Ferrari admit they are off pace heading into season-opener in Australia
March 5, 2012 -- Updated 1500 GMT (2300 HKT)
Ferrari's new F2012, like many new cars for the forthcoming season, features a dramatic steep-nosed design.
- Ferrari are not expecting to challenge for a podium finish at the Australian Grand Prix
- The Italian team had a disappointing 2011 and have under-performed in testing
- Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso claimed the team's only win of last season
- Spain's Alonso and Brazilian Felipe Massa have been retained for the new season
(CNN) -- Ferrari's technical chief has talked down their chances of success in the opening grand prix of the 2012 season in Australia after disappointing performances in preseason testing.
The famous Italian marque is the most successful team in Formula One history, winning 16 constructors' titles and 15 drivers' championship during 51 years in the elite division of motorsport.
But Pat Fry has warned that Ferrari is facing an uphill battle this season to add to those honors.
"In the hunt for the podium in Melbourne? At the moment I'd say no," Fry told Ferrari's official website at the end of the final round of testing in Barcelona.
"We are disappointed with the performance level seen at these tests and I think we have a lot of work ahead of us."
In the hunt for the podium in Melbourne? At the moment I'd say no
Fry said it was difficult to compare the performance of Ferrari's drivers, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso and Brazil's Felipe Massa, to other teams without knowing the set ups of other cars.
"In testing, you can only make assumptions regarding what fuel loads the other cars are running," he said.
"It will only be in Melbourne that we will get a clear answer as to whether we have to be very disappointed or just a little, how far we really are off the front runners and consequently how much ground we have to make up to get there."
Fry also revealed that a recent decision Ferrari made to change their exhaust, aimed at boosting the car's downforce, has had an adverse effect on the F2012's performance.
"Clearly the decision relating to the exhausts that we took last week meant we took a few steps backwards in terms of development.
"How much? Difficult to say right now. We have been working on the current configuration for really just two weeks. We found a bit of performance but there's no doubt that the original solution is the one that gives the most."
Ferrari finished third in last season's constructors' standings, 275 points behind back-to-back champions Red Bull.
The Maranello-based team won just one race last year, with Spain's Alonso taking the checkered flag at July's British Grand Prix.
The season-opening race takes places at Albert Park on March 18.
Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Take the fittest driver in Formula One and test him against two of the world's leading triathletes in a high-performance laboratory.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
Mercedes has the fastest two cars in Formula One this season but there is just one problem -- there can only be one world champion.
He's the best of the rest -- Daniel Ricciardo has been Formula One's surprise package in the first half of the 2014 season.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1233 GMT (2033 HKT)
To be a champion you must win a title -- but to become an F1 legend you must win races at Monaco, the calendar's most testing circuit.
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
The Formula One driver transcended his sport and even 20 years after his death, Ayrton Senna commands the adoration of fans worldwide.
May 1, 2014 -- Updated 1500 GMT (2300 HKT)
F1's greatest racer was killed during the San Marino Grand Prix on May 1 1994. The sport hasn't been the same since.
Today's five most popular stories