Ferrari: Alonso admits “the title is gone”

2011 Italian GP team review

Fernando Alonso admits Sebastian Vettel won’t be beaten to this year’s title.

Fernando Alonso Felipe Massa
Qualifying position 4 6
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’22.841 (-0.347) 1’23.188
Race position 3 6
Laps 53/53 53/53
Pit stops 2 2

Ferrari drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2011drivercolours.csv
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
Fernando Alonso 119.584 141.991 139.393 90.838 91.504 91.393 89.578 89.256 89.296 89.224 89.45 89.305 89.054 89.072 89.291 89.355 89.125 89.18 92.944 107.383 88.559 88.288 88.254 88.134 88.068 87.972 87.981 87.763 87.959 87.414 87.369 87.646 88.186 91.064 106.375 89.335 87.465 87.447 87.6 87.406 87.243 87.236 87.65 87.84 87.227 87.352 87.444 87.232 87.99 87.191 87.529 87.243 87.403
Felipe Massa 122.345 142.83 138.003 91.224 99.625 91.793 91.284 89.787 89.75 89.208 90.346 89.228 89.372 89.124 89.277 89.72 89.906 89.361 89.67 90.116 93.483 107.727 89.082 89.011 88.566 88.398 88.341 88.128 88.067 88.429 88.047 87.893 87.814 88.102 87.984 87.77 87.719 87.666 87.815 87.607 91.331 106.434 87.62 87.84 87.591 87.512 87.327 87.193 87.418 87.423 87.402 87.532 86.924

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Monza, 2011

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Monza, 2011

Start tyre Soft
Pit stop 1 Soft 22.539s
Pit stop 2 Medium 21.989s

Alonso was surprised by his car’s improvement in qualifying: “We made a lot of changes to the set-up after each session and again this morning we were not satisfied.

“Then unexpectedly, in qualifying, the car improved and was more stable under braking and easier to drive, to the extent that we were always in the top four or five positions in each session.”

Alonso made a phenomenal start, a replay of his effort from Spain, where he also shot from fourth on the grid into the lead at the first corner.

But unlike in Spain he couldn’t keep the lead for any length of time. After the restart it took Sebastian Vettel little more than a lap to find a way by.

Alonso made it hard for Vettel: coming down the start/finish line at the beginning of lap five Alonso clearly changed his line twice trying to keep the Red Bull behind, a move that might have incurred a penalty had Vettel not made it by shortly afterwards.

Vettel drew along the Ferrari on the outside of Curva Grande, Alonso squeezing him onto the grass as they nudged 320kph (200mph), but unable to keep Vettel from the lead.

Alonso defended a brief challenge from Michael Schumacher shortly afterwards, but was protected from attack by the Mercedes who kept the McLarens at bay.

Jenson Button finally broke through and caught Alonso after the final round of pit stops.

As usual the Ferrari struggled for traction shortly after switching to the harder tyres and Button squeezed past at the inside of Curva Grande on lap 36. Alonso appeared to surrender to the inevitable, not using his KERS to defend the position.

Lewis Hamilton eroded Alonso’s eight second lead over the final 15 laps. He arrived on the Ferrari’s tail as the final tour began, but Alonso held on to give Ferrari a podium finish at their home race.

Alonso remains Vettel’s closest challenger in the championship but does not think the Red Bull can be beaten: “It?s true the title has gone now, but there is still great motivation: we want to win races and try to defend the position I have just reached in the drivers championship.”

Fernando Alonso 2011 form guide

Felipe Massa

Start tyre Soft
Pit stop 1 Soft 21.821s
Pit stop 2 Medium 22.148s

Having out-qualified Alonso in the last two races, Massa resumed his usual place behind his team mate at Monza: “In Q3, on my final run, I had got a good tow behind Michael, but then, I pushed a bit too much and lost precious time at the second chicane and the Lesmo corner.

“Maybe I could have been one or two places further up, but definitely nothing more than that.”

Massa moved up to fifth at the start but collided with Mark Webber when the Red Bull driver tried to pass him on lap five.

Webber had been fractionally ahead of Massa on the outside as they entered the Rettifilio. Massa took a wider line through the first part of the chicane, forcing Webber onto the kerbs, and from there the Red Bull driver could do little to avoid hitting the Ferrari.

Massa tried to lay the blame for the collision at Webber’s feet. But he also admitted he had braked late for the corner while off-line: “I braked slightly late, taking the inside line and, going round the outside, he would never have got past.”

While recovering, Massa then got involved in a collision with Jarno Trulli that was unseen by the TV cameras.

According to Trulli, Massa lost control of his car under braking at the della Roggia, pushing the Lotus in Sebastien Buemi. Massa does not appear to have offered his own version of events.

He quickly recovered several places, taking Heikki Kovalainen later on that lap, then Jaime Alguersuari, Paul di Resta, Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado.

He was back up to sixth by lap ten, but made little progress catching the cars in front of him, and finished there.

Felipe Massa 2011 form guide

2011 Italian Grand Prix

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48 comments on Ferrari: Alonso admits “the title is gone”

  1. Ferrari need to do something about Massa. Both Red Bull and Mclaren have strong line-ups, so they are weaker against the compatition.

    If a 2010-like race for the championship happened this year, Alonso would be left alone to defend the Ferrari colours.

    • It looks like Massa is just being used as an aid to Alonso.. See the slipstreaming attempt and the graph above where Massa pits first and perhaps too early giving Alonso’s engineers useful information about how long his tyres should last..
      That may be me reading too much into things, however they do have a clear no.1 driver so it would make sense to use no.2 to spearhead their attack..
      If that’s the case I don’t think Ferrari are too concerned with the outright pace of their No.2 driver as long as he’s useful enough to fit into Alonso’s strategy..

      • Oops! Alonso pitted first both times, there goes that conspiracy theory.. still I think Massa is safe at Ferrari as long as he knows his place..

        • Todfod (@todfod) said on 13th September 2011, 7:46

          I really cannot see how Massa is safe at Ferrari. Sure, Ferrari want a number two driver, but no one wants to hire one of the poorest drivers on the grid. There are a lot of drivers who wouldn’t be able to match Fernando anyways, but would still be able to compete with other front runners.

          If Ferrari were all about hiring top notch drivers, why the hell are they still sticking with Massa?

    • Massa’s pace looks to have been very similar to Alonso’s, just look at the chart.
      And despite Massa taking a wide line at the Variante del Rettifilo, it was Webber who tried to resist, when he was behind, and brake only once he jumped on the kerb.

    • I think you’ve chosen the wrong weekend to make that argument, Massa did very little wrong at Monza.

    • I think Ferrari are waiting for Alonso to win his coveted third title and then they’ll pair him with a decent team-mate. I think it’s the same situation as at McLaren in 2008-2009 when they lined up a weak Kovalainen along with Hamilton.

      • bosyber said on 13th September 2011, 15:44

        But wasn’t rather 2008 due to switching Kovalainen and Alonso? Also, Kovalainen was at the time expected to do much better than he did in the McLaren, so it doesn’t really hold up.

    • Are you kidding? Massa is much closer to his teammate then Webber is.

  2. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 12th September 2011, 15:52

    As a Ferrari/Alonso fan, this season is almost more annoying to watch than if they were simply off the pace. In the early stages of a race Alonso is the man on the move, and brings me false hope that he can fight for a victory. Unfortunately, this is often followed by a conservative strategy call or the hard tyres and I’m left sitting there moping because I’d let myself falsely believe they could win. Every week I’m the same.

    Alonso is, in my opinion, the only driver this year who’s driven anywhere near as well as Vettel has, and for him to be lying 2nd in the championship in what is (usually) only the 3rd fastest car is testament to that. Massa has been driving nicely recently as well but has been a little unfortunate. I’m fairly confident we’ll see him on the podium before the season is out.

    With the championship all but gone, I’d quite like to see Ferrari try some riskier strategy in pursuit of race wins. Qualify on the hards perhaps, then make an early switch to softs and see what it brings.

  3. Isn’t that the 4th time Alonso has told us the title is gone now this year?
    Not to say he is not right, but still.

    But if he can get a few more of those starts in, they might at least be able to keep vettel from winning it officially by the next round!

  4. What an amazing start by Alonso. Really enjoyed watching them three abreast into turn one, great viewing!

    I’m still bemused by Massa, of course he’s had his share of bad luck, but luck alone doesn’t put you that far behind Alonso on points.

    Both Massa and Webber need to have a seriously good 2012 or they’ll certainly be out of a drive by 2013.

  5. when Fernando took the lead at the start, unfortunately i already knew that frustration was coming. maybe they could have fought for some laps, but at the end the strongest car would have emerged. And when it comes to medium/hard tyres, you have just to light a candle and pray he stays on podium…

  6. I was amused by Alonso’s comments in the press conference, after some tsk-tsking from Allen about Alonso putting Vettel on the grass, that Vettel has to expect some rough treatment because he is so far ahead on points. I was expecting Alonso to say, sorry dude, wasn’t trying to actually kill you. Unforutnately for Alonso, he may never have another opportunity to block Vettel this year.

  7. Hi Keith,
    Just got back from Italy, had a great weekend there, the atmosphere is amazing!
    My friend remarked how passive Alonso was when Button overtook him. I told him that if Alonso had defended his position in MSC style, he may have lost enough time for HAM to overtake him later. What do you think? Could have Alonso done any better to defend himself from Jenson, without jeopardizing the rest of his race?

    • boundary layer (@boundary-layer) said on 12th September 2011, 22:59

      I think you have a point there. Alonso may have been thinking about preserving his tyres rather than defending his position. A podium is not something to throw away for Ferrari at Monza.

      • Totally agree with you on that.

        Alonso would have known that he wasn’t racing Button but Schumi or Hamilton. They would have worked that out.

        Its a smart move, he got decent points and a podium in Monza.

  8. Fantastic start and result from Alonso! I guess this is 3rd time he managed amazing start. All of them are Spain or Italy. Now I believe this is why San Marino GP should be back :P Apart from joking, he really needs better car at least as Mclaren. I hope 2012 Ferrari is dominant.

  9. ferrari4life said on 13th September 2011, 0:21

    x2. Sad to see such a brilliant moment in his start be nullified later on. At least i didnt get my hopes up high, bec i watched a rerun and knew the result unfortunately. But you def are left in front of the tv thinking what can alonso do more to win? every weekend we get an A for effort but C on the ultimate result.

  10. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th September 2011, 1:23

    Maybe I’m just being a cynic, but did anyone else get the impression that Alonso went for the race lead to please the crowds? He knew he couldn’t compete with Vettel over more than one or two racing laps – his third place was probably the best he could hope for – so he went full bananas off the line to take the lead on the opening lap. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s done something like this; when he was at Renault in 2008, he went out with little more than fumes in his fuel tank to set the fastest lap and please the home crowds.

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 13th September 2011, 4:29

      Possibly. But It’s still brilliant start and without that start, he shouldn’t get on the podium. of course we should not forget effort of Schumacher to help his old home! :P

    • Whats ur point ? Do u mean to say if it was not Ferrari’s home race, he would have given up if he had this kind of start ? He or any other driver would love this kind of start anywhere in thhe world leave alone the HOME TRACK. The start does not depend on how good is the car. If this track was Monaco, he would have kept Vettel behind him for so many more laps.

  11. Ferrari really need to get their act together for 2012. If they fail to find pace at the start of the season, Im sorry, Stefano Domeniciali has to go. The WDC Winning car from 07 was a Brawn-Byrne-Todt legacy, which means he has yet to build a championship winning car. The 08 machine had the same genes as its predecessor, and really should have won the title, but due to poor management, failed.

    Last year’s late surge from Alonso was down to some brilliant drives and luck, hardly a complement to Stefano’s management regime.

    Next season will be the acid test for Stefano, I think LDM is running out of patience. By breaking the bank to pay off Raikonnen to bring Alonso in, Im sure he was expecting a title surge right away, it almost happened last year, but this year has just been really poor from Ferrari.

  12. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 13th September 2011, 3:02

    Awesome start from Alonso but couldn’t capitalize on it.

  13. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 13th September 2011, 11:10

    i have a question: what is Rory Byrne doing int the Ferrari Box in at Monza is it true that he will supervise the conception of the next ferrari ????????

  14. Atticus said on 14th September 2011, 18:47

    Is it just me or Massa did matched Alonso this time in terms of race pace?

    So unlucky with Webber. I think Webber really should have backed off or cut the chicane; there was nowhere for him to go.

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