Stefano Domenicali and several other top Ferrari engineers have made an unscheduled flight back to Europe as they attempt to understand their surprising lack of pace in Australia.
Ferrari, considered to be a close second behind Red Bull in pre-season testing, could only manage fourth with Fernando Alonso and ninth with Felipe Massa. The Brazilian was later classified seventh after Sauber were disqualified.
A statement on the Ferrari website said: “Eighteen points is without a doubt not the sort of haul that lives up to our expectations. No one at Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro can hide from the reality that this was not the start to the championship we wanted or hoped for.
Clearly, there is plenty for the men from Maranello to get their teeth into and there is an absolute determination to react immediately so as to turn up in much better shape in Malaysia.”
The Malaysian Grand Prix is in two weeks’ time.