Ferrari ‘eight tenths of a second off the pace’

2012 Chinese Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Sepang, 2012Ferrari technical director Pat Fry says the team are around eight tenths of a second off the pace in normal conditions.

Despite Fernando Alonso leading the drivers’ championship, Fry says the team have a lot of progress to make: “I certainly wasn?t expecting to have one driver leading the championship.

“From quite early on in testing, we realised we had quite a few issues we needed to sort out. Everyone at the factory has been working hard at that, as we still have a long way to go.

“I think our dry qualifying performance is still around eight tenths off the best while we want to be the best ourselves.

“Damp, low grip conditions suit our car and flatter some of the issues we have with the F2012 at the moment. You could see that in Melbourne on Friday and again in the race in Malaysia.”

Fry added: “If I was asked to rate the overall performance of the Scuderia so far, I?d mark it differently depending on different sections of the company.

“The team, the mechanics at the track have worked very well: in Melbourne we had the quickest pit stops and in Malaysia the speed of the pit crew and the strategy saw us gain position or time on others every time we pitted.

“However, ranking the actual performance of the package, I?d rate it much lower.

“Another plus is the way the team is responding, dealing with the stresses of trying to play catch-up. The manufacturing department, working on some of the more aggressive requests we?ve made, has responded very well.

“So, it?s been a great team effort, but we haven?t done a good job in getting the car out on track to be quickest from the start.”

Fry said the team have brought forward some updates planned for later races and will have them at this weekend’s race in Shanghai: “New parts are coming through and we are trying to get them to the race track as quickly as possible.

“We will have five updates for China, some are quite visible others less so.

“Then there will be a bigger upgrade package for Spain. It would be nice to have them earlier, but we have already brought forward some parts we were developing for Spain and we should have them in China.”

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80 comments on Ferrari ‘eight tenths of a second off the pace’

  1. JCost (@jcost) said on 10th April 2012, 11:30

    That’s huge. They can put on a ridiculous amount of work in F2012 but it’s still very difficult to make that car a championship winner. I hope their car overhaul due in May puts them of the front row.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th April 2012, 12:34

      So far they have been doing a really good job of damage limitation to keep in touch with the front runners.
      But it will be a gigantic task to keep that up for the whole year, and those 8 tenths really is a big ask without any big steps that are missing from the car and can be added with a bit of reworking.

      • MahavirShah (@mahavirshah) said on 10th April 2012, 15:34

        Not to mention that while they’re gaining maybe a couple of tenths so are the others. It’s such a shame that for the last few years, at least ever since I started watching F1 back in 2008, Ferrari have not been able to get a decent car up front. They must be given credit that on quite a few occasions they have improved the car drastically over the season and Alonso having a title shot in 2010 is testament to that. I think Malaysia was a fluke rather than general good performance in wet conditions.

      • Mike (@mike) said on 11th April 2012, 1:55

        Although the damage limitation is more a result of the weather and two crazy races rather than any particular thing Ferrari have done.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 10th April 2012, 22:14

      Depends which of their cars they believe is 0.8 behind…

  2. OEL F1 (@oel-f1) said on 10th April 2012, 11:41

    “As long as Fernando has a steering wheel in his hands he’s always there”

    He’s there, at the top of the table after 2 races, but for him to be there after 20 races Ferrari have to push harder than hard. Or it has to rain in every second race, and Alonso has to grab every oportunity he possibly can. Still winning a race and leading the championship now in a car 0.8 seconds off the pace is unrealistic, even if it is the case. Good luck Ferrari. You need it.

  3. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 10th April 2012, 11:48

    I don’t see Ferrari pulling back that much of a deficit with their overhaul in May. I was very impressed with how McLaren recovered in 2009 when their dog turned into a race winner, but that took over half the season.

    I’ll live in hope…

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 10th April 2012, 12:21

      to be fair, still F2012 is in better situation than 2009 Mclaren(and Ferrari!). so If they do very well, it would come much earlier…

    • yes, but the performance of the 2009 mclaren could arguably be put down to a single part, the double diffuser. with the ferrari this year, it is much harder to see where any huge gains could be made

      • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 10th April 2012, 14:10

        @demos12 more like the diffuser, weight distribution and the endplates, but I agree with your point. There’s not a step where clear gains can be made.

      • Dave_F1 said on 10th April 2012, 15:56

        There was also KERS in 2009.
        The McLaren KERS unit got smaller/lighter through the year & that helped them sort out some of the balance issues the bigger/heavier unit introduced early in the year.

        Also do not forget that even by the end of the year they were still a few tenths off other teams at tracks where aero was more important, They only really looked like winning at tracks where having KERS was a real advantage.

    • herowassenna said on 10th April 2012, 22:02

      Some good points, but don’t forget Ferrari were not in the running early on in 2010 and nearly won the WDC.
      Mclaren in winter testing in 2011 were miles behind Red Bull, yet by Melbourne, with EBD managed to be competitive.
      Mclaren and Red Bull are already performing to a good level, whereas Ferrari have made design errors. Once they have been sorted out, the gap will disappear. After that, any gains in time will be similar between the teams.

  4. Adam B (@lurker) said on 10th April 2012, 11:54

    The F2012 is kinda like a Dachshund. Bear with me, I’m going somewhere with this…

    You can dress a dachshund up in all the pretty little costumes you want. You can trim it’s nails, brush it’s teeth, and teach it a whole bunch of amusing tricks. But it’s still a sausage looking dog underneath. No matter how hard it tries, it’ll never be a greyhound.

    The best solution is to take the F2012 to Maranello, give it one last trip around the circuit, then take it out back and put a bullet thru it’s ECU.

    Then copy the MP4/27, slap a Ferrari badge on it, and send it out to run with all the other greyhounds.

  5. Aetost (@aetost) said on 10th April 2012, 11:59

    In the only race last year with restricted EBDs, they were the class of the field. Yet, in this post EBD era, they ditched last year’s car and came up with the F2012. Yes, they know better than I do, but the results are not really there…

    • JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 10th April 2012, 15:34

      I completely agree. The fact that they decided to go ‘revolutionary’ despite having a good car without the EBD is beyond me.

    • Hallard said on 10th April 2012, 19:35

      But at silverstone last year, EBDs weren’t banned, they just couldnt be blown while off-throttle.
      This year, the EBD is “banned” entirely, so you cant really compare. But if you’re trying to say that maybe they’ve gone too radical with their design, considering that they had a conventional-but-quick car last year (when on the right set of tires), then I agree with you :-)

  6. Tayyib (@m0nzaman) said on 10th April 2012, 12:00

    I’m not sure what your on about with dascunds but the gap is simply enormous, too enormous, you cant the fault the mechanics and the team but the car is probably than the lotus in dry race conditions. 4 tenths would be very big, this is too much I fear for people like domenicalli his term as boss has been poor, another bad year and it could be arriverderci for him and some of the top brass at the scuderia.


  7. Nikola said on 10th April 2012, 12:22

    If they would to pit every lap they would be competitive :D.

  8. Eggry (@eggry) said on 10th April 2012, 12:28

    8 tenth is not that huge considering F2012 is quite unstable car. if they can improve poor handling and traction, lap time would be improved significantly. of course it’s not so easy and perhaps they could have stability but loose some pure pace.

    Still I think it’s not the worst case. if they don’t have such definite problem but still not fast, it would be much harder to improve. at least F2012 is quite clear in terms of what should be sorted out. the question is how…

    • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 10th April 2012, 14:17

      @eggry the thing is, their rubbish traction is because of a domino effect of setup compromises they’ve made. They’ve made these compromises thanks to a much more fundamental issue of an apparently somewhat-rubbish diffuser.

    • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 10th April 2012, 23:09

      Ditching the pullrod suspension, or getting to know the details of how to set it up could be the trick, I think. (thanks to @Johnbeamer ‘s excellent article here

  9. mole (@mole) said on 10th April 2012, 12:50

    Don’t forget that this 8 tenths is for “dry qualifying performance “, and that is the delta to the McLaren. The Red Bull has a little delta too, but it’s clear that it has more than enough race pace to bring the fight to McLaren (unfortunately :P).

    I’d wager the Ferrari isn’t nearly as far off on race pace, and I’d remind you that last year in Australia most competitors were a second off Vettel’s pole! The season is long, and I refuse to believe Ferrari are dead – especially when Alonso is there to do things he shouldn’t be able to!

    Barcelona will be the real test of the car, not just cause of the demands circuit, but because of where it’ll be in the calender in terms of the getting new parts developed and on the car for the European leg.

  10. I don’t think alonso will be getting a win any time soon…and Red Bull & Mclaren have brought more upgrades, so chances are it could end up being more than 8 tenths..

  11. GeorgeDaviesF1 (@georgedaviesf1) said on 10th April 2012, 14:01

    How much time did FA say he brought to McMerc in ’07?

    • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 10th April 2012, 14:19

      6 tenths. He’s 2 short unfortunately.

      • GeorgeDaviesF1 (@georgedaviesf1) said on 10th April 2012, 18:49

        Do you reckon he was just saying that or does he genuinely bring a few tenths?

        • bag0 (@bag0) said on 10th April 2012, 22:37

          The question is: compared to who? Kimi? I dont think so. Montoya? Thats a maybe. Wurtz or Paffet? Probably yes. He could easily say that, he was a new driver at a team with “no drivers”, as Kimi left for Ferrari, and Montoya for NASCAR (not so sure). Mclaren had two test drivers Wurtz, who left for Williams, and Paffet who had been promoted to testing driver. So actually he brought infinite amount of time to the team, because he drove the car. :)

          • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 11th April 2012, 5:14

            @bag0 that’s entirely not what we’re talking about. it wasn’t through driving. He helped the team get 6 tenths through useful feedback.

          • Solo (@solo) said on 11th April 2012, 11:48

            If his useful feedback gives Ferrari 6 tenths they wouldn’t have every year then this aerodynamics and engineers must be completely awful at making a car because with out Alonso they would have been on the back of the grid fighting with Caterham.

        • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 11th April 2012, 5:16

          He might have. We don’t know to be honest.

          • bag0 (@bag0) said on 11th April 2012, 9:10

            Sorry, I misunderstood (if there is a word like this:D). But I agree, we can’t know that.

  12. JCost (@jcost) said on 10th April 2012, 14:06

    “Simple” Problem Solving plan

    1. How slow is it? (they already know)
    2. Why is it that slow? (I guess they have an idea)
    3. What to do to fix it? (I’m afraid they don’t know)
    4. Fix it!

  13. Dave (@davea86) said on 10th April 2012, 14:07

    If Alonso’s 8 tenths off then they have a lot of work to do. If it’s Massa who’s 8 tenths off McLaren then Alonso would have had pole… Maybe they’re splitting the difference?

  14. andae23 (@andae23) said on 10th April 2012, 14:36

    Anyone has a hard time believing a car that is so much off the pace can lead the WC?

    I hope that they can gain some pace during this year and crawl back to the top. But because this clearly won’t happen, they should be putting their efforts into the new car very early on in the season, I guess, so that Alonso and Perez might be championship contenders next year. ;)

  15. Pamphlet (@pamphlet) said on 10th April 2012, 14:58

    Just remember that Alonso’s win was nothing more than a fluke. That car belongs nowhere near the top of the table, and not even someone like ‘nando can “fix” that.

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