Fernando Alonso and Stefano Domenicali appeared together for a book launch in Italy today, and made some interesting comments as the team heads into the summer break.
Both men made it clear that they won’t be switching off as they prepare for the next race in Belgium. Indeed Domenicali implied that he expects his engineers to come back with new ideas, something that probably won’t go down too well with the wives and girlfriends who think that they have finally got the attention of their other halves for a couple of weeks!
“It won’t be possible to switch off my mind completely over these two weeks,” said Alonso. “I will try and relax and do a bit of sport, but at least once a day, maybe just for 10 minutes, I will inevitably think about the next race in Belgium. I think it will be the same for everyone and the timing of the break, does not make any difference.
“After a few unlucky races, which went badly for various reasons, we are now on the right road. The car is much improved and so that makes me more optimistic and has seen the whole team grow in confidence. In Spa, we will have a few more things and we hope they help us progress still more. The others will do the same, which means we will have to be better than them and quicker in terms of development work.”
“We will be on holiday, but that does not mean our brains will stop working,” said Domenicali. “Maybe one can even find fresh inspiration when outside the normal working environment and I expect this time to be a fertile one for ideas, which when all is said and done, are what make the difference.”
Alonso says he’s happy with the way things have gone in recent weeks, and clearly Ferrari has built up some momentum.
“It only took us two normal races to be fully back in contention for the title,” said the former champion. “It’s true we are still behind in the classification and it is always better to be in front, but I am convinced that in the final sprint, by which I mean the last two or three races, we will be closer to the top than we are now. The important thing is to remain calm and concentrated and to do our job well.”
He hinted at tensions in the Red Bull camp by suggesting that the McLaren drivers were better prepared for the title fight: “It’s hard to say who is my strongest rival – we are all almost equal. Maybe, Hamilton, Button and myself, who have already won a title, will tackle the final rush in a calmer way, having already experienced something similar. Percentage chance? I’d say 50%, which is the normal state of affairs.”
Alonso would not be drawn on the World Motor Sport Council meeting: “We have to await the decision with confidence, hoping for a positive outcome. We drivers and the engineers have the task of staying focussed on the car and on our work, trying to get the results on track.”
Domenicali also commented on the recent team orders and flex wing controversies.
“I was dumbstruck to see so much hypocrisy in our world,” said the team boss. “But I don’t want to add anything else: there will just be more work to do; who knows it might be an added distraction for some. I have to say I was very pleased with the way our team reacted at a point in the season when the results were just not coming.
“The second half of July went very well and I hope it has given the right impetus for the final part of the season. We know there is much to do, because we still do not have the best car, but this should simply be a further incentive. We said it with Fernando a few days ago: if we manage to always be there, in the top places, then we can get satisfaction.”