Ferrari chief ‘concerned’ by rivals’ progress
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has warned his team not to get carried away by this season’s remarkable turnaround in form.
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso will take a 34-point lead over Red Bull’s Mark Webber into Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix despite having almost written off the Scuderia’s title chances in preseason.
After early misgivings over the 2012 car, the Spaniard now has three successes from 10 starts — two of them in the last three grands prix. Webber, with two victories, is the only other driver to have topped the podium more than once.
Alonso’s teammate Felipe Massa is back in 14th overall with only 23 points, meaning second-placed Ferrari trail Red Bull by 53 points in the manufacturers’ standings after last Sunday’s race in Germany.
“I am concerned, more so than the day after Valencia (when Alonso won his second race of 2012),” Montezemolo said on the Ferarri website ahead of the final race before Formula One’s month-long break.
Latest Formula One standings
“I see very strong opponents: McLaren has made great progress, Red Bull is very strong, Sauber had a race pace that was a match for ours and Lotus is very strong at times.
“Therefore, we have to be very careful. After we had a difficult start to the season, maybe our rivals did not expect to see Ferrari capable of fighting back this strongly, but now they will redouble their efforts to beat us. Therefore, we must stay very focused and continue our efforts to improve continuously.”
Alonso was third at the Hungaroring last year as Jenson Button gave McLaren a fifth victory in seven years at the circuit, which is one of the slowest on the F1 calendar.
“It’s going to be tight again. It’s a very short circuit, and as we saw this year, in two- or three-tenths there are eight, nine cars,” Alonso said on the F1 website.