Milan: Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali believes the switch to Pirelli tyres for 2011 could have a fundamental impact on the Formula One season.
The Italian company has returned to the sport for the first time since 1991, replacing Bridgestone, but the restrictions on testing mean it is a race against time to get the tyres ready for the opening race in Bahrain on March 13.
"On the rear tyres there are still some steps to be done. Due to the time we also haven't done tests with wet tyres," Domenicali told a news conference at a ski retreat.
"We need to thank Pirelli, without them we would be running on rims."
Domenicali is hoping for rain during the first pre-season tests in Valencia from Feb. 1-3 to see how the tyres react in the wet.
Pirelli have said they hope their tyres can help create more of a spectacle than last season.
"This year, qualifying should not be as important as it was last season," Domenicali said. "Last season was very interesting and competitive but there wasn't a lot of overtaking. This is a fundamental aspect which must be worked on."
A strategy error on pit stops in the final race of last season in Abu Dhabi cost Ferrari's Fernando Alonso the title and although memories are still raw, Domenicali is keen to move on.
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel took the crown and reports recently alleged the German's team and others may have overspent last season in a breach of rules, but Domenicali is not looking for revenge.
"The Formula One team's association (FOTA) has all the tools to manage the situation. We respect the rules that's all I can say," he said.
Engineer Chris Dyer, blamed by Italian media for the pitstop call in Abu Dhabi, has been moved aside and Red Bull's Neil Martin brought in, but Domenicali said he did not want to dwell on the past.
First Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011, 14:58