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Ferrari president warns of complacency

Alonso leads the highly contested championship, so it will be a hard fight from now on to stay at the top, given the presence of Vettel, Hamilton and Co.
Friday, June 29, 2012

LONDON, June 29, 2012 (AFP) - Not content with seeing Fernando Alonso become the first driver this year to win twice, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo was this week winding up the pressure pump ahead of next weekend's British Grand Prix.

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The Ferrari chief called a staff meeting for the entire team at their base at Maranello in Italy and made clear that despite moving into a good position, he feared both the potency of the challenge from rivals Red Bull - and complacency in the ranks.

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Di Montezemolo said he wanted everyone involved to be "worried" and to redouble their efforts in the most competitive Formula One season in history, Alonso's win last weekend making him the first two-times winner in the eighth race of the year.

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All of the previous seven races were won by different drivers and that, in turn, has produced one of the tightest title races of all time with 26 points separating the top four drivers behind leader Alonso on 111.

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Mark Webber of Red Bull lies second on 91 ahead of Lewis Hamilton of McLaren on 88 and defending double world champion Sebastian Vettel on 85.

With 25 points for a win, all of this can change in one race as Alonso's fortuitous triumph in Valencia last weekend's European Grand Prix proved.

Alonso, seeking to become the sport's youngest triple champion before Vettel beats him to it, won from 11th on the grid, but only after a dominant Vettel had retired with an alternator problem, chasing Romain Grosjean of Lotus was also forced out and Hamilton lost all of his points following a collision with Pastor Maldonado of Williams.

"I am worried and all of us should be," said Montezemolo.

"Yes, I am worried, because I expect three very tough races at Silverstone, Hockenheim and Budapest and because we have seen that Red Bull is very strong, having had four-tenths in hand over everyone in qualifying and in the race it was flying away, at least until the safety car.

"If we want to achieve our goals then we must make a step forward.

"Now we must ensure we do everything as well as possible because winning depends solely and exclusively on us.

"It would be a big mistake to think the win in Valencia means we have done enough: today we have a competitive car, but to win, we must do even more."

In this rare mid-season intervention by the president, he clearly intended to give the team a boost for their progress after a poor period of winter testing and to remind them that a long second half of the year lies ahead.

"I don't want outsiders to think that one win is enough for us to put on a fireworks display. I know how much you are working, how many sacrifices have been made, but I am the first to know that that all of us, without exception, must still give something more."

Di Montezemolo paid tribute to team chief Stefano Domenicali's handling of the criticism Ferrari faced during its difficult start to 2012 and the manner in which he has directed the team's recovery.

He said: "Stefano Domenicali has never shirked his responsibilities, even acting as a lightning conductor for all the criticism, protecting his people, while at the same time knowing how to demand the maximum effort, how to build a team and look to the future in a positive way and with the right sense of realism."

With that praise ringing in his ears, and the boost for the team and reminder of the work ahead, Ferrari are sure to remain a competitive force as the 20-race calendar unfolds through the European summer

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