Ferrari were worried Alonso might not finish
Ferrari staff were worried that Fernando Alonso could have failed to make the end of the Italian Grand Prix following his off-track clash with Sebastian Vettel. While attacking at the Curva Grande, the Spaniard was forced to bounce down the grass verge.
At its home race, the team had already suffered brake, gearbox and anti-roll bar gremlins with Alonso's car across Friday and Saturday, as this was a new chassis. The previous one had been written off in the Belgian Grand Prix, when Romain Grosjean triggered a dramatic first-corner pile-up.
“I have to say that it was a really intense Grand Prix,” admits Team Principal Stefano Domenicali. “Just as we were heading towards our pit-stops we had a blackout on the pit wall – with our back-up systems as well. We were totally in the dark, so we had to handle the emergency by returning to how it was in the olden days; we used the stopwatches and the radios, which were still working for the drivers.”
He went on to discuss the coming together with Vettel’s Red Bull.
“The second moment was when Fernando went off the track as he was attacking Vettel,” Domenicali continues. “That caused some damage at the rear which, unfortunately, got worse with every lap, so we had to keep an eye on that. You never know how much the car can put up with, so the end of the race was a real cliff-hanger.
“There was a hint of disappointment because we could have been even further up on the podium but, given the retirements of both Red Bulls and one McLaren, you can see that this is a championship in which reliability is crucial. Fernando has pretty much regained the advantage he had over the summer break, albeit with a different man in second place.”
Ferrari are now keeping a close eye on former driver Kimi Räikkönen who, despite having not yet won a race for Lotus, is third in the Drivers’ Championship.
“Kimi is getting closer, bit by bit, so we really have to keep watching behind us and making sure we run the races keeping our closest competitors in mind,” Domenicali begins to sum up. “We will now bring new developments to every race; we must be at the top of our game because there could also be other surprises.”
With seven Grands Prix remaining in 2012, starting with the Singapore night race next weekend, Alonso holds a 37-point lead over McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.