31 May 2010
Alonso: We must improve
Fernando Alonso concedes the Turkish Grand Prix weekend was a case of 'damage limitation' for the Scuderia.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso has said that the Scuderia must 'react' now after struggling over the Turkish Grand Prix weekend.
Alonso endured a miserable time in Istanbul and failed to make it through to the top-ten shoot-out on Saturday. Although he fought back in the race and eventually took eighth, passing Renault's Vitaly Petrov on lap 54, it was another less than spectacular points' haul and he lost further ground to current championship leader, Mark Webber.
Speaking at the finish, Alonso added that while he expects the Ferrari F10 to be more competitive in Montreal, he was alarmed to see the Scuderia lose further ground to Red Bull, McLaren – and Mercedes.
“It was a case of damage limitation in what was a very difficult weekend for us,” Alonso said. “Our aim in this championship is to fight with McLaren and Red Bull for the podium, definitely not with a Renault for eighth place, with all due respect to my former team. We have to improve our performance.
“In Valencia we will have an important update on the car, which we hope will put us back to where we should be. I am convinced that right from Canada things will be better, because the track characteristics should better suit our car. The hierarchy in the field can change from race to race, as we saw in Monaco, where we had the potential to fight for victory.
“At the end, I attacked [Vitaly] Petrov and I hope the two points this brought me could turn out to be useful come the end of the year: I am sorry he got a puncture that stopped him finishing in the points, because he drove a good race. Despite everything, we are still in a good position to fight for the title. However, now is the time to react.”
Felipe Massa, who started eighth, was similarly disappointed and he finished seventh, only gaining a place after Sebastian Vettel went out following the incident with Mark Webber.
“It was a very boring race for me, from start to finish, but it was also very difficult,” Massa noted. “I was always stuck behind Kubica and the two Mercedes, who were running at a similar pace to me. Very often I managed to get close, but I never had a real chance of overtaking Robert. I knew that, starting from eighth, it would be tough and so it proved. Now we must stay calm and try and quickly improve the car, starting with the very next race in Canada. Here we lacked performance, especially in the fast corners.”
Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali meanwhile was also downbeat and frustrated that the Maranello-based outfit couldn't do more on what was the team's 800th F1 outing.
“This was definitely a very poor weekend for us and it's a shame we were unable to celebrate our 800th Grand Prix in a worthy manner. We did not have the performance level we expected and we were definitely inferior to the two teams which dominated the Turkish weekend,” he summed-up.
“We are at the level of the second group of drivers; those who were fighting throughout the Grand Prix, all within a few seconds of one another. But we know what an influence qualifying has on the final result and on Saturday we struggled even more than usual in this area.
“This afternoon, we did what we could: Felipe didn't make any mistakes and Fernando managed to make up a few places with the pit stop and by passing Petrov. Now we must make a step forward to close the performance gap: our engineers are capable and ready, as they have shown so often and I am sure they will be able to do it again, improving the performance of the F10. We are entering the crucial phase of the championship and we have to do everything to tackle it in the best possible shape.”
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