The agony of losing out so marginally on last season’s world championship stirred an undercurrent of activity at Ferrari HQ long before the first cracker was pulled at the team’s Christmas party.
While rivals like Red Bull rejoiced, Ferrari’s Prancing Horsemen were occupied under their thinking caps seeking solutions to the problems that contributed to their failure to help star driver Fernando Alonso clinch a third title.
And the prime mover is company president Luca di Montezemolo, who will not accept any excuses for a re-run of the shoddy 2012 show from all but Alonso and has demanded the boffins get their act together for a championship-winning performance.
He wants the backroom boys at the Maranello base to give Spaniard Alonso a key car to unlock his ability and restore the Ferrari legend as worldbeaters.
They have not posed a real threat since Kimi Raikkonen’s title takeover in 2007 and, try as he may, Alonso could not overcome the setbacks that hampered his brilliance.
“Our biggest regret is that we did not have a car quick enough to win the championship,” confessed team boss Stefano Domenicali.
“We are all aware that we must start off with a more competitive car as our president has demanded.”
Woe betide any dissenters or abject failures in the Italian set-up, with the president of 22 years underpinning his anxieties for an all-action replay of the Ferrari momentum of old with a cold-eyed stare at the assembled workforce.
Hurrying to assure Montezemolo, Domenicali, whose job could be on the line if there is any lamentable repeat, vowed: “We need to adopt a different and more creative approach.
“We have been working on a process of reorganisation, along with new methodology. And we will need to push the technical regulations to the very limit because our rivals will not be twiddling their thumbs.
“We must not make the same mistakes as last year. We must improve our performance and give Fernando a car in which he can be competitive right from the start — and then we can be winners.”
That is precisely the promise both Montezemolo and Alonso will want to hear. It is now up to the anonymous backroom experts to keep to it...or else.
— The writer is a motorsport expert based in the UK