Fernando Alonso remains convinced Ferrari can savour title-winning delight this season after admitting to starting the campaign in the depths of despair.
Fierce criticism followed the team’s unveiling of their car this year given its boxy, lego-like appearance, and when it took to the track, it appeared such harsh words were well founded.
But after the first five races of the season, Alonso remarkably finds himself going into this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix as joint leader of the championship, alongside Sebastian Vettel.
That prompted president Luca di Montezemolo to write an open letter to Ferrari’s workforce at the start of the week, insisting “the championship is in our hands”.
Praising Alonso’s “great ability” and the work done in Maranello to improve the car, Di Montezemolo added that “...winning the championship depends only and exclusively on ourselves: on our ability, creativity, determination and desire to show we are best”.
With Ferrari and Alonso firmly in the hunt for the title less than four months after no-one gave them a prayer, the Spaniard said: “Our president spoke about our chances, and as always tried to motivate everyone within Ferrari.
“We started in a position of despair, but we have points which have put us in a good position for fighting for the championship. Now, I completely agree with the president. It’s up to us.”
It means Alonso has another chance tomorrow of ending Ferrari’s winless drought in Monaco, stretching back to 2001. Should he do so, Alonso would become the first driver in F1 to win around the streets of Monaco with three different manufacturers, having previously triumphed with Renault and McLaren.
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