- Ferrari news
Domenicali remains cool over updates
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali is preparing for a busy week at Maranello as his team analyses how to extract more performance from its car's latest upgrades over the next two races.
Fernando Alonso finished ahead of championship rival Sebastian Vettel at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, narrowing the gap in the championship to ten points, but Ferrari was still a long way off the pole position pace in qualifying. The team brought a raft of new upgrades to the car, but Alonso admitted on Sunday that they had not delivered the performance he needed to take the fight to McLaren and Red Bull in qualifying.
"This will be a week that is very important to understand in detail [the updates] and do the analysis of what we've done," Domenicali said. "The other thing that is important is to understand the nature of the new track [in Austin] because no-one knows [what it will be like]. Everyone has an indication from the simulator but because I prefer the track to the simulator - I really don't like the computer - I want to see the things on the track.
"I can see a different Friday to the normal ones because it will be important that we give proper track time to the drivers to find their reference points and it is important to try to understand the tyre behaviour because it is the first time we are there. And it's important to bring the right package from the aerodynamic point of view, because that will maximise the performance we can have at that track. It will be an interesting week of analysis and an interesting weekend in Austin."
Domenicali used Lewis Hamilton's sudden improvement in qualifying pace from India to Abu Dhabi as proof that track characteristics can cause the competitiveness of cars to swing from race to race.
"I want to turn your attention to what McLaren did here," he said in Abu Dhabi. "At the last few races it seemed as though the McLaren did not work, but with no updates they did a fantastic performance here. For sure it has to be our target to improve the car and this is what our engineers should do right up until the last possible moment. But we need to consider also the conditions and we need to be perfect. If it's not enough then we will see, but that's the approach we need to take."
Asked whether he was disappointed not to take more points out of Vettel's lead in the standings after the Red Bull raced from the pit lane to the podium, Domenicali said he was happy Ferrari maximised its potential.
"[Vettel] did a great race. He was pushing as normal I would say. He had moments where he was lucky and moments where he was unlucky, but that's part of the game. There were moments when the safety car came at the right time, but this is not something you can control. He was able to start from last and get up to third so it was a perfect race for him and from our side we did the maximum. We recovered three points and no more.
"This is now the point where we need to attack over the last two races. Ten points could be a lot or it could be nothing, it depends on how the race will go. Everything can happen up until the last moment and the only thing we can do is be there if something does happen."