Stefano Domencali: “We raced in 18 races and not 20…”

Perhaps not surprisingly Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali insists that Fernando Alonso would have been a more deserving World Champion than Sebastian Vettel.

Domenicali stressed once again that the first lap retirements in Spa and Suzuka had been very costly.

“We are proud of him, and we are very disappointed because I think the one that deserved the championship was really him,” said Domenicali. “It’s a shame because after such a long season when we really fought in all conditions that we raced in 18 races and not 20. Being second only three points for that hurts a lot. But that’s the way it is, we need to take it and congratulate Vettel who has won the championship.

“Sometimes it’s a sign of the destiny that you really can appreciate what is the direction of the wind. Because after the first lap, after you see what has happened, seeing what was the outcome of the first lap, you start to think well maybe… For sure we need to do a better job next year.”

Asked by this writer about the tricky strategy decisions in the race, he said: “It was a very difficult race, in difficult conditions. The first situation if I remember only Button and Hulkenberg decided to stay out with the dry tyres it was a decision that at the end as always when you take this kind of decision you are fantastic but if two more drops of rain took them out it would have been a wrong decision.

“So I think that we took the decision in a way that was most correct for what we had to do, without risking too much either in a conservative or a strange way what we should have done. On that respect I think the team managed very well the situation. Not easy.”

Domenicali praised the consistent job that Alonso has done in 2012.

“I said before this Grand Prix that in my view Fernando did his best season, always at the limit. Not always from the technical point of view, because this is something you expect from a World Champion like him, but also from the way he was working with the team.

“For me this is something that we have the privilege to have, but unfortunately in the last three years we lost two times at the last race, and we need to make sure that when we start next year we’re going to arrive in the last race to win.”

Regarding preparations for next year, he said: “This is a fact, don’t forget that in the last four races we are the team that has scored more points. In racing we were maybe the best on average in terms of managing the pit stops, managing the strategy, the best on reliability. These are facts. We didn’t have the fastest car at the beginning of the season, and maybe in the second half of the season we were not able to improve the car.

“For sure this is something, that we need to work harder to improve it, and we have of course ideas because we know where we lack a bit. And we also know unfortunately that we were paying a big price in the qualifying that hurts our performance in the race.”

13 Comments

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13 responses to “Stefano Domencali: “We raced in 18 races and not 20…”

  1. … “and maybe in the second half of the season we were not able to improve the car” – Stefano, the car was consistently 0.5 to 0.9 seconds off the pole’s pace.

    In the race things weren’t that bad, but the ability of F2012 to extract single lap time (empty reservoir vs. full tank = more weight) plus getting the correct operational heat temperature in harder compounds were truly not the type of thing that you would expect from Ferrari.

    Still, at the end, points count. Not fixing the toolset that Ferrari work with – be it Wind tunnel, ANSYS or whatever solution will mean getting the same messages out to the public in 2013.

  2. pollerunner

    Ok, can the others then only want to count the races they won. Man this is funny and Japan was 50:50 Alonsos fault. So it is actually 18,5 race. So funny. Redbull was take out of the race by Renault 2 times and Alonso was taken out by Renault(Lotus) 2 times very fair.. Man are they sour. So Redbull 18 races and Ferrari 18,5 how funny.

    • Yup so Ferrari raced in 18.5 of 20 races, Red Bull 18 out of 20, McLaren? about 12 out 20.

      Ferrari can say they would have won with a faster car, but Red Bull or McLaren would have won with a more reliable car. His argument is flawed, and to be honest the response from both Ferrari and Alonso comes across as pretty bitter. Shame really, I expected a little better from them.

  3. Stone the crows

    I find these post-season ‘what ifs’ and ‘might have beens’ to be rather annoying. I like Stefano, but he seems to be giving good reasons why his services should no longer be required at the Scuderia (three years in a row they’ve missed the mark). What Alonso needed to win the championship wasn’t two less mishaps but a car with better pace from beginning to the end of the season so that those accidents didn’t do as much damage as they did. What they started out with was a departure from the previous year’s car that was designed in such a way (maybe there is a good reason why no one has used a pull rod fron suspension in 11 years?) that they had no choice but to make their poor choices work. Vettel and Red Bull certainly had their woes this year, but the car was overall a better design and so once they got their problems sorted it was consistently leading, rather than hanging on in 4th or 5th place hoping for someone else to retire.

  4. AK

    I wonder how many races Alonso finished ahead of a redbull or Mclaren… ( were they too busy retiring? )
    I count Malaysia, Bahrain ( ahead of mclaren ),Spain,Valencia,Germany,Korea ( mclaren ),India ( mclaren ), Abu Dhabi ( ahead of mclaren ) ,Brazil ( ahead of redbull ). 9 races out of ’18′ . Can that be considered impressive?

  5. Statistics, as they say, can be used to bolster any argument.

    If a car cannot qualify at the front reliably, it is more likely to be involved in first corner (first lap) accidents. Viewed this way, the 18- vs 20-race argument is as assessment of your own qualifying performance over a season.

  6. Alonso and Ferrari are really making it difficult for people to like them the way keep whining about missed penalty for Vettel and the two collisions Alonso had. Just congratulate the opponent who won more points and move on to next season. Amazing to see grown men behave like this.

  7. JohnJ

    And Gary Anderson makes the valid point that RB drivers were able to race each other and, therefore, deny each other points, in the early part of the season at least. So the Ferrari way failed again. Having said that, full kudos to Fernando this year.

  8. Could be a bad quote or something (different things appear on different websites, for sure, you know), but most people would seem to agree Alonso has put himself out of the race in Japan, poor Kim had nothing to do with it. Two top teams with two top drivers going against each other, in the end RBR and Seb came out on top.

    Also, these theories doing rounds on the internet about mighty champions of the past winning with inferior machinery – that’s total rubbish. Why didn’t Alonso win anything in the 1st half of 2008 (and required a little help from NP) and 2009, or indeed in 2001? In theory, if Ferrari was oh so bad, it should’ve been racing with My Rooshas or Catercheeses for P18/19, not for top 10 results every race.

    You can count endless times during the season when Alonso was aided by other drivers making mistakes in front of him, even in Brazil he was never gonna get P2. Forget it, Ferrari PR machine is very disappointing, great team with big history but poor judgement.

    • chris

      To capitalise on mistakes you have to make none yourself. Aside from running wide and losing a few places in China and not giving Raikkonen enough room in Japan (considering how much ground he has had to make because of the car’s poor quali pace, I’m not surprised it went wrong once), it’s hard to see how he could have done a better job. I’ve been watching F1 for 16 seasons now, and in that time I don’t think I have seen a driver do a better job than Alonso did this season.

      Also, it is Domenicali’s job, as well as everything else, to keep fans and employees onside. If he was to say that everything they did was rubbish, then what sort of atmosphere is that going to create? People read far too much into what team bosses say.

      I don’t note any criticism of Webber for his poor form since he signed a new contract, for example. Horner says he has done a great job in contributing to the constructors title, but he hasn’t really, as Alonso has finished ahead of him in so many races in what’s considered to be a poorer car.

      And so on.

    • Could be a bad quote? I was sitting one metre from Domenicali when he said it.

      • Alright then, it’s the correct quote, je m’excuse.

        Still, Ferrari probably tried to use Renault’s 2005 tactics: create a gap in the standings that was given to them by chance, play it safe and go for maximum points every race but you have to take unforeseen circumstances into account, always. Things happen and these guys have been around long enough to know it. Win a few, lose a few; not sure why SD is complaining, especially in such an awkward way.

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