Domenicali: “We have to continue to play a counter-attacking game”
Maranello, 27 March – There has not been much time to savour the taste of victory in Maranello. By the early afternoon, the return from Sepang was completed when the group of mechanics arrived in Maranello, while the morning had seen take place the usual engineer’s meeting that follows every race weekend. Victory in Malaysia and Alonso’s name at the top of the Drivers’ classification has had no effect on the order of priorities established a week ago, when Stefano Domenicali and Pat Fry made a lightning visit to the factory immediately after the Melbourne race. The number one goal is to try and find as soon as possible the few tenths that separate the F2012 from the group of fastest cars. This gap is for the moment, preventing Felipe and Fernando from fighting their main rivals on equal terms. “I asked all my people to push to the maximum to try and bring forward as much as possible the developments planned for the next few races,” said Stefano Domenicali, talking to www.ferrarif1.com. “Having Fernando leading the championship means nothing and we definitely don’t think all our problems have been made to vanish with the wave of a magic wand. We have two weeks to prepare for another back-to-back run, first in China and then Bahrain and we will tackle these races with the same spirit we adopted in Australia and Malaysia, which means striving to be perfect on track and getting the most out of the tools at our disposal, while making the most of whatever opportunities come along. With Fernando, playing the counter-attacking game worked perfectly: hitting the back of the net in Sepang was really great! We did not manage it with Felipe and we have to do more to ensure he too is in the best possible position to score.”
Indeed, in contrast to the delight at the 28th win of Fernando’s career, there is the sorrow of seeing his team-mate going through a particularly difficult time, with no points to his name as yet. “I well remember that, four years ago, in fact right after a Malaysian Grand Prix, which was won for us by Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe was more or less in the same situation as today,” continued Domenicali. “The papers were demanding his immediate replacement and he managed to react in the best way possible, thanks to support from the team, which saw him win two of the next three races. We remember how that particular season ended, with the Brazilian actually world champion, even if it was just for a few seconds, while we took our sixteenth Constructors’ title. Felipe has changed his plans and, instead of heading home to see his family in Brazil, he will be in Maranello tomorrow to work alongside the engineers to calmly analyse everything that happened in these past two races, trying to identify why he was not able to deliver what he is capable of. That’s the right spirit and we are here, ready to help him.”
After some routine medical and physical checks at the Physiology Centre in Forli, Fernando was back in Maranello this afternoon, to go over the current situation with Domenicali, Technical Director Pat Fry and his race engineer, Andrea Stella. Fernando took the opportunity to meet Luca di Montezemolo again, having already spent a long time in discussion with him yesterday afternoon.