Ferrari: We have to improve our qualifying

16 October, 2011

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 150 Italia.

Fernando Alonso

Oct.16 (Ferrari) Eighteen points for Scuderia Ferrari in the Korean Grand Prix, thanks to a fifth place finish for Fernando Alonso and a sixth for Felipe Massa. Both Ferrari men made two pit stops, running identical strategies in terms of their use of the Pirelli tyres: Supersoft for the first stint, Soft in the second and third. After the sixteenth round of the Championship, the team and driver positions remain unchanged in their respective classifications: Fernando is still third in the Drivers’ with Felipe sixth, while the Scuderia occupies the lowest rung of the podium in the Constructors’ table.

Stefano Domenicali: “Having congratulated Sebastian Vettel last weekend in Suzuka, now it is right and proper that I do the same to Red Bull for taking the Constructors’ title: they have the best car in the pack and this result is the logical consequence of that. Logic also dictates our result in this race: we have the third best car in terms of its potential and we finished the race in fifth and sixth places. Our race pace is definitely better than our outright performance in qualifying and that means we end up almost always fighting for a place on the podium, but if one does not start from the two front rows it becomes difficult to target the top places. Now we must try and bring our season to a close in the best possible way, because we firmly believe we should still be able to take at least one more race win. It will be extremely difficult, given how our rivals are doing, but we will definitely be trying.”

Fernando Alonso: “It was a very close fought race, as indeed has been the case for much of this segment of the season. As usual this year, Red Bull and McLaren are clearly stronger in qualifying, but then on Sunday we are all much closer. All in all, it was an interesting race, with plenty of action. At the start, I was struggling a bit to match the pace of the leaders, because, after just a few laps, the Supersofts were already producing a lot of understeer. On top of that, being in traffic all the time compromised still further the tyre performance, because there was less aerodynamic downforce. When we switched to the Softs, the situation improved significantly and, with a clear track, I was able to push as hard as I could, but by then it was difficult to reach the small group that was fighting for the podium: hence what I said on the radio, having given my all for twenty laps, but there was no way I could do more with just two laps to go. We must try and improve our Saturday performance, but we will not give up trying to secure a win in the remaining races of this season. Furthermore, we will continue to work towards next year, trying new things and maybe, taking a few risks with our strategy.”

Felipe Massa: “I’m not pleased because small problems prevented me from getting a better result. I got a good start and, on the opening lap, I managed to make up some places, then at the first pit stop, I rejoined the track behind Rosberg and Button. This was mainly because the team had to keep me on my spot because Michael was coming and also because the other two had pitted before me. In the first part of the race, on the Supersofts, I was struggling a bit to match the pace of the guys in front, but then, once on the Softs, we managed to go very quickly. Then, after the second stop, I found myself behind a Toro Rosso and a Force India who were fighting amongst themselves and I lost valuable time which allowed Fernando to get ahead of me. Today, our performance level was better than it had been in qualifying, which has been a constant factor this year. Now we are off to the Indian Grand Prix, a new venue for Formula 1. I don’t know the country and I am very curious to see what it’s like, because I think it has a lot in common with Brazil, given that both are going through a period of strong growth.”

Pat Fry: “This Sunday is a mirror image of Saturday, with an identical result. We certainly can’t be surprised by it: we are well aware that if we qualify on the third row, it becomes difficult to fight for the very top places, unless something happens to those who start ahead of you and everything goes perfectly. Today, these two situations did not arise because we found ourselves in traffic at the first run of pit stops. Everyone was trying to run the tyres right to the limit in the first stint to avoid ending up behind slower cars, but if we had brought our drivers in one lap early, maybe it would have been a different scenario, instead of finding ourselves behind Rosberg in the Mercedes, which is always one of the hardest cars to pass. On top of that, traffic in the pit lane itself cost Felipe two very important seconds. In the second stint, Fernando was very quick and so we left him out on track for a few laps longer, which meant he got ahead of Felipe. With a clear track ahead of him, the Spaniard showed what the car could do, but by then it was pretty much too late to attack the cars ahead. We tried a new front wing here and we made the most of that to gather as much data as possible to use on the 2012 car and the very earliest indications are positive. However, we now need to study all the information very attentively. We have to improve our qualifying performance, we are well aware of that, if we want to be at the level of the best.”


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