Ferrari misses speed at Abu Dhabi

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuitae

Formula One’s debut at the state-of-the-art new Yas Marina circuit at Abu Dhabi did not produce any change in Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s situation, not that there was any reason for the outfit to expect it.

“We are aware of the difficulties we will face this weekend,” said Stefano Domenicali. “Our main rivals in the fight for third place in the Constructors’ classification are going through a very positive phase, while we are having to make a virtue of necessity, trying to get the most out what we have got to work with. However, this does not mean we will not be fighting right down to the last lap, as we are not the sort to give up that easily. As for the technical aspect of this first day of free practice, on behalf of the entire team I wish to congratulate the organizers of the Grand Prix for the work they have done: Yas Marina will become, partly thanks to the Ferrari World Park Abu Dhabi, the place to be for all racing fans.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “The car is not bad to drive, but it is simply slow and lacks grip, as in fact has been the case very often this year. It’s not as though there is a specific reason why it’s not going well, but most of all, its down to our choice to stop development of the F60, so our performance level compared to the others is going down race by race, given that so many teams are still working on this year’s cars. There are only a few corners where you can make a difference, near the start of the lap. Then there are so many heavy braking points and slow speed corners, where stability on entry and acceleration on exit are the important factors. Going from daylight to artificial light? After two races in Singapore, it doesn’t cause a problem. The pit lane exit? In terms of its layout it’s quite similar to Interlagos, except there’s a wall instead of a guardrail.”

Giancarlo Fisichella: “This will become a sort of second home Grand Prix for Ferrari, as rising above the back of the circuit, will be the first ever theme park dedicated to the Maranello company. As for the track, I can say the nicest part is the first section with the quick corners. I think there is some chance of overtaking on the long straights, while the pit lane exit is a bit dangerous, but there is nothing that can be done to change it. In the second session, when the temperature dropped, the track became less slippery. In the first session, I was struggling a bit to stay on track and I had a lot of graining. We have nothing new on the car and we must try and do our best, working on its set-up.”

Chris Dyer: “It was a Friday like so many others we have experienced this season. We were able to complete our entire programme with both drivers and picked up a lot of data to analyse this evening and tomorrow, in preparation for qualifying and the race. Our race pace seems pretty good, while we are struggling to get a good time out of the car on the first timed lap, which could go against us in qualifying. As for the tyre performance, it is not yet clear, at least from what we have seen today, which will be the quickest compound to use for qualifying, so we might see some different choices to usual.”

First Session
K. Raikkonen: 15° 1.45.704, 27 laps, chassis 279
G. Fisichella: 18° 1.46.267, 26 laps, chassis 280

Second Session
K. Raikkonen: 10° 1.41.987, 39 laps, chassis 279
G. Fisichella: 17° 1.42.932, 37 laps, chassis 280