Ferrari focused giving Fernando Alonso a fighting chance in qualifying at Brazilian Grand Prix

 

Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali fears Fernando Alonso's Formula One world title hopes could be scuppered this weekend unless his team give the Spaniard a fighting chance in qualifying.

Alonso goes into the final grand prix of the year in Brazil trailing Sebastian Vettel by 13 points, and with the odds long on overhauling the Red Bull star at the death.

Ferrari's Achilles heel is their one-lap pace on a Saturday as the 31-year-old has qualified on the top two rows of the grid only once in the last nine races since claiming back-to-back pole positions at Silverstone and Hockenheim.

Despite that, Alonso has managed to conjure some astonishing results as he has been on the podium in six of the last seven races to keep his championship hopes alive and take the battle down to the wire.

But if Alonso is to pip Vettel in becoming the ninth driver to win three world titles, he will almost certainly have to at least get ahead of the German on the grid at Interlagos.

"We always say it, but we need to improve our qualifying pace," said Domenicali, in light of Alonso qualifying a dismal ninth in Sunday's United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas.

"Unfortunately, in Austin we had one of the worst qualifyings of our championship.

"So we need to make sure in Brazil it is a different situation and it doesn't happen again otherwise it will be very, very difficult."

Arguably, Alonso's best hope of victory will be for Vettel to suffer a reliability issue that either compromises his grid position or affects him in the race.

"Pragmatically speaking we know the result has to be better," added Domenicali.

"We have to be in front of Sebastian and we need some drivers in the middle, without thinking of the worst-case scenario.

"This is the approach we need. We know it's not easy because he (Vettel) is driving very well and he has a very quick car.

"But that doesn't change what we have to do. We have to focus on our job and see what will be the outcome of the race.

"But we saw Mark [Webber] had a reliability issue (alternator failure in Austin) and that can happen every time.

"However, I want to stay concentrated on the job we have to do, and prepare the car in the best way we can."

Following the inaugural race at the Texas capital there was a clear sense within Red Bull they had only done half a job after clinching their third consecutive constructors' crown.

As far as team principal Christian Horner is concerned, there will be no let-up or thoughts of playing it conservatively in Sao Paulo.

"We have to approach this race as we have the previous 19," assessed Horner.

"We have to go there, attack the weekend, and get the best out of ourselves, the car, the strategy, the drivers and reliability.

"Anything can happen, as we have seen this season. But it is good to be going there with a lead, and we go there determined to close the job off because we're only halfway there."

Should Vettel duly follow his team's lead and make it three titles in a row, it will be an astonishing achievement for all inside Red Bull.

Horner, however, always suspected the fight for the drivers' crown would not be resolved until the final race of the season.

"We closed out one championship on Sunday," added Horner. "To have won three consecutive constructors' titles is something we could only have dreamed about a few years ago.

"To have achieved what we have over the past three years, in only our eighth year in the sport, is something quite remarkable.

"It is testimony to the long hours, the dedication and determination there is within the team that we've managed to achieve this.

"It is something every member of the team is fiercely proud of, but now we head to Brazil with a 13-point lead, with everything still to play for.

"I've said all season this championship would go to Brazil, and unfortunately I've been proved right."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain