Toni Cuquerella: 'Ferrari spent 100s of millions to catch up'

Ferrari are on the cusp of a much better season in Formula 1, according to the Italian marque's former chief engineer Toni Cuquerella.

Ferrari are on the cusp of a much better season in Formula 1, according to the Italian marque's former chief engineer Toni Cuquerella.

Winter testing has indicated that Ferrari might even be ready to take on Mercedes in 2017, but Cuquerella told Spanish newspaper El Pais that the real picture will only begin to emerge in Melbourne.

"What is clear is that they have made a significant step in quality," he said.

"Whether it is enough to compete with or beat Mercedes, I still don't know. But I do know that they will not be as far away as they were at this point last year."

Cuquerella, who was at Ferrari as recently as 2016 but will now be a commentator for Spanish TV, said that Ferrari's boost has been thanks to a "great investment in development".

"We are talking about an injection of hundreds of millions of euros in tools that allow the testing of most parts of the car," he revealed. "Ferrari realised this is the deficit they had to Mercedes.

"The results of the winter were strong enough for me to think that they will do well, although I dare not quantify that improvement. They may be four tenths behind or two tenths ahead, but at the very least, Ferrari is serious now."

The season-opening Australian Grand Prix takes place this Sunday.

Marcus Ericsson walks across the paddock during previews to the Canadian Grand Prix on June 4, 2015
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TeamPoints
1Ferrari102
2Mercedes99
3Red Bull47
4Force India17
5Williams-Mercedes16
6Toro Rosso12
7Haas8
8Renault2
9Sauber0
10McLaren0
DriversTeamPoints
1Sebastian VettelFerrari68
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes61
3Valtteri BottasMercedes38
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari34
5Max VerstappenRed Bull25
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull22
7Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes16
8Sergio PerezForce India14
9Carlos SainzToro Rosso10
10Kevin MagnussenHaas4
11Romain GrosjeanHaas4
12Esteban OconForce India3
13Nico HulkenbergRenault2
14Daniil KvyatToro Rosso2
15Fernando AlonsoMcLaren0
16Marcus EricssonSauber0
17Antonio GiovinazziSauber0
18Jolyon PalmerRenault0
19Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren0
20Pascal WehrleinSauber0
21Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes0
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