Maranello, 18 November –It’s a question of seconds, in the sense of positions in the championships: of course that’s not what Scuderia Ferrari would normally aspire to, but that’s the way it’s been this year. The USA Grand Prix finished with a less than enthralling outcome for the Maranello squad: ten points for a fifth place from Fernando Alonso is hardly satisfactory, especially as the gap to Mercedes in the fight for second place in the Constructors’ championship has grown to 15 points.
However, second place is now in the bag for our man from Oviedo in the Drivers’ championship, as he now has sufficient points to be uncatchable. It’s an important achievement, even if it’s not a fulfilling one for him or for the team. “It’s an important result, especially when one thinks of the problems we had this year,” said Stefano Domenicali. Fernando was amazing in Austin, as he has been so many times this year. We owe him a lot and next year, we must do all we can to provide him and Kimi with what they need to win. For our part, we definitely cannot be happy with how things have gone. I am the first to feel that way and my engineers are well aware of that.”
Getting second place at the final Grand Prix certainly won’t be easy, but it is still possible, as Domenicali points out. “In Interlagos, we often witness incredible races and we will have to be ready to exploit every opportunity. I am asking everyone working at the track for an extra effort, aiming to deliver 101% to end this difficult season in the best way we can. In the coming days leading up to the Brazilian weekend, we will have to analyse all the data to try and understand what didn’t work well in Austin, especially in terms of the difference in performance between the two cars, a problem which actually seemed to affect almost all the teams.”
Another key element of the Interlagos weekend could be Felipe Massa. The Brazilian will be bowing out of his time in Red at his home circuit, where he secured what were probably the most significant wins of his career, in 2006, when he wore a race suit bearing his national colours and then in 2008, when he was world champion for a handful of seconds. “I am sure that Felipe will do his utmost to end his time with Ferrari in style and that he will find something extra from within himself in terms of performance,” said Domenicali. “In fact, he has always gone well at this track where the warmth of the fans will be an amazing motivation for him.”
The team left Texas this morning on a charter flight direct to Sao Paulo and will land tonight. As from tomorrow morning, they will be back at work, preparing the garages and the work areas at the Carlos Pace circuit, home of one of the most historic events on the calendar. At the moment the weather forecast seems settled: no rain and temperatures predicted to be over 30 °C, but we are well aware that things can change rapidly in the Paulista megalopolis.