Ferrari all but concede defeat in F1 title race
Ferrari have all but thrown in the towel in the Formula One title race after the latest demonstration of strength by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and will concentrate effectively all efforts on developing a competitive car for the next season.
Vettel's latest win Sunday in Singapore, a massive 32 seconds ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, saw him increase his championship lead to 60 points en route to a fourth world title with six races left.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said Monday that Ferrari will still aim to be ready to take advantage of any mishap by Vettel, but that their focus is now fully shifting to 2014, which will see several major changes including a V6 turbo engine in place of the current V8 model.
"Now it's clear that 99 per cent of our energies will be concentrated on the 2014 project, as complicated as it is important," Domenicali told the Ferrari website.
"Ahead of the summer break we were striving hard for a performance gain in Singapore, on a track with characteristics that are particularly unsuitable for our car. Instead we lost even more ground, despite the fact that the F138 has improved in certain ways.
"We still have some new parts for the car that we will bring to the coming races but, above all, we will now try to make the most out of what we already have."
Acknowledging the superiority of Red Bull and Vettel, Domenicali called for an improved effort from everyone involved at Ferrari next year when Kimi Raikkonen, the last man to win the title for them in 2007, joins Alonso in place of Felipe Massa.
"I don't think for a minute that the people we have are less capable than those working in other teams, indeed I'm convinced of the opposite. But it's a fact that the others have worked better than us and this must work as an incentive for us," he said.
Domenicali also criticised those who booed Vettel again at the victory ceremony Sunday, which has become an issue in latest races. It has been suggested that they are Ferrari fans disgruntled by Vettel's regular victories.
"I wasn't happy to hear that Vettel was booed under the Singapore podium as well. The German driver was perfect and he was helped out by a car that was as quick as it was reliable: this should be acknowledged," he said.