29 October 2013
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Ferrari prepares for ‘crucial weeks’
Ferrari has three races to regroup and return to second place in the F1 constructors' championship after seeing this year's world titles head back to rival Red Bull.
Ferrari may have had to concede both 2013 F1 world titles to Red Bull, but is determined to keep fighting to the very end of the season, not only to secure second spot in the constructors' standings but also to prepare for the new fight in 2014.
Once Fernando Alonso succumbed to an early change of front wing in India on Sunday, the last faint hope of denying Sebastian Vettel a fourth straight crown faded, but the Scuderia remains locked in battle for second place in the teams' table with Mercedes and Lotus, and knows that work carried out between now and the end of the season can only help pave the way to its challenge next year.
Two scoring finishes propelled Mercedes four points clear of Ferrari with three rounds to run, while Lotus closed to within 24 points of third place after Romain Grosjean's rise from 17th to third by the chequered flag at Buddh International. With the supporting cast to Red Bull changing roles with every race, however, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali - who continues to face calls for his head in the Italian press - knows that there is still everything to play for between now and Interlagos.
“These are crucial weeks that we have ahead of us to the end of the year, because the work we are doing in preparation for 2014 is vital if we want to be the team that puts an end to this Red Bull dominance, just as we and Fernando have been their main rivals over the past four seasons,” he told the team's official website.
“We are well aware what it's like to rack up win after win, season after season, because only a few years back, we did just that and we know how much confidence comes from winning. Taking a world title is very satisfying, doing it several times is an achievement, but it's also a good thing to always be up there, fighting for the very top places, as Ferrari has done pretty much all the time for over 15 years, barring a handful of exceptions.”
Confident that Alonso could have contested for a spot on the podium in India had it not been for contact at the start, Domenicali is encouraged for the remaining rounds, starting with Abu Dhabi this coming weekend, as Ferrari attempts to retain the numbers three and four into 2014.
“This year, we were unable to give our drivers a car good enough to fight with Vettel on equal terms, apart from at the very beginning of the season,” he conceded, “Thanks to Fernando and his amazing talent, we managed to worry the world champion-elect more than the others, but unfortunately, our efforts were not enough to fight all the way to the very end. Now, it's important to try and end this season in the best way possible.”
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