Costa: We didn’t want to face reality
Aldo Costa, Race Engineer to Fernando Alonso, has recalled the moments when Ferrari realized it would not be winning this year’s Drivers’ World Championship in Abu Dhabi, with a tactical error from the team having left the Spaniard stuck in traffic and defenseless to new title winner Sebastian Vettel.
With Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Renault’s Vitaly Petrov having stopped under Safety Car conditions at the end of Lap 1, Alonso soon found himself behind both cars after also pitting early when shadowing the strategy of other championship rival Mark Webber.
“After a tough winter, we had some problems mid-season but had those sorted,” Costa explained to Italy’s la Repubblica. “We arrived in Abu Dhabi and Alonso did the job in qualifying. Then the race and the error.
“Fernando becomes part of the queue with Petrov. We hope to overtake him. But nothing. We hope that Petrov will make a mistake. Nothing. Petrov is four kilometers (two and a half miles) per hour faster than us. Useless. We shoot all of our cartridges, the frustration grows and grows.
“Then Fernando finishes. We all stay still, stuck to the monitors for five to ten minutes, not moving anymore. No-one takes off his headphones. No-one speaks. No-one wants to face reality.”
Despite the immense disappointment at the end of the 2010 season, Costa – whose voice is familiar to television viewers courtesy of team radio communications – is confident that Ferrari will have the edge over this year's World Champions from the outset next season.
“This year we finally reduced the distance to Red Bull,” he said, with Adrian Newey’s cars having proved to be the quickest in raw pace for the majority of the last two years.
“Our ambition for 2011 is to hook it up in the winter and then to maintain the pace of development that we’ve had in recent months.
“That, along with the reliability and hard work, is key to our season; we have revolutionized the methods of work and this has led to a period of adjustment.”