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Ferrari: The F2012’s problems are far from over 28 Mar 2012

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 25 March 2012 Stefano Domenicali (ITA) Ferrari General Director celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 25 March 2012 Race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari celebrates with the team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 25  March 2012 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 25 March 2012 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 25 March 2012

Fernando Alonso may have left Malaysia victorious and leading the drivers’ championship, but Ferrari aren’t about to start resting on their laurels just yet. Although pleased with the Sepang win, team principal Stefano Domenicali is under no illusions about the F2012’s shortfall to its rivals and is determined the hard work at Maranello continues apace.

“I asked all my people to push to the maximum to try and bring forward as much as possible the developments planned for the next few races,” Domenicali told Ferrari’s official website. “Having Fernando leading the championship means nothing and we definitely don’t think all our problems have been made to vanish with the wave of a magic wand.”

By Tuesday, Ferrari’s engineers and mechanics had regrouped in Italy to analyse the Malaysian weekend and start their preparations for next month’s Chinese and Bahrain Grands Prix.

With the F2012 a few tenths shy of the pace of its fastest rivals, Domenicali believes that as well as improving the car they must be ready to swoop when a chance presents itself, as Alonso did in Malaysia’s changeable conditions, if they are to repeat their Sepang success.

“With Fernando, playing the counter-attacking game worked perfectly,” said Domenicali. “Hitting the back of the net in Sepang was really great. We have two weeks to prepare for another back-to-back run, first in China and then Bahrain and we will tackle these races with the same spirit we adopted in Australia and Malaysia, which means striving to be perfect on track and getting the most out of the tools at our disposal, while making the most of whatever opportunities come along.”

Whilst Alonso made the most of the fluctuating track conditions to convert his eighth-place grid position into victory, team mate Felipe Massa struggled and finished in 15th from P12 at the start. Domenicali, however, urged onlookers to remember how Massa transformed his chances in 2008 to push himself back into title contention after a slow start.

“I well remember that, four years ago, in fact right after a Malaysian Grand Prix, which was won for us by Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe was more or less in the same situation as today,” added Domenicali.

“The papers were demanding his immediate replacement and he managed to react in the best way possible, thanks to support from the team, which saw him win two of the next three races. We remember how that particular season ended, with the Brazilian actually world champion, even if it was just for a few seconds, while we took our 16th constructors’ title.”

And it seems the Brazilian is focused on making amends for his poor performances in Australia and Malaysia, and has altered his schedule over the next few days to work with his Ferrari colleagues.

“Felipe has changed his plans,” concluded Domenicali. “Instead of heading home to see his family in Brazil, he will be in Maranello tomorrow to work alongside the engineers to calmly analyse everything that happened in these past two races, trying to identify why he was not able to deliver what he is capable of. That’s the right spirit and we are here, ready to help him.”

The Scuderia’s factory-based preparations will continue over the next two weeks before they journey to Shanghai for the 2012 Formula 1 UBS Chinese Grand Prix, which takes place on April 13-15.

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