Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali says his team are not disheartened by the problems which have cost them points in the opening four rounds.
Domenicali said the team will “work with renewed attention” to address the reliability problem which affected Fernando Alonso’s race in Bahrain, when a stuck DRS flap forced him to make two pit stops.
“We must also continue to develop the car and increase our understanding of the tires, which is more crucial than ever this year,” Domenicali added.
“In these first four races of the season, we have not managed, for various reasons, to bring home the points that were within our grasp.”
“That’s why the gap to the top in both classifications seems quite large, but we must not be discouraged by this, quite the contrary, because we have seen so often, both in our favor and against, how things can change in a hurry. We believe in our ability to be in the fight for the titles right to the end and this time, we have been in that fight since the start, which has not been the case for a while.”
Four races into the season Ferrari are third in the constructors’ championship, 32 points behind leaders Red Bull. Alonso is 30 points behind Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ championship.
Domenicali said to reduce the gaps Ferrari will “have to be perfect in every area”.
Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”
The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.
“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”
Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.