Damage Limitation For Ferrari In Sepang Qualifying


Fernando Alonso - Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari
Fernando Alonso - Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

 

After such a turbulent start to the season, Ferrari were relatively satisfied to qualify ninth and 12th for tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso qualified ninth and will start one place further up due to Kimi Raikkonen's grid penalty and the Spaniard felt that was the maximum he could have achieved.

“It was a good qualifying, because I think we got everything we could out of the car. I had a KERS problem on my only run in Q3, but I don't think it cost me any places, but it would definitely have made the gap to pole look more realistic. If it was to rain, it will take a lot of luck to pinpoint the right moment to change tyres: it only takes a little to drop a dozen seconds or so and we will need total concentration to get everything right. A dry race will require just as much concentration to maximise the performance of the car and tyres which, at this track, degrade a lot. We must try and bring home points that could be significant for the championship. The start and the first corner will be complicated, because so much is at stake then. We know we have a lot of work to do, especially on the aerodynamics of the car. Here, the performance is slightly better than in Australia, which proves we are working in the right direction, but obviously we must move on in leaps and bounds if we want to fight for the front rows. A new car in Barcelona? No, there's no truth in that. Clearly we are pushing a lot on car development, which is as it should be, but in a consistent fashion with no revolutionary changes. At the moment, this car has many problems, but as a result, it also has a big margin for improvement.”

Teammate Felipe Massa was 12th quickest in the sister Ferrari but continued to trail Alonso in the timesheets. Massa's race engineer Rob Smedley praised him on the radio after Q2 but the Brazilian wasn't overly happy with the result.

“Clearly, I can't be happy with twelfth place, but we know that, at the moment, we do not have a very competitive car: getting through to Q3 is very difficult and today I could only get close to this target. Yesterday and today in FP3, I was not satisfied with the balance of the car, but we managed to improve it for qualifying, which leaves me feeling confident for the race and for the future. I think we have begun to get a better understanding of how this F2012 works and that is positive. Tomorrow will be a very hard race, where tyre degradation will make itself felt and there will also be the threat of rain hanging over it. I hope I can get a better result than this twelfth place. Pressure? It comes from own will to always do the maximum and when I don't manage it, I am the first to be unhappy.”

Team Principal Stefano Domenicali kept a positive attitude after qualifying and is looking to score points with both cars in the race tomorrow.

“We should regard this result as a glass half full. We know that we are in difficulty in this early part of the season, therefore we have to look at limiting the damage on track, while working to make the F2012 more competitive in as short a time as possible. All of us and our fans would like to see our drivers always in the fight for pole position, but if we do not have the potential to do so, then we have to do the best we can. Once again today, Fernando did a great job and it's a shame that he had a KERS problem, the first in a long time, which prevented him from doing a much better time on a track where this system delivers a significant benefit. Felipe has made a step in the right direction: finally the car he had in qualifying was reasonably balanced and that could also be seen on the clock. Now we must concentrate on the race and try to bring home as many points as we can. We saw in Melbourne that over a long distance the difference between the front runners is less marked than in qualifying. Let's see how tomorrow goes in a race that looks like being very tough on the cars, drivers and teams, who have to operate here in rather unique conditions.”