|Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo thinks his team can return to their best next season [GETTY]|
Coming off a miserable season in which they won only one race, Ferrari plans to introduce a completely revised 2012 car during the “the first few days of February.”
Ferrari President Luca Cordero di Montezemolo announced the team’s plans late Wednesday at the automaker’s Christmas party.
Fernando Alonso took Ferrari’s only victory this year at the British Grand Prix in July. In the drivers’ standings, Alonso placed fourth and teammate Felipe Massa was sixth.
“This year we showed we know how to lose, but now that’s enough. It’s time to start winning again,” Montezemolo said.
In a September interview with The Associated Press, team principal Stefano Domenicali said Ferrari has been working “100 percent” on next year’s car since July.
“It’s an innovative project in which you can note the detail,” Montezemolo said.
The first testing session of the new season is slated for the week of February 6 in Jerez, Spain, while the opening race of 2012 is in Melbourne, Australia on March 18.
Ferrari finished third in this season’s constructors’ standings, trailing Red Bull and McLaren.
Meanwhile, Montezemolo did little to quell speculation that Massa will be replaced when his contract expires at the end of 2012.
The Brazilian hasn’t won a race since a life-threatening accident at the Hungarian GP in 2009.
“He could continue,” Montezemolo said, but added that Ferrari “always looks around.”
“We were not happy with him and he wasn’t happy with himself,” Montezemolo said, according to Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport.
“But I’m confident that with a new car he’ll be able to warm up the tires faster and be competitive again.”
Sebastian Vettel, the German who has won the F1 title the last two seasons with Red Bull, has indicated he would like to drive for Ferrari eventually.
“He’s an intelligent kid, I like how he handles himself,” Montezemolo said.
“Anyhow, right now I wouldn’t trade Alonso for anybody because during the race he’s the best driver around.”
Montezemolo also said that he would not pair Lewis Hamilton with Alonso, recalling their complicated partnership at McLaren in 2007.