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Formula 1 Belgian GP

Domenicali: 2007 comeback proof Ferrari still has F1 title chance

Formula 1 chief Stefano Domenicali believes Kimi Raikkonen’s championship comeback in 2007 acts as proof Ferrari should “never say never” in this year’s title fight.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari F2007

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen sits 80 points clear at the top of the drivers’ standings ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix after winning eight of the 13 races before the summer break.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has lost ground on Verstappen due to reliability issues that caused him to retire while leading in both Spain and Azerbaijan, as well as spinning out from the lead in France.

The large gap at the top of the championship offers a different proposition to 2021, when Verstappen clinched the title by overtaking Lewis Hamilton on the last lap of the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

Domenicali said it would be “fantastic” from a commercial standpoint for F1 to "arrive at the last lap of the last race” again with the title up for grabs, albeit “with a less confrontational point” given the controversy of Verstappen’s title win.

Although he acknowledged the 80-point gap was “a lot” for Leclerc and Ferrari to make up, Domenicali reflected on Raikkonen’s title win in 2007, where a 17-point deficit was overturned with 20 available to beat McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso to the title.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75

Photo by: Ferrari

“From my previous experience, you have to never say never,” Domenicali said, having served as Ferrari’s sporting director when Raikkonen won the championship.

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“Because remember in 2007, two races to go, we were behind by 17 points, and Kimi was able to win the championship in Brazil. No-one was expecting that.

“I know it's a big number, but I don’t see why Ferrari shouldn’t be getting back again in the fight with Red Bull.

“Red Bull is a very strong team, Mercedes will grow, but really, the only thing I can say, because of my position, is that they shouldn’t give up at all up to the last moment.”

Domenicali was confident the second half of the F1 season would feature “a lot of surprises” that he hoped would delight the fans who have made the remaining races this year sell-out events.

“Mistakes, reliability, weather conditions, who knows? The only thing that is important that, and I’m sure they will be, [Ferrari] have to stay focused,” Domenicali said.

“From Belgium up to the end, all of the grands prix are sold out, so a lot of people have already booked the tickets to come.

"So Belgium, every day will be more than 120,000 people. Zandvoort you can imagine the same. Monza, more than 250,000 tickets sold. Singapore, sold out.

“That’s really something that is already reserved. So I hope we’re going to have a great race and a great second part of the season.”

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