Unreliable and difficult first day for the Scuderia Ferrari

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F1 Grand Prix, GP China, Shanghai International Ciruitcn

It was a busy and complicated Friday for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. The day’s programme was based around an aerodynamic investigation that had begun last week in Sepang, along with the evaluation of a few new components.

Apart from that, the job list also included the usual menu for the first two practice sessions, namely finding the best set-up and on an evaluation of the two types of tyre brought here by Pirelli. An hydraulic problem meant Fernando Alonso was unable to complete his planned programme, limiting his mileage in the first session, but above all in the second.

Felipe Massa: “As was already the case in the first two races of the season, today we witnessed a very fast Red Bull. I am reasonably pleased with the handling of the car over a long run, which produced some interesting results. I am hoping for a better qualifying, but we know it will be very difficult, while from what we have seen today, I think the situation in the race could be similar to what we saw in Malaysia. Fernando used some new parts but it is too soon to say if they really represent progress: unfortunately, he had problems and did not manage to do as much as was scheduled. The soft tyres seem much better than the hards: not only do they give more grip, which is normal, but also the degradation is not as high as we have seen before. Over the years, I find it even more enjoyable coming here to Shanghai: at the start it was all a bit chaotic, but now the situation has improved and, as is the case in my home country, Brazil a lot of effort is going into making progress in many areas and that can be clearly seen.”

Fernando Alonso: “I lost valuable time because of a hydraulic problem, in both sessions, but most of all in the second one. Unfortunately, I did not manage to do any long run testing to get an idea of the tyre degradation, but fortunately, Felipe managed to do that on both types, so at least we have a good basis to start from. As for the new aerodynamic components, it is too early to say if they really produce an advantage. The engineers will now have to study the data carefully, before drawing any definite conclusions as to whether or not we are moving in the right direction in terms of development. From the little I could see, there are no problems – or at least they are very slight – in terms of warm up on the hard tyres, which could be an improvement for managing the tyres in qualifying. I don’t expect much to change from what we saw in Malaysia and Australia: McLaren and especially Red Bull are quicker than us and are favourites. At the moment we are not capable of fighting for the win, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be trying.”

Pat Fry: “I think we had more problems today in three hours than we had in the whole fifteen days of winter testing. A shame, because we needed to cover some distance, especially with Fernando, who was experimenting with the latest aerodynamic solutions that they have come up with in Maranello. We will try and make a virtue of necessity and carry out the job of analysing the data with the data we managed to gather. The hydraulic problems on car number 5 stem from the same fault, a defective component and we will take action to fix it for the rest of the weekend. Luckily, Felipe had no problems and was able to run continuously, doing long runs on both types of tyre. We will aim to be as well prepared as possible for qualifying and the race, but I don’t think we can expect anything very much different to what we have seen in the first two Grands Prix of the season.”