Ferrari needs to have a car quick enough to win the United States Grand Prix next weekend if it has any chance of keeping Fernando Alonso's championship hopes realistically alive, says team president Luca di Montezemolo.
Alonso reduced Red Bull rival Sebastian Vettel's points lead to 10 by finishing second in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, but the ultimate points gain was disappointing considering Vettel had started last after being thrown out of qualifying.
Di Montezemolo praised Alonso for salvaging second place on a weekend where he had only been seventh fastest in qualifying.
After a Monday meeting with team boss Stefano Domenicali and Ferrari's leading engineers, the president declared his team had to stop being an underdog and give Alonso a car capable of going head to head with Vettel.
"Yesterday Fernando produced his umpteenth great race of the season, in which he again gave 120 per cent and he managed to fight for victory right to the end," said di Montezemolo.
"But it's clear that we have to do more for the coming races. That is what I requested today of Domenicali and his team: we have 10 crucial days ahead, during which we must do everything to arrive in Texas with a car that can fight for the victory.
"Words count for nothing. This must be our target."
He added that he was concerned that the developments Ferrari had brought to Abu Dhabi did not deliver enough on track.
"The weekend was hard to read," said di Montezemolo. "That began with Saturday evening when I watched a situation that was not entirely clear.
"As far as Ferrari is concerned I want to understand why the new parts that we brought to the track only partially improved the performance of the F2012, which wasn't enough to allow Alonso to fight for the very front positions on the grid - despite the contrasting expectations of our engineers."
Di Montezemolo insisted that he still had faith that Ferrari would prevail in the end.
"Nonetheless I remain confident because everything is possible," he said.
"It depends on us. Yet again in these last 15 years we are involved in the title battle right up to the end and we have seen how much more difficult situations in the championship standings have been overturned.
"It's up to us not to leave any stone unturned. I am certain that the will to win drives the men and women who work for Ferrari and that everyone will work with absolute determination, giving the same 120 per cent that Fernando keeps on giving."
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- Fernando Alonso
- Luca di Montezemolo
- Sebastian Vettel