Domenicali: “One error can’t cancel out a great season”

Yas Marina, 15 November – It was a very short night for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, which returned to the track after yesterday’s bitter pill. There isn’t a moment’s pause to take a breath in this very long season: from tomorrow they will be lapping the circuit again. The first two days of testing are for young drivers: for Ferrari the new test driver Jules Bianchi will be at the wheel. Then on Friday and Saturday will come the tests with the new Pirelli tyres with Massa and Alonso at the helm.

The very few hours of sleep that he managed were certainly not enough for Stefano Domenicali to overcome the disappointment of the negative end to the championship. But they didn’t dim the usual lucid judgement of the Scuderia chief.

“What happened yesterday afternoon was a negative episode but it can’t cancel out all the good things that we’ve seen this season,” said Domenicali as he left Abu Dhabi. “We owe the fact that we returned to fight for the title until the end to the great work on the 2010 car that we already began at the end of last year. It’s also down to our cohesion and the capacity to react that we showed in the most difficult moments of the season.

“Then it’s like when you get to the final of the football World Cup and it goes to penalties: if you manage to put away all five spotkicks you’re a hero – if you miss one you’re a donkey. We will have to know how to accept that sport is a matter of victories and defeats and anyone who works in this field knows that well. It’s in these moments that true sportsmen know how to use the energy to start again and look to the future with effort and determination.”

Domenicali continues: “We must not forget that we were up against a car that was better than hours, there’s no doubt about that. Yesterday we simply gave Red Bull a present but we didn’t lose the championship here – or at least not just here. I could cite other races where we left important points on the track, without counting grands prix like Valencia and Silverstone where there were certainly unfortunate episodes. It’s easy to curse those who miss their penalty on the last day of the championship but, perhaps, someone else let in a calamitous goal at the first match of the season. The points are always worth the same, whether it’s the beginning or the end of the season.

“We’ve worked so hard in these 12 months and the results have been seen. We must be proud of what we’ve achieved, even if it’s clear that we’re also the first to get unhappy about not winning. There are some areas that we can improve, I think above all regarding the performance of the car that definitely has to go up. Our engineers know that well and I expect an important reaction from them. On the reliability front I believe that we have made some good steps forward: the initial worries about the engine were dealt with in the best way so that we concluded the season in similar condition to our main rivals.”

There are no revolutions on the way despite the emotion of the moment and the shouts of those who want to turn heads at all costs according to a deep-rooted malpractice. “Whoever knows Formula 1 knows how difficult it is to stay at the top for so many years,” says the Ferrari Team Principal. “Just ask the team that dominated last year and this year didn’t pick up anything or the world’s giant motor manufacturers who took on this challenge with great effort only to abandon it through lack of results. We’ve been at the top for almost a decade and a half: in 14 years we have won that many titles (six drivers and eight constructors).

We’ve taken 107 wins out of 242 grands prix we’ve entered and the changes inside the team management have always been minor. The people who are in the central roles today have been at Ferrari for many years and have won a lot. That doesn’t mean it’s static, anything but. We know that we must do better in some sectors and we’ve already reinforced the structure with some new arrivals, such as Pat Fry who has taken on the role of Deputy Technical Director and is involved in projects across various areas linked to the new car.”

Domenicali concludes: “I would like to thank Fernando again for all that he has done in his first year with us. We knew his talent but having had the chance to have him in our team has made us appreciate his qualities as a man and as a leader. I can understand what he has gone through in these last few hours and I’m very sorry for the error that the team made. He’s believed in us to the end and he’s been exceptional about placing his faith in us. Yesterday we didn’t manage to win the title together that we’d chased until the end with great tenacity. But we will do everything to manage it next year because Ferrari has only one magnificent sentence to endure: to win.”

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