Ferrari have split their strategies during qualifying in preparation for tomorrow's Indian Grand Prix, admitting that it isn't yet sure what will be the best race strategy.
Fernando Alonso, 8th: “Before qualifying we looked at what might be the best strategy and it was very difficult to choose between two possibilities of equal worth. Using the Soft tyres in Q3, we could have aspired to a better starting position, while the Mediums would mean running a race with no traffic, because if the softer compound follows the pattern we have seen so far, then those starting with it will have to stop very early, around lap six. This would put them behind a group of cars that will stay out until lap 30. It’s true that at some point, I too will have to fit the Softs, which will signal a more difficult moment and we must be prepared for that. On Friday, I did fifteen or sixteen laps on them, while today just three and that’s why it’s absolutely impossible to say how it will go tomorrow. Only after the chequered flag will we know which was the right choice. The good thing about this decision is that, in putting two cars in the race on different strategies, at least one of us, me or Felipe, should be in a position to help the team in its goal of finishing second in the Constructors’ World Championship, which is our priority now”.
Felipe Massa, 4th: “I’m reasonably pleased with this qualifying, even if I didn’t manage to put together a perfect lap. Unfortunately, I lost time in the second sector and maybe this cost me one or two positions, but we are in the ballpark and we will do our best. Unlike my team-mate and some others, I chose to qualify on the Soft tyres, because at the Nurburgring, I had made a choice that didn’t pay off. It will be interesting to find out who has made the best choice and the answer to that could come after the first stint. A lot will depend on the behaviour of the tyres: even if today, the Medium seemed undoubtedly the longer lasting, the evolution of the track and its consequent improvement in terms of grip could limit the degradation on the Softs. Tomorrow won’t be easy, because with cars on different strategies, anything can happen. I will try to pass Webber at the start, hoping to profit from the fact he is on Medium tyres. I hope I’ve taken the right decision which will allow me to have a strong race”.
Pat Fry, Director of Engineering: “Tyre performance continues to be a key factor here in India, in free practice and qualifying, where it dictated strategy choices for the whole grid. Tomorrow’s race will definitely be determined by car performance, based on what the tyre choices are for the start. We went for two different scenarios, even if the pace they can produce on the softer tyres will be decisive for both drivers, at first for Felipe and then at some point in the race for Fernando. This weekend we have heard a lot of talk about graining and blistering, two phenomena that have a negative effect on tyre performance and they could become two key factors in tomorrow’s race. Consequently those who will start on the Softs could have to pit earlier than planned for their first stop. However, those that start on the Medium will be favourite, even if later on they will have to work out the best moment to fit the soft compound. The race looks like being particularly compelling in terms of strategy and, making the difference as usual, will be how competitive the cars are, their reliability and the efficiency of the work in the pits”.