Fernando Alonso's race engineer believes that his charges current position at the head of the F1 world championship is the result of Ferrari's never say die' approach to the 2012 campaign, which threatened to start so badly for the Scuderia.
Initial signs from pre-season testing were that the F2012 needed a lot of remedial attention before it could expect to run with the likes of McLaren and Red Bull, but Alonso's refusal to settle for second-best on track was matched by a hands-on attitude back at Maranello and, aided by an unexpected victory in tricky conditions at Sepang, the Prancing Horse slowly began to pick up speed.
As a result, Alonso has hardly been out of the top three in points, and added a second victory on the streets of Valencia to open out a season-high 20-point advantage over his rivals. Although Mark Webber then added a second victory of his own at Silverstone, the Spaniard continues to hold sway at the top of the table by 13 points, while Ferrari has established itself in second spot in the constructors' table.
“At the start of the season, it would have required one to be extremely optimistic to imagine such a situation,” Andrea Stella admitted on the Scuderia's official website,. “But, in this sport, things can change very quickly and we have always maintained a positive attitude. The current situation is the result of this attitude combined with a lot of hard work.”
With Alonso clearly on form, and team-mate Felipe Massa showing better form in the past two races, Stella is confident that Ferrari can continue to perform when the series reconvenes at Hockenheim this weekend.
“The car was good in Valencia, it was also good in Silverstone and, as Hockenheim is a mix of the slow speed of Valencia and high speed of Silverstone, I would expect Ferrari to be competitive in Germany,” he reasoned, “You always want to get more and more top speed, as it brings benefits in terms of reducing the lap time and it makes life easier during the race but, of course, top speed is the counterpart to downforce and, in a way, if we are limited when it comes to top speed, that is partly because our car is performing well when it comes to downforce. However, it is definitely an area where we are trying to improve for the future."
While it is the Scuderia's stated policy to aim to bring updates to every race, right through to the final round in November, Stella feels the team's approach to how it goes about its racing is much the same as always.
“We simply adapted the aerodynamic development of the car and progress also came as we gained a better understanding of the tyres,” he explained, “In fact, the tyres have been a major challenge this year, as has optimising the aerodynamics because of the change of rules in this area compared to last year. However, another important challenge we all face this year is not so much a technical one, but stems from the fact that the performance level of many of the cars is extremely close. At the moment, things are going well, so let's hope it stays like this.”