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Motorsport | Formula 1

Stefano Domenicali with Fernando Alonso © Action Images

Ferrari boss calls for swift improvement



Ferrari are under pressure to improve their Formula One car quickly after a stuttering start in order give Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen a realistic world title chance, according to principal Stefano Domenicali.

Domenicali told the Formula One website in an interview published on Tuesday that the team must "make sure that we give them the best car we can. That is the urgent need, and it has to happen very soon."

Alonso placed fourth in the opening two season races in Australia and Malaysia, with the Bahrain race next on Sunday. Raikkonen, who won the last drivers' title for the scuderia in 2007 and returned to the team this season, was seventh in Australia and 12th in Malaysia.

"So far Fernando has proved to be fast immediately. Kimi needs some time to understand the car, but you can see he is getting there. I am sure from the drivers' side there will not be a problem," Domenicali said.

Domenicali admitted that Mercedes are the team to beat after shining in the pre-season and winning the opening races with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.

"If Mercedes keeps the pace it will be very difficult to match them," he said.

Domenicali said that teams and engine manufacturers like Mercedes had an advantage after sweeping rule changes because they can draw on their wide range of technology and expertise in all areas. But he said Ferrari are ready for the challenge and have invested big in development equipment they didn't have in the past.

"We need to work to have a more efficient car; we need to work to have a better engine; we need to work to exploit better the balance between electric power and traditional engine power. Everywhere!" he said.

"Sure it was more difficult for us - and we knew that. But that is the beauty of the challenge. We have to fight so that we can keep up ... we love the challenge - it has always been part of Ferrari's nature and heritage."

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