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Ferrari concede championship will be 'difficult' after 'worst race'

Despite lamenting a lack of downforce and chronic issues with Pirelli's harder-compound tyres in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, both Fernando Alonso and Stefano Domenicali insist Ferrari must 'maintain hope' in F1 2011
Stefano Domenicali has conceded that doing battle for the crown in F1 2011 will be 'difficult' after Ferrari endured what he described as the team's 'worst race' of the season to-date in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix – but both he and Fernando Alonso are adamant that 'we don't give up'.

After dramatically seizing the lead at the start of the race from fourth on the grid and in front of his adoring home fans – holding his nerve and keeping his foot boldly planted on the inside of the track on the run down to the first corner – Alonso went on to artfully retain that advantage up until the second round of pit visits on lap 19, but ultimately slipped away to a distant and lapped fifth place in Barcelona, an outcome that Domenicali admits 'hurt' [see separate story – click here].

In analysing the reason for the Spaniard's dramatic drop-off in pace as the grand prix wore on – with McLaren-Mercedes rival Jenson Button musing that 'basically he stayed in front [initially] because people couldn't overtake' – the Scuderia's team principal points the finger firmly at the F150° Italia's poor performance on and excessive use of Pirelli's harder-compound tyres around the Circuit de Catalunya.

“We need to be very cautious,” the Italian is quoted as having said by SPEED.com. “We have seen so many different things happening in the first few races that it's difficult to make a judgement at the moment. For sure, what we have seen [in Barcelona] was expected, where unfortunately in conditions where the car needs to have the maximum downforce – and we know we don't have it – it had a multiplied effect on the tyres, above all on the hard, because we were not able to make them work. The cars were sliding around, and you're not putting in temperature. For sure, the tyre effect has a big influence.

“If you think that Fernando was leading for 20 laps more-or-less, in 46 laps [after that] we were lapped, so we were losing about three seconds a lap – and you can understand that it is really difficult to explain from a pure performance point-of-view. Three seconds is a lot, as you can imagine.

“I have to say this was the worst race we've had since the beginning in terms of race pace. [In] the last couple of races we were pretty quick, so for sure it's a shame – but we have seen that things are so changeable and we will need to see where we will be [in] the next couple of grands prix. We will have a much softer tyre [in Monaco and Canada], and a different configuration of track, and then we will see where we are. Of course fighting for the championship, we know that it is difficult, but we don't give up. We still see a light. We need to work hard – we want to keep [the championship] alive as long as possible. There's still a chance.”

Those sentiments are echoed by Alonso, who is now a gaping 67 points adrift of runaway world championship leader Sebastian Vettel five races into the new campaign, with but a sole podium finish to his name. The double F1 World Champion insists 'there is still time' to turn the unpalatable situation around and fight back and that Ferrari should not be written off – even if he reflects that leading in Spain somewhat flattered the F150° Italia's potential, and that his finishing position was a more accurate and realistic representation of the car's true pace.

“We were missing some good starts this year, and finally it came,” he quipped in an interview with BBC Sport after the race, “and with the long straight to Turn One here, you have the opportunity to take the slipstream as well. Basically, we were out-of-position in a way, because we were not quick over the weekend. We did a very good lap [in qualifying] so we were fourth, and maybe it was a strange result, and [in the race] on lap one we were first.

“It looks a little bit sad when you start losing positions, but we need to understand that P1 is maybe not our position at the moment. Fifth is unfortunately what we deserve this weekend; we were not competitive – especially on race pace we were too slow, and with the hard tyre even more so. The first two cars lapped until the fifth guy, so there are clearly two teams ahead of everybody at the moment.”




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
20.05.2011- Stefano Domenicali (ITA), Head of the Gestione Sportiva and Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
20.05.2011- Press conference, Stefano Domenicali (ITA), Head of the Gestione Sportiva
20.05.2011- Press conference, Stefano Domenicali (ITA), Head of the Gestione Sportiva
07.05.2011- Stefano Domenicali (ITA), Head of the Gestione Sportiva
22.05.2011- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia leads Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
22.05.2011- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia leads Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
22.05.2011- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia leads Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
21.05.2011- Saturday Practice, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
21.05.2011- Saturday Practice, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
21.05.2011- Saturday Practice, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
22.05.2011- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
22.05.2011- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia leads Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
20.09.2014 - Qualifying, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
20.09.2014 - Qualifying, Press conference, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
20.09.2014 - Qualifying, Press conference, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 and Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB10
20.09.2014 - Qualifying, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
20.09.2014 - Qualifying, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
20.09.2014 - Qualifying, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36

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MotoGP - Unregistered

May 23, 2011 3:34 PM

Not a fan of Fernando or Ferrari, but he did a spectacular job this race, made them look much better than they are. If he was in a Red Bull, no one would catch him.



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