Brave but punishing strategy for Ferrari

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Canada, Circuit Gilles Villeneuveca

Eleven points for Scuderia Ferrari in the Canadian Grand Prix, thanks to a fifth place for Fernando Alonso and a tenth for Felipe Massa. Fernando was almost always in the hunt for the win and tried to make just one pit stop, on lap 19. But he dropped several places in the closing stages because of high tyre degradation, salvaging fifth place by a whisker.

Felipe, who showed he had the pace to match the front runners, paid a very high price for a mistake on lap 6, when he spun at Turn 1, losing a lot of time. In the end, the Brazilian nevertheless managed to finish the race in the points. After this race, Fernando is second in the Drivers’ classification, two points down on the leader, while Felipe is fourteenth; the Scuderia finds itself fourth in the Constructors’ championship.

Stefano Domenicali: “There’s a certain feeling of disappointment this afternoon and there’s no point denying it. It’s the first weekend in which we have not got the most out of what we had, but it’s also down to the fact that the level of expectation was higher thanks to the progress we have made. Let’s not forget that yesterday we were fighting for pole and today, we were in the battle for the win right to the end: in Bahrain, a month and a half ago, not a year ago, we only got one driver into Q3 and we finished the race one minute off the winner. Today, we made two mistakes: we did not cover Vettel when the German stopped the second time and Felipe’s spin in the early stage of the race. All things considered, the first error cost us relatively little, while the second came at a higher price, because Felipe, who nevertheless had another good weekend after the one in Monaco, had the pace to stay with the lead group.

"Having made this preliminary analysis we need to look at the weekend in terms of the championship. Fernando is only two points off the leader and the F2012 is back to being competitive enough to fight with the best. However it was important to score points on a track that, going into the event, was definitely not one that suited us: knowing we can count on a driver like Fernando, capable of completing a year’s races all in the points is a factor that has its part to play when it comes to thinking about the title race. We must continue to push on the development to close the gap which still separates us from pole position: only when we have done this can we claim to have reached our first objective. Another theme we need to look into further is the tyre degradation, which is proving to be ever more the key to this season.”

Fernando Alonso: “Today we tried to win the race, but the gamble of only making a single stop did not pay off. When Hamilton came back into the pits for his second stop, we chose to try and play our hand: now it’s easy to say that we should have made that choice too, but it would have meant we had tried nothing and we could also have lost position to Vettel. The last laps were very long indeed: the tyres dropped off suddenly and I was too slow to defend myself from those coming up behind. My engineer was telling me to hold them off but there was no way I could do it. The real problem today was the tyre degradation, definitely not the strategy, which at the very most cost us one place, but let’s not forget that it was that very same strategy that allowed to us to get ahead of Vettel at the first stop. The car was competitive practically all race long: it wasn’t the quickest because here the McLaren, as was expected, was very quick, but definitely we have made a step forward in terms of performance.

"We need to work out how to improve the tyre degradation: it can be affected by very minor factors such as a few degrees more or less in temperature, although here maybe they had also come to the end of their life. It is not a tyre world championship, but every detail must be studied to aim for victory. For the first time this year, we have not just been trying to limit the damage, in that we were actually aiming for the win. It’s a positive sign and now we must confirm it at Valencia and Silverstone. We are definitely returning home with more confidence in our chances, because this was the most significant step forward we have made in terms of car development for a long time.”

Felipe Massa: “I am angry with myself for the mistake at Turn 1 and for that I apologise to the team and the fans. I clipped the kerb and the back end got away from me unexpectedly. It was frustrating, as it meant I lost touch with the quickest group: I could have comfortably finished in the top five, given how the car was going today. After the spin I had some vibration from the tyres, which meant I had to pit early. Then I tried to extend the next stint of the race as much as possible, even hoping not to stop again. Unfortunately, towards the end, I did have to make a second stop, because they were almost down to the canvas. Maybe bringing forward the final stop could have got me ahead of Kobayashi again, but it would not have changed much after that.

"I am disappointed, because we showed we were competitive with our main rivals: now we are there, fighting with them, which was not the case just a few races ago. Tenth place definitely does not reflect our potential. Now it is vital we continue to work in this direction: it was a weekend in which we were always fighting for the top places and we have improved in every area and that has to be a confidence boost for the rest of the season.”

Pat Fry: “To finish a race struggling with the tyres always hurts a bit, but for we engineers it’s best to evaluate the situation with a cool head and not with the emotive images from the television in mind. Today, Hamilton was quicker and the fact we were able to pass him was down to the strategy, by trying to do something different. Furthermore, given the behaviour of the tyres at that moment, from a certain point onwards, we decided on going for a single stop to try and at least make it to the podium. We did not manage it, but we tried right to the very end. Maybe we could have shadowed Vettel and come into the pits when he did: that was a mistake which cost us a position, but anyway Fernando would have finished outside the top three.

"A shame for Felipe, because he showed a good pace: a mistake early on meant he ended up in traffic and the last of the points places is definitely not the result that was within his grasp this afternoon. We leave Montreal convinced we have made a step forward in terms of outright performance, but aware that we did not pick up what was in our reach The F2012 has improved, but it is still not enough and we will have to work a lot on understanding the tyre degradation. We will head for Valencia with the aim of further improving performance and getting the most out of the potential available to us.”



Source: Scuderia Ferrari


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