Domenicali: "We wanted to show the reaction of Ferrari"
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team principal Stefano Domenicali was understandably delighted with the team's performance after Kimi Raikkonen's emphatic 19.5s win in Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix at Kuala Lumpur.
"We are very happy in a way, because of course we wanted to show the reaction of Ferrari after a very different weekend in Australia," he said. "That was not really our standard. So I'm very happy because we showed that the team can do a great job. I think the best thing that I have seen is that we kept cool and calm as we normally are, without softening, in a negative way, the pressure that is normal when you have such a difficult start. But that's the main reason why I'm happy, to be honest."
Was there a sense of relief that they had bounced back? "No," replied Domenicali, "I think the sense of relief is connected to the fact that we really showed our potential. We were strong all weekend, very good pace on both tire specs and that is, for us, the main thing that is positive. We knew that our car was good, so that's the reason why we are happy.
"Of course what we want to have is 18 points, because that's the way it has to be, that's the way we have to think and looking at the situation, there is a bitter feeling because of course these are very important points. Nothing is lost because it's a very very long championship but points are always points."
Domenicali was asked whether the team had been confident the engine situation had been resolved. "We are only ever sure after the checkered flag, and that's not enough because we have to see the checkered flag two times for the engine and four times for the gearbox. What I can say is that reliability is the main issue that we need to be very strong on. Really, It's really a different championship this year. With the four race gearbox, you never relax and this is the reason why we need to be focused on the way we are working in trying to improve the quality of everything every time, the method of working and this is really the most important thing, what we will work very hard on in the next days."
Domenicali emphasized that in spite of the drivers having different fortunes, their on-track behavior was not in question. "It's not very difficult, it's part of the work of the team. It's a fact that we have two very good drivers, they know the rules, they respect the rules and they can fight on the track, very freely, without doing any damage, both for them and for the team.
"In that respect, of course we discuss - even this morning - the way to handle the start. The way we did this was to check the starts in previous years, more than just last year, and I think we did a good job on that, and also on the strategy; our choice was really good. We didn't want to stress the tires with a very heavy fuel load on the car and I think that worked very well."
Domenicali emphasized that BMW's performances have added a new dimension to the championship . "We have seen that BMW also had a great weekend. We need to respect them and we will for sure they will be in the middle of the field for sure in order to take points from us and from McLaren, so we need to have a lot of respect for them.
"The championship will be harder because they will be taking points from us. As we said at the beginning of the season, the championship this year is very very long and the fact that we will have one more competitor that shows that they are good, for sure is an added element to take into consideration. Today, honestly, we were very strong, we took it very easy in the last part of the race because we wanted to save the car and bring it home because it was so important for us to take the checkered flag."
And the next race in Bahrain, where the team tested in February? "For sure the conditions are very different," said Domenicali. "We tested in February, now it's April, the temperatures are different but we did a good test there and let's hope that it will bring some positive result being there in February."