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Ferrari is down but not out

FERRARI has cause for gloom but no reason to panic after its worst start to a Formula One season in 28 years, team principal Stefano Domenicali said.

Felipe Massa was running as high as third yesterday before ditching the race due to an electrical failure, while Kimi Raikkonen finished 10th. It was the first time since 1981 that Ferrari had gone three races in a season without a single point.

"We need to stay cool," Domenicali said. "There is no reason to get in a panic mode because that would be worse."

Massa, retiring on lap 21 when electrics caused what the team called a "software management problem" said the only solution to Ferrari's ills is to keep trying and work harder. "I would say to our fans that they should not give up on us, as this is a difficult moment, but the championship is still long," Massa said. "I'm very disappointed and a bit upset, but my motivation is still intact."

Domenicali doused speculation that Ferrari might cut its losses, abandon further development of the 2009 car and get a head start on the 2010 model.

"In the first three races there were so many things that came out and that changed the situation radically that we need to keep on pushing," he said. "It's too early to draw too easy a conclusion now after only three races."

Still, 2007 world champion Raikkonen was glum at the Italian team's reversal of fortune.

"Not good," the Finn said. "If we had a dry race today, we would have scored some points. But we don't have the grip anyhow in the dry condition and then in the wet it seems to be even more difficult."

The Ferraris were without the tricky KERS power-boost technology after jettisoning it following the Malaysian Grand Prix. But the lack of KERS and thus speed on the straights was only part of the problem.

"No, no, no, no. It's much more complicated for sure than just that device," Domenicali said. "It will be wrong to think that's the only key."

Raikkonen wants more downforce, Massa merely wants a car that keeps going.

Ferrari was expected to try the KERS device again in next week's race in Bahrain.


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