The Scuderia Ferrari team head into the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos having lost further ground to the Williams Martini Racing team at Austin last weekend. Fernando Alonso feels the chances of a win this weekend are slim, while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen is expecting another weekend of struggles.
Alonso feels the chance of a win in Brazil this weekend is remote, even if any rain comes and changes the complexion of the race, as he feels the team are not at a level to be that competitive.
“Even with the rain, we don’t have the possibility to win,” said Alonso. “After only getting two podiums this season, we cannot expect a few drops of rain to allow us to win. Unfortunately, we are not at that level, however it’s true there are more opportunities when it’s wet, but it’s also a risk, as you can gain positions or lose everything.”
Looking back at 2014, despite failing to take a victory so far, he rates the season as potentially his best, especially as he has had another ex-F1 champion on the other side of the garage in the form of Raikkonen.
“It’s been difficult and challenging, but probably my best season, because I had a tough challenge this year, including having a world champion on the other side of the garage and I was performing at my best,” reflected Alonso. “Hungary was the best moment, leading the race until two laps from the end and finishing second and the worst moment was Japan, with the terrible feeling because of Jules’ accident and then in the race I did only three corners before retiring.”
Alonso insists his future has yet to be decided and that no team has given him any deadline, but the Spaniard was amazed at some of the rumours that surfaced, including the possibility of buying the struggling Marussia F1 Team.
“I don’t think there is any deadline to decide,” said Alonso. “This week McLaren is saying something, last week [Gerard] Lopez of Lotus said we were talking, which is true, but it’s for a project outside Formula 1. Everyday there’s a rumour and today I read that I have bought Marussia for one dollar! It’s absolutely not true.”
Team-mate Raikkonen struggled once more in Austin last weekend, finishing outside the points, and revealed the reasons for his struggles. He had admitted he has had to adapt some of his driving style to try and get around the front end problems on his Ferrari, but he has still struggled to compete with Alonso, although he feels the car is much better than it was early in the season.
“Since go-karts, if the front end doesn’t turn in and bite, I have never liked it,” revealed Raikkonen. “My driving style is more to try and carry the speed in the corners, keeping the speed mid corner. That’s the way I’m used to doing it and obviously I change my style a little every year.
“I believe that is the fastest way for me and if I can’t put the car where I want and brake the way I want because of locking wheels or sliding from the front, then it’s going to become a guessing game and if you miss the line through one corner then you miss it through the next ones. It sounds a small thing, but over a lap it becomes quite a big deficit.”
“You are here to win races and championships and if you don’t manage it you have failed, whether you are second or twentieth. It’s been a hard year but we have learned things that will help us in future. But it’s not much fun when you have difficulties race after race. That’s how it goes sometimes in Formula 1, but we have to believe in what we do and I’m sure we can get back to where we should be.
“During this year, we improved a lot on the engine and electronics side and for sure the car has got more downforce now. It’s a much better car than it was at the beginning of the year.”
Looking ahead to 2015, Raikkonen revealed that he had some input with regards to solving the issues he has been suffering with in 2014, and although he will not find out whether he will be in the position to improve next year, he has hope that it will not be another mediocre season for the Finn.
“They started very early on the design of next year’s car and the designers listened to us and made some changes to try and improve in areas where we feel this year’s car has been lacking in performance,” said Raikkonen. “I believe we can have a much better car and a much better package. How good? We will know in February next year.
“I’ve seen numbers from it and so on, but it’s the same story every year; you don’t really know until you get the car on the circuit.”