Ferrari need more speed after solid start to season

Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:35am EDT
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Ferrari recognized they had work to do after Fernando Alonso finished Sunday's Australian Formula One season-opener fifth and 35 seconds behind Nico Rosberg's winning Mercedes.

"Today, we achieved our objective in terms of reliability, but the gap we need to make up, especially to Mercedes, was clear to see," said team principal Stefano Domenicali.

"The information we have gathered this weekend clearly points to the direction we must take and what areas need the most work...Our engineers know what the priorities are and which areas need the most immediate attention."

Anyone expecting to see immediate sparks between Alonso and new team mate Kimi Raikkonen, the Finn returning to the team with which he won the 2007 championship, would have been disappointed.

Raikkonen, who started 11th after a crash in qualifying, finished eighth but both Ferrari drivers suffered reliability problems throughout the weekend.

"We cannot be happy with the positions that we finished in," said Raikkonen, who won the race with Lotus last year. "But obviously at least we got something out. It has been a very difficult weekend."

Raikkonen was hit in the first corner by Kamui Kobayashi's Caterham and then lost a place in the pitstops when he had to wait for Alonso ahead of him.

"The car felt pretty OK at some points but then at some points it was a bit tricky. The only positive thing is that we ran the whole race and scored some points," he said.   Continued...

Ferrari Formula One team principal Stefano Domenicali attends a news conference after the second practice session of the Australian F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne March 14, 2014. REUTERS/Brandon Malone