Q & A with Stefano Domenicali

Q. So was that a long season for you?

Q & A with Stefano Domenicali

Stefano Domenicali: Well, how many grands prix where there? 17? We had longer seasons. If you remember in 2005 we had 19 grands prix, and we suffered like hell like this year. We only won in Indianapolis and the season was really difficult. So, what I want to say is that fortunately the memory is very short.

We had the spirit and we are used to getting out with the Ferrari spirit and the Ferrari resources, and that is what we have to learn this year. It was of course a difficult season, but you have to look at the situation this year and what happened. I think for sure on the technical side, the championship was in a way steered with the double diffuser situation at the beginning.

That, for us, we had to work on the car without that kind of structure and it was difficult to catch up. We knew it, and this is the reason why - considering what we saw when we did the first step of development, we took the very difficult decision to say in the middle of July, look let's stop work on this car and work for next season.

It was a very painful decision because we know in this contest, with a lot of emotion, you have to suffer and you have to think that you have done a rational decision. It is painful to pay this year, but let's hope it will be good for next year.

If you look at the end of the championship, unfortunately we are fourth - one point behind McLaren who took the decision, which has to be totally respected, to develop the car up until the end. We have, since the accident of Felipe [Massa], only one car scoring points. I think that if you look at the glass, you have to take it as being half full rather than being half empty. I think that is all the things we have to consider, but for sure there are a lot of important lessons to be learned this year for next season.

Q. Do you believe without Felipe's accident in Hungary you would have been a comfortable third?

SD: Comfortable is maybe a bit wide. But for sure, with Felipe, considering what he scored in the first part of the season with the car, I think it would have been much more possible.

Q. What are the factors that make you confident next season will see you back at the front?

SD: Well, the confidence comes from the fact that we don't see any loophole in the regulation that can be considered, I would say, legal. Now things are legal full stop. No discussions and we can look ahead always.

We also did the choice that Ross [Brawn] did with Honda two years ago, to concentrate all the efforts into the new project. I think we did something different to McLaren was because our car was structured so as to not to develop the double diffuser. It was blocked, and that is why we said we don't have to do work here, because it will not carry on next year. That is why, looking at the numbers we have in the wind tunnel, I am positive now. With my feet on the ground - but for sure positive.

Q. Have you planned a special send-off for KERS, as promised earlier this year?

SD: I am joking - but I think we need to do something special for the car! I think that, for sure, there is still a possibility for KERS to come back in 2011 if we are able to find the solution. But retrospectively, I think we suffered a lot with KERS in the beginning but thanks to KERS, we were able to fight in the second part of the season - covering a lot of the problems that were connected to the lack of downforce of our car. So, as always, we need to be rational on that.

Q. Do you feel next year that the more established teams like McLaren, Renault and yourselves will be back at the front, or do you think Red Bull Racing and Brawn can stay up there too?

SD: I respect them a lot. Brawn had such a huge advantage at the beginning, having swapped development early to the car. With regard to Red Bull, they had a great package, a really great package, and for sure they will be there too.

Q. What are your feelings on Abu Dhabi, both as a venue and as a race track?

SD: I think that it is for sure a great place. It is incredible what they did, and in terms of facilities it is unbelievable. For sure, the track is divided in two - the first part to the first hairpin and the braking into Turn 8, is a good place for when you can overtake. Then of course, it is just cruising one behind the other.

So two main issues for the future are to consider that overtaking is the most important thing. Next year we will have no refuelling, new tyres, brakes that have to bear the entire race. I think we may see some interesting situations that may help overtaking, but for sure overtaking is the most critical thing that we need to solve for the future. I can feel that today, for a television viewer, it would have been not so interesting as a grand prix.

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