Alonso not giving up on 2011 title hopes

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso may be 89 points adrift of championship leader Sebastian Vettel, but he’s adamant there is still plenty of time to turn things around. Speaking at the Italian team’s summer press event at Madonna di Campaglio, Alonso insisted he wasn’t ruling out title success this year.

“We must try and win as many races as possible,” said the Spaniard. “We are realistic and the championship situation is what it is, but we have seen so often that there can be sudden reversals. And after all, we are Ferrari and we have a moral obligation, especially for the millions of fans spread around the world, to always think of the maximum goal.

“We can’t ever say we will tackle eight races without having the championship in the back of our mind: we will always have an eye on the title, at least until there is no longer the slightest chance. Of course we must start winning and we have to hope that Vettel makes a few mistakes or has some problems.”

Ahead of a two-week summer shutdown, Alonso also reflected on the team’s season so far.

“This has not been such a bad a season for us so far,” he said. “Sure, the beginning was very difficult: we had hoped for a better start but we did not manage it. In China we went through what was possibly the worst point, because not only were we not fighting for the win with McLaren and Red Bull, but we were also behind Mercedes and maybe Renault, who had already scored two podium finishes.

“However, after that, we reacted well. We still lack a little something in all areas, including from the drivers, to be at the level of the best. However, I feel much more part of the team than I did a year ago. In terms of driving, I don’t think I’ve ever been this strong.”

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali was also in attendance at the media event in the Italian Dolomites and was equally determined to stay optimistic.

“I always try and think positive,” said Domenicali. “We believe in our chances and will continue to do so until it is a mathematical impossibility. Of course, we need to win races and maybe something could change. We could have done that already in this last bit of the season, but we know how that went and why.

"However, ifs and buts change nothing, so it is better to concentrate on the future. If I had to score our season so far, I would mark it a 6+, which represents the mid-point between the terrible start and a great fight back that we saw in the second part. I expect we will continue down this route which has seen Fernando score more points than any other driver in the last four races, all the way to the end of the season.

“Our aim is to win as much as possible and to have a car that is competitive at the highest level. Let’s not forget that, last year, while fighting all the way to the end, we were still behind Red Bull in terms of performance. We want to close the gap, which has already been considerably reduced if not almost wiped out in the last few races.”

Domenicali also revealed that the team plan to concentrate on their 2012 car from next month.

“At the start of September, we will concentrate solely on next year, because we have already defined all the updates for the 150° Italia, at least up until mid-October,” he concluded. “Sure, if something was to change, then we would react accordingly. In fact, apart from the area that concerns the exhausts, on 23 August, the Technical Working Group should shed some light on all the grey areas, the regulations are practically unchanged and therefore, development on today’s car can also be useful for next year.”

Ferrari are expected back in the factory from August 22, ahead of the Belgian event at Spa-Francorchamps from August 26-28.

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