Ferrari chief probes performance
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has demanded answers from the Italian team after Spanish driver Fernando Alonso missed the chance to steal a march on championship leader Sebastian Vettel at Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Upgrades to the F2012 car failed to give Alonso the qualifying boost he required, although the two-time champion was able to finish the race second behind Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen despite the Spaniard starting in seventh on the grid.
But with Red Bull's Vettel forced to start from the pit lane due to a technical infringement in qualifying, Alonso missed the chance to significantly reduce the German's championship lead, which now stands at 10 points.
Di Montezemolo has ordered the Maranello team to make sure Alonso is in a position to win the returning United States Grand Prix -- the season's penultimate race and the first to be held at the Circuit of the America's in Austin, Texas.
"The weekend was hard to read," Montezemolo told Ferrari's official website after Sunday's Yas Marina Circuit race. "That began with Saturday evening when I watched a situation that was not entirely clear.
"As far as Ferrari is concerned I want to understand why the new parts that we brought to the track only partially improved the performance of the F2012, which wasn't enough to allow Alonso to fight for the very front positions on the grid -- despite the contrasting expectations of our engineers.
"Fernando nonetheless produced his umpteenth great race of the season, in which he again gave 120% and he managed to fight for victory right to the end. But it's clear that we have to do more for the coming races."
With Ferrari working overtime on its technical set-up, Di Montezemolo spoke of "a crucial 10 days" in Ferrari's bid to win a first drivers' title since Raikkonen was crowned champion in 2007.
"That is what I requested today of (team principal) Stefano Domenicali and his team," Di Montezemolo continued. "We must do everything to arrive in Texas with a car that can fight for the victory. Words count for nothing: this must be our target."
The forthcoming U.S. Grand Prix will be the first F1 grand to be held in the country since 2007.
After traveling to the U.S., the 2012 season will come to a close with the Brazilian Grand Prix on November 25.
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