Ferrari is facing "a slight disadvantage" heading into the 2009 season, its team boss Stefano Domenicali has admitted.

First, reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton's employer McLaren this week admitted its new MP4-24 is not ready to win races, and now the 2008 constructors' title winner has spoken with a similarly cautionary tone.

"Who, like us and our main competitors, was working until the last moment on the development of the 2008 car, might have a slight disadvantage compared to those who gave up last year and dedicated themselves and their resources to a new project," Domenicali said.

Maranello based Ferrari was believed to hold a slight edge on a close group of rivals this winter, but Domenicali admits last week's Barcelona test - remarkably dominated by the former Honda team Brawn - has blurred the picture.

Asked where Ferrari stands, Domenicali answered: "I don't want you to think that I'm avoiding an answer, but it's more difficult than ever to say anything about the levels on the track.

"Until a couple of days ago there was a great equilibrium between the different teams - some expected and some a bit less - and then there was Brawn GP's exploit. Their performance was incredibly surprising and they have to be watched with care.

"We think that we're part of the more competitive teams, but there are still many unknown factors to consider; we have to wait for Melbourne to get the answers," the Italian added.

Domenicali also commented on Flavio Briatore's assertion that up to three teams may be circumventing the new aerodynamic regulations in the area of the rear diffuser.

"We think that we've applied the modified regulations - after the works done by the OWG (overtaking working group) together with the FIA - to the letter," he said.

"It might be that others took a different approach; the FIA has to dissipate any doubt; let's hope they'll do if fast and clear."


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