Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali is not giving up hope of ending the 2013 F1 campaign with second place in the constructors' championship, despite another difficult weekend in Abu Dhabi.
Yas Marina has not been the kindest of hosts to the Scuderia, despite the crimson presence of Ferrari World adjacent to the high-tech venue, and finishing fifth and eighth in Sunday's race was not what the team had hoped for as it tried to close the gap on Mercedes in the standings.
The German marque had passed its rival during the previous weekend's race in India, but held only a four-point margin heading to Abu Dhabi. With Nico Rosberg finishing on the podium for the second consecutive race, however, the advantage stretched to eleven points with just two races remaining.
The Yas Marina track is probably the one on the calendar the least suited to the current F138, and starting in the middle of the pack after failing to break out of Q2 made it an even tougher task for Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. Despite that, however, Domenicali refuses to be downhearted, believing that there were enough positive signs from the weekend's race – such as Massa's pass on Lewis Hamilton and Alonso's rugged defence under threat from Jean-Eric Vergne - to suggest that the Scuderia fightback, starting with the USGP in Austin and then at Interlagos a week later.
“Considering our start positions, the outcome of this race is positive and we leave Abu Dhabi aware we have limited the damage,” Domenicali stressed, “We knew we had a difficult weekend ahead of us and we paid the price for our results in qualifying.
“Despite that, I am pleased with the performances from Felipe and Fernando, because both of them managed to give it their all on a track that was hostile to us. Given the situation, we could have ended up further away from Mercedes in the constructors' classification and yet we managed to pull out a bit on Lotus and limit the points lost in the battle for second place.
“Now we must tackle the two final rounds of the season, the two of them in very different conditions and track types. Our motivation is still very high and, along with that, we will try and run the car as it stands, as well as we can.”
Speaking in a separate interview with Sky Sports
, Domenicali suggested that conditions in the USA and Brazil should be more favourable for the F138.
“In terms of pure performance, we are as weak as the others are compared to Red Bull, who are in their own league, but I am confident we can do our race and take the points that are needed to come second,” he said, “Don't underestimate Lotus, of course, because they had a problem and only scored points with one car, but it should be an interesting couple of races.
"We know that we have a lack of traction and downforce in certain corners and we need to manage the set up of the car and not just improve it. We know we are paying a big price also with temperature, because, the more we go to hot conditions, the more our car is becoming inefficient. We are now moving to a situation where the conditions are more suitable for our car and that is why I said we still have everything to fight for."