Formula 1 - Alonso still positive on title chances

Ferrari says that Fernando Alonso is staying positive about his championship hopes following his retirement from the Malaysian Grand Prix.

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Ferrari's Fernando Alonso drives on the gravel after losing his front wing during the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang (Reuters)

Alonso crashed out at the start of lap two when his front wing fell off following an earlier brush with the rear of Sebastian Vettel's car.

Ferrari told Alonso to stay out on track at the end of lap one - rather than pit for a new wing – because it believed the wing was not badly damaged enough to fail.

Alonso's exit, allied to Sebastian Vettel's victory, has delivered a blow to his title hopes, but Domenicali sees no reason to be downbeat.

"He's mature," said Domenicali about Alonso's mood after the race. "Of course he's not happy to come away with zero points, but he's positive and looking forward because he knows we have something to play with.

"The championship is very long. It's important we stay cool and deliver our best.

"In terms of development, as everyone will do, we try to develop the car and this is the target for every race."

While it is clear that Red Bull has the fastest car at the moment, Domenicali has no doubts his outfit is in the mix near the front.

When asked where he felt the team was in F1's pecking order right now, he said: "I don't know where. But for sure, between the leaders.

"Our car will perform better at certain tracks. Red Bull looks the strongest at the moment, so we will see.

"Mercedes and Lotus look very competitive. But we will be there, no doubt."

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