Ferrari will abandon its push to claim the F1 2010 World Championship crown with Fernando Alonso should it again find itself roundly beaten by season-long pace-setters Red Bull Racing in this weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the Scuderia's
team principal Stefano Domenicali has conceded.
Following his costly spin into retirement in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps a week-and-a-half ago, Alonso now lies some 41 points adrift of McLaren-Mercedes' world championship leader Lewis Hamilton – twice the deficit he had trailed by beforehand, and one that dealt a significant blow to the Spaniard's title chances with just six races left to run.
Whilst warmly praising the Oviedo native's contribution to the team – in the face of recent criticism from the likes of Bernie Ecclestone and Niki Lauda that off the back of an unusually scrappy maiden campaign at Maranello, Alonso will ultimately not prove capable of going on to match the record-breaking exploits of the legendary Michael Schumacher at the Prancing Horse – Domenicali does admit that the odds are now looking increasingly stacked against the scarlet brigade in 2010.
“Should Monza go really badly and Red Bull's lead continues to increase, then on Monday we will begin to use all of our staff and resources for the project of next season's car,” the Italian told daily newspaper Corriere dello Sport
, before adding: “Alonso reminds me very much of Schumacher – since I've been with Ferrari, I have not seen a driver who has as strong a presence in Maranello, and follows all of our activities with the same conviction.”
Meanwhile, having previously been reported that both Alonso and team-mate Felipe Massa had been summoned by F1 governing body the FIA to attend today's World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) hearing in Paris into the Hockenheim team orders controversy from July, it now appears the pair will instead address the disciplinary hearing by video link.
Domenicali, Ferrari team manager Massimo Rivola and the team's lawyers will conversely be present at the FIA's Place de la Concorde headquarters in the French capital, and a verdict is expected later on today.