Each of the Ferrari drivers completed 46 laps across the two Friday practice sessions at Silverstone today as Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa familiarised themselves with the new track layout. Alonso finished the day second fastest with Massa not far behind in fourth place.
“We had a good day, especially as we were able to complete a very intensive work programme,” said Team Principal Stefano Domenicali. “With in-season testing banned, Fridays take on a dual function – preparing the cars for qualifying and the race and the development of new solutions for the short and medium term – and today we completed both phases.
“From what we have seen today, we have a very strong Red Bull, which is definitely no surprise, while the rest are closely matched behind, with some who might have masked their potential. We have to remain concentrated on our own work, trying to get as well prepared as possible for qualifying and especially for the race.
“Today, we saw several cars go off track, a sign that the slightest error can be costly at this circuit: everything will have to be perfect if we want to bring home a good result.”
Alonso recognises that the performance of his car at these faster circuits is improving, and also had praise for the new arena section. “I think the only way to describe today is that it was a Friday like so many others,” said the Spaniard. “I expected to be competitive because our car is much better than it was at the Turkish Grand Prix, which was the last time we raced at a track with similar characteristics to this one.
“As expected, Red Bull is very strong and therefore the big favourite for tomorrow's qualifying and behind them, we will fight it out with McLaren, Renault and maybe also Mercedes: nothing different there to Valencia.
“At this track, you need a car with a lot of aerodynamic downforce and slightly different suspension settings to usual. The new components introduced in Valencia and those brought here have improved the handling of the F10: we must continue to push on the car development front at each and every race.
“I like the new part of the track: it is fun and safe and I think it improves the show.”
Massa doesn’t think that the new section will increase overtaking opportunities, but is hoping that he can build on his fourth fastest time in practice today and have a successful weekend. “I would say it's been a good day for us,” said the Brazilian. “We tried out various new aerodynamic components and compared different configurations: by the end, the car was pretty good, with a variety of fuel loads and on both new and used tyres.
“We are doing so much work on the development of the car and one can see the benefits: the new elements we brought to the track for this Grand Prix did the job and can now be signed off after their track debut. After this good start, let's hope the weekend continues down this route.
“The new part of the track? Honestly, I was expecting more in terms of overtaking opportunities: I do not think it will change the situation much compared to the past.”