Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo and the Scuderia's
test driver Marc Gené have both urged the team to 'keep pushing' in its bid to turn the tide in F1 2011 and successfully do battle for world championship glory – despite Stefano Domenicali's pessimism in the wake of last weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.
In Montreal, Felipe Massa ran inside the top three before a wayward Narain Karthikeyan forced him off-line and into the wall when being lapped, leaving the Brazilian with a damaged front wing and causing him to fall to a frustrated sixth at the chequered flag. Team-mate Fernando Alonso similarly had the pace to fight for a podium finish, only to drop out of the running after colliding with eventual race-winner Jenson Button on lap 37 around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
That disappointing outcome – allied to the fact that Alonso is now a gaping 92 points adrift of pace-setter Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' standings just seven races in, Massa 129 and Ferrari a staggering 154 shy of Red Bull Racing in the constructors' chase – prompted team principal Domenicali to reflect that the Prancing Horse is 'at a crucial moment of the season' and that 'in the next races until after the British Grand Prix, we will decide whether we continue to push for the world title or work already for next season' [see separate story – click here
Gené and di Montezemolo, however, are adamant that giving up and writing F1 2011 off is the last thing on anybody's mind at Maranello – rubbishing notions that the team is set to adopt a different direction post-Silverstone in turning all of its efforts towards producing a better car for 2012.
“I am sure we will soon win races,” Gené told Spanish sports daily Marca
. “In the last two races, victory was very close. It will not take long. Ferrari is not a team that throws in the towel even when the chance for the title is the slightest one. This is a policy I support 100 per cent.”
“I don't like to talk about bad luck,” added di Montezemolo, speaking to Sky Italia
and contending that both Massa and Alonso had a chance of triumphing in Canada. “At the time of Alonso and Button's accident, each had a 50/50 chance. Well, Alonso went out and Button won the race – but we must keep pushing. In Canada, we had a very competitive Ferrari and I think it will be the same in Valencia. After that comes a very challenging circuit (Silverstone), but we are working hard.
“I'd rather see a competitive Ferrari that stops, rather than one that finishes sixth or seventh. This car was not born well, but I know the quality and determination of my men. We must respond knowing that this season did not start as we wanted – but hope dies last.”