Stefano Domenicali says that while Fernando Alonso’s Chinese GP was welcome Ferrari has to keep scoring consistently and find more pace in order to maintain the Spaniard’s title momentum.
Alonso’s early retirement in Malaysia could prove expensive, and he’s already nine points behind Sebastian Vettel.
“I think for sure the car seems better this year, better in terms of pure performance, even if it’s not enough, because we need to make sure it’s better and better,” said Domenicali.
“For me there is one thing that we don’t have to forget if you compare with last year. Last year even if the car was not the best, let me put it this way, we were able to score a lot of points in the first half of the season. And then we lost that trace and it was more difficult. We need to score I would say relatively to the others the same kind of points, and I would say in the second half of it we can increase.
“For sure it’s a good base to work from, and what we have seen in the first three races it’s quite a difficult picture to understand. Some cars are very strong in qualifying, a bit less during the race. We also saw the other way around. For sure for us it’s important to improve the qualifying because it’s essential to try to start as [close to the] front as possible.”
Domenicali admitted that it’s hard to judge what the current pecking order is: “We have another situation in Bahrain, with different conditions. We will see where the performance of our car relative to the others will be. Personally I don’t really have a clear picture of what is really the pure performance classification, because we have to divide qualifying/race, so it’s not easy this year.”
Domenicali said that good strategy, consistent pace and getting past traffic were the keys to Alonso’s win China.
“I think what we saw already on Friday was that it seemed we had a good pace for the race, and so what I believe is the most important thing today is that really we were spot-on on the strategy.
“The difference today was the consistency in all the different situations with the race pace, that was very strong. We had a good start, and this is another thing that was very important. And I have to say that the key factor was to try to be in front of the traffic as quickly as possible, because that could present a real problem later on during the race.
“And then we also had when there was a yellow flag the fact that Fernando was behind Jenson, and we couldn’t use the DRS to get rid – in the sporting way of course! – as soon as possible, because we couldn’t really use it.
“It was a bit unfortunate but at the end of the day then he was clear and he was able to control the pace of Kimi and Lewis behind that was really the key of the success of Fernando. I’m very pleased also for him because after Malaysia it was really what he wanted and what he deserved.”