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Ferrari takes blame for Alonso retirement
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali says it was a team decision to not pit Fernando Alonso at the end of the first lap of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Alonso had made contact with Sebastian Vettel in turn two and damaged his front wing, which dropped on one side for the rest of the opening lap. However, Ferrari made the decision to stay out on track and the wing broke at the end of the pit straight, forcing Alonso's retirement.
With Vettel going on to win the race and pull 22 points clear of Alonso at this early stage in the championship, Domenicali explained the reasons behind the decision and said it was the team that ultimately made the call.
"I think at the end of the day we took a risk that was quite high and it didn't pay off," Domenicali said. "After the touch of course the race in those conditions is not over but almost over. Considering the situation where there was this transition from wet to dry coming in ... in normal conditions it is very obvious that you come in and do the stop, no doubt. In these conditions of transition, if you believe that the wing can survive you may try to take the time because here as we know the track is getting dry very quickly so you may have the chance to be the first to pit for dry tyres and to be the hero of the weekend. Unfortunately the wing didn't stay there, it didn't go out it just went under so we couldn't get back even for a pit stop. That was the thinking behind it.
"The decision is from the pit wall. Fernando of course was feeling the car but you cannot see exactly the damage from the point of view that he is in the car. As always we take the responsibility as a team and it was unfortunate."
Domenicali said that Alonso was not downbeat about the lack of points because he knows he has a more competitive car to respond with.
"To be honest Fernando is very mature. Of course he is not happy about the result because zero points in a championship that's so tight is very heavy, but he's very mature, he's looking forward, positive, because he feels we have something to play with. It is a shame in these conditions when you lose important points but he's totally focused now and looking forward to the next one."