Montezemolo issues rallying cry

Autosport

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo says he wants to see the Italian squad "hold its nerve" in the final part of the championship.

Fernando Alonso's chances suffered a blow in the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday after he retired from the race on the opening lap following contact with the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen.

It was the second retirement in four races for the Spaniard, who is now just four points ahead of race winner Sebastian Vettel.

Despite Alonso having lost most of his advantage, Montezemolo insists the championship is still in Ferrari's hands.

"It's at times like these that I want to see the Ferrari I know. A team that is focused and that holds its nerve," said Montezemolo on Ferrari's website.

"I will speak to Fernando by phone soon to give him even more motivation with which to tackle these last five races, with the bit between his teeth, as indeed I expect all the team to do.

"I expect a huge effort from our engineers who have already shown they are capable of that.

"We are perfectly aware that this championship is still in our hands."

Alonso has been in the lead of the championship since the European Grand Prix, and Montezemolo reckons it is only because of other drivers that the Spaniard does not have a bigger lead now.

The two-time champion was forced to retire from the Belgian Grand Prix after Lotus's Romain Grosjean crashed into him at the start.

"We know we can count on the strongest driver around at the moment and it's only mistakes from others at Spa and again at Suzuka, that have prevented him from having a more comfortable lead over his rivals," he said.

"Let's not forget that, but for those two collisions, today Fernando would have had at least 30 points more and that's a conservative estimate.

"In sport, as in life, the wheel turns and we must not forget that: recently, it has not done so in a positive way for us, but it does not take much for it to change direction."

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