Ferrari look for answers on missing pace

2011 Australian GP team review

Ferrari were one-and-a-half seconds slower than Red Bull in qualifying and needed an extra pit stop in the race.

Fernando Alonso Felipe Massa
Qualifying position 5 8
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’24.974 (-0.625) 1’25.599
Race position 4 7
Laps 58/58 58/58
Pit stops 3 3

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58
Fernando Alonso 106.144 96.233 94.726 95.355 94.4 93.278 92.903 93.099 93.621 94.053 94.857 112.624 98.812 92.679 91.904 92.289 92.186 91.832 91.958 91.936 92.002 92.336 91.955 92.198 93.475 92.371 113.552 96.9 90.097 90.103 90.081 90.177 90.379 90.356 90.427 90.314 90.739 90.399 91.121 91.094 91.632 110.315 97.745 90.029 89.608 89.84 89.837 89.597 89.487 89.867 89.937 89.657 89.507 90.401 89.529 89.665 89.912 90.501
Felipe Massa 104.196 94.485 95.664 93.9 94.712 93.7 94.004 93.833 93.869 94.49 96.699 94.662 114.06 100.25 92.958 92.749 92.433 93.492 92.831 92.661 92.289 92.321 92.541 92.45 92.854 92.724 93.076 92.914 93.194 93.265 113.74 99.973 91.877 91.644 91.601 91.884 91.259 91.263 91.806 91.291 91.207 91.093 91.64 91.49 91.331 91.378 91.541 113.006 96.913 89.451 90.094 92.456 92.819 90.07 88.947 89.77 90.803 91.822

Fernando Alonso

For the second year in a row Alonso went into the first corner at Melbourne side-by-side with Jenson Button and it didn’t work out for him – although at least this time he didn’t end up facing oncoming traffic.

Alonso was edged wide onto the grass and slipped back from fifth to tenth.

He quickly mounted a comeback, picking off Kamui Kobayashi by going to long way around turn 11 on lap two. Then he used his DRS to take Nico Rosberg on the outside of turn one.

Alonso rapidly closed in on the battle for fifth between his team mate and Button. When Button made his ill-fated passing attempt Alonso pounced on his delayed team mate and made it through. But by now his tyres were going off and he made his first pit stop on the next lap.

He moved up to fifth which became fourth when Mark Webber made a mistake on a later out-lap, allowing Alonso to jump him in the pits.

Despite pressure from (the KERS-less) Webber, Alonso reeled in Vitaly Petrov in the closing laps, but ran out of time to mount an attack on the Renault driver.

Felipe Massa, Jenson Button, Melbourne, 2011

Felipe Massa, Jenson Button, Melbourne, 2011

Felipe Massa

Only a late improvement spared Massa the embarrassment of being eliminated in the first part of qualifying. After that scare he made it into Q3 and lined up eighth.

A good start put him fifth but he came under huge pressure from Button and had to defend so much he lost between one and three seconds per lap to leader Sebastian Vettel.

After Button went off the track trying to pass him, Massa lost his place to Alonso. After their first pit stops Massa lost further ground to his team mate.

Massa tried to make it to the end of the race by taking on hard tyres at his second pit stop, but gave up after being passed by Button and pitted for more softs. That dropped him to tenth, after which he passed Sebastien Buemi for ninth and was promoted two more places by the disqualification of the Saubers.

Team principal Stefano Domenicali said the team simply didn’t have as much downforce as they expected to: “We will have to study everything carefully to work out what prevented us from being as competitive as we had expected this weekend.

“Then we will have to react immediately, starting with the next race in Malaysia. One of the main themes is the level of downforce at the front: we must find out why we did not get on track what was predicted by the data.”

2011 Australian Grand Prix

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101 comments on Ferrari look for answers on missing pace

  1. James G said on 28th March 2011, 20:44

    That Lewis Hamilton guy’s very quick. I reckon him and Alonso would be a Dream Team!

  2. I’m a massive Ferrari fan expecting great things but I was really disappointed this weekend. Must say well done to Vettel and surprisingly McLaren.

    Massa was really poor… again!

    • infy (@infy) said on 28th March 2011, 21:59

      Well, at least we can take comfort in knowing Alonso will have the full team behind him sooner than the other teams will decide who they will be backing :P

      Go go team Alonso!

  3. DaveW (@dmw) said on 28th March 2011, 23:06

    It’s one thing to have trouble heating the tires, but when you also have high wear in the race, that’s another. Domenicali even mentioned that they had both troubles and put it down to downforce. That is a troubling conclusion because tire heating/wear can often be down to suspension geometry, or settings for camber, toe, damping, etc—thinigs you can fix with a spanner. If downforce is the problem, the problems will be bigger at Sepang, and won’t be fixed until they can fiddle with the aero bits. Additionally, RBR will have their KERS working again next time, so RBR will ladel on even more downforce for Sepang.

  4. charles said on 28th March 2011, 23:36

    may i just bring up the fact that the promised new front wing, that i was looking forward to didn’t get put on the car this weekend, as they are still using last years front wing.
    Proof on Ferrari’s f1 website in 360 view on the car (video clip)

    • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 29th March 2011, 6:20

      It actually is a new front wing, but the differences are very minimal to their wing of late last season.

      I was hoping for a much more radical and advanced solution, like the Renault managed to bring at darn near every race last year!

  5. phil said on 29th March 2011, 3:30

    Ferrari issue was front end grip, and turning the tyres on (ie keep up temp). Throughout practice and quali you could see they had huge amounts of understeer. It was similar to the renault of 05 and 06. Alonso used to have an extra turn of lock at every corner DC was commenting on it, and it did look very strange. Ferrari have said they have lost front down force, and dont know where or how.

    A mate of mine was in the Ferrari box and talking to some engineers in the paddock over the weekend, they all said the same thing, the Ferrari is a quick car, just could not generate enough heat in the tyres at that track which inturn causes the car to slide and wear tyres out faster. Engineers were saying in the cold temps of barcelona they were flying on race pace. I think provided they fix this front wing issue, they should be on par if not quicker then Redbull during the race. I believe mclaren will fall back. Having a quick car at albert park doesn not mean your quick everywhere. Mclaren will struggle in the high speed stuff. they have a car with really good drive off the corners, and turn in, Button was all over massa when driving out of corners. Mid corner high speed is where they will suffer.

    • Shiro said on 29th March 2011, 14:04

      The Ferrari suffered from both understeer and oversteer, unlike the Renaults of 05 and 06 which were planted at the back.

      As for McLaren falling back… that’s a load of rubbish.

  6. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 29th March 2011, 4:10

    We were surprise for their lack of pace. Massa was racing well until Button passed him.Alonso lost huge momentum at turn 1.

  7. Oliver said on 29th March 2011, 5:47

    Hard to type with a phone. Forgive my typos.

  8. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 29th March 2011, 9:47

    Breaking news: Ferrari find the source of their missing pace

    I left my 6 tenths behind the sofa by accident

    Fernando Alonso

  9. alexander said on 29th March 2011, 9:50

    why do so much people hate massa on this forum fs! give the guy a break its the first race of the season and everyone is on about team orders and second drivers

    massa let Alonzo through so that button would have to let both ferraris through or get a penalty, (no team orders or second drivers its just common sense)

    all of yous critisise massa because he is slower than Alonzo but what about button he was nearly 5 tenths slower than Lewis in quali with no kers

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 29th March 2011, 10:01

      Actually even though I perpetuated that theory, it seems that Massa was just so slow from defending against Button Alonso got on his back and by now he knows what to do when Alonso is coming up behind him.

      The reason people aren’t criticising Button is because even with his drive-through he still managed to catch Massa again and pass him.

      • paolo (@paolo) said on 29th March 2011, 13:21

        I think Massa is generating a lot of comments because people are frustrated by his performances.

        He showed in 08 that he clearly has the pace to win races, but I think there is something missing mentally that doesn’t give him the killer instinct of drivers such as Alonso or Hamilton.

    • fullthrottle said on 29th March 2011, 14:18

      I was very impressed by his performance defending Button (altough Button never tried to go inside, what a weak atack he made), but he has to do better in the next races; What’s he aiming for? Alonso will fight for the champiomship if a team gives him a fast car, but that´s not granted with Massa, and that has to change now.

  10. antonyob said on 29th March 2011, 16:52

    What happened to Alonso’s famed ability to set up a car? He “carried Hamilton in 2007″ apparantly, worth “0.5 second a lap to Lewis”.

    The Ferrari looks like a pig and handles like one so i guess he must take some of the blame ?

    On the positive side its great to see him trying to tame the Ferrari, much more exciting than watching something go round on rails, however much faster that car may be..

    The worst thing for Ferrari is they must know that Alonso is driving the car faster than its ability and hes still 1.5 away.

    • Vishy said on 29th March 2011, 19:58

      lol. Well said Alonso is indeed driving the ferrari faster that it is. It does not look good for Ferrari.

      I think we will see a different Massa this year. The way he defended against Button was very good. Sometime during the season we will start seeing him beat Alonso.

      • SubZero said on 4th April 2011, 12:01

        ya he will most of all Ferrari was checking on tiers so now they know hard tiers worst beside they cannot ask Alonso to try because of point massa was behind so loss little in term of points we see what happens in sepang.
        RBR = i have no idea -.- their pace …. compare like other team = fly RBR = dragon fly

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