Fifth win of the season for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, all courtesy of Fernando Alonso. Thanks to victory in this first running of the Korean Grand Prix, the Prancing Horse has brought its total of wins to 215 from 819 Grands Prix starts. For Fernando, this is the 26th win from 157 races.
Luca di Montezemolo: “What I am most pleased about is that we have shown that with determination, hard work, level headedness and the will to win, we can get out of the most difficult situations. We are a team that never gives up and we showed that yet again today,” said the Ferrari President. “I want to congratulate the entire team, who worked in impeccable fashion, Fernando who was exceptional and Felipe who brought home a very important third place: it was great to see him on the podium with his team-mate and Chris Dyer. “Now however, we must keep our feet on the ground,” continued Montezemolo. “The championship is still very open and we know we are up against very strong opponents. We will have to tackle the final two races with even higher levels of concentration, paying attention to every little detail.”
Stefano Domenicali: “First of all, let’s just keep calm about this! This has been a fantastic day, in which we have turned around the situation in the Drivers’ championship and also, albeit partially, put us back in a stronger position in the Constructors’ classification. However, we are well aware the hardest part begins now. There are two races to go: we must tackle them with the same ferocious determination which has seen us fight back in a way many thought impossible. I have said it so often in the past, but I want to repeat it even today: what counts the most in this final part of the season is for the team and the drivers to keep a cool head, along with reliability and concentration. This weekend we proved capable of doing that even in very unusual conditions like those we experienced today. We are up against very strong opposition, especially in the shape of a team that has managed to take 14 poles from 17 races: to be in this position with just two races to go is already significant. First of all I want to thank our drivers: they were great, not making the slightest mistake, managing a very stressful race in very difficult conditions. The team worked very well and the little problem at Fernando’s pit stop was soon recovered on track. As usual, our thanks extend to our commercial and technical partners, starting with Philip Morris, the Santander Bank and Shell, the latter bringing us a new fuel here which also helped. Finally, I want to say it is an honour for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro to be the first name to go on the winner’s trophy for the Korean Grand Prix, in a country that is expanding rapidly and a market that is also growing in importance in terms of our road cars.
Fernando Alonso:“It is a great feeling winning this way, as it was a very difficult victory, given the track conditions. Especially at the start, the situation on track and in terms of visibility was really precarious. That was the most worrying time, because I knew it would be an achievement just to stay on the track. We had never driven here in the wet and so there was no reference point. Webber’s retirement slightly changed our approach because, all in all, it would have been sufficient to finish on the podium without taking too many risks. In the final stages, I witnessed both Red Bull problems from very close up: in these situations you try and stay super-concentrated, because you are coming from a high speed corner and there is no time to think. Clearly, this was a great help for our championship chances, but luck proves that Formula 1 is not just about the maths! If you then think about what happened at races such as Valencia and Silverstone, you can really say that what goes around comes around. Now there are still fifty points up for grabs: Red Bull are still favourite, but we will continue to do our utmost and try to always get onto the podium. The car has improved so much in the second half of the year thanks to continuous updates: maybe we have come away with more than we expected, but we know the situation can change from one weekend to the next. All the same, these results are fully deserved by the team and my dream is to see everyone in it happy…”
Felipe Massa: “A great result at the end of a very difficult race. I am very pleased, for myself and for the team. Fernando did a great job. After two poor weekends, I am happy to have stepped up onto the podium once again. I also want to thank the race director who did an excellent job of managing the situation, making the right decisions as to when to start the race and when to bring in the Safety Car at the right moment. By the end, it was almost dark and the intermediate tyres were deteriorating, especially the rears: there is a light on the steering wheel which is very bright and in these conditions it was quite distracting. We were a bit lucky, but we also did a good job, proving to be competitive even on this track. How will things go in Interlagos and Abu Dhabi? It’s hard to say, as the two tracks are very different one to the other. It will be important to have a car capable of fighting for a podium place and then try not to make any mistakes.”
Chris Dyer: “A really fantastic day, which shows how true it is to say that it’s not over until it’s over! Never give up is something we say all the time and we demonstrated it again here. Our drivers did an exceptional job in extremely difficult conditions, with virtually no grip or visibility in the first part of the race. When the race started, after the Safety Car came in, we began to run at a good pace, but then the race was neutralised again. We were a smidgen unlucky with Fernando, who just as in Valencia was unable to pit right away and had to complete another lap before coming in. At the pit stop, we had a problem with the two wheel nuts, which lost him a place to Hamilton, but then, partly due to the pressure Fernando was putting on him at the restart, we won it back. Everything went smoothly in this part for Felipe, who maintained his position. After that, both drivers managed the tyres in an excellent way, especially the Spaniard who was always capable of putting Vettel under pressure, until he retired. The final stages were very tense, because we did not know if the tyres would go all the way to the end and another stop would have compromised the result. It is hard to realise that after everything that has happened this season, Fernando is now leading the championship! We have two races ahead of us, against very strong opponents, but we have seen how our car has improved race after race. We must continue working in this way!”