Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali and the Scuderia's
President Luca di Montezemolo have called for enthusiasm to be curbed at Maranello in the wake of Fernando Alonso re-assuming the advantage in the F1 2010 title standings for the first time in 15 races courtesy of his Korean Grand Prix victory, with both men urging – we've not won anything yet!
Alonso's Korean triumph on Sunday was not only the Spaniard's fifth of the campaign, but more importantly still it came on a day that degenerated into a nightmare for chief rivals Red Bull Racing, with erstwhile world championship leader Mark Webber calamitously crashing out early on, and Sebastian Vettel suffering a late-race engine failure whilst in the lead that potentially dealt a hammer blow to the young German's chances of clinching the crown.
Now in possession of an eleven-point margin heading into the final two grands prix in Brazil and Abu Dhabi – and, what's more, with team-mate Felipe Massa expected to be on top form on home turf at Interlagos, and thereby able to play the perfect supporting role to Alonso – the double F1 World Champion has been installed as the favourite to lift the laurels come season's end. It is a tag he refutes.
“There are four or five contenders still, so as we repeat many times, the key is consistency,” the Oviedo native stressed, whilst acknowledging that his fourth triumph in the last five outings had been one of his most satisfying of the year. “To get both cars onto the podium is a fantastic achievement for Ferrari. We were competitive all weekend, but with the weather conditions you never know and it was a tricky race to finish. I think it's my first wet race win, so I'm more than happy.”
Indeed, whilst plaudits poured down in Italy in the aftermath of the race, Domenicali – whose measured, methodical calmness has done much to help galvanise a team that in years gone-by all too easily lost its way – was keen to keep the celebrations in-check, cautioning that with 50 points still to play for, nothing is decided yet.
“For us now, the mission is to stay cool, to keep very concentrated and not to overreact to this great part of the season,” the Italian underlined. “We have to do this, because we know our competitors are very, very strong. I ask for preparation, reliability and concentration and then, of course, to manage the races with no mistakes. That is for all of us – me, my engineers, our mechanics, Fernando and also of course, Felipe.
“Now comes the hard part, and that's something we must bear in mind. Over the next three weeks, we have to do everything perfectly. These are things we are well used-to, but it still merits repetition.
“I have always said that this year, keeping a cool head is what will make the difference and we must not get carried away with the words of praise, just as we did not get downhearted by the criticism in the most difficult moments – we should leave unguarded enthusiasm at the door. [The Korean victory] is a strong message for our strong mental approach to the races, but I have to stress to the guys not to get their feet off the ground. We have to stay concentrated, because up to now we have not done anything.”
Those sentiments are corroborated by the famously-exigent di Montezemolo, who warned against taking success for granted off the back of Ferrari's stellar recent run following a mid-season dip that – with Alonso languishing some 47 points adrift of the lead post-Silverstone in July – looked to have left team and driver out for the count in both championships. By dint of a superbly consistent and ever-opportunistic approach, now they are back.