Ferrari disappointing at their 800th Grand Prix


Ten points was the underwhelming result for Ferrari in their 800th grand prix, with Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso finishing seventh and eighth in Istanbul.

Massa started the race from eighth, inherited a place when Sebastian Vettel retired, and did little else other than keep the car on the road for the entire race.

“It was a very boring race for me, from start to finish, but it was also very difficult,” said the Brazilian. “I was always stuck behind Kubica and the two Mercedes, who were running at a similar pace to me. Very often I managed to get close, but I never had a real chance of overtaking Robert.

“I knew that, starting from eighth, it would be tough and so it proved. Now we must stay calm and try and quickly improve the car, starting with the very next race in Canada. Here we lacked performance, especially in the fast corners.”

Fernando Alonso had a disappointing qualifying yesterday, and started today’s race from twelfth. He made up a few places when others pitted and overtook Vitaly Petrov in the closing stages. The Spaniard is hoping for a better race in Montreal in two weeks time.

“It was a case of damage limitation in what was a very difficult weekend for us,” explained Alonso. “Our aim in this championship is to fight with McLaren and Red Bull for the podium, definitely not with a Renault for eighth place, with all due respect to my former team.

“We have to improve our performance: in Valencia we will have an important update on the car, which we hope will put us back to where we should be. I am convinced that right from Canada things will be better, because the track characteristics should better suit our car.

“The hierarchy in the field can change from race to race, as we saw in Monaco, where we had the potential to fight for victory.

“At the end, I attacked Petrov and I hope the two points this brought me could turn out to be useful come the end of the year: I am sorry he got a puncture that stopped him finishing in the points, because he drove a good race.

“Despite everything, we are still in a good position to fight for the title. However, now is the time to react.”

Team principal Stefano Domenicali knows that this was a poor performance from Ferrari, especially on such a landmark weekend for the team. “This was definitely a very poor weekend for us and it's a shame we were unable to celebrate our 800th Grand Prix in a worthy manner,” he admitted.

“We did not have the performance level we expected and we were definitely inferior to the two teams which dominated the Turkish weekend.

“We are at the level of the second group of drivers; those who were fighting throughout the Grand Prix, all within a few seconds of one another. But we know what an influence qualifying has on the final result and yesterday we struggled even more than usual in this area.

“This afternoon, we did what we could: Felipe didn't make any mistakes and Fernando managed to make up a few places with the pit stop and by passing Petrov.

“Now we must make a step forward to close the performance gap: our engineers are capable and ready, as they have shown so often and I am sure they will be able to do it again, improving the performance of the F10. We are entering the crucial phase of the championship and we have to do everything to tackle it in the best possible shape.”

Chris Dyer explained the problems facing the two drivers this afternoon, and acknowledged that the team need to improve: “Given the position of our two cars on the starting grid, this is an acceptable result. What is not however, is our performance level this weekend, given that it definitely did not match our expectations.

“Felipe was always in traffic and never had a chance to overtake those immediately ahead of him. Fernando drove a good race, making up a few places thanks to the strategy and pulling off a nice passing move on Petrov at the end. When he made contact with the Russian driver's Renault, he also damaged a wheel rim, but luckily he was able to finish the race and take points that are definitely valuable on a weekend like this.”