Business as usual for Ferrari


SAO PAULO, November 4 – Ferrari team chief Stefano Domenicali intends to stick with his softly-softly approach to this year's world title battle by keeping Fernando Alonso calm and relaxed as he goes into this weekend's potentially decisive Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Italian, who admitted that the tension and unpredictability that often emerge at the penultimate race of the year at Interlagos could be influential, stressed that he and his team had no intention of taking anything for granted – or taking any risks.

"It is unlikely to decide the outcome, but it will be a very important race. If one were to lose valuable points here it would make Abu Dhabi a much bigger call," said Domenicali.

"So, the approach the team will adopt in these final weeks of the championship will be the right one, keeping in mind the strengths of our rivals, Red Bull and McLaren.

"We have seen how complicated the races have been throughout the season, which means we have to be very careful. Anything can happen."

Knowing that two-times champion Spaniard Alonso could clinch his third title in his maiden season with Ferrari will have no influence on their strategy or tactics, said Domenicali, who clearly expects the title race to go down to the wire in the final event at Abu Dhabi on November 14.

The Italian outfit has made very substantial investments in developments at the ultra-modern Yas Marina track and it would be an appropriate place for them to seize the crown again.

Alonso currently leads Australian Mark Webber of Red Bull by 11 points, but with 25 points awarded for a win he knows this situation could reverse rapidly if he makes any serious errors in Sunday’s showdown in front of a typically-passionate Brazilian crowd at the unique Interlagos track.

"I know Fernando will be calm and focussed, like the whole team," added Domenicali.

"We do not have to gamble. Not with our approach, nor with the drivers or the car.

"As far as the F10 is concerned, there will be a few small updates on the aerodynamic front, but nothing really significant, because the difference will come from reliability, from finishing the races without losing points and having the right mindset.

"However, I think the F10 can be competitive in Brazil and that, for better or for worse, the relative strengths are those we have seen in the last few races. We can expect to find that Red Bull is again very strong, while McLaren could have some more updates to be quicker still and we will be in a fight."

Apart from Webber, Red Bull’s young German tyro Sebastian Vettel is also a challenger along with 2008 champion Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren and, with just a slim chance of preserving his title, the 2009 champion Briton Jenson Button, who refuses to give up.

Domenicali also said he expects local hero Felipe Massa to be very strong in his home race, thus boosting Ferrari’s chances in the championships.

"Brazil is Felipe’s home race and knowing him the way I do, I am sure there will be that little bit extra motivation to do well," he said.

"He will want to show his fans what he can do so I expect him to be very much up for the fight, doing all he can to win. He will be very quick, which is exactly what we need right now to reach our goals."

Alonso said: "It will be business as usual for me. The others have to push and take the risks now.

"I like the track and the atmosphere. It very interesting and usually produces a spectacular race.

"The weather, which can be very changeable, could play an important role and we will have to be ready for any eventuality. With such a short and quick track, the gaps will be reduced and there will be a lot of drivers all within a few tenths."