Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali sounded deeply disappointed with how things had gone for the team in qualifying for the 2012 F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Seventh place on the grid was clearly not the result he had been hoping for after they implemented a large number of upgrades on the F2012 at Yas Marina. "Obviously we are not happy," he said. "In fact we are very disappointed with this result."
Domenicali put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the team rather than the drivers, Fernando Alonso
and Felipe Massa.
"We were unable to give our drivers a car with which they could compete for the front rows of the grid, despite all our best efforts here at the track and back at the factory in Maranello," he said. "It's crazy to see how things have changed in just a week, with the pecking order varying from track to track by half a second."
Now the team is once more in the familiar - and increasingly embarrassing - situation of having to rely on Alonso driving above and beyond the call of duty to wring every last inch of performance out of the car in the race itself.
"It's true that in the race we have almost always seen that the gap to the best is reduced, but we can't always hope for exceptional performances like the one Fernando produced last Sunday in India," said Domenicali. "But now there's no point crying over spilt milk: we will just roll up our sleeves and concentrate on preparing for tomorrow's race."
The team's technical director Pat Fry could only endorse Domenicali's comments about the situation.
"All I can do is repeat what our boss has said: we are disappointed that we did not give our drivers a sufficiently competitive car," he admitted. "We had brought various updates here, some only fitted to Fernando's car, because we do not yet have enough of them for both.
"Unfortunately, the whole package did not work the way we had expected before coming here, at least relative to the progress that the other teams have made," he continued. "Both Felipe and Fernando did the maximum they could."
Fry added that Alonso's near-identical times in each round of qualifying demonstrated that the Spaniard had genuinely extracted the maximum possible performance from the car on each occasion.
"We were hoping to start from higher up the grid," Fry conceded. "Now we must prepare as well as possible for the race. We know we can count on a good pace and on a top speed which will allow us to overtake."
Fry added that it was clear that the McLaren
of Lewis Hamilton
was evidently "out of reach this weekend."
Ironically, Hamilton's form could work in Alonso's favour if it helps to prevent his arch rival for the 2012 world championship Sebastian Vettel
from being able to claim a full 25pts from this weekend.