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Domenicali: We can't afford mistakes

Despite Fernando Alonso's points advantage, Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali knows the title is too close for slip-ups.
Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali has said that there will be no room for emotion going into either qualifying or the race at Yas Marina, even though Fernando Alonso holds the upper hand in terms of the point standings with one round of the 2010 F1 world championship remaining.

Speaking to journalists at the end of the opening day in Abu Dhabi, where Alonso finished third behind Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, Domenicali said that he would be trying to instil a sense of calm on all members of the squad in an effort to avoid the sort of mistake that could cost the Spaniard a third world title. Alonso holds an eight-point advantage over Mark Webber, meaning that he only has to finish second to claim the crown, but with Red Bull and McLaren both on the pace, the merest slip-up could be costly.

"At the end of the day, it will be a matter of a lot of factors during the race," Domenicali explained, "You need to be lucky, you need to be reliable, you need to keep your head on your shoulders up until the last moment. As we have seen in the past, if you react emotionally at the wrong moment, in the wrong way, if something happens during the race that is not really going in the right direction, if you do mistakes, it is finished. We need to be very, very concentrated to the end."

Asked if he was buoyed by Alonso's performance in Friday practice, Domenicali was less forthcoming, but admitted that the Spaniard appeared focused on the job in hand.

"It is not a matter of confidence, it is to check what is going on," he said of Friday's purpose, "As expected, we have Red Bull and McLaren very, very fast - but then we know today you need to know exactly what was the programme that we run in comparison to the programmes Christian [Horner] and Martin [Whitmarsh] ran with their cars. I think it would be exciting but I am expecting tomorrow, as Martin said, a very interesting qualifying.

"I think, on our side, we need to do the normal things that we normally do in a racing weekend. We do not have to make calculations or think of too many strategies, otherwise you get lost. We need to be focused on the best performance that we can, and that's it. Really focus on ourselves as always. Everyone of us is trying to control the emotions that he has inside. This is part of the role of every person but, so far, everything is okay."

Domenicali also insisted that despite Ferrari's F1 pedigree, it did not convey any advantage in the heat of a close championship battle with comparative rookies such as Red Bull.

"I don't think so - you are very kind, but I don't think so," he claimed, "I think in this moment you really get out from yourself all the qualities that you have and try to keep the problems or the bad things under a certain level of control. But the advice that I can give to Christian is he has already won a championship this year, so he has already covered that, he is bullet-proof on that.

"It is always difficult to say something when you put all the elements on the table. For sure we have an incredible level of drivers, that really makes a big difference. The teams in this new change of regulations, I would say, have done quite an interesting job in order to try to be closer together. Then, of course, all the factors that have happened this year have basically involved all the teams and has brought something unique to the championship itself.

"It seems a real long time that we don't have many drivers and many teams that are fighting for something, so this is the main thing of the season. It is a really unique championship in that respect, even if I have to say, once again, congratulations to Red Bull for winning the constructors' title. They totally deserved it, so that is one thing that is already out of the equation unfortunately for Sunday.

"Of course, from ourselves, we try to be focused on our main objective. We feel this pressure, but it's part of the game. We have had this kind of thing in the past already several times. If things would not go in the right direction, I think that at the end of the day we need to be realistic. I think that the team should be happy about the way that we recovered the situation, because not a lot of people were thinking that we were able to be here, fighting for a title, in the summertime. It's a big reward for the people who were focused on trying to do the best without following the people who said that we were a bunch idiots wandering around the world. So that was really a big reward to all the team, to our drivers. We will see how this season will finish."



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F10 3rd position
Saturday Practice, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F10
Friday, Stefano Domenicali (ITA), Head of the Gestione Sportiva
Friday Practice 2, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F10
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race,Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H  leads Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 leads Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H

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