fernando Alonso dropped out of contention for the drivers' crown in Singapore.
The team has won just one race this season and has vowed to improve in 2012 with a "more aggressive" car. But with just three pre-season tests next year instead of four, there will be pressure on teams to produce a car that works straight out of the box, and Domenicali has revealed that Ferrari is using the remaining races this year to test new concepts for 2012.
"Definitely in terms of testing various setups and parts, we basically use the Fridays to test and to bring forward as much as possible the development of the new car," he told Ferrari.TV. "That is the line we will be taking and I think it is also what our competitors will be doing."
The rules will remain largely unchanged over the winter, with the biggest tweak being a ban on exhaust-blown diffusers. The use of exhaust gases to increase rear downforce has not been a strong point for Ferrari this year and its only victory came at Silverstone when a partial ban was enforced. Domenicali hopes the full-scale ban will help his team in 2012, but said the race is now on to find the best interpretation of the new rules.
"Naturally, the hope is that our engineers will be capable of closing down the gap [to Red Bull]," he added. "Definitely the effect of the exhausts on the car performance will be smaller compared to this year. But even if it is less, we must maximize what we get from it and on this front, back at home, work is going on to find the best interpretation of this modification which is, let's say, the most significant rule change for next year."
"I think this year's world championship has been a bit of an eye opener for everyone, because the combination of the effect of the exhausts and the behavior of the tires is an element that the engineers are trying to understand race after race," Domenicali said. "Clearly, it's fair to say that this performance level here, so close to the top guys, was not something we had been expecting, given the characteristics we have been used to seeing so far. I repeat, this means we will tackle the next four races with the same determination, because I believe it's right that we set our sights at least on one more win before the end of the year. It's a result we must absolutely try and bring home."