Unhappy Ferrari F1 bosses fly home to Maranello

ROME (Reuters) - Ferrari Formula One team bosses flew back to Italy on Monday to try and speed up development and get to the bottom of their car's poor showing in the first two races of the season.

"The number one priority is still naturally enough, an investigation into the aerodynamics and on finding out why the cars' performance on track does not match the numbers produced by the wind tunnel," the team said.

"It is a very tricky operation, with consequences for every area of the development process: better to follow it first hand, to push it along a bit further.

"That way some updates planned for later races might actually be available earlier, hopefully starting here in China," added the website.

After looking fast and reliable in pre-season testing, Ferrari have been eclipsed by champions Red Bull and closest rivals McLaren in the first two races in Australia and Malaysia.

Ferrari have scored half the points of Red Bull while Spain's Fernando Alonso, a double world champion, and Brazilian Felipe Massa are only fifth and sixth overall.

Massa was fifth at Sepang on Sunday, with Alonso sixth. Neither have stood on the podium since last November's Brazilian Grand Prix.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo told reporters he remained optimistic despite concern about the lack of results.

"I am certainly not happy with how the season has started but I have extraordinary confidence in people who, in difficult times, know how to react," he said in Rome.

"I know they are working hard and I have complete faith in both the human and technical capacity of our people. I think the period where we can only hope for a podium at the most will end," he added.

Montezemolo said he was also mystified by the Sepang stewards decision to penalize both McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Alonso for a collision in Sunday's race, saying he saw only a "good sporting fight" between the two.

"Let's not exaggerate," he added. "I did not see anything unusual from either of them.

(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Justin Palmer; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)