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Reliability Ferrari's main priority - Domenicali

ESPN Staff
September 24, 2012 « Clipping wall not a factor in Hamilton retirement - McLaren | 'Mercedes offer him much greater freedom on the commercial side' »
Fernando Alonso has not dropped any points due to reliability issues this year © Sutton Images
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Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali is making reliability his team's No. 1 priority for the rest of the season, but he has conceded that it must also improve its performance if Fernando Alonso is to hold onto his championship lead.

Alonso has not suffered any race-ending reliability issues this year and has only retired from one race when he got caught up in Romain Grosjean's accident in Belgium. His title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have both registered a DNF due to reliability issues at the last two races and Domenicali thinks such problems will be crucial in deciding the championship.

"At the end of the day we know that the points are the things that count and if you have a reliability issue the consequences are very heavy," he said. "So we have to make sure that first of all we are clear on that point because up to the moment that you don't have any issues on that you can concentrate on the performance side."

The Ferrari boss said the situation would become more critical over the remaining races as drivers get closer to hitting their eight engine limit for the season.

"Do not forget that now we also have a situation where the engines will be short for everyone. Mileage will be important, so there is something on that side of the cake that is very crucial. Reliability for me is the fundamental aspect until the end of the season. We know that we have suffered problems on our side in Monza and we know that we could have suffered problems today. You never know so we will have to wait and see. But for sure this is a priority."

Ferrari did not run a new rear wing in Singapore after it failed to deliver the performance it had hoped for. Domenicali also made clear that his team could not afford any wrong turns in development for the rest of the season.

"From now onwards we have six races to go with different characteristics of the track. For sure we need to improve the car in certain conditions, so we need to put more downforce on the track as the others seemed to have found the right path to improve their cars. We need to be rational and calm and make sure that at home when we are working flat out to bring developments to the car we make the right choice to improve the car.

"Sometimes when you push so hard to improve the development you run the risk of putting stuff that will not improve or can have the opposite effect of making the situation worse. This is the fundamental point that we have to make sure is not happening in the coming weeks."

Asked if he felt Alonso, who is 29 points clear of Sebastian Vettel, could win the drivers' championship without winning another race, Domenicali said: "In my view we have to make sure that Fernando will win again, otherwise we will have to rely on the problems of the others, which is not the right thing to do or say at the moment. We need to be focused on giving Fernando the chance to win again otherwise it will be very difficult. Not impossible, because you never say never, but for us it is fundamental to make sure he can win more races before the end of the season."