Only two points to its name for Scuderia Ferrari come the end of the Chinese Grand Prix, brought home by Fernando Alonso, who finished the race in ninth place, while Felipe Massa was classified thirteenth. It is without a doubt a disappointing result, which came at the end of a race where the two drivers were practically always in traffic.
After the third Grand Prix of the season, Fernando finds himself third in the Drivers’ classification, eight points off the leader, while Felipe is still on a blank score sheet. The Scuderia remains third in the Constructors’ championship.
Stefano Domenicali, Team principal:
“There’s no point denying we are disappointed. We had the potential to get a better result than this, but we did not manage it. The lack of top speed, one of the weak points of this F2012, prevented Fernando especially of making the most of a strategy, which at one point, had put him in a situation where he could fight for a place in the top five. Felipe went for a two stopper, counting on others having higher tyre degradation, but this only turned out to be the case for a few cars. It was quite an unusual race, as indeed was qualifying, which still delivered some surprises compared to what was being predicted and I think it is worth analysing the way it went in depth to try and understand how best to tackle the next round. In Bahrain we will again have to be racing on the defensive but that doesn’t mean we will go there in a resigned state of mind. We have seen three different winners in three races, with performance levels of some cars changing very significantly from race to race. At this stage, we must do the maximum on track and exploit every opportunity, but the most important work is that done in Maranello, especially on the aerodynamic development. We need to accelerate the introduction of updates and change gear. This is very long and unpredictable championship, where things can change very quickly. Finally, I’d like to congratulate Nico Rosberg on his first win in Formula 1 and Mercedes for a return to victory after a gap of 57 years.”
“We knew this would be a difficult race and that’s how it turned out. We were always in traffic, without an opportunity to exploit the car’s potential and when you are behind other cars, the tyres get worn much more easily. Choosing to do three stops clearly meant we would be forced to do some overtaking, but with the top speed we had, it turned out to be almost impossible on the main straight, so I had to invent some overtaking moves at other points on the track, where I could make better use of the car. Obviously, this does not leave me very optimistic for Bahrain, on a track where traction and speed are vital, exactly the areas where we are weakest. Once again next week it will be mainly a case of damage limitation. I don’t want to think of the classification because the priority is to improve the performance of the F2012. This does not mean however, that I have lost hope, quite the contrary. Last year, we believed all the way to Spa and there’s no reason not to at the moment, when we are third in the classification, just eight points off the leader. Sure, we definitely need to make a good step forward to make the car quicker. In Spain we will have major updates but so will the others and so it’s not that I’m expecting a miracle of going one second quicker than the others.”
“I tried to do my best in a very close fought race. Sure, thirteenth place is not something I can be happy about, but I think that as far as my race was concerned, this was a step forward compared to the first two races of the season. At least I managed to run a normal race and I know I did everything that I could. The decision to make two stops was the right one, given my position, but maybe, in the light of how the race went, it would have been better to stop at different times: however, that’s easy to say now, after the chequered flag. Each and every time I found myself in traffic and paid for the lack of top speed, one of the major problems with our car at the moment. The Sakhir circuit, for the next round of the championship, does not look like being very favourable for us, given how things have gone so far. For me, it is a race where I have always done well, but I’m not under any illusions. As always, we will try and give it our best shot.”
Pat Fry, Technical director:
Definitely an interesting race for the spectators, but very frustrating for us. Traffic was the decisive factor in this race, which was easily predictable, given where our cars were on the grid. We split the strategies, also in light of the fact that with Felipe, we could choose which type of tyre he could start on. Seeing where we came out of the third pit stop with Fernando – alongside Hamilton, I think the choice was the right one, but we will analyse the way the race played out carefully to understand if we could have done anything differently. Clearly today, we paid a very heavy price for the lack of a good top speed on a track like this. The result does not represent the car’s true potential in race configuration but we have to accept it. We lack performance, we know it, but there is no point in beating ourselves up over it: rather we need to concentrate all our efforts on improving car performance. Next week in Bahrain we won’t have any particularly significant updates, so we cannot expect a miracle: we must try and squeeze the maximum out of what we have to work with. I want to finish on a positive note, complimenting the pit stop guys, who once again today did a great job, as the times can testify.”