Stefano Domenicali has rated Fernando Alonso as 'the number one driver in F1 at the moment' and 'even better' than record-breaking legend Michael Schumacher in some respects.
Having looked to be out-for-the-count earlier on in the F1 2011 campaign, double world champion Alonso has outscored every single one of his rivals over the last three grands prix at Silverstone, the Nürburgring and the Hungaroring – and has not been off the podium since the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal almost two months ago. Domenicali contends that no other competitor could have achieved the same without the fastest car in the field at their disposal.
“For me, Fernando is the number one driver in F1 at the moment,” reflected the Scuderia's
team principal, speaking during Ferrari's Wrooom summer event at Madonna di Campiglio in the Italian Dolomites. “I see a lot of similarities with Michael Schumacher, a driver who made his mark on our history. In fact, in some areas Fernando is even better, for example when I think of the speed with which he integrated himself into the team and the way he became its leader. In this, he was much quicker than Michael, who took a while to do that.”
Whilst Alonso has closed the gap to runaway early-season world championship leader Sebastian Vettel in recent races, the fact remains that there is still a long way to go indeed to overhaul his Red Bull Racing rival, who is some 89 points clear of him in the drivers' title standings.
Ever the realist, Domenicali went on to reveal that whilst development on the improving F150° Italia will continue until September, from then on, the focus will switch to 'next year's car' – with the clear intention of coming out-of-the-blocks in flying form right from the word 'go' in F1 2012, having had to play a frantic game of catch-up for the past two campaigns.
“At the start of September, we will concentrate solely on next year, because we have already defined all the updates for the F150° Italia, at least up until mid-October,” the Italian explained. “Sure, if something was to change, then we would react accordingly – [but] the more time we can spend in the wind tunnel, the better, because what I really want to avoid is another difficult winter like the last two years.”