Fernando Alonso has backtracked on his downcast comments in the aftermath of last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix suggesting that the F1 2011 World Championship laurels are now out-of-reach for himself and Ferrari – stressing that 'neither myself nor the team are used to throwing in the towel'.
Defending title-holder Sebastian Vettel has triumphed in five of the opening six grands prix of the 2011 campaign, and in Monte Carlo on Sunday, the Red Bull Racing star arguably lucked into a victory that Alonso clearly reckoned could have been his.
That prompted the Spaniard to lament that 'at the moment, it's not possible to close the gap' – alluding to the 74 points presently separating him from the runaway world championship leader and insinuating that the German already practically has one hand on this season's drivers' crown [see separate story – click here
Whilst still maintaining that he could have been toasting his third success in the Principality had only Lady Luck chosen to shine upon him instead, Alonso now appears to have changed his tune somewhat with regard to his earlier pessimism, insisting that the fight must – and will – go on.
“We had a real chance of taking our first win of the season, and the interruption following the accident with [Vitaly] Petrov and [Jaime] Alguersuari robbed us of the chance of trying to the very end,” the 29-year-old wrote in his official blog for Ferrari's website.
“In the second part of the race, after the pit-stop, I tried to save the tyres specifically to be prepared for the closing laps, when I hoped I'd be able to make the most of them if Sebastian had any difficulties with his tyres, given he'd been on the same set for many laps. Unfortunately, that plan went out of the window, but you have to accept it, because we know that situations like the one we saw in Monaco happen quite often.
“Immediately after the race, I said the fight for the title was getting ever-more difficult, not to say impossible. Sure, if Vettel ends up winning a race in which we felt there was a chance of victory, then you get a feeling of disappointment, but that does not mean we will not continue working hard at the track and back home on developing the car. Clearly, the gap in the championship is widening all the time. We can do the maths, but neither myself nor the team are used to throwing in the towel.
“Already, I've been talking to the engineers about the new parts we will have in Montreal, but above all, of the steps forward we must take for Silverstone, when we will be back at a track which requires a lot of aerodynamic downforce. That's where we will really see how our season is going to pan out. Up until then, we want to and we must believe in ourselves.”
Those sentiments are shared by Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali and chassis director Pat Fry, both of whom are adamant that all hope is not yet lost and that inner steel and confidence will be key to stemming the Scuderia's
disappointing run of form this year.