Ferrari will be eager to forget the British Grand Prix after leaving a race weekend without points for the first time this season.
It was just one of those days for the Italian team, where everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Fernando Alonso was slow off the start line, loosing a number of positions before coming into contact with teammate Felipe Massa. This gave the Brazilian a right-rear puncture, and an early pit stop was required.
As Alonso fought his way back up through the field he had a duel with Renault’s Robert Kubica. The Ferrari driver had to take to the grass to avoid a collision with Kubica, and got past him. The stewards deemed this unfair, and told Ferrari that Alonso should give back the position.
Unfortunately for the Spaniard, Kubica had slowed down dramatically by this point, and was forced to retire from the race. With no one to give the position back to, Alonso was given a drive-through penalty.
Normally, at this stage of the race with the cars spread out, such a penalty would result in the loss of a couple of positions. Unfortunately for Ferrari however, the notification of the penalty came at the same time as the safety car came out onto the track. Penalties can’t be served at this time, and Alonso had to wait until the field had all been bunched up again before he could drive through the pit lane to serve his punishment. He dropped way down the order, right to the back of the group of un-lapped drivers.
Both Massa and Alonso’s races had been ruined by this point, and so another puncture for each driver didn’t really affect the outcome of the race for Ferrari, rather it just reinforced the sense of bad luck.
In fact, the only scant consolation for the team comes from the fact that they had the fastest two drivers on track in the closing stages of the race, and Fernando Alonso set the fastest lap of the day as he took the checkered flag.
“We seem to be really cursed at the moment, when everything that could go wrong, does,” said team principal Stefano Domenicali in summary of Ferrari’s day. “We are not happy, but we must not feel sorry for ourselves. Instead, we have to react calmly, remaining focussed and continuing to work in the way we did over the past few weeks.
“We go home with no points, but with the knowledge that we have a potential, in terms of the car, the team and the drivers, that is up to the right level to deal with the situation. We must not allow ourselves to give in to frustration: I am sure that the results and the points that have been lacking for so many reasons recently, will come.
“Clearly, the championship situation is looking complicated but we remain convinced we can still fight for the title. We will continue to push on the development of the F10, confident in our chances to make up the ground we have lost up until today.”
Felipe Massa was on the podium for the first two races of the season, but has since failed to make much of an impact on the championship table. “I don't know what to do, but I have to find some way of getting rid of the bad luck that is following me around!” exclaimed the frustrated Brazilian. “In the last few races, everything has happened to me.
“Today my race was soon over, when I touched with Fernando and got a puncture which dropped me to the back of the pack. The car was going well, but that's not much use if you cannot get a result.
“The championship is not over after this race, but clearly my situation is compromised: I would need to win a lot of races while others run into the same difficulties that have come my way in recent races. However, we must not give up: we will keep our heads high and continue to push on the development of the car and then see what results come our way.”
Alonso know that he lost another good haul of points at Silverstone, but the Spaniard is determined to put the weekend behind him and concentrate on making up the ground he has lost in the driver’s championship.
“I made a horrible start – we had some problems with the clutch – and then came the incident with Kubica which further affected my race,” said the double world champion. “I do not wish to comment on the Stewards' decision.
The team acted correctly but the instruction to hand back the position arrived when I had already passed another driver and in the meantime, Kubica was visibly slowing down before retiring. On top of that, the penalty coincided with the Safety Car and so, rather than just losing a couple of positions, I lost around a dozen. Even with my difficult
start, I am convinced I could have finished third, but instead I go home with nothing.
“The championship situation is definitely looking more difficult, but we have only just gone past the halfway point of the season and anything can still happen. The car is better and I was flying when I had a clear track ahead of me: we must continue to work and believe in ourselves.”