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

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
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

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower