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Ferrari on back foot after first lap exit for Alonso in Japan

Fernando Alonso's early retirement at Suzuka in another race dominated by main rival Sebastian Vettel wiped out his advantage in the championship and put Ferrari on the back foot.
Fernando Alonso might still be in the lead of the drivers championship, but with Sebastian Vettel cutting the gap between them from 29pts to just 4pts in a single weekend, the Spaniard is all too aware of how the momentum has shifted and that he's now on the backfoot in the title battle.

"Clearly, this result has practically wiped out the advantage I had before," admitted Alonso after the Japanese Grand Prix. "But if I'd been told at the start of the season that we would have been in this situation five races from the end, I'd have happily signed for it!" he continued, determined to keep his spirits high.

"What happened to us today could happen to the others next time: the wheel turns and that is what races are all about," he said.

"What happened to Fernando at the start is an example of the many variables that you cannot control in this sport and we have to accept it," agreed Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali. "But clearly all of us are very disappointed at the moment.

"We have to react calmly to this cruel blow for Fernando and work with maximum concentration on development of the car, as indeed we have done all these past few months," Domenicali added. "It is a very important point of the season, and we have the opportunity to react straight away next Sunday in Korea. Heads up - we need to be very cool."

Alonso pointed out that Ferrari had built up their lead in the drivers championship through making fewer errors than their rivals, and that this was still key to their hopes of securing the title in the final races of 2012.

"We need to keep working well and not making mistakes," said Alonso. "The others make mistakes - we need to avoid this. [It's] thanks to this consistency we are leading the championship.

"Now we start a sort of mini-championship, run over five Grands Prix - the aim will be to score at least one point more than all the others," he added.

"Five races is a lot and anything can still happen," agreed Domenicali. "If we are in this position of fighting for the title in the final races, it's because our work has been of a good standard, otherwise we would be a lot further back."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
07.10.2012- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8 race winner
05.10.2012- Press conference, Stefano Domenicali (ITA), Team Principal
07.10.2012- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F2012 retires from the race
07.10.2012- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F2012 retires from the race
07.10.2012- Race, Crash , Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
John Watson driving the McLaren MP4B at the 1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix, Las Vegas
Guy Moll at the 1934 Grand Prix Automobile de Montreux   [pic credit:Agence de presse Meurisse/Bibliothèque nationale de France]
12.10.2014- Race, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
12.10.2014- Race, the start
12.10.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
12.10.2014- Vitaly Mutko (RUS) Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation
12.10.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014- Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 in the press conference after the race
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 celebrates Manufactor title of Mercedes with the team
12.10.2014- Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22
12.10.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014-  Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10 with a fan

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October 08, 2012 12:58 PM
Last Edited 747 days ago

Going to be hard for him, Red Bull have clearly moved their car forwards and Ferrari haven't, they were blaming the wind tunnel last week. He's driven really well this season, didn't agree with his assessment of the Kimi incident though, just a racing incident, Kimi had nowhere to go. At this stage my money is on Vettel, if Alonso had scored a podium I wouldn't be saying that but the DNF has blown it wide open and the Red Bull is a faster car. He needs a lot of luck now.

stevyweavy - Unregistered

October 08, 2012 6:15 PM

Alonso has only himself to blame. If you watch all of his starts he has a tendancy to "lean" on other cars. Usually he gets away with it but in this instance he caught Kimi's end plate. He should be apologising to Ferrari and all their fans that he has cost them at least 15 points.

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