Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali again insisted that Fernando Alonso deserved to win the 2012 F1 title despite seeing his man lose out to Sebastian Vettel in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Domenicali had praised Alonso as a worthy champion during the run-up to the Sao Paulo race, although the Spaniard was unable to overturn the 13 point gap to Vettel during a dramatic season finale.
It meant that Alonso missed out on the title at the final hurdle for the second time in three years and although he admitted it hurt to lose the championship in such a way, Domenicali had nothing but praise for his driver.
"That's sport and that's how it goes,” he said. “To have lost the drivers' title twice in the last three years by the tiniest of margins hurts, it hurts a lot, I can assure you of that. I am particularly disappointed for Fernando, who like never before, really deserved to win this time.
“He has been extraordinary, not just in the way he has driven, nor because he simply never gave up in the first very difficult part of the season, but mainly for the human qualities he demonstrated within the team. Where did we lose those three points? Hard to say, but I just want to point out that Fernando ended where he did, having effectively only taken part in 18 of the 20 races: the few hundred metres he covered in Spa and then Suzuka lays heavy like a rock on today's outcome.”
Domenicali was quick to admit however that Ferrari had to ensure it didn't make the same mistakes next year that it did this year when it comes to hitting the ground running when the competitive action gets underway.
“We cannot ignore the fact we were unable to give Fernando and Felipe a quicker car, especially at the start of the season,” he said. “This cost us dear and our main aim for 2013 should be precisely that of giving our drivers the equipment with which they can win immediately. We owe our drivers and we want to wipe out that debt as soon as possible.”
Technical chief Pat Fry agreed with Domenicali that learning from mistakes was vital over the winter.
“Right to the last we hoped something might happen to allow Fernando to take the drivers' title, which he definitely deserved,” he said. “We didn't manage it and obviously we regret not having been able to give him the fastest car of the field. We will try again next year, trying to learn from the mistakes we made this year and to strengthen our good points even more, those being reliability, pit stops and strategy."