Ferrari vow to bounce back
Alonso's World Championship lead cut to just four points after first-corner accident with Raikkonen
Last Updated: 08/10/12 4:36pm
Ferrari have insisted that the World Championship remains in their hands after a defiant rallying cry from President Luca di Montezemolo.
Sebastian Vettel's victory at Suzuka, his second in succession, has trimmed Fernando Alonso's lead of the World Championship to a paltry four points following the Spaniard's first-corner retirement. However, in a briefing bristling with defiance, Di Montezemolo has insisted that, far from throwing in the towel, his team will prove their strength in adversity.
"It's at times like these that I want to see the Ferrari I know," declared Di Montezemolo. "A team that is focused and that holds its nerve. I will speak to Fernando by phone soon to give him even more motivation with which to tackle these last five races, with the bit between his teeth, as indeed I expect all the team to do.
"I expect a huge effort from our engineers who have already shown they are capable of that and we are perfectly aware that this championship is still in our hands."
Although Alonso has been criticised in some quarters for his role in Sunday's accident with Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen, Di Montezemolo has made it plain that he believes only Raikkonen was to blame. Furthermore, with Alonso's only other non-scoring event this season occurring at Spa when he was rammed out of the race by Romain Grosjean, the Ferrari chief has laid the blame on his driver's dwindling title lead on his two recent clashes with the Lotus pair.
"We know we can count on the strongest driver around at the moment and it's only mistakes from others at Spa and again at Suzuka, that have prevented him from having a more comfortable lead over his rivals," Di Montezemolo added.
"Ferrari need to turn up in Korea or somewhere real soon with some performance because I don't see them having an answer to this Red Bull"
Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle Quotes of the week
"Let's not forget that, but for those two collisions, today Fernando would have had at least 30 points more and that's a conservative estimate. In sport, as in life, the wheel turns and we must not forget that: recently, it has not done so in a positive way for us, but it does not take much for it to change direction."
Although Ferrari appear to have fallen behind Red Bull in terms of pace as the season reaches its climax, the Maranello outfit are taking encouragement from the performance of Felipe Massa as the Brazilian secured second place at Suzuka - his best result in over two years.
'It's true that, out in front, Vettel was uncatchable but given the pace of the only F2012 in the race, what could a driver like Fernando have done? One must not forget that, the previous day, fate had dealt him another cruel blow, in the shape of the yellow flags, which robbed him of a spot on the second row, which had been easily within his grasp,' the team itself have reported.
'Understandably, Fernando was rather frustrated when he left the circuit, but he is also well aware that he can count on a team that is totally focused on the task of giving him and his team-mate the best car possible. And Ferrari knows it can count on the best driver possible.'