Feb.16 (GMM) Insiders are playing down rumours Ferrari's 2017 campaign is already in trouble, long before a single winter testing lap.
Eyebrows were raised in Turin earlier this week, when representatives of other F1 teams attended a launch event by tyre supplier Pirelli.
Maurizio Arrivabene was conspicuously absent.
"I am not far from Maranello, but I could not come because we have a lot to do," Italian media reports quote Arrivabene as explaining by video message.
It triggered rumours that Ferrari has fundamentally erred with the design of its 2017 car, amid a battle with Mercedes and Red Bull over alleged 'trick' suspension systems.
What is clear is that Ferrari is having an extremely low-profile winter period, having brashly declared a year ago that it would challenge for wins and the title in 2016.
"I do not think Ferrari is as bad as it is being painted," an Italian media source told the Spanish daily Marca.
Also being played down are rumours of aerodynamic problems with the 2017 Ferrari. According to the rumour, the team is already working on a 'B' car for Barcelona.
"It is not a B chassis," the Marca report insisted, "but rather an important evolution as they discover the possibilities of the new aerodynamics."
Ferrari spokesman Alberto Antonini said: "It would be inappropriate to talk about expectations. The regulations have changed and the car will be completely different.
"We know our abilities and what kind of car we have built. In the team the results are in line with expectations, but we need to wait for the tests in Barcelona to compare with the others," he added.