MARCH 1, 2016
Final test will show Mercedes strength says Arrivabene
Ferrari's hopes for 2016 rest on the progress Mercedes has been able to make over the winter.
That is the claim of Maurizio Arrivabene, the Ferrari team boss, amid media reports even the innovative new white and red SF16-H car might not be enough to prevent Mercedes from winning a third consecutive championship this year.
"The question is not 'How good are we?'" Arrivabene told the Italian newspaper La Stampa.
"It is rather 'How strong is Mercedes?' As they are still the best on the field.
"If we can stay for a moment in the language of football," the Italian continued, "they have the ball and we have to catch them on the wrong foot."
Arrivabene said Ferrari's engineers and drivers have no doubt the new car is good, "but we still lack the comparison with Mercedes under identical conditions.
"I guess in the next four days of testing, we will get a clearer picture of where we stand and where we still need to work," he added.
But Arrivabene said that, despite Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne having set the target of winning in Melbourne, the 21-race world championship will be played by the main protagonists as a long game.
"As in all businesses, it is your leader who sets the goals," he said. "The president has given us everything we asked for so it is right that he expects the best.
"What matters is the result at the end of November, but it is obvious that a good start would give us a boost," added Arrivabene.