Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali says the Italian team may switch its development focus onto the 2010 car as early as next month if its fortunes do not improve dramatically in the next few races.
The Maranello-based outfit has failed to score a point in the first three races of the season, its worst start to a campaign since 1981, and is now facing a very tough challenge to get itself back in the championship hunt.
Speaking at Shanghai on Sunday night, Domenicali refused to rule out the possibility of the team abandoning the development push on its 2009 car if matters do not improve when a double-decker diffuser version of its F60 is raced for the first time at the Spanish Grand Prix.
When asked at what point the team would decide whether to start concentrating on the 2010 car, Domenicali said: "I think for sure we will see after Spain where we are. In that period we will see really what can be the situation - so when we come back to Europe basically."
Although much has been made of the advantage that the 'diffuser gang' of Brawn GP, Williams and Toyota have enjoyed in the first races of the season, Domenicali does not believe that copying their rear-end concept will be the whole answer to Ferrari's woes.
"No. The situation is much more complicated than that," he said. "That device will give you a benefit. But it would be wrong to believe that it is the only key. We have seen, for example, the Red Bull car has done a really great job.
"They had more time, they switched their project much earlier than us and that is the reality and we need to consider it. The other thing that we have to understand well is that today in certain conditions, look at the first part of the race, our car was not too bad at all. So we need to understand a lot of things."
Domenicali added that he would not be forced into a panic about Ferrari's situation, or revise the team's targets for the season.
"I think we have to wait," he said. "We need to stay cool. It is not easy, I know, but we need to stay cool because there are too many things that can change very quickly. The priority number one is to move from zero points."