Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has again refused to confirm that the Scuderia will start to back Felipe Massa in the quest for the Formula One world championship, despite Kimi Raikkonen falling even further off the pace at Spa-Francorchamps.
The Finn went in to the Belgian Grand Prix 13 points adrift of leader Lewis Hamilton, but appeared on course to pare away a little of the deficit until rain in the final five laps eroded his on-track advantage, and eventually saw him crash out. Hamilton crossed the line first, apparently extending the gap over both Ferrari drivers, but was later controversially penalised for gaining the upper hand in his battle with the world champion by cutting the chicane, the stewards handing victory instead to the second Ferrari of Massa.
"It was really a shame that [Raikkonen] was not able to finish because he drove a fantastic race," he reflected, "He was pushing hard, as you can see from his lap times, but then he found it a little bit more difficult on the last set of hard tyres, and he was not able to push as hard as he wanted. Of course, at the end, it was really
difficult because he went off, but it was good to see that he is very motivated and pushing as hard as he can."
Speaking before McLaren had declared their attention to appeal the decision to demote Hamilton to third place, but after the Briton's championship advantage had been slashed from eight points to two, Domenicali insisted that Ferrari still would not be hastened into making a decision on whether to back Massa exclusively.
"We will take the decision in the interests of the team," he insisted, "In my view, the situation that we have now is something that we need to think about in no hurry, because it's something that is part of our approach to the races. When, and if, we feel that it's the right time, we are going to do it.
"This result is something that opens up the championship in a different way, but it doesn't mean that we will change our approach. As I said, it will be very tough, but at least we are leading one of the two championships and are very close in the other."
Domenicali claimed that the impending Italian Grand Prix made it difficult for the Scuderia to take such a major decision. The Monza race, which will be attended by thousands of the team's fanatical tifosi
takes place just a week after Belgium and precedes the four 'flyaway' events that close out the season.
"There are so many events that we take back home, that we have to do to prepare for Monza in the right way," he insisted, "This is the main target that we need to be focused on in the next few days.
"Monza, for us, is not really the ideal track, as much as anything because we are not expecting really high temperatures. For sure, [tyre performance] is something that we need to work on a lot, because we will have the same kind of tyres at Monza [as at Spa] and this is something that can be a crucial element that will make the difference in the performance. The only thing we can do is really to try to work very, very hard, because we know that McLaren is very, very strong, above all at Monza - but not only there, as we can see.