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. Legend_Gordon said on 10th April 2012, 15:16

    bring back flavio briatore! Make him the ultimate decision maker in terms whose working for the F1 ferrari team. he can fire who ever he like and he can hire whoever he wants. If it requires building a new F1 factory to compete with the likes of McLaren or Mercedes so be it. But they need

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 10th April 2012, 15:40

      very interesting but one man cannot make the difference just lokk at Ross Brawn he’s struggling to get a single win with Mercedes
      by the way i read an interview of Flavio himself in Autosprint (3 April page 18) in which he was asked about him joining Ferrari in the future he answered that the problem of Ferrari is that in italy the haven’t an aerodynamic philosophy neither good Universities of aerodynamic unlike the UK where you can find the aero Masters which is very difficult to convince them to work in Maranello & because F1 is so dependent on aerodynamics it’s normal to see Ferrari struggle even they have the best team regarding the mechanics (also according to Flavio)
      it not that easy too to build a new F1 factory

  2. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 10th April 2012, 15:16

    8 tenths of the second in Alonso’s hands is a big problem for Ferrari because we all know that Fernando is capable of extracting every centimeter of the car if it isn’t the case i think it’s a good news.
    But one question why Pat is always pessimistic ?

    • Matt (@agentmulder) said on 10th April 2012, 15:29

      I see it as him being realistic, not pessimistic.

      He knows the car is, at this point, a dud. I for one appreciate that Ferrari are allowing their mouthpieces to state the truth in frank terms. Pat could have come out with the usual PR nonsense saying how motivated they are to catch RBR and whatnot, but he didn’t go that route. Massive respect to him in that regard.

      As for the pace of the car, I think it’s funny in a sad sort of way. After years of being massively passive with their car design, Ferrari finally tried to mix things up. They have an eccentric suspension, an aggressive design procedure, and some weird aero choices. They finally decided to go outside their box, and it backfired on them.

      If they want to hold on to a decent WCC position, they need upgrades fast. Sure, Alonso can drive anything to positions it shouldn’t be in, but Felipe needs a good car underneath him to do halfway decently. Unless they fix their issues fast, we’ll have a midfield Ferrari team this year.

  3. Dizzy said on 10th April 2012, 16:03

    They may be 8 tenths off in qualifying but I suspect there race pace is better than that.

    If you look at Melbourne for example, Alonso’s race pace was very strong, Matching the leaders at times through the middle of stints & he got a few fastest laps in that time.

  4. TED BELL said on 10th April 2012, 17:41


    The handwriting is on the wall and publishing the fact that your car is such sad shape is like Titantic facing that iceberg. They will only play catch up for the remainder of the year and only a fool would be mislead by the current point standings. Until they build a MP427 this ugliest of alltime Ferrari is doomed, The only chance for them will be wet events where rainfall becomes the equalizer. I love my Ferrari but have had another gut check with this report.

  5. Platanna said on 10th April 2012, 18:47

    Alonso is leading not because of his own ability – which is unquestionable – but because the other title contenders have been disappointing so far, not being able to take advantage of alternating conditions: a true trademark of a champion.

    Still early days though…

  6. zicasso (@zicasso) said on 10th April 2012, 19:14 it looks like there is some Ferrari progress is on the way…
    McLaren waiting like “vultures” to know if the Mercedes DRS system is worth the investment and Mercedes playing the long game while they wait to know if their system is definitely allowed this year and Red bull steaming because there nothing they can do. Only two races this year, incredible. Just like Martin W said, this weekend will, probably, show the true title contenders and I cannot wait.

  7. sid_prasher (@) said on 10th April 2012, 19:53

    I think Ferrari is so far behind that it is possible to make quick strides. If they understand the issue well then they can very quickly close in .2 or .3 seconds (maybe in China itself). After that it will be a struggle and they will have to hope for continued progress, others taking points off each other and continue taking every opportunity and no mistakes – in short a tough ask.

  8. xeroxpt (@) said on 10th April 2012, 22:01

    Only 8 tenths, to be able to affirm that Fry and Ferrari must be either “high” of the victory and lead of the drivers standings or crazy confident they’ll come back in terms of pace. My opinion it’s not 8 tenths its more and they are not going to catch Mclaren, Ferrari dont win many races like Malaysia that kinds of Mclaren territory, Ferrari will probably suffer all year round and Mclaren is going to emerge stronger than ever from Spain onwards.

  9. herowassenna said on 10th April 2012, 22:10

    An article by Mark Hughes in Autosport explained all the problems Ferrari is suffering. MOst of it comes down to the exhaust which is set too far back in the chassis and affecting the coke bottle rear end and the diffuser. Something that Mclaren and Red Bull have got working.
    Because of the problems, they have poor traction, poor straight line speed and are over-working the tyres. Yet the speed in high speed corners is apparantly good.
    So the changes Ferrari are working on, is to move the exhausts, so they actually produce rear downforce, this will improve traction, straightline speed and tyre usage.
    Ferrari will make up more time by getting their car to the others level.
    They are working on improving their performance by fractions of a second. Ferrari has 10th’s of a second to find before they can fine tune things.
    If they cock this up though…. crap!!!
    What a waste of Alonso

  10. JCF1 (@jcf1) said on 10th April 2012, 23:18

    Why is Fry so publicly slamming his own work? Just makes him seem incompetent. The fact his former team are on the up does nothing to help his reputation.

    By contrast the majority of other Ferrari personnel are silent. There is no need for Fry to point out the obvious fact that his own creation isnt good enough at every possible opportunity.

  11. Anti-RBR (@matt2208) said on 11th April 2012, 1:27

    there doing a Mclaren, Ferrari And Alonso will be there at the end fighting for the championship. Alonso/Hamilton will battle it out.

  12. Kev said on 11th April 2012, 2:27

    If Ferrari are only 8 tenths off the ultimate pace, they have a very good chance of winning the WDC with Alonso. Malaysia ‘win’ was not on cards and this has given them a lot of leeway in terms of aggressive strategy and the fact that they have improved others areas of the field like pitstop times, race strategy evens up the playing field a little bit.

    Once they get the exhaust working, I think Ferrari will be the team to beat. And if it rains in China, I would bet on Alonso to get a favorable result since rain seems to negate Ferrari’s issues with the car. If Alonso is anywhere near top 5 before the start of the European leg, he has a very good chance of winning the WDC this season provided Ferrari sort out their exhaust issues.

  13. Matt Pearson (@mspf1fan) said on 11th April 2012, 4:00

    By the way Alonso has been driving you’d think that Ferrari had one of the best cars on the grid. Shows what an incredible driver he is. But Ferrari say that it will be a while before they can get back at the top. I wonder how long it will take them to regain pace.

  14. bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 11th April 2012, 6:04

    They are lucky to have alonso.

    Does this mean that Massa’ performance is not that bad?

    I am surprised they let this out. Why did they do this?

  15. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 11th April 2012, 20:18

    .8s is a lot. They won’t be competing with McLaren and RBR much on merit but I imagine that Alonso at least will be in a position to capitalise on the points when the guys at the very top are fighting come later in the season.

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