Ferrari have seen all through the Chinese GP that its Ferrari F150 needs performance improvements and car developments in order to fight at the front. Qualifying is the major culprit, but other than that is also showed at China that the Ferrari cannot deal well with the harder tyres.
Only fourteen points in the bag for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro come the end of the Chinese Grand Prix, through a sixth place for Felipe Massa and a seventh for Fernando Alonso. Both drivers made two pit stops: Felipe on laps 15 and 33 and Fernando on lap 16 and 32. After three races, Fernando is fifth and Felipe sixth in the Drivers’ classification, while the Scuderia is third in the Constructors.’
“Fourteen points is definitely not what we wanted to come away with from this Grand Prix: there is no use denying we are disappointed. We will have to study carefully the way this race evolved and understand why, having started off by being competitive, especially with Felipe, after around two thirds of the race, we saw others produce a more competitive finish than we did. From a strategic point of view, I don’t think it would have changed much if we had done three stops instead of two: when the final result shows such small gaps, some incidents would be enough to make the difference and with hindsight, it is easy to judge. Felipe drove a great race and was fighting right up to the closing stages for a place on the podium, getting to 15” off the winner, while Fernando’s race was affected by his duel with Michael after the first pit stop. This championship has not started the way we would have wanted or hoped for. Our car definitely needs to improve its performance, especially in qualifying. We must work very hard over the coming weeks, especially on the aerodynamics. We know our problems can’t be solved by waving a magic wand, all in one go, especially as our rivals are not going to sit around twiddling their thumbs: all the same, we need to take a step in the right direction, right from the next race.”
“It’s a real shame not managing to finish this race in a better position. It really seems that, from qualifying to the race, we discover another car: yesterday, we were not competitive, today we fought with the leaders right to the end. Unfortunately, on the hard tyres we could not defend position all the way to the end. The strategy? Now, it’s easy to say that we were not on the right one, but we are a team and we take our decisions together. Vettel made the same choice as us and we had a reasonably similar pace. Probably we would have finished on the podium, but we need to look into all the details with the engineers. I am happy with my race; I think it was my best this year and maybe even the best including last year. We need to work out how to improve the car, especially in qualifying.”
“I made a bad start, Felipe managed to get past me and a Force India nearly did the same, then it was a good battle on the opening lap. After the first pit stop, I lost too much time behind Michael, thus losing touch with the leading group. I found myself fighting him again at the end of the race, with our positions reversed. Once again, it was a good battle, but I would have preferred to have been doing it for a podium finish rather than seventh place. Unfortunately, our race pace was too slow and I don’t think that a different strategy would have changed anything. I’ve had better Sundays in my career, but I won’t get downhearted or lose confidence. We know we have to improve to get to the front: McLaren and Mercedes have managed it and there is no reason to think we can’t do the same. Clearly, aerodynamics is our Achilles Heel at the moment and that’s what we have to work on the most. Eight days ago in Malaysia we had seen some encouraging signs, but that was not the case here: the car has not changed, while others have made progress.”
“After three races it’s clear our priority is to try and improve the performance of our car. Today, we opted for a two stop strategy and now we have to look carefully at the evolution of the race to understand if a different choice would have changed things: at first glance that does not seem to be the case. Both Felipe and Fernando made two stops, using the hard tyre in the final stint of the race. Unfortunately, their degradation on our car was significant and Felipe did not manage to fend off the attacks of those behind him. Fernando was battling with Schumacher for at least eight laps and his tyres suffered because of that, to such an extent that he was unable to push as hard as he wanted once he had a clear track ahead of him. Towards the end, he too was struggling and just managed to hang onto seventh place. We have a lot of work to do and we must keep our cool in this situation. There is still a long way to go this season and things can change quickly.”