IS HE MISSED? Italian media believes that Ferrari is missing Fernando Alonso (pictured) as they are still trying to rebuild the team. Image: AFP / Mark Thompson
Austin, Texas - Amid a difficult closing phase of the 2016 season, Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel are continuing to get a battering in the Italian media.
Pino Allievi, arguably the most respected Italian journalist in the paddock, was looking not at the Maranello team's present but back to the past in assessing the US grand prix.
Alonso is missed
La Gazzetta dello Sport quoted Allievi as saying: "We again saw the best from Fernando, who is limited by his McLaren. There are many at Maranello who still lament his departure."
As for Alonso's successor, German Vettel, Gazzetta had this to say: "The performance was not bad, but he is still very far from the top, with a car that is no longer guaranteed."
READ: Alonso not basing his F1 future on having 'the best car'
So while Vettel struggles, it is his team mate Kimi Raikkonen who is getting the praise.
The sports daily added: "Raikkonen had Vettel behind him all the time until he was forced to retire. They had different strategies, but it was yet another convincing race" for the Finn.
Corriere dello Sport, meanwhile, called Austin a "Red disaster", saying "The light at the end of the tunnel seems far away".
'We are strong'
Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene, however, is putting a brave face on it, insisting that while the current situation is "tough, we are strong".
Arrivabene said: "What is happening, especially with things outside of our control, puts a strain on the b---s of anyone. I should say shoulders: you cannot say bad words," Corriere della Sera quoted Arrivabene as clarifying.
READ: A 'Butler' drinks from a shoe, Alonso gets racy... 5 top moments from the US GP
Also amid the 'disaster', Vettel keeps smiling.
Vettel told Sport Bild: "Yes, why not. A bad mood doesn't make you better. I cannot be happy with the speed of the (Austin) weekend, but the positive is that we are learning so much that could be useful for next season.
"You must not forget that, first of all, we have a long term project. And we are not fighting against Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse, but very prepared opponents.
"Even if it's a steep and bumpy road, I'm sure the day will come when we will be on top."