Alonso: “The situation is now even more difficult”

2011 Chinese Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso, Andrea Stella, Ferrari, Shanghai, 2011

Fernando Alonso, Andrea Stella, Ferrari, Shanghai, 2011

Fernando Alonso was disappointed to qualify behind three different cars in China.

Speaking after qualifying fifth Alonso said: “We already knew all about Red Bull and McLaren, but here we saw an improvement from Mercedes, so the situation is now even more difficult.

“We are trying to improve our performance: we are a great team and we know how to react. Yesterday, we tried some new components, but it is still too early to use them in a race: we hope to make a significant step forward in Turkey.”

However he urged the team not to over-react to their current situation: “I would give the team ten out of ten for how they managed qualifying over these first three races: it is always very difficult to find the compromise between the need to take risks and being prudent and we have already seen mistakes costing some drivers dear in these three sessions.

“At the moment we should not be trying anything clever, instead keeping things simple. I think the podium is still within our reach.”

Felipe Massa echoed his team mate’s remarks, saying: “I really hope we will see a repeat of the Malaysian situation with a performance jump from qualifying to the race: if that was the case, then a podium might not be out of reach.”

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53 comments on Alonso: “The situation is now even more difficult”

  1. Bigbadderboom said on 16th April 2011, 11:31

    I really rate Alonso (Don’t like him but do rate him!),so how bad is this Ferrari? Does it have the potential to unlock it’s speed like McLaren have managed? I think the changes to the technical staff may have upset the boat somehow, it’s staggering that they seemed to have lost (and continue to lose) so much ground against the other front runners since the tests.

    • ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 16th April 2011, 11:36

      I think the Ferrari does have a lot of potential to unlock, particularly with the flexibile front wing and the rear end.

      Don’t forget Turkey 2010 when they were 0.8 off pole, but turned it around within a few weeks.

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 16th April 2011, 11:40

        But there’s no magic device this year to do that, like the F-Duct and EBD last year. Ferrari have every innovation on them apart from Renault’s exhausts and theirs and Red Bull’s seem to work well in any case.

        Their situation reminds me more of McLaren during the second half of the year, all the tools and the numbers but it’s not turning into seconds on track.

        • all the tools and the numbers but it’s not turning into seconds on track.

          Seems to be the case Itchyes if the rumour’s true that the underlying problem is the wind tunnel data in relation to track data.

        • Maybe they just have to make things that are already in the car, work:-)

          They have said that certain parts didn’t give them the improvement that was needed. Maybe that is what they are missing along with a couple of sub 4s pit-stops!

        • Eggry (@eggry) said on 16th April 2011, 15:59

          I don’t think Renault and Mclaren’s radical approaches have more potential. Unique concept usually sacrifice other things. sometimes even there’s no room to improve.

          Yeah, we know Redbull also has no innovation but it’s super fast. the most effective way is always optimizing rather than unique design.(well, you can call flexible wing unique though)

        • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 16th April 2011, 19:47

          I agree with ed24f1. Flexi wing + Renault-esque exhausts + pull rod suspension could bring a second in Q. And they also need fewer than that in race pace.

          I can see them closing in on the frontrunners, but if they don’t master it by Spain at the very least, then Vettel is going to be out of reach.

      • King Six said on 16th April 2011, 14:17

        There was no turning around at all during 2010, it was just the different tracks which made it seem so. Red Bull had the dominant car in 2010 and nobody caught them.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 16th April 2011, 11:44

      I do prefer Alonso in a team that’s not at the very front. Not because I’m not a big fan of his, I would never wish a man of his talent to go unrewarded. What I mean is it’s in situations like this that bring out the two-times champion in him the most. We saw that last weekend when he nearly got a podium in the equal-3rd-fastest car.

      I only didn’t want him to win last year mainly because of Germany and wanting Webber (and of course Hamilton) to win more. If he can pull off a comeback this year without the scandal I wouldn’t begrudge him that at all.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th April 2011, 16:56

        I agree with that Icthyes, a lot of his drives in the Renault in 2008/2009 were very nice to see as well.

        • Jeffrey Powell said on 19th April 2011, 13:34

          Alonso is certainly a fantastic hard charging driver with fantastic car control . The DRS. system should have given him the chance to show his determination to win with a slightly slower car.I think he has been more affected by these 10 lap tyres than other slower drivers. It appears Lewis learnt a lesson from the K.L. debacle, unfortunately Alonso may have to adapt to the same non racing method to re-establish his position.

  2. bananarama (@bananarama) said on 16th April 2011, 11:31

    In the race the Ferrari should be stronger than the Mercedes. This isn’t a bad position for Alonso to begin with, just this time he shoud have a good start, otherwise it will be difficult once again. Rosberg on the other hand isn’t particularly known for his fantastic starts, so there might be a chance. I’m hoping for a podium this time around.

  3. Harv's said on 16th April 2011, 11:32

    Really wouldnt have expected a ferrari driver to be saying this just 3 years after the 2008 brazilian Gp.

    I Hope this isnt becoming a trend, if there is a ferrari downfall it will be because of thier culture and decisions based on “passion”, please not another pre schumi era…

    … and this is from a mclaren fan, racing needs ferrari (so mclaren can beat them)

  4. kowalsky said on 16th April 2011, 11:37

    the ferrari team reminds me, the one during the 80’s. They haven’t built the best car, their quality control is not the best. And they don’t have the best drivers. How are they going to win, If they are not the best on anything?
    Last year alonso-ferrari lost the world championship because of a very bad first half of the season. They ended up with a chance because they didin’t lose too many points due to redbull’s lack of reliability. This year the italians are making the same mistakes, and red bull is more efficient.
    So fernando you better wake up, and even if you get some people upset inside the team, you need to start putting some pressure on montezemolo to make some big changes. Or you are going have to retire with 2 titles.

    • Butterfly said on 16th April 2011, 11:45

      They *do* have the best driver on the grid, buddy.

      • Lemon (@lemon) said on 16th April 2011, 12:16

        *equal best*

      • Nick said on 16th April 2011, 15:42

        If he was really the best, and despite being voted as such by its peers, he would not make so many school-boy errors, I guess more than any other top 5 drivers since Montreal 2007 which seems to have been the turning point to the downward spiral in his career.

        • kowalsky said on 16th April 2011, 16:03

          amen to that nick.
          But we have to understand that it is very hard to change people perceptions. For wathever reason some people made up their minds that alonso is the best driver, and even if he makes 1000 mistakes they wouldn’t change their minds. I see this all the time here in spain, but it is understandable because of the propaganda on the media. Alonso will be judged when he retires and time will tell the real truth without the emontions.

          • infy (@infy) said on 16th April 2011, 17:13

            Nick and Kowalsky, you both seem to completely ignore the mistakes of other drivers. Alonso is not unique in the way he makes mistakes. If anything, he proved last year that he could drag a dog of a car and finish on the podium more consistently than any of his peers.

            You also have to note that he hasnt had a quick car since 2007. When your car is 10% slower than your rival, you have to push 10% more than your rival just to match him. In doing so the chances of making mistakes are far greater.

            I’m sure that if you give him a car like the Redbull, he would cruise around safely making sure not to push too hard. Unfortunately if he were to do that with the current car, he would finish back down the order and no where near the podium.

          • Julian said on 17th April 2011, 4:13

            I’d hate to bring this up, but when it comes to school boy errors, crashing into the back of a ferrari which is waiting for the pit lane to open…kind of takes the cake.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVuY4ujvmO4

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 16th April 2011, 18:14

          Looks like someone is ignoring Alonso’s machinery in 2008 and 2009, and his superb second half of 2010.

          • kowalsky said on 16th April 2011, 21:20

            infy you have a point there, everybody made mistakes, and that’s the reason why he got a shot at the title after such a bad first half of the season. But let’s not forget that you think he is the best driver in the world, and such a driver should know where the limit is at all times, and not make so many mistakes.

  5. ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 16th April 2011, 11:39

    It was good to see that Massa matched Alonso on a track where he has relatively struggled in the past (he hasn’t been faster than a team-mate since 2005 with Villeneuve).

    It seems that his tyre warm-up problems are gone, so fingers crossed Ferrari has a good car for Turkey, and Felipe can relive some good memories there.

    • bananarama (@bananarama) said on 16th April 2011, 11:46

      A good Turkey finish for Massa would probably boost his confidence a bit. On the other hand, Turkey last year was one of Ferraris worst races, they were just slow there .. but maybe they figured out what the problems were. Still hoping for them to find the right trick for qualifying (the race pace wasn’t bad so far in my opinion).

      • ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 16th April 2011, 13:41

        I think it was probably the car rather than the track that hurt them in 2010 at Turkey.

        That was the period when they had been spending so much time focusing on the F-Duct, and ignoring other parts of the car.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 16th April 2011, 12:37

      True. If there is one race on the calender where Felipe can shine… its Turkey. Hope Ferrari have major upgrades for that weekend, because qualy seems pretty depressing for them right now.

      • infy (@infy) said on 16th April 2011, 17:16

        As long as he can back it up in the race. It pains me to see Alonso get stuck in the Massa train, because some times Massa can be so damn slow in racing conditions.

  6. Hopefully Ferrari can bounce back with some updates at Turkey but the problem is every other team will have them too. Mclaren managed to come back in the blink of an eye though so I’m not giving up.

    As for today I think life was made a lot easier for them with the Renault’s, a Mercedes and Red Bull out of the way for q3. If Massa gets his usual good start, Fernando can finally get gain places by turn 1 rather than lose them and they have good race pace then I’m actually quite optimistic for tomorrow.

  7. SennaNmbr1 (@sennanmbr1) said on 16th April 2011, 12:24

    He needs to come down a peg or two. This will be a humbling experience for him.

  8. ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 16th April 2011, 13:43

    Apparently Marc Gene said on Spanish television that Alonso has been using Massa’s setup, but that they have found the solution to their wind tunnel problem.

  9. Morris said on 16th April 2011, 17:13

    If Alonso really is the best driver today, then what a waste of his talent, being let down by his personality. Instead of looking at ways to improve himself, he has constantly switched teams in search of the best car. What has the three moves since his debut at Renault really given him? Is he better off now?

    His career has also been dogged by scandal (personally he was heavily involved in the industrial espionage by McLaren, the emails were sent between him and De la Rosa; the “accident” at Renault).

    When he came to Ferrari, he got the biggest budget and he thought he would be key to the development of the car, a new Schumacher. Well, no evidence of his supremacy yet.

    Last season everybody whined about the last pit stop that supposedly cost him his title. Well, if he is the best driver, why did he lose points earlier in the season by simple mistakes (jump starting etc)? Those points WOULD have given him the title.

    He isn’t one of the greatest, but his ego tells him so, and this will cost him titles, as he will continue to find faults everywhere else but inside his helmet.

    • infy (@infy) said on 16th April 2011, 17:28

      He wasn’t the villain during the spygate saga. That was the teams management. You cant honestly blame the driver for what the engineers got up to. I have no idea how you can say he was “heavily involved”, when all he did was threaten to expose them?

      His name was cleared when it comes to the crashgate saga. People like you seem to only see what you WANT to see when it comes to that. You are just making up a bunch of nonsense. Then you try backing it up, and all you have to do so is referencing his history in the spygate saga lol.

      He has only had one full season to help develop the car. Schumacher had ages. And besides, drivers are given way to much credit when it comes to car development. I bet they dont get any say in its design at all. The only “development” they do is setups. If your car is slow, it is slow. No driver is going to fix that himself.

      He lost last year because there was a better driver/team combo in the form of Redbull. Their car was undoubtedly a much faster. The Ferrari was the third fastest team for half the season. Mistakes happen to all drivers. If Vettel didnt make any mistakes during the season he would have had won the title two or three races earlier than he did.

      I’m guessing this is your first year watching F1?

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 16th April 2011, 18:17

        Ferrari was in a better state when Alonso joined it than when Schu joined it.

      • Corrections Dept said on 16th April 2011, 18:18

        In fact there was zero evidence linking senior management. So that is your first error.

        The only vaguely credible evidence was Alonso was colluding with De La Rosa, working Pedro’s ex-Jaguar connection to Coughlan to try to illegally utilise Stepney’s suggestions and data.

        His name was not cleared. That is error two. He received politically-motivated FIA immunity from Mosley. For those keeping score at home, that was the first scandal immunity, not his second.

        Go on, guess how long I have been watching F1.

      • ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 16th April 2011, 18:25

        Alonso did blackmail his team in the spygate saga, threatening to reveal incriminating information, so even if he wasn’t the main villain, he didn’t come out of it cleanly.

      • Morris said on 17th April 2011, 6:06

        I suppose I must have touched a nerve. I was talking about the quality of Alonso as a driver, nothing else. Not Vettel, or the number of years I have been watching F1, or whatever. Have a look at the Comment Policy, article 4.

        Maybe you should also consult the World Motor Sport Council Decision on spygate where Alonso’s role is detailed. The document is available on FIA’s website. Alternatively, for a summary you could read the comment below posted by Corrections Department (thanks).

  10. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 16th April 2011, 19:53

    It’s an unorthodox race grid as well thanks to that problem of Petrov in late Q2. The pecking order this weekend seems to be Red Bull, McLaren – Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault, Force India – Toro Rosso, Sauber, Williams – Lotus – Virgin – HRT, but Webber, Heidfeld, Schumacher and Petrov is all out of contention for Alonso and Massa which only leaves Rosberg for them to deal with. 2rd-5th looks to be sure for Alonso if he can do it right this time around.

    But Rosberg and the Mercedes is only a problem on the long run. Things do change quickly during a 3-week off until the beginning of the European season though.

  11. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 17th April 2011, 7:51

    I would expect them on the podium soon. Not sure if they can do it today.

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