Fight for second spot continues
Fernando Alonso has congratulated Sebastian Vettel on a fourth straight Formula One world title and then started to look ahead at the following year yet again.
"Well done to him (Vettel) and the (Red Bull) team. Hopefully next year we can make things a little more difficult than this year," Alonso said.
The Spaniard fell short of a first title at Ferrari again but 2014 offers a new opportunity as there will be major rule changes including a new V6 engine which could allow others to catch up with Red Bull's superior package again.
But it won't be just the hope for a better 2014 campaign that will occupy Alonso's mind over the next weeks, he and Ferrari want to at least salvage second place in the drivers' and constructors' standings in the remaining three races of the season - with the next one on Sunday in Abu Dhabi.
Vettel and Red Bull wrapped up a quadruple title double with Vettel's win at Sunday's Indian Grand Prix where the last title rival Alonso did not even finish in the points in 11th place.
Alonso is second on 207 points behind Vettel (322), but under pressure from Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen, who has 183. Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes has 169, with Red Bull's Mark Webber (148) and Lotus' Romain Grosjean (144) also in with a chance to make the final podium.
The three races in Abu Dhabi, Texas and Brazil will also determine the final constructors' outcome behind Red Bull (470). Mercedes moved into second place with 313 points, Ferrari have 309 and Lotus 285.
Anything but at least second in both standings would not go down well in the proud Ferrari camp, who have an F1 record 16 constructors' crowns and 15 drivers' trophies.
"I'm a bit sad at not having scored points for the constructors' title, but now, if we want to take that second place, we have to do better in the next three races and try to always finish on the podium, at least with one car, if not both," said Alonso, who flew straight to Abu Dhabi Monday from India.
Technical director Pat Fry said: "We will try and turn around the situation in the constructors' campionship, because second place is absolutely within our grasp."
The bad news for Ferrari, however, is that they have failed to make the podium in the last three races, while Rosberg was second for Mercedes Sunday, Raikkonen second in Japan and the new impressive Grosjean third in all three races.
Sunday in fact saw the ex-world champions from the three teams beaten by their teammates: 2008 champ Hamilton sixth and Rosberg second for Mercedes; 2007 winner Raikkonen seventh and Grosjean third at Lotus; and 2005 and 2006 champion Alonso 11th and Felipe Massa fourth at Ferrari.
However, the teams won't particularly care in which order their drivers take the checkered flag, as long as they both finish as high up as possible in the points in the race for "best of the rest," as Rosberg put it.
"We scored a lot of points and climbed back up to second place in the constructors' championship. I'm quite confident that we can keep that position until the end of the season as the team is doing a great job and our car looks good but it will be a fight," Rosberg said.