Marc Gené has cautioned that it would be 'premature' to crown Sebastian Vettel
as the F1 2011 World Champion just yet and that to admit defeat at this stage of the campaign would be 'a mistake' – with the Ferrari
test-driver revealing that the Scuderia
is going 'race-by-race' in its bid to catch up and confident that 'at Silverstone we will see things clearer'.
As he defends his maiden drivers' title in the top flight, Vettel has triumphed in six of the opening eight grands prix this season – and taken the chequered flag as runner-up in the other two – to establish a commanding 77-point advantage in the standings over his nearest pursuers Mark Webber
and Jenson Button, and 99 clear of Fernando Alonso, despite the Spaniard finishing up on the podium in two of the last three outings and looking to have the speed to at least take the fight to Red Bull
Racing's runaway pace-setter.
Following last weekend's European Grand Prix in Valencia, the two-time F1 World Champion confessed that the destiny of the laurels is no longer in his or Ferrari's hands [see separate story – click here
], but Gené – who earlier this month finished in fourth place in the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours with Peugeot – insists that determination must replace defeatism as the byword at Maranello.
“What should you do when the gap is 99 points?” the former Minardi and Williams
ace mused in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Mundo
. “When it no longer depends on you, there is no choice but to go race-by-race. The truth is that we are fighting face-to-face, and that's good news. Alonso was on the pace for the whole race [in Valencia], and they (Red Bull) had to push hard. I did wonder how much was due to the street circuit, so I think at Silverstone we will see things clearer.
“Will Vettel be champion? That kind of talk is premature. He is three race wins ahead of Button, so it's clear that his dominance is overwhelming. At other times, though, they've experienced difficult situations. I don't think Ferrari
will give up. We must continue to develop. They are not champions yet, and to see them as such would be a mistake.”