Montezemolo “worried” about “very tough races”

2012 F1 season

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Stefano Domenicali, Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari, Valencia, 2012Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo says his team need to make a step forward to compete with Red Bull, despite Fernando Alonso winning Sunday’s European Grand Prix.

“I am worried and all of us should be,” Montezemolo told the team’s website. “Yes, I am worried, because I expect three very tough races at Silverstone, Hockenheim and Budapest and because we have seen that Red Bull is very strong, having had four tenths in hand over everyone in qualifying and in the race it was flying away, at least until the Safety Car.

“If we want to achieve our goals then we must make a step forward,” he added.

Alonso leads the drivers’ championship by 20 points over Mark Webber, with Sebastian Vettel a further six points behind. Ferrari are fourth in the constructors’ championship, 44 points adrift of Red Bull.

“It?s thanks to your work, to an extraordinary driver who, not by chance, drives for Ferrari, to the strategy, the pit stops and the efforts of everyone at the track and back home, that we find ourselves leading the championship, even if we don?t have the best car,” Montezemolo told his staff.

“Now we must ensure we do everything as well as possible because winning depends solely and exclusively on us. It would be a big mistake to think the win in Valencia means we have done enough: today we have a competitive car, but to win, we must do even more.”

He also gave a vote of confidence for team principal Stefano Domenicali: “The final round of applause and I am the first to put my hands together, is for your boss.

“Stefano Domenicali has never shirked his responsibilities, even acting as a lightning conductor for all the criticism, protecting his people, while at the same time knowing how to demand the maximum effort, how to build a team and look to the future in a positive way and with the right sense of realism. He deserves it.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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45 comments on “Montezemolo “worried” about “very tough races””

  1. And so Stefano breathes a sigh of relief. Thanks in no small part to Fernando.

  2. Well if you look at Vettels pace before he retired… “Everyone” should be worried.

    1. Exactly…I think it has reminded everyone of how last year went, and nobody wants to see that other than Red Bull or SV or MW fans after we have been enjoying unpredictability so far. As I think LdM is suggesting, they can do many things right and still do very well in the standings without being dominantly fast, but there’s not much anyone will be able to do if SV starts to consistantly do what he did in Valencia. But I also think that type of ‘worry’ while being normal may be a little less necessary due to this year’s tires…I don’t know that we will see SV 4/10ths up on everyone at every race remaining like we might have bet on last year…and if it’s going to start to be a Red Bull season from here on in, some of those days could belong to MW too. He’s much more in the hunt this year and could take points off SV if the team allows it. Very much to be decided yet.

  3. Yep, its tough work for everyone. Just ask the McLaren boys who had the fastest car at the start of the year!

    Sport at its best :-)

    1. @BasCB I’m worried about that whether its best would be gone soon…

      1. Lets just wait before we hail the return of RBR/Vettel being fastest everywhere. I know that Vettel now has gotten the poles in again, showing that the car is there, and both he and Webber prove that point by being close in the WDC.
        But that does not mean all cannot be different come the next race. If McLaren finally sort themselves out and starts making it work, Hamilton will be there again. And Button probably as well. Alonso also now has a car that can mix it with the others on ist pace.

        1. +1.

          Ferrari has shown competence on developing their car and will do everything to conserve Fernando’s leading position. McLaren has to crack tyres issue and find their “pit ghost” ASAP and bust it, plus, McL should avoid few stops strategies and stick with conservative ones, Lewis would be better off stopping an additional time at Valencia than drive on finished tyres by the end.

  4. For Red Bull & Vettel to take the fight back to Ferrari in the constructors, Alonso needs to have a non-score soon. Although I doubt that will happen, his consistency has been alarmingly good.

    1. *drivers, not constructors.

    2. statistically speaking, that should happen sooner rather than later. He’s finished 20 races in a row now, so a retirement or a no-points finish must be close…

      Specially considering how tigh the field is at the moment and how much wheel-to-wheel racing happens even at places like Valencia.

      But yeah, Alonso’s good at consistency… so…

      1. @fer-no65 Well I would say there aren’t any statistics to apply to retirements from mechanical failures. After every race the chances are reset.

        The fact that a driver will tend to have a retirement every 11-15 races due to mechanical issues doesn’t effect the chances of one driver suffering any if he hasn’t had one in a while. Take a loook at Schumacher, he has had way more than ‘statistics’ suggest he should. It’s all correlational, over time a driver is likely to have a failure; correct. Does time cause a failure; no, not just by itself. You could argue over time an engine/gearbox is likely to need changing, but the team can take a pre race penalty and sort that out before it bites harder in the race. Good team management and risk assessments can stomp out the vast majority of technical issues.

        Having said all this, Alonso will blatantly retire from Silverstone!

        1. What I was trying to get at with this is that Alonso has no higher chances of a failure in Silverstone than Vettel, Grosjean or Schuacher (or anyone) do.

          1. @nick-uk The laws of probability and all that :)

        2. @nick-uk

          Well I would say there aren’t any statistics to apply to retirements from mechanical failures. After every race the chances are reset.

          Well, that’s not entirely true but anyway… I wasn’t talking about a reliability issue. I was talking about incidents, bad luck, or a bad timed SC car, something. Statistically speaking, he must be close to a bad weekend.

          OFC, you could argue that Schumi went through the whole 2002 season with not a single failure, and he finished on podium at every race. But that was exceptional, really, and bears no relation to what current F1 is like.

          1. @fer-no65 statistically speaking, this isn’t true. every race is independent from the previous ones. don’t trust averages. ;)

          2. @fer-no65

            Statistically speaking, he must be close to a bad weekend.

            My point is that once a weekend passes, that is the end of it. For the next weekend no one individual driver has a higher or lower chance of any of those things you mentioned happening to them. The fact that Alonso hasn’t had any bad luck for a while has no bearing on whether he will have it in the future.

          3. @fer-no65 I have to agree with @nick-uk here. Statistics are simply an estimation of the likelihood of an event occurring. It is entirely possible Alonso finishes in the points in every race until he retires.

            If you flip a coin 10,000 times, statistics say it will be about 50-50 heads and tails. However in reality it is entirely possible to get 9,000 heads and 1000 tails. Thus, back to the original definition of statistic, which is an estimation of the outcome. The estimation while thorough in it’s workings out, can also be completely inaccurate.

          4. 1) Statistics? I think we’re talking about probabilities here. Alonso’s probability of finishing in the points is higher than other drivers based on recent performance. You must agree he’s proved that. The idea that he is ‘due’ to fail to score is a fallacy, assuming races are independent events. [The next coin toss has an equal probability of being heads or tails, no matter what came before. That is true independence].
            2) The assumption that each race is independent of previous races is almost accurate but races are linked by, for example, common gear boxes and engines. An older gearbox can be assumed to be less reliable, for example. Races also differ from each other in many ways, Alonso’s car may be vulnerable to high speeds at Silverstone or slow corners in Hungary. So races are not true repeat ‘experiments’.
            3) Statistics are boring.

          5. Isn’t the record held by Hamilton? 50 races without a mechanical? I think his first mechanical dnf was 2009 Abu Dhabi no?

          6. Probability

            is just a wing of statistics with very unique laws, I think many people a misusing the word statistics here.

    3. @vettel1, scoring 1 or 2 points isn’t much different than a DNF. If Vettel, Webber or Hamilton have two podium finishes and Alonso has two 7th or 8th finishes it will be tight again. Kimi, Grosjean, Schumacher and Rosberg and a good Sauber can keep Alonso behind in more than one race which makes seeing Alonso below P6 far from impossible.

  5. ferrari has built a reputation for just being over the top, sometimes living on their own planet. however, for the past couple years the comments made by the drivers and management have been extremely pragmatic, and i think honest.

    1. Quite so, @f1yankee ! If Alonso says something like

      ‘we’re around P8 in qualy and hopefully a bit higher on race pace’

      You can bet that’s what he believes and that it’s the actual situation.
      And you can of course also bet that if the possibility is there, he will get more out of it. I’m no fan, but he sure is one of the drivers who make this sport so nice

    2. Your quite right Yankee.
      And this includes Luca! (on the [very] rare occasion)

      1. @julian Usually he spouts gibberish about customer cars and three car teams so this is a welcome departure.

  6. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    27th June 2012, 18:13

    For Red Bull & Vettel to take the fight back to Ferrari in the constructors, Alonso needs to have a non-score soon. Although I doubt that will happen, his consistency has been alarmingly good.

    @vettel1 you should not forget that no one would have imagined a Lotus or even more a Red Bull retiring the way it happened on Sunday, and don’t put out of the map incidents like Pastor & Lewis, or a tyre puncture, or what happened to Alonso few races ago (in Canada right?) where tyre strategy didn’t work out and he finished much worse than what any would have thought. This season is fully open. Don’t forget Vettel’s first championship. When his car was on fire in Korea a part of me thought: “Well, it’s over for him”, but then he magically drove superbly in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

    1. With Ferrari’s vast resources and experience I doubt that Alonso will suffer from any mechanical failures any time soon; a retirement due to a racing incident is a much more likely prospect. I highly doubt that he will not score due to a fundamental lack of pace: his consistency and vast reserves of race pace and talent leads me to believe that he could score points in almost any car on the grid.
      As for the only other option, that is probably the most likely. His ‘luck’ has appeared to be unlimited so far, so that suggests that at some point it will run out. A puncture or a collision may cause him to score 0 for the first time this season…

  7. I think the lower temperatures and higher-speed corners in Silverstone could favour other teams than Red Bull (such as Williams and McLaren), but even then they have been op pole for every race since Bahrain, with the exception of Barcelona, and their race pace has been good since the start of the year. No wonder other teams are worried. At least the driver’s championship is still wide open, and Fernando is still looking pretty good for it.

    1. @adrianmorse – if they keep the advantage they’ve had recently I believe it’ll make no difference, although the margins are so fine (and the fact Red Bull appear to favour hotter conditions) that anyone could be quickest. I wonder how much of a factor the traditional British weather will be!

      1. I think stop and go corners were the main advantage for Red Bull in Valencia. Adrian Newey spend whole weekend at the back of that car making sure they had traction advantage.

        1. @kimi4wc They thing is that traction came about via more downforce. If you looked at the upgrades they put in at Valencia and ran testing on it, the most gains would be had in quick corners. ie the upgrade is worth more laptime around Silverstone than it was around Valencia. But we’ll have to see more to really understand it.

          1. Can’t wait!!!! :)

        2. I would have to agree with Kimi4WDC. In monaco, another stop and go track, the Red Bull of Mark Webber was really strong. I expected them to be strong in Valencia as well, but not by the margin they had.

          The only thing left to see is how Red Bull performs in changeable or wet conditions. From what we saw in Malaysia, they weren’t as strong in people expected in those conditions.

  8. They are rightfully worried.

    They still not competitive to win. You have to take hat off for Alonso for making the best out of situation, but he is just a sitting duck now, unless guys in fast cars keep messing up.

    Said that, Valencia Q2 was an absolute horror, two tenth between 12th drivers? Talking about keeping your cool :) Can’t wait till next GP!!!!

    1. I disagree – In the absence of Vettel Alonso was competitive enough to win. ie. he was definitely in the hunt for P2 even if Vettel’s block hadn’t gone kaput.

      1. I’m not sure, it’s really hard to read into this seasons wins, as it is such a close gap at the end of each race and it seems like results would have been total different if where were couple more laps.

        Anyway I think Vettel wouldn’t have such a gap if Lewis didn’t slow Grosjean or Kimi got past Maldonado – the same way I dont think Rosberg would have won as easily in China if Button didn’t slow the faster cars in his first stint.

        Another thing, I think Kimi saved Grosjean by having a good start and getting on side of Maldonado, not sure what would have happened if it was Grosjean’s Lotus there instead of Kimi’s :)

  9. I’m really worried too. not because I’m a Ferrari fan(of course I am!) but I don’t want to see one team domination again.

    1. @eggry even if it was Ferrari dominating?

      1. @raymondu999 well, if just a season, it would be OK :D

        1. sid_prasher (@)
          29th June 2012, 17:10

          or a few more :)

  10. JackFlash (Aust)
    28th June 2012, 4:57

    Comment on WCC standings:
    If it weren’t for RedBull Racing’s and Lotus-Renault’s driver lineup being so dual competitive (both drivers on their rosters bringing home consistent high race results), their position in the standing would fall back to where McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes find themselves right now. The non-performances of Button (poor adaptation/form), Massa (poor form) and Schuie (by bad luck, not poor form) have cost their teams dearly in the WCC standings.

    So, some real credit has to be thrown at Webber and Grosjean/Raikkonen for bringing their A-games to the Season. If you halved the points won by Webber and say… Grosjean as well for aguments sake, then RBR would have no WCC lead to speak of, and Lotus-Reanult would be back down with Mercedes.

    The WCC comes down to a team with a leading pace car (of course), but even moreso also down to TWO consistently high-performing drivers.

    I think RBR has stolen a march on the development front from the big-3 (McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes). I don’t think they have as much in hand over Lotus-Renault, but a handy edge. As much as Alonso’s sterling solo driving performances have put him into the lead of the WDC in only the 3rd or 4th best car package ( a remarkable show of his ‘best driver on grid’ status); so RBR have worked out a 40+ point lead in the WCC, purely by complete parity in points effectivity in their driver roster. Ferrari, McLaren, and Mercedes should be envious of that; and a little scared now that the Newey/RBR have finally developed a lead in car performance. Jack Flash.

    1. I just hope Kimi can step up a notch with his qualifying performances for the rest of the season, this is the only way for him to have a go at Vettel.

      1. He’s getting there I sense but it will be hard to keep up with the development race now…
        RBR and Ferrari have bigger resources and RBR started off with a solid package whereas Ferrari will be catching up all the time.

  11. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
    28th June 2012, 21:33

    Does Luca di Montezemolo ever smile?

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