New hard tyres are hurting us, admits Massa

2011 Monaco Grand Prix

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2011

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2011

Felipe Massa said the new Pirelli hard tyre introduced at the Spanish Grand Prix did not suit the Ferrari.

He told the team’s website: “We had expected our main rivals to be strong in Barcelona, given the fact our car is not quite as efficient as theirs in terms of aerodynamic downforce.

“However, what we had not expected was to suffer so much on the new hard compound tyre that Pirelli had introduced for this race.

“We had already found life difficult on the original version of the hard and we had seen that we struggled a bit more than the others on these. Then with these new hards we discovered we were having an even tougher time to get them to work properly and I would say we lost two or two and a half seconds when compared to our lap times on the soft.

“You could see the effect clearly in the race. Myself and Fernando were both able to fight at first with him doing better than me as he was actually at the front thanks to his start, while I was fighting with the Mercedes guys, passing them to move up to sixth.

“But after that, once I fitted the hard tyres, it was almost impossible to drive the car. I ended up losing all the places I had gained, then I had a spin and eventually with a few laps to go, I had to park the car at the side of the track as I could not select any gears.

“Meanwhile Fernando went from leading the race to being one lap down within the space of about 40 laps which is an unbelievable situation. I would say that in Spain, it looked as though Red Bull and McLaren were the only teams able to exploit the hard tyres properly.”

However, with the hard tyre not being used in the next three races in Monaco, Canada and Europe, Massa expects Ferrari will perform better:

“Starting with free practice this Thursday at Monaco, we begin a run of three Grands Prix using Pirelli?s Soft and Super Soft and that should work better for us. They will definitely suit the characteristics of our car which is a positive factor.”

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33 comments on New hard tyres are hurting us, admits Massa

  1. bosyber said on 24th May 2011, 10:11

    Well, as he says, that tyre wasn’t the only problem, but they do clearly need the time until they have to use it again to make it work better for them. I hope he is right that the softer tyres in the next few races will help them at least be somewhat competitive over a whole race weekend.

  2. Todfod (@todfod) said on 24th May 2011, 10:15

    Terrible pace on all the Pirelli hard compound tyres + a poor aerodynamic package + Felipe Massa = Disaster for Ferrari.

    I dont know how much the super softs will be an advantage to Ferrari. It might be slightly better for Ferrari in the later stints of the race, but I expect Red Bull and Mclaren to benefit from as much as Ferrari does. Things aren’t looking too good for Ferrari right now.

    • Romesh82 (@romesh82) said on 24th May 2011, 14:47

      think you are correct..ferrari has become a one man show. Only alonso performs for da team.. To bad ..guys frm da technical teams sucks.even the pit crew is slower than others…

    • ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 24th May 2011, 20:12

      Super softs will be a big advantage for Ferrari, I think.

      They have been as fast as the leaders all year on the soft tyre, and slow on the hard tyre, so logic suggests the super soft tyre will be good for them.

      However, perhaps the speed of the super soft tyre in the race might show up their aerodynamic deficiencies, as seen in qualifying.

    • ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 24th May 2011, 20:16

      Massa couldn’t have really done much more in the race after qualifying, considering the difficulty of overtaking. Alonso was arguably just lucky he got a great start to get a buffer over the Mercedes, which meant he didn’t drop behind them later on.

      They couldn’t undercut the cars in front because of their troubles on the hard tyres, so he was pretty much in a holding pattern until the inevitable slide backwards with the hard tyres that both drivers had.

  3. Klaas said on 24th May 2011, 10:22

    It’s not only the tires that are hurting Ferrari, it’s also the slow pit-stops, the lack of strategic thinking at the pit-wall, the conservative design of the car, the mediocrity sitting in car No 6, everything…
    I don’t know why they are pinning hopes on the next 3 races with softs and super-softs, they can only hope for a podium, even a win won’t change too much. I think they should focus on 2012 as there won’t be a repeat of last year.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 24th May 2011, 10:36

      It’s not only the tires that are hurting Ferrari, it’s also the slow pit-stops, the lack of strategic thinking at the pit-wall, the conservative design of the car, the mediocrity sitting in car No 6, everything…

      You pretty much summed up all the areas Ferrari are lacking in. Its not only their overly conservative and average car design, but also some of the least intelligent strategic thinkers, and sub standard pit crew. Fernando is the only the only top notch element in Ferrari, but there is only a limited amount he can do in these circumstances.

      I think if Ferrari doesn’t win a race by Valencia, they should throw in the towel and focus on next year’s car. And this time they should actually take risks and come up with something innovative.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 24th May 2011, 10:39

      I think they should do what BMW did in 2008: go for a win, then abandon the year. A winless year for Ferrari would be a disaster for morale.

      Ferrari have just been generally second-best this year and the new harder tyres will make Massa look even worse. I always say, wait until Silverstone to see where we are but it’s looking increasingly likely that only Hamilton, let alone Ferrari, will challenge Vettel this year.

      • Klaas said on 24th May 2011, 10:55

        It would be better for them if they don’t win a single race this year, let them even finish 4th behind Mercedes. Maybe then they’ll be able to clearly smell the ***** they are into and react properly.

      • Rob said on 24th May 2011, 11:15

        I wouldn’t discount Alonso. He is better on the tracks in the second half of the season than he is in the first half. He may still be able to bounce back.

      • Icemangrins said on 24th May 2011, 15:31

        Ferrari almost had a season without a win – 2005

        • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 24th May 2011, 16:05

          That was down to the tyre rules and their own win wasn’t exactly covered in glory! This year they just haven’t built the car.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th May 2011, 8:53

            Well in 2009 it did not really look like they were going to win a race after 5 races into the season did it?

            So I guess there is still hope for them to get at least a win in. Given a bit of luck, having the softer tyres and some improvement to the car.

    • Atticus said on 24th May 2011, 11:17

      Tyres, pit stops, conservative design, mediocre 2nd driver, I agree with these, but I can’t seem to come up with bad strategic decisions, I mean real blunders as Abu Dhabi was last year – and it’s only in hindsight. I think new asset Pat Fry is doing a good job.

      And yeah, Fernando is a top notch, I think he is one of the three best drivers currently in Formula 1, the others being Vettel and Hamilton, not disregarding the ones of Kobayashi or Rosberg. Or Kubica for that matter.

      It’s really sad to see Fernando driving the way he does (except the horrendous error in Malaysia) and not getting his reward like Vettel and Hamilton because of the clearly inferior car.

  4. BasCB (@bascb) said on 24th May 2011, 10:52

    So now Ferrari has a few races to find enought downforce to use these tyres effectively next time. Looks like they have seriously misjudged tyres this year.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 24th May 2011, 13:01

      As you said in a comment to the earlier Ferrari race review article: how did they not realise their lack of pace on the hard tyres in all that testing?

      Sure, these tyres weren’t tested, but even the previous hard compound was bad for them – they should have been able to discover they were slow on them, too slow to make them last. Maybe the low temperature in Barcelona exaggerated it, and they over compensated for that in analysis? It really seems to point to them having blinded themselves to their problems, doing miles and miles, without a real purpose other than to look good for a bit.

  5. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 24th May 2011, 11:54

    Not only the tyres the car also lack downforce as their new rear wing has been banned by the FIA.I don’t think with the Super Soft & Soft they will be able to do anything good.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 24th May 2011, 13:19

      I still think a podium is on the cards for Alonso though. A driver’s skill is definitely more important here than any other track on the calender.

      • Rob Haswell said on 24th May 2011, 14:40

        Your theory works in isolation but when you consider he’s going up against another three world-class drivers, and Webber, all of them in much faster cars – I can’t see it happening.

        If you were a betting man, would you put one on Alonso for a Monaco podium?

  6. Ral said on 24th May 2011, 14:16

    Well, Aldo Costa has taken the blame and is stepping down as technical director.

    Surely not going to change too much for this year though?

  7. Fixy (@fixy) said on 24th May 2011, 14:54

    I’m sad to say this but Massa has showed he is still the same as last year. At the start of last year he was pretty matched with Alonso, now after beating him two times by a single place he has awfully fell outside of the top 10. 9 tenths in qualifying against your team mate is too much and his race pace was much slower than Alonso’s and he was behind the Mercedes before retiring. He has not won a race since Brazil 2008, i.e. 2 and 1/2 years. He has come close, like in Germany 2010, but few other similar examples are in my mind.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 24th May 2011, 15:29

      I think that for this discussion, Germany 2010 should be counted as a win – he would very likely have won it, if left to himself. That he didn’t is at least some of the cause for his seeming lack of confidence.

  8. The Limit said on 24th May 2011, 18:12

    As Massa highlighted beautifully, Fernando went from first place to a lap down in forty laps after changing to the hard tyres. Massa himself suffered horribly on the hard tyres, but the point I think Felipe is trying to make, is that why are Red Bull and McLaren so much better on the hard tyres than Ferrari?
    Obviously, Ferrari’s answer was to fire the man they believed responsible for this failure, Aldo Costa. I suppose this is understandable given the circumstances Ferrari found themselves in at Barcelona which were more than just embarrassing but humilating. The answer is how does Ferrari fix this problem?
    They could go out and qualify on the hards leaving their fresh sets of softs unused for the race, but the next grands prix is of all places Monaco. Of all the places in the world it is probably the most important for good track position on the grid come Sunday. If the Ferrari is that bad, they may have to take that risk and hope Fernando and Felipe can make up some places in the race. Alot to hope for, but unless they can bring more upgrades to their car that work, there may not be any alternative.

  9. Carldec said on 24th May 2011, 20:04

    Lack of talent is what’s really hurting you, Flippy.

  10. U2F1 (@u2f1) said on 24th May 2011, 20:12

    agree with Rob and Klass.. Ferrari have been lacking in basic strategy, pit stops and tire management .. there really has been no reason to send Fernando out on softs in Q1.. Massa (maybe) cause he is really slow as compared to Fernando and is almost always in the danger of not making it to Q2

    The slowest 6 go out in Q1 and are usually HRT, Virgin & lotus. Ferrari should really be in a position to sail through Q1 without going onto the softer compound .. really astounds me

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