Ferrari victory good for F1 as a whole
Ferrari`s first win of the Formula One season owed something to luck, something to changes in the engine regulations and a lot to hard work and the sheer talent of Fernando Alonso.
London: Ferrari`s first win of the Formula One season owed something to luck, something to changes in the engine regulations and a lot to hard work and the sheer talent of Fernando Alonso.
Was the British Grand Prix simply a one-off, gifted by a rare Red Bull pitstop problem? Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali hoped not.
"Honestly, today the race pace was good. Even without that mistake...we could have won the race in any case. Today we were very strong," he told reporters after celebrating a victory on the 60th anniversary of Ferrari`s first at the same Silverstone circuit.
"I really hope that after this one some others will come."
Alonso, a double title winner with Renault, has been close already this season. In Monaco he might have forced his way past Red Bull`s world champion Sebastian Vettel, on worn tyres, in the final laps if the race had not been halted.
In Canada, he might have won had he not tangled with McLaren`s eventual winner Jenson Button.
Sport is full of ifs, might haves and should haves but Ferrari`s win was overdue and good news for F1 as a whole.
They are the original glamour team, on the Formula One scene since the very first championship in 1950 and the sport needs them to be competitive.
In a season dominated by Vettel, whose 80 point lead means he could afford to go away until September and still lead the championship, a different winner is welcome.
"I think it was a little bit lucky," said McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh. "To be honest, we aren`t on the pace of Red Bull and nor are Ferrari at the moment. “
"But racing is about taking your chances. Fernando is a phenomenal competitor as we well know in this team, Ferrari is a great race team. It`s good for them, good for the sport."
Formula One`s governing body clamped down on the engine regulations for Sunday`s race, after banning changes to engine maps between qualifying and the race at the previous grand prix in Valencia.
At Silverstone, teams were no longer allowed to use engine electronics to ensure exhaust gases flowed constantly through the rear diffuser for aerodynamic gain even when a driver was off the throttle.
Did Ferrari benefit more from the change than others?
McLaren`s Lewis Hamilton, who finished fourth, had no doubt that Alonso -- whose team were the last to agree to the rules ultimately being restored to the pre-Silverstone situation -- had been hit a whole lot less than him.
"We lost a lot this weekend, and Fernando told me they did not lose anything, and the Red Bulls clearly didn`t lose anything either," he said.
Whitmarsh hesitated: "I think it would be unfair to say that (their win was due to the engine clampdown). I think there will be people who conclude it.
"But Ferrari have been pushing this year, pushing hard, they deserved a win. I`d rather we had it but I think it`s good for Ferrari, good for the sport that they had their first win this year. “
"It breaks up the story a little bit, keeps it interesting. It was a great race and was, for the sport, a good outcome."
Domenicali said he simply did not know the answer: "I think that anyone can say something different because no-one really knows what they are speaking about," he declared.
"I hear in this period so many things, from one second to three tenths...it`s like playing with dice."
Ferrari were so far off the pace four races previously in Barcelona, a circuit where Pirelli brought the same mixture of soft and hard tyres, that Alonso was lapped despite finishing fifth.
They have been working feverishly at Maranello to rectify a pre-season problem in the wind tunnel and the improvement at the weekend was so marked that even Domenicali was astonished.
"It was an incredible performance. We were expecting an improvement, for sure. That it was so big, to be honest we need to be cautious, we need to understand the data, we need to understand what the others were doing," he said.
"The performance of our car during this weekend was really good in all conditions, wet, soft tyres, hard tyres.
"We need to bring home race-by-race the result, and try to understand because maybe it will be different for the next grand prix."
Ferrari are third in the constructors` standings, the same position that Alonso occupies in the drivers` championship, albeit 92 points adrift of Vettel.
"I want to be cautious but never say never," Domenicali said when asked whether Ferrari could do mission impossible and get back into the championship reckoning.
"I don`t look at the classification at the moment, we need to push and never give up. If in the next couple of races we are able to achieve good results, we will. At the moment we need to stay focused on our job."