Ferrari crisis is very real as the F2012 flops dramatically in qualifying

17 March, 2012

Ferrari pit gantru might as well have closed down after Q2 because both drivers failed to progress

Ferrari pit gantry might as well have closed down after Q2 because both drivers failed to progress

Mar.17 (Reuters) A posting on the Ferrari Twitter feed at the end of qualifying on Saturday for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix said it all: “12th and 16th: not really a good start of the season…”

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari after spinning out of in qualifying Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday 17 March 2012.

Early shower for Fernando Alonso after spinning out in qualifying

There had been strong hints in pre-season testing that all was not well at that some call F1′s most successful team, but few would have predicted that neither Fernando Alonso nor Felipe Massa would be on the track when the final 10 places on the grid were being decided.

Alonso finished 12th after spinning into the gravel in the second qualifying session, while Massa will start on the eighth row on Sunday after being knocked out in the second round and qualifying 16th.

“We can only be disappointed after this qualifying session,” said team boss Stefano Domenicali.

“It hurts to have neither driver on track for the final part of the session, even if we know that Fernando had every chance of getting at least this far if he had not got caught up in one of those incidents that are part of the game.

“I understand that at the moment our fans are disappointed but I would urge them to be cautious before making any definitive judgement,” he said. “We need to remain calm and concentrated.”

The F2012 spent too much time in the Melbourne gravel here with Felipe Massa at the wheel

The F2012 spent too much time in the Melbourne gravel here with Felipe Massa at the wheel

Twice world champion Alonso, who had set the fifth fastest time of the second session when he spun off, was unhappy that the marshals had not pushed him out of the gravel.

The Spaniard nevertheless conceded that he would not have been able to compete for a spot in the front few rows of the grid even if he had got through to the final shootout.

“Today, we lacked performance, especially because we did not have enough aerodynamic downforce and we are still lacking in top speed,” he said.

“Tomorrow we will be racing defensively and will try and do what we can… There’s no point getting angry as it does not serve any purpose.”

Massa, already on notice that he is driving for his place in the team this season after failing to get on the podium last year, said the car felt worse than in winter testing.

“The balance of the car was never what I wanted and I never managed to get a clean lap,” he said.

“I was always lacking grip…and I suffered with oversteer on entry and understeer on exit.

“Clearly we are behind, maybe more than we had expected and there are other teams that have improved a lot compared to last year,” he added.

Subbed by AJN.


  • Butterfly

    You couldn’t create this big a flop if you tried.

    It’s obvious Ferrari aren’t capable of fixing themselves, so here’s hoping Fiat – Ferrari’s main shareholder – steps in to do what’s necessary.

  • fawxx

    its damage limitation for the rest of the flyaway races. but i think its going to be horrible in malaysia and china.

    i still dont understand why dont they develop the car from 2011 silverstone. lets hope for a b spec very very soon.

  • Butterfly

    @fawxx:

    Last year’s cars had what was called Exhaust-Blown Diffusers (EBD), which used the exhaust pipes to blow very hot (800C), high-speed (400 kph) air right next to the wheels in an effort to “seal” the diffuser, hence improve its performance – *lots* of rear downforce.

    The FIA didn’t like the fact that people were doing that all the time, under braking, at high speed, low speed, in Q3, at starts, etc.

    Vettel’s car had a special Q3/start mode whereby large amounts of fuel were burned to give max downforce in crucial moments at the expense of stressing the engine. That car was a bloody robot.

    At Silverstone, a restriction was applied where the amount of exhaust gas passing through the pipes had to depend on the throttle pedal position, not some software’s parameters. This meant far less grip in low-speed corners (less throttle), of which there aren’t any at Silverstone.

    Anyway, the F150 had EBD, but not that great front grip, so balance was not great. Plus, I think the software was not as advanced as the Red Bull one.

    Since this year you can’t place the pipes near the diffuser, the F150 would have *far* less rear grip, it wouldn’t be the car that won Silverstone.

    Hope this clears it out.

  • fawxx

    ahhh. i see. so its time to do a F2013? ferrari is really screwed.

  • quattro_T

    I think the last thing Ferrari needs now is to panic and start taking operational and strategical orders from outsiders (Fiat). They know, as they have been saying, what is wrong with the car. Give them the peace of mind and let them work (calmly but still aggressivly) to fix it. They have done it before and can do it again. Peace.

  • Butterfly

    @quattro_T:

    Knowing what’s wrong with the car means nothing if you can’t find a clever way of fixing it.

    They knew the problems of the F150 and came up with the F2012 – nuff said.

  • fawxx

    but i dont think its a quick fix to aero problems.

  • quattro_T

    Now, since I will probably not be able to have the excitement of watching Fernando taking the checkered flag as winner tomorrow, I will instead watch with big interest how the current double WC Vettel will be driving/achieving. He does not anymore have a car producing huge amounts of aerodynamical downforce even when not in motion – lets see what he can do with a car of similar speed as the rest. My bet? Vettel will end 4-5th, exactly were he belongs talentwise.

  • fawxx

    i think the inter-mclaren battle and how kimi will fly through the field will be the highlight for tmr.

  • fawxx

    and i hope the ferraris wont take out any cars when they are being lapped.

  • Butterfly

    I only want to see Fernando’s starts :-)

  • fawxx

    then hes gonna get lapped.

    its going to hurt tmr. and even next few weeks.

  • Butterfly

    Still, if the F2012 is dangerous & slow, wouldn’t it be better to bring the non-EBD F150, put the wings from the F2012, put the pipes in the correct position, and race it?

    After all, the current Pirelli tires are softer than last year’s.

    At the very least, it’s just as slow but far more predictable, since it’s a known quantity.

    How about it, lads?

  • fawxx

    that will be a good temporary solution for now. but imo they should quickly copy a mclaren/ lotus design asap then develop from there.

  • Butterfly

    @fawxx:

    So, you’re saying they should create a whole new car.

  • fawxx

    kind of. its unlikely that they will solve the fundamental aero problems on this F2012. so might as well copy a proven design that is already working?

  • Psych4191

    There’s not much else they can do at this point, Butterfly. The F2012 is just that. An F in 2012. They failed miserably. There’s no quick fix for dropping that far off the pace, and getting pummeled by Ferrari customers.

  • Butterfly

    I guess an F is all it deserves at the moment…

  • Butterfly

    What actually bothers me the most is the fact that the Ferrari is never strong mechanically.

    It never has good mechanical traction, it never properly manages its tires, it never hits that sweet spot mechanically.

    For a company that prides itself on having a “mechanical culture” they sure are hopeless in designing a proper suspension.

  • fawxx

    i’ve observed that for quite a few years.

    the team has too little down force. too little grip. and too much drag.

  • lol.

    I was horrified when i saw their performance in Q1.

    That said, Ferrari still have 19 races to improve. Their improvement was vast in the latter half of 2010 and they very nearly took the title from the last 8 races.

    Although, that said, I haven’t got much confidence.

    HRT will be a race winner before these guys at this rate…

    It seems as though Massa was doing a significantly worse job than Fernando, though. Sure, Fernando spun out, but Felipe just seemed to be suffering from some severe apex allergies for the duration of the day.

    I guess the silver lining is that the only way from here is up. I agree though, china and malaysia will be tough. I expect Mercedes will be the team to beat on those tracks, especially with so much emphasis on the high speed corners and lengthy straights.

  • fawxx

    the only difference between massa’s ferrari and marussia now is reliability. :(

  • Butterfly

    Hopefully, the Ferrari is more reliable than the Marussia, not the other way around.

  • fools

    Honestly Alonso did quite well. Until he hit the green line and spun out. The Ferrari appeared to be fast. Unfortunately he spun out at the worst time to wear he got bumped out of q2. However, where he spun out was exact same place, Schumi, Vettel, Hamilton did. Alonso, just didnt get the car back on track so he failed there.

  • Checkitout

    Hey guys, Listen, so what Fernando screwed up, he’s a double world champion, shit does happen. I mean like fools said, schumi, hamilton vettel all spun out at the same area. Ferrari don’t want us fans getting all pissed off and stuff, the race is yet to come, button last year took the car from 13th to 3rd and yes he’s good, but Alonso is a lot better, especially under pressure. Let’s just wait for another 8 hours and see what fernando’s ferrari has, yet honestly I have no idea what massa is still doing in F1, he keeps making ferrari look like shit, he better do something tomorrow (doubt it though). I’ve had faith in Ferrari for ages and as much that happens, I honestly can’t blame the driver, So yeah like i said, lets just wait until tomorrow and then lets judge? Whereas yet again its still their first race. Must say i’m quite glad schumi has finally got his things together and got us all to watch that annoying german (vettel) fall back and get out qualified by his team mate ;). I heard Mclarens might get disqualified due to their front nose or something they did was illeagal, anyone know?

  • visz963

    “Tomorrow we will be racing defensively and will try and do what we can… There’s no point getting angry as it does not serve any purpose.”

    Bullshit.
    1) you cant drive defensively from 12th.
    2) Alonso did get angry and tossed the steward. Not as if he could ever behave, but now he made a clown from himself.

    He could not even realize how far he is from the front. One day before qualifying he was dreaming about the championship.

    This guy is the biggest fail in the current lineup, the main component of Ferrari’s utter fiasco. I hope he will be removed soon from this sport.

  • GPFanatic

    All I want to know is the reaction of Monty if some teams would identify them as moving chicanes…

    He always emphasizes before that the bottom 3 teams are moving chicanes. Now the world has turned upside down.

    The only team that did not improve are Ferrari and HRT. See the connection…

  • Obvious

    @visz

    You are such an idiot.. I can’t remember a single post from you which is not singularly dedicated to hating on Fernando Alonso.

    Don’t you have anything constructive to discuss.. EVER?

    Captain Hater, Douche Regiment, 1st Division

    Lame

  • fawxx

    ok. now in the race. ferrari dont seems so bad. its just massa who is bad. the f2012 is not that bad in the race after all.

  • Obvious

    What an amazing race….!! Awesome…

    Hamilton as usual, Garlged ball sack.

    What a race by the Sauber Team!!

    Alonso, what a G.

    KIMI, my man.. 3 spots, last lap. Pimp.

    And cannot deny Seb, as usual professional.

    Button, piss off haters!

  • Butterfly

    Just watched the race. A few notes:

    1. What on Earth is wrong with HAM? Can’t use the tires or inadequate race setup?

    2. Awesome drive by ALO. It’s clear he picked up where he left off last year.

    3. Still can’t understand why MAL lost control on the kerb.

  • Butterfly

    Visz is still mad about what ALO did to his mother :-)

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