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Alonso expects title to go down to the wire

ESPN Staff
October 10, 2012 « Korea DRS zone lengthened | Kaltenborn becomes Sauber team principal »
Fernando Alonso: "It's not through some sort of divine miracle that we are in this position" © Sutton Images
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Fernando Alonso is confident he will remain in the title fight until the end of the season despite seeing his lead in the championship slashed at the Japanese Grand Prix.

After crashing out at Suzuka on the first lap, Alonso's lead in the title chase was cut from 29 points to four as Sebastian Vettel took victory. The Red Bull looked peerless during qualifying and the race last weekend, but Alonso believes Ferrari will fight back over the remaining five races.

"I am sure we can be in the fight right down to the wire," he told Ferrari.com. "The people who are working on the car are the same who have done the job so far and there's no reason to think they can't do a good job again now.

"Let's not forget that, if I am still leading the championship, it's because we have been capable of improving the car significantly compared to the start of the season and also because we are capable of always getting the most out of what we have to work with. We have not been gifted anything, indeed Spa and Suzuka deprived us of places that were easily within our grasp.

"It's not through some sort of divine miracle that we are in this position, it is down to the work of all us, from first to last. Formula One is a team sport: you win and you lose together."

He said the swing in competitiveness from race to race was not only down to teams bringing updates but also certain cars suiting the characteristics of certain circuits.

"For sure, there are some teams who, in this final part of the season have made a significant step forward, while we have not matched that, especially in terms of how the car behaves on certain types of track," he added. "However, it is equally true that, at Monza for example, we had a car that was good enough to take pole, while then at Singapore, we got a bit lost and to a certain extent, we also suffered at Suzuka, even if there, Felipe showed he was pretty competitive in the race: if we weren't as quick as the Red Bulls, we were at least a match for all the others.

"Actually, these ups and downs seem to be the norm this season: in Japan, the McLaren seemed less strong than in the previous race while Red Bull stepped up significantly, as indeed did Sauber. A lot's been said about us, because everyone is always focused on the Red team: here for example, if we try a wing once, then don't use it, it becomes news, but these things happen regularly in all teams. Now, all we need to do is get back on the right track and I'm sure we can do it."

He said he is now treating the title race as a mini five-event championship.

"It was very disappointing, but now it's history and there's no point brooding over it anymore," he explained. "As I said before I left the track, now we start again from zero, given that only four points separate me and Vettel and even the others have got a little bit closer. The winner will be the one who scores one point more than the rest. In order to do that, one needs a quick car, not to make any mistakes and with the hope that any further mistakes from others do not cost you dear, as happened to us, first in Spa and then in Suzuka. But for these incidents, the situation would be very different."