2013 will be hardest year yet - Ferrari

Ferrari is bracing itself for what it believes will be the 'toughest year' in Formula 1 history next season, as teams get ready for new regulations in 2014.

With the outfit determined to make amends for the weaknesses that cost it this year's world championship, Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali says he is under no illusions about the size of the task his outfit is facing if it wants to triumph.

He reckons that the challenge posed by new car and engine rules for 2014 is already immense, and that having to also keep pushing with its 2013 challenger will be tough.

"Next year will maybe be the most difficult year - we are in parallel two projects," said Domenicali during a press conference in Madrid on Friday.

"We need to make sure the 2013 car and team is successful and, on other hand, we have a group of people that need to make sure that with massive change, the car of 2014 will be successful.

"It is an extremely challenging year with a lot of investment, and a lot of opportunities, and I don't deny it will be a very critical year in order to achieve in all the directions the objectives that we want to achieve."

Domenicali has faith that Ferrari has learned valuable lessons this year, where Alonso lost the title by just three points to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

"We know where we need to improve and I believe we have all the tools to make sure we will improve," he said. "Our season has not finished.

"On the Monday after the end of the championship I was back in Maranello to make sure the work around the next project will give a boost. We need to make sure the car is faster than it was at the beginning of this season. On that I have the confidence it will be."

Domenicali also thinks that Ferrari's main focus must be on lifting the performance of its car, because he reckons in other critical areas that team is good enough for championship success.

"We need to be pragmatic and consider that if you want to win you need to have the best car, the best driver, we have that is clear, the best strategy, the best pitstop, the best reliability and the best luck.

"On those six [items], I would say apart from two we had all four. The best car above all at the end of season and the beginning? No. So it is a fact to improve.

"And in terms of luck, I don't like to give the answer because it is quite easy to reply. Next year we need all six elements in our pocket and then I am sure we can succeed in the objective we want to achieve together."

He added: "You never give up. From the emotional point of view, when you receive a hit in the stomach it hurts, but we are good boxers. We stand up and fight again.

"I am convinced on one fact: that this year we had a difficult start for Felipe [Massa], a difficult start to the season, and I saw Felipe grow in a great way in the second half of the season.

"This will be an important element to count on as a team to be more competitive from the beginning of the season."