Two drivers on the podium and 33 points – the biggest haul of the season – was not enough for Scuderia Ferrari to help Fernando Alonso win the Drivers’ title. The Spaniard finished the Brazilian Grand Prix in second place, to record his thirteenth podium finish this season. Alongside him in third place for the second time this season and for a fourth time in his home race was Felipe Massa.
At the end of the twenty races making up this the longest season in the history of Formula 1, only three points separated Fernando from the winner, while Felipe, who produced a brilliant drive today, finished seventh. The Scuderia is second in the Constructors’ classification on 400 points.
Luca di Montezemolo:
“I am proud of my team. We fought all the way to the bitter end, getting both our drivers onto the podium for the final race of the season. When you miss out on the title by the smallest of margins, naturally there is some regret. I want to congratulate Fernando on what he has done this year: his season has been simply fantastic. Felipe drove very well in the second half of the season and demonstrated once again that he is a real team player. I also want to thank Stefano Domenicali and all his colleagues for the work they have done, day after day, to produce a car that, in terms of reliability, was perfect and for what they achieved on track in terms of strategy and the work in the garage. Now we must immediately concentrate on next season, because, right from the start, we must have a car that is competitive at the highest level.”
Stefano Domenicali, Team principal:
“That’s sport and that’s how it goes. To have lost the Drivers’ title twice in the last three years by the tiniest of margins hurts, it hurts a lot, I can assure you of that. I am particularly disappointed for Fernando, who like never before, really deserved to win this time. He has been extraordinary, not just in the way he has driven, nor because he simply never gave up in the first very difficult part of the season, but mainly for the human qualities he demonstrated within the team. Where did we lose those three points? Hard to say, but I just want to point out that Fernando ended where he did, having effectively only taken part in 18 of the 20 races: the few hundred metres he covered in Spa and then Suzuka lays heavy like a rock on today’s outcome. Sure, we cannot ignore the fact we were unable to give him and Felipe a quicker car, especially at the start of the season: this also cost us dear and our main aim for 2013 should be precisely that of giving our drivers the equipment with which they can win immediately. We owe our drivers and we want to wipe out that debt as soon as possible. I also want to thank Felipe for not letting go after a very difficult opening part to the year: he worked very hard and if today we have finished second in the Constructors’ championship, we also owe it to him. We always stuck by him, even when the outside world was calling for us to sack him and we have given him confidence for 2013. I think his results in this final part of the season have been the right response to those who doubted him. At this moment, I also want to thank everyone who has worked day and night, at the track and at Maranello to try and help us realise our dream and I am proud of all of them. Finally, I want to congratulate Sebastian, who is a great adversary. I think I can say we are leaving Brazil our heads held not just high, but very high!”
Fernando Alonso, chassis 295, 2nd:
“I score this season a 10! If we had to repeat these twenty races I would change nothing done by the team or yours truly: no mistakes, no mechanical problems, zero problems at the pit stops, zero strategic mistakes. We definitely did not lose the title today, as that happened in Spa or Suzuka. We might not have finished the season with the most points, but we won many other things, like everyone’s respect and fans and colleagues agree on who was the best this year. I am proud of the job I did and that was also the case last year when I finished fourth and again this time when I fought right to the very end. Today is very different to Abu Dhabi: then, there was the frustration of an opportunity missed, whereas here we did our utmost race after race. I feel happy inside: I worked day after day with the team, which pays me at the end of every month and today, they can be proud of what they’ve done. Once again today we did an impeccable job, finishing on the podium after starting from the fourth row, producing yet another little Sunday miracle. The team kept me constantly updated about Vettel and, towards the end, I was hoping something might happen to him or Button which would allow us to reach our goal. It didn’t happen and we must accept the result delivered on the race track. What to ask from the team for 2013? That’s easy, a quicker car, but most of all I’d like to see the same effort and professionalism the team displayed when it reacted to our initial difficulties. Even if maybe we didn’t manage to reach the performance level of the best, everyone demonstrated total dedication. I repeat, I am happy and proud and now’s the time to drink a caipirinha!”
Felipe Massa, chassis 294, 3rd:
“It was very emotional for me to jump up on the podium at my home race. I cried like a baby, thinking back to how difficult this season has been for me, disastrous at first and then very competitive in the last part. Fernando should be proud of what he has done this year: he was able to win when the car was not perfect and fought right to the end, even if his car was not a match for those of his rivals. His championship has been truly spectacular! We too must also be proud of what we have done. Today’s race was very close fought and difficult and so many things happened. It was not easy to work out what was the right tyre as the conditions changed so quickly. At the start, when it began to rain, we had opted to stay out on track, but we did so for too long. Then, I found myself down in eleventh, but I began to go very quickly and overtake a lot of drivers. Who knows, maybe I could even have been in the hunt for the win today...The team kept me informed all the time about what the situation was on track and on what could be useful to do in the fight for the championship: I think I did the right thing, for my team and also for my fans.”
Pat Fry, Technical director:
“I said it in Austin a week ago: we would fight to achieve our objectives right down to the last lap and so we did. We came within a whisker of achieving our goal with Fernando, who along with Felipe managed to get to the podium after an eventful race affected by changing weather conditions. When track conditions change so much it’s very difficult to pinpoint the right choice at the right moment: we think we reacted in the best possible way, trying to make the most of what we had to work with. When it began to rain, we decided to split the choices, bringing in Fernando while leaving Felipe out on track, but then his lap times were getting too slow and we switched him to the Intermediates. At that time, the leaders were able to lap very quickly even on the dry tyres, which just wasn’t possible for us. After that, I think we picked the right moment to switch back to the dry tyres and then the wets. Right to the last we hoped something might happen to allow Fernando to take the Drivers’ title which he definitely deserved. We didn’t manage it and obviously we regret not having been able to give him the fastest car of the field. We will try again next year, trying to learn from the mistakes we made this year and to strengthen our good points even more, those being reliability, pit stops and strategy.”