Analysis: Ferrari pressure rising in 2014 Formula 1 season
|By Jonathan Noble and Dieter Rencken||Monday, January 20th 2014, 14:04 GMT|
Ferrari has always faced external pressure to win, but the team is also demanding much more of itself in the 2014 Formula 1 season as top brass tire of underachievement.
After years when the team has failed to back up its bold predictions on-track, there is now a sound basis to Ferrari's claims that things should be better this season.
For beyond simply the all-new 2014 regulations serving to shake up the order, there are internal factors that give its chiefs genuine reasons for optimism.
Ferrari's 2013 F1 campaign was, on the face of it, a disappointment, as the team lost its early-season momentum and fell away in the second half of the year.
That performance slump did not tell the story of the huge reorganisation going on back at its Maranello base.
Over the last few years there has been a major ramping up of its simulator and simulation facilities, plus director of engineer Pat Fry (pictured) has instilled a lot of new working processes.
It is the fruits of that work that technical director James Allison has been at pains to praise, following his arrival from Lotus towards the end of last year.
"I have been very fortunate to arrive at Ferrari in a period where I am inheriting a huge amount of foundation work that Pat has done in the last few years," he said recently.
"He has been building up the tools and infrastructure at Ferrari to make it a team that can make it compete right at the front of the grid."
One of Ferrari's main issues in recent years has been its failure to maintain its rate of development during the season.
Part of the cause of that situation has been windtunnel correlation issues, with updates not producing their predicted pace on track.
A major revamp of Ferrari's Maranello windtunnel, which was shut down for a refit but is now back in use, should be a big boost.
Allison also thinks that the change of aero regulations - specifically relating to exhaust positioning - will help improve matters.
"There are two things of the current  generation of the car that are difficult," he said.
"One is to accurately get the shape of the tyres correct in the windtunnel and the other is to accurately predict where the exhaust will go.
"Up and down the grid, there is a greater or lesser success in getting that correlation to work.
"Ferrari hasn't been bad but I know too we could have been better.
"Ferrari has made a titanic investment in the windtunnel and we are fortunate that we are now using the fruits of that upgrade.
"It will work extremely well in the coming years. So I am very happy about that."
Although the new turbo rules leave much uncertainty ahead of next week's Jerez test, Ferrari does at least believe it has done everything in its power to hit the ground running.
"There are opportunities that we need to make sure that we are taking," explained team principal Stefano Domenicali.
"We have improved a lot of our tools and equipment to make sure that we take all the different things in the best way we can.
"We know it will be a tough challenge, but it will be tough for everyone.
"You know my style - to not say a lot of things and to deal with facts. But it is time to show the level of the skill of our people."