Qualifying performance a priority for Ferrari

2013 Chinese Grand Prix

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Sepang, 2013Ferrari technical director Pat Fry says the team are working to reduce the deficit to their rivals in qualifying.

“We?ve shown reasonable race pace and on all the tyre types we have used so far we have performed well, however we still have a way to go to be quickest in qualifying and we are working very hard on that at the moment,” he said.

“We?ve been concentrating on the longer runs, even if they are not as long as in the past, because this year we expect more pit stops during a race. However, we have not ignored our qualifying pace.

“I am sure there is more to come on this front, as we learn more about our car and start getting the best out of it. The key will be to try and move our car development programme forward quicker than the other teams do.

“It?s a tough cycle that will last all year and we need to at least match our 2012 development pace if we are to perform better in qualifying. So far, we have worked well, all the way through from design to manufacture, improving on how we did things last year in terms of actually getting new bits onto the car. Also, our aero correlation is better.”

Ferrari have set pole position in just four of the 77 races since the current generation of rules were introduced at the start of 2009.

Fry said it was “too early to say” how competitive the team will be in China, as there are “too many unknowns”.

“At the end of this Grand Prix, we will have a clearer picture of how all the tyres compare to one another. So to some degree, Shanghai will be another learning exercise for everyone, although we can say that our pace, relative to the other teams, has been okay on all the tyres we have tried so far.”

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107 comments on Qualifying performance a priority for Ferrari

  1. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 9th April 2013, 11:54

    If I was Ferrari I would try to maximize the tyre advantage they seem to have.

    • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 9th April 2013, 11:59

      Put a front row qualfying performance together with their amazing starting/early race pace though, and they’ll be onto a winner! The challenge is doing so without compromising their impressive tyre deg, however.

  2. Boomerang said on 9th April 2013, 12:04

    With the known laws of physics and this geometry of the front suspension they’ll never make it. They’ll be good in races but with low fuell levels I’m sure they can’t do it. They should perform aero miracles to counteract inferiority of the mechanical side of the car. That’s not a way to do it. I wonder why people can’t learn a thing from watching Adrian’s cars.

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 9th April 2013, 14:07

      With the known laws of physics and this geometry of the front suspension they’ll never make it

      i have no idea on which laws you are talking about, but the Maranello guys will be very grateful if you explained “the laws of physics” to them

      • Boomerang said on 9th April 2013, 14:20

        It’s better to explain it with drawings but this blog doesn’t support it. If you had a Mechanical Engineering degree in design of automotive components, especially suspension systems you would understand it. Otherwise, concentrate on books explaining a car as an oscilatory system. Then, you can use Matlab and LabView to simulate how suspension design affects car’s behavior on xyz axis trough mathematical modeling. Piece of cake…

        • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 9th April 2013, 14:37

          If you had a Mechanical Engineering degree in design of automotive components, especially suspension systems you would understand it.

          I have a software engineering degree , that’s why i still don’t get it but i don’t know why the guys at Ferrari didn’t understand it either, maybe they don’t have a department of Mechnical Engineering to understand what you figured out on their car

          you can use Matlab and LabView to simulate how suspension design affects car’s behavior on xyz axis trough mathematical modeling. Piece of cake…

          Well i can tell you that i can use both Matlab and LabView ,it is not a problem for me but it is a very serious one for Ferrari engineers , so why don’t you provide them with the solution for their problem since it is a Piece Of Cake for you

        • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 9th April 2013, 14:42

          I am a Mechanical Engineering student not far from getting the degree and I cannot understand what you’re saying.

          As an engineer, you should know that, while it might be difficult, it’s certainly not impossible. Besides a car is a whole bunch of components which can all be improved.

          Just look how far they’ve got since they first got this front suspension geometry. There’s room for more, and not only in that department.

          • Boomerang said on 9th April 2013, 15:25

            No, it’s not impossible, by no means no. But it’s a hard time getting it to work. You see RBs on the other hand have no problem in qualifying but their tyres degrade at faster rate. Different approach different chalenges. We still don’t know how much weather helped them in Malaysia. We’ll see in China. It should be dry there. I’m just pretty sure Ferrari will have a difficult time to catch RBs in qualifying. Well, everyone does ;-) I don’t say they won’t win races with the strong race pace they have now. But, I think their car is stronger this way.
            Regarding mathematical models, I find mathematical models from old books much better then contemporary ones. Much more details and people knew their math thirty or forty years ago. You can learn a lot from it. Besides, you should never forget that F1 car is a complexed beast. Low flying aircraft, but with much complexed aerodynamics then the aircraft because of the interaction with the ground. It’s a blend of an aircraft and a car. That makes it even more difficult to comprehend. The aerodynamics can iron out some issues on mechanical side no doubt about it but there is no way it can go arround them all. It’s like you’re saying that it dosn’t matter where you mount wings to the aircraft hull.
            It does, unless you want to get PhD in designing the best fly-by-wire system ever ;-)
            Pretty intoxicating stuff ha?

        • Seytan said on 9th April 2013, 16:41

          I am a Mechanical Engineer. I work in the motorsports industry. I am also well versed in vehicle dynamics. Suspension geometry is very straightforward, and there is nothing fundamentally flawed about the front pullrod design. I’m interested to hear your expert analysis on why this design is less than optimal. I’ll wait…

        • Dan (@esquilax) said on 10th April 2013, 10:50

          I am a Civil Engineer….that is all

        • Mike (@mike) said on 10th April 2013, 18:26

          If I were a politician I think I’d understand, because you said a lot without actually saying anything at all.

        • Roberto (@roberto) said on 11th April 2013, 5:42

          Lots of engineers it appears?… seemingly bored at work…

    • mfDB (@mfdb) said on 9th April 2013, 14:12

      Didn’t they qualify 2nd and 3rd in the last race? I think they’re pretty damn close to doing it. The only thing in their way is Vettel…

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 9th April 2013, 14:16

      With the known laws of physics and this geometry of the front suspension they’ll never make it

      I bet the NASA guys were told the same about their plans to land on the moon. Except the front suspension bit… ignore that :P.

      On a serious note, why would that be a detriment? They can get round it. Everything can get round by with the proper research and development.

      • Boomerang said on 9th April 2013, 14:40

        Nasa killed three of their fine astronauts to get there. Right? Three people died before they came to their senses and changed approach in designing Apollo capsule.
        They killed 14 more in trying to do things by neglecting sound Engineering approach in crucial areas of Space Shuttle program. Right?
        Ferrari will be a master of the track under full load of fuel but it will ‘lose breath’ towards the end of the race. Fernando chased Kimi nicely in Australia. I thought he’ll get him. But when Kimi started to squeeze his car a bit more, there was no chance of catching him.
        Sometimes they’ll do fine because they have a car that preserves tyres wery well but so does Lotus :-) We’ll see…
        You can’t get around fundamental approch and their was a good race pace. They have it. In quilfying they’ll strugle. You can’t have everything. This and that. It’s allways this or that… That’s life mate, bare truth.

        • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 9th April 2013, 14:47

          LOL they didn’t KILLED them, did they?

          Anyway, no idea where you’re going with that…

          You can’t get around fundamental approch and their was a good race pace. They have it. In quilfying they’ll strugle. You can’t have everything. This and that. It’s allways this or that… That’s life mate, bare truth.

          Depends, as they are saying, race pace is becoming more of qualy pace than it used to be, as stints are way shorter.

          You can get good qualy pace and good race pace at the same time. It’s not like low downforce vs high downforce approach, where you got to compromise top speed with cornering speed. You can have the best of qualy and race, or at least improve in both senses.

          It’s hard to think otherwise.. .Afterall, they Q’ed 2nd and 3rd last race.

          • rambler said on 9th April 2013, 19:27

            Semantics. Don’t try to discredit his statement with just a “LOL” and a poor association of meanings of words.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 10th April 2013, 18:30

            What he is saying is that Ferrari won’t be able to improve their qually performance without hurting their race pace.

            To which I say, until Scrabs, Kieth or @John-Beamer tell me otherwise, I think you are making things up.

    • Randy (@randy) said on 9th April 2013, 18:59

      Amazing how a simple commenter can spot so obvious design flaw in a car created by a team consisting of 500+ hand-picked, best-trained people. It’s awesome to be able to witness this kind of genius on a ordinary website, brilliant grasp on the subject.

      This all has to come down to HR bosses of F1 teams, if i would become one i would just cherry-pick my dream-team from F1 website comment sections, they would wipe the floor with all those over-educated smart-mouths from Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren.

  3. BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th April 2013, 12:27

    If Massa is back on form, we could see them gunning for pole this year. He always was one for good qualifying performance, wasn’t he?

  4. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th April 2013, 12:31

    Qualifying has appeared to be Ferrari’s Achilles heel with the F2012 chassis, so that leads to suggest that the car just isn’t a good qualifier inherently. Last year they had problems with DRS re-attachment which slowed them in qualifying, but that is no longer a possible explanation due to the new rules regarding it’s use.

    I wonder if this is related to the all pull-rod suspension: McLaren have done the same thing, and their qualifying is also worse relative to their race pace it appears. We then look at Red Bull – with their push-rod front suspension – and they have a very good car in qualifying. I do realise there are obviously other factors such as downforce levels, but I wonder if there is a connection between pull-rod front suspension and the ability to switch the tyres on for a qualifying lap?

    • kbdavies (@kbdavies) said on 9th April 2013, 12:45

      Has anyone ever thought that qualifying is not the strongest point of any of the Ferrari drivers? Alonso himself mentioned that it wasn’t his best skill, and i doubt Mass would argue against that as well.
      Yes, the characteristic of the car (and tires – NOT again!) are the main cause of this (see 2012 Ferrari), but a driver’s driving style (aka hustling the car around the track) can generate heat into the tires more quickly and hence deliver that one lap pace more effectively. This was why the Ferrari, though bad on one lap pace, was mega in the actual races last year.

      Though difficult to judge, I believe neither Ferrari drivers are really putting the car where it really deserves to be in Q3.

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 9th April 2013, 14:21

        Ok let’s think that your theory about Ferrari drivers is true, let’s say that they are under performing in qualifying by 0.5s, in the last 3 years if we added this deficit to their qualifying times they will still be off the front row not in all the races of course but in the most of them

        but a driver’s driving style (aka hustling the car around the track) can generate heat into the tires more quickly and hence deliver that one lap pace more effectively

        I don’t think that there is any driver on earth more aggressive than Fernando Alonso!!!
        Choose another argument please !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th April 2013, 15:00

          @tifoso1989 – Alonso isn’t really aggressive in terms of how he drives the car though compared to the likes of say Hamilton. He’s a very aggressive racer, but not so much when it comes to hustling the car I wouldn’t say.

          That’s not a bad thing though, because it’s fared him very well in the races!

          @kbdavies – they aren’t the best of qualifiers granted, but I think there is a element of car performance there also. Yes though, if you put Alonso in a Red Bull I doubt he’d be Vettel over one lap.

          • karter22 (@karter22) said on 9th April 2013, 15:50

            @vettel1

            if you put Alonso in a Red Bull I doubt he’d be Vettel over one lap.

            That is a bold statement considering that Fernando´s biggest blunder in the Malasyan GP was running into the back of a slower-through-turn 2 Vettel thus Ramming his nose up his gearbox.

            Alonso indeed is not the fastest qualifier but most people tend to over hype Vettel´s one lap pace and they forget that he´s been in the best car for the last 3 -4 years. Don´t get me wrong, he´s not slow but he gets a lot of help fom his equipment.

            I think that it would be interesting to swap drivers for a day and see who can outperform who… It would be interesting to see what Vettel would do in the Ferrari and it would be interesting to see what Alonso would do in a RBR. My guess is that Alonso would come out on top of that one.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th April 2013, 15:54

            @karter22

            That is a bold statement considering that Fernando´s biggest blunder in the Malasyan GP was running into the back of a slower-through-turn 2 Vettel

            Point being? That’s nothing at all to do with how well each can qualify!

            My guess is that Alonso would come out on top of that one.

            Almost inevitably, as Vettel is so far coming out on top in the Red Bull!

          • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 9th April 2013, 16:09

            if you put Alonso in a Red Bull I doubt he’d be Vettel over one lap.

            yes he will not be beaten 9 times in a season by Mark Webber

          • karter22 (@karter22) said on 9th April 2013, 16:12

            @vettel1

            Point being? That’s nothing at all to do with how well each can qualify!

            True, Vettel did qualify ahead but, I find it rather odd that he was not able to walk away as he usually does in all the races, instead, he was incredibly slow through turn 2. True the conditions where not the best on the track but they were the same for everyone and it seems that some were quicker!

            Almost inevitably, as Vettel is so far coming out on top in the Red Bull!

            You missed my point completely. I didn´t mean swap them for a race. Just swap them for a day in a closed circuit if you´d like and see who can outperform who in the other driver´s usual ride. I guess FA would outperform SV in the RBR and SV would complain that the Ferrari is crap! XD
            I´m just messing with you Max, this is all hypothetical, it´ll never happen but the first part I really meant it!

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th April 2013, 16:18

            @karter22 – just erring on the side of caution ;)

            Ah I see now! I’m not entirely sure but of course it is all just hypothetical and I guess we may never find out :(

          • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 9th April 2013, 16:20

            most people tend to over hype Vettel´s one lap pace and they forget that he´s been in the best car for the last 3 -4 years.

            That’s a perfectly circular argument. If you define any car in which Vettel wins the WDC (or comes 2nd in it) as “the best car” then yes, by definition any time Vettel wins the WDC (or comes 2nd in it) he does so in “the best car”. And if we define an elephant as any animal with a trunk, then any animal with a trunk is an elephant.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th April 2013, 16:21

            I mean’t *beat as apposed to be!

            @tifoso1989 You say that as if Webber is a bad qualifier, when it is actually one of his strengths! I’d even say Webber’s better than Alonso over one lap – not so over a race distance though.

          • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 9th April 2013, 16:25

            considering that Fernando´s biggest blunder in the Malasyan GP was running into the back of a slower-through-turn 2 Vettel

            I’ve gotta admire the way you manage to turn a blunder by Alonso into Vettel being “slow”! That’s some real mental dexterity right there.

            I guess Alonso’s biggest blunder in Monaco 2010 (where he totaled his car in free practice and had to start the race from the pit lane) was being too “fast”.

          • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 9th April 2013, 16:37

            @vettel1
            I’m pretty sure if you ask Mark Webber himself if he is faster than Alonso over one lap he will say no .BTW why just now Mark webber suddently become a good driver ????

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th April 2013, 16:52

            @jonsan +1! There is a rule of thumb that if you rear-end someone it is always your fault.

            @tifoso1989 read my comment again:

            I’d even say Webber’s better than Alonso over one lap – not so over a race distance though.

            So he’s a worse driver than Alonso as I’ve said, and also a worse driver than Vettel obviously as he’s lost to him in 100% of the years of their partnership.

            I said he was a good qualifier, not a good driver (although I would say he was a good driver – all F1 drivers are, and even on the relative scale of F1 drivers he’s a good driver but not a great one).

          • karter22 (@karter22) said on 9th April 2013, 17:16

            @jonsan

            I guess Alonso’s biggest blunder in Monaco 2010 (where he totaled his car in free practice and had to start the race from the pit lane) was being too “fast”.

            Lol. No, Monaco 2010 he just made a mistake. He is human you know but the Malasya incident you could look at it 2 ways. 1.- He messed upor 2.- SV was just too slow through the corner (Which I personally believe he did on purpose).

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 9th April 2013, 17:23

            @karter22 – Why would Vettel deliberately go through the turn too slowly, risking losing a position, or damage to his own, and other cars? It’s pretty clear that Alonso messed up, by going in too fast, as after all, he is human.

          • karter22 (@karter22) said on 9th April 2013, 17:49

            @david-a

            Why would Vettel deliberately go through the turn too slowly, risking losing a position, or damage to his own

            Well Dizzy, I don´t know if you done karting or something like that but, it´s a simple yet effective thing to do (dirty in my opinion), basically you´re brake checking the que behind. Alonso should´ve known better and he realized it to late. When he saw it, he started to move off the line to the outside one but it was too late. It´s a racing incident but definitely a dirty one.

            What I find interesting is that SV had an open track, and was so much slower than anybody else going throught that corner, forget the Alonso incident, everybody else went through it faster and raced through it. I find it disturbing.

            It really doesn´t matter now, flip the page and move on to the next race. There are 17 more races to make up for that zero and just as SPA 2012 happened to Alonso, it could happen to anybody and not only in spa. ;)

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 9th April 2013, 18:36

            @karter22 – I have karted in the past, but I can’t agree that there was anything “dirty” about what happened. The track was wet a thte start, so I think it is fair to assume that Vettel was being cautious, and yes, Alonso should have been more cautious, or used a different line to get around Vettel if he was faster.

            Anyway, it doesn’t matter now. It’s over and done with.

        • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 9th April 2013, 15:22

          let’s say that they are under performing in qualifying by 0.5s, in the last 3 years if we added this deficit to their qualifying times they will still be off the front row not in all the races of course but in the most of them

          I have not done the numbers for each year, but if Alonso had been 0.5 seconds faster in qualifying in every race in 2010 he would have taken pole ten times that year instead of just two – and he would have been on pole in Abu Dhabi for the last race.

          By the end of the 2012 season Alonso had started on the front row in just 18.8% of the races in his career. To put that in perspective, Prost started on the front row in 43% of his races, Mansell in 29%, Senna in 54%, Stewart in 42%, Hamilton in 43%, Vettel in 49%.

          I think Alonso’s a great driver, but he’s a poor qualifier.

          • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 9th April 2013, 15:46

            But you forgot to mention that Alonso in his career(except 2007) never has cars like Mansell,Prost,Stewart,Hamilton and Vettel , even in his WDC years that Renault was not the fastest car , so using this statics to prove your point is just irrelevant

          • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 9th April 2013, 16:07

            Alonso in his career(except 2007) never has cars like Mansell,Prost,Stewart,Hamilton and Vettel , even in his WDC years that Renault was not the fastest car

            What do you base that claim on?

            If we evaluated the MP4-22 based solely on Alonso’s qualifying performances in it we might say that was not the fastest car of 2007 either. And we’d be wrong, as you admit.

            Claims for the slowness of Alonso’s cars based on his qualifying record (like claims for the quickness of Vettels cars based on his qualifying record) are based on the fallacy that qualifying pace is primarily a function of car performance and not driver performance. And this is obviously untrue – if it were true we would not see significant differences in qualifying between drivers on the same team.

        • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 9th April 2013, 15:34

          I don’t think that there is any driver on earth more aggressive than Fernando Alonso!!

          I don’t think he’s an especially aggressive driver.

          • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 9th April 2013, 16:16

            Alonso is slow, he is not aggressive either, The F2012 is a grate wet car …..blablablablahhhhhh
            So please tell me why he is considered by his colleges,team principles, journalists ,ex world champions and all the F1 world the best and the most complete driver on the grid

    • Seytan said on 9th April 2013, 16:51

      There’s no way it can be boiled down to “it’s because of their pull rod design”. Let’s not forget the biggest difference between a car in qualifying and race trim is fuel load. That greatly affects weight distribution, which is an enormous concern in vehicle dynamics. Everything is a compromise which I’m sure most of you know, and Ferrari has chosen to focus on race pace. The entire car is designed around the power train and fuel cell. Repackaging the fuel cell is a huge undertaking and can negatively affect early race pace.

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th April 2013, 17:11

        “I do realise there are obviously other factors such as downforce levels”

        so no, it can’t simply be boiled down to one factor but I was just wondering whether the pull-rod suspension is one of many factors.

        • Seytan said on 9th April 2013, 17:24

          I highly doubt it. Wishbone geometry and upright geometry, when fuel loads are taken into account, could. But the change to a front pull rod, just like at the rear, was purely an aerodynamic consideration. And a pretty good one IMO.

          • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 9th April 2013, 19:04

            @jonsan

            If we evaluated the MP4-22 based solely on Alonso’s qualifying performances in it we might say that was not the fastest car of 2007 either. And we’d be wrong.

            Constructors facts about 2007:
            Ferrari won the most races.
            Ferrari had the most pole positions.
            Ferrari scored the most fastest laps.
            Ferrari lead the most kilometers.

            Drivers facts about 2007:
            Raikkonen won the most races.
            Massa had the most pole positions.
            Raikkonen scored the most fastest laps.
            Massa lead the most kilometers.

            Laughable to claim that the MP4-22 was faster than the F2007 in ’07.

          • M Dickens (@sgt-pepper) said on 9th April 2013, 19:06

            Also (@tifoso1989), I’m hardly a Vettel fan as both (@Vettel1) and (@david-a) would attest to (to me Vettel is like Jacques Villeneuve x 3), but I highly doubt Vettel would risk putting his own car at risk of a puncture or worse, ‘brake-testing’ Alonso. I have huge respect for the man, and would definitely argue he’s a far superior driver than Vettel will ever be – BUT to defend a simple mistake by Alonso as Vettel’s fault really smacks of fanboyism.

            Actually from a consistently consistent driver, his short Malaysian race was uncharacteristically filled with bad choices. Also, it’s clear that Alonso’s qualifying IS his weakness, and defending it to me just seems as silly as defending Vettel’s wheel-to-wheel abilities, or Webber’s starts.

            On an unrelated side note, why are Webber’s starts so awful?

          • Ivano (@) said on 9th April 2013, 19:08

            And don’t forget Kimi and Massa had more reliability issues, which if they didn’t the drivers championship would have been wrapped up way before Brazil.

          • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 9th April 2013, 20:13

            Yes, therefore the Ferrari was clearly the fastest car of 2007.

            Plus, Alonso & Hamilton is definitely a superior duo to Raikkonen & Massa too, IMO.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th April 2013, 20:32

            @kingshark – what would’ve been the constructor’s results suggest that the McLaren was the quickest car over the course of the season, with 218 points scored vs 204 for Ferrari. Also, the McLaren scored 24 podiums vs 22 for the Ferrari, with 2 retirements for the former and 3 for the latter.

            Unlike with last season where the McLaren was the quickest despite the fact they came third, I think it is far from clear-cut that the Ferrari was better (in fact, I’d argue the opposite).

          • Ivano (@) said on 9th April 2013, 20:47

            Too true.

          • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 9th April 2013, 20:51

            @vettel1
            Yes, they would’ve won the constuctors championships, and had more podiums because they had a slightly more reliable car, and overall better drivers. However, the McLaren was by no stretch of the imagination faster than the Ferrari that season.

            This is what I’d say would be the car to have in each one of the races in 2007:
            AUS: Ferrari
            MAL: McLaren
            BAH: Ferrari
            ESP: Ferrari
            MON: McLaren
            CAN: McLaren
            USA: McLaren
            FRA: Ferrari
            GBR: Ferrari
            GER: Tie. Ferrari in the dry, McLaren in the wet.
            HUN: McLaren
            TUR: Ferrari
            ITA: McLaren
            BEL: Ferrari
            JPN: McLaren (wet)
            CHN: Tie. McLaren in the wet, Ferrari in the dry.
            BZL: Ferrari

            That’s 8 in favor of Ferrari, 7 in favor of McLaren, and 2 which were draws.

            IMO Ferrari had the fastest car in ’07.

          • Ivano (@) said on 9th April 2013, 20:52

            Oops, my *too true* was for kingshark’s comment.

            @vettel1
            I disagree with you. As Ferrari had to 3 retirements plus one black flag for Massa in Canadian, and Kimi’s issues in Monaco, and again, Alonso and Lewis are far better drivers than the then Ferrari pair, so yes, the Ferrari of that year was a better car.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th April 2013, 21:43

            @sgt-pepper

            but I highly doubt Vettel would risk putting his own car at risk of a puncture or worse, ‘brake-testing’ Alonso.

            Agreed – it’s a huge-risk small-gain situation. Instead, I think he was erring on the side of caution as if he’d spun or something by charging through the first two turns he would’ve thrown away what eventually turned out to be a win!

            Also, it’s clear that Alonso’s qualifying IS his weakness, and defending it to me just seems as silly as defending Vettel’s wheel-to-wheel abilities, or Webber’s starts.

            I’m not so sure on your comment about Vettel’s wheel-to-wheel ability, but for sure Alonso is better in that respect as Vettel is in qualifying. That’s generally accepted in F1 circles.

            As for Webber’s starts though, maybe he’s just got rubbish reaction times at the start! That or clutch bite points are always a hassle for him but honestly I don’t know – Vettel seems to be able to do them just fine!

          • Aditya F. Yahya (@adityafakhri) said on 10th April 2013, 3:34

            @vettel1, @tifoso1989

            come on, mate, it would be endless argumentations. which team has better car doesn’t only count with the final result of championship standing.
            if you refer to 2007, I would say that Ferrari and McLaren have considerably equal car. why? how in the hell did Hamilton have nine podiums streak? how did Raikkonen snatch the WDC in the end? Ferrari and McLaren are on the limit, if there is such a margin, it was very slight!

            another case: 2005
            Alonso and Renault did dominated the early stages. If not, how did Fisichella dominate in Australia and Alonso in Malaysia and Bahrain? Yes McLaren caught them but severe reliability doesn’t make fastest car as the best car!

            another case: 2012
            Who would argue if we say McLaren are the best in early stages, and red Bull took them in latter part of the season?

            and about the driver, here is my OPINION:
            As long as they able to claim a WDC or more, they’re better than the others, with a notable exception of course. They did always win the championship with the best car. why? because great team that have great cars is always attracted to great driver. simple. Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, Button, Raikkonen are in the same league. You never discover who is the best driver. Victory is not only reached by a fastest car or aggresive driving or anything else. It’s a matter when you got things (almost perfectly) and a bit of fortune too.

            Alonso was nowhere in 2009 because Renault was bad. Before the heavy development, Hamilton faced the same situation in the same season (you wouldn’t forget he finished on 16th in Silverstone, aren’t you?) So did Raikkonen and Ferrari failed to score until the fourth race. Vettel? he hardly had a bad season with Red Bull. Toro Rosso years? I remember after Belgian GP the car was considered more or less the same relative to BMW Sauber (which Kubica also shine with them).

            To be a world champions or great driver, you need to get supports from team and car. To be a great team, you need to produce great car with great driver in the cockpit.

            Sorry if my words offended you (I got irritated if someone declare who’s best and who’s better), sorry for the long post, and sorry I can’t give you potato.

      • Nathan (@il-ferrarista) said on 10th April 2013, 0:47

        Continuing on about ALonso’s qualifying pace, something that I find pretty interesting – I wonder; _is_ he that much slower than other good qualifiers in today’s and yesterdays(03-08ish) F1 ?

        I mean, I’ve checked all the statistics when he was Trullis team mate; and the bottom line is that he was on par with Trulli, both 03 and 04.. He destroyed Fisichella in qualifying in both 05 and 06, and considering the all new Bridgestones in 07 and a new car and all new driving style, ALonso wasn’t far behind Hamilton in 2007.

        At Ferrari he got Massa, which he of other reasons was faster than, but remember Massa outqualified Schumacher several times in 2006.

        So, my question is; A) Is Alonso underrated in qualifying – or not ?
        b) ..And do really Ferrari tune the car for race pace so to fully exploit Alonso’s massive racecraft, as he apparently isn’t that quick in qualifying ?

    • M Dickens (@sgt-pepper) said on 9th April 2013, 18:42

      (@vettel1)

      I wonder if this is related to the all pull-rod suspension: McLaren have done the same thing, and their qualifying is also worse relative to their race pace it appears.

      I know it’s not an absolute factor, but I think this is definitely important. Why Mclaren decided to take a gamble with pull-rod, when it proved useless on the 2012 Ferrari, instead of developing the reliability of their already great 2012 chassis remains a mystery to me. I know Alonso isn’t also the world’s best qualifier, but from what I read about this last year related to the Ferrari’s choice, it does appear pull-rod sacrifices too much for some seemingly small aero-gains. But I’m not an expert, so can’t say. Hopefully Gary Anderson will do some analysis on it, like he did on Ferrari’s DRS quali problems last year.

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th April 2013, 21:32

        @sgt-pepper – the only reason I can see for them doing so is because it may suit the lower chassis and noses of the 2014 cars, otherwise I agree it seems a slightly baffling decision considering the pains Ferrari had with it early on.

        • M Dickens (@sgt-pepper) said on 9th April 2013, 22:11

          As for Webber’s starts though, maybe he’s just got rubbish reaction times at the start! That or clutch bite points are always a hassle for him but honestly I don’t know – Vettel seems to be able to do them just fine!

          This is exactly what I was thinking too. In the past some cars have been stronger starters than others, but the fact Vettel has consistently decent starts leads me to think that Webber just can’t seem to get his clutch settings right, or buckles under pressure. It’s sad, I really like Webber, and if he were to ever sort out his dire starts I reckon he might even challenge for a championship because the rare times he starts ok, he’s up on/near the podium at least, but is usually languishing around 6th or something, after starting like 3rd.

  5. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 9th April 2013, 13:38

    Italy and Singapore 2010, Britain and Germany 2012. Anyone else spot the pattern? The red cars take poles two by two hurrah, hurrah!

  6. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 9th April 2013, 14:01

    It gets even worse when one realizes both poles in 2012 where achieved in the wet. Not that their cars where slow in the dry in those weekends but I don’t think they would have nailed pole.

  7. Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 9th April 2013, 15:26

    The weather forecast for Shanghai this weekend is for no rain and high temperatures of around 22 Celsius, or72 Fahrenheit. Which should finally give us some idea of the true relative capabilities of everyone’s cars.

  8. auto_freak (@auto_freak) said on 9th April 2013, 16:41

    If they get on top of qualifying, then these guys will simply be too good even for Vettel. Give Alonso a fast car and he’ll do wonders. Their pace in Australia was frightening. They work best with these tyres too, only worrying thing is where exactly does Lotus and Mercedes have in terms of actual pace on the dry. I think Mercedes is just a tad below Red Bull on dry pace but hasn’t got the tyres working just like the Red Bulls again.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th April 2013, 17:13

      @auto_freak – I think Vettel would still have him checked in qualifying even if the cars were equal honestly.

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 9th April 2013, 18:16

        If he was beaten 9 times last season by Mark Webber what makes think that he would still have Alonso checked in qualifying, unless you think Mark Webber is faster than Alonso

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th April 2013, 18:23

          @tifoso1989 – just look at the respective driver’s pole tallies vs race wins and that should answer your question. Even at that though, Webber’s primary strength is his qualifying ability and it is Alonso’s weaknesses, so yes actually I do think Webber’s probably a better qualifier!

          • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 9th April 2013, 18:43

            just look at the respective driver’s pole tallies vs race wins and that should answer your question.

            If you’re using the statistics to prove that Vettel is a better qualifier than Alonso then how you figured out that Webber is actually a better qualier than Alonso too, i’m very curious to know

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th April 2013, 18:55

            @tifoso1989 – he’s been partnered with Vettel in every season he’s had a car capable of shooting for pole, so obviously the statistics will be skewed. Nonetheless though, Webber has 11 poles to 9 wins (so 22% more poles than wins), to Alonso who has 30 race victories to 22 poles (27% less poles than victories) – so by that statistic you could conclude Webber is a better qualifier.

            For further evidence, look at @jonsan ‘s comment bellow.

            I should clarify that in no way am I suggesting Webber is a better driver than Alonso.

          • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 9th April 2013, 19:00

            @vettel1
            Going by that logic, Alonso is a much better racer than Vettel, given that he wins more races than he starts on pole, whereas Vettel can qualify on pole more usually, yet often fails to capitalize.

            Take Canada 2012 for instance. Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren all looked to have about equal cars that weekend. Vettel took pole by 3 tenths, then fell back behind both Alonso and Hamilton in the race

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th April 2013, 19:13

            @kingshark – he could very well be, but there are far more variables in a race though than in a short 10 minute qualifying session.

            I think the ability to qualify well is the hallmark of a fast driver: take Ayrton Senna and Michael Schuamcher as examples – Senna achieved 65 poles and 41 wins (so +59%) to Schumacher who achieved 68 poles and 91 wins (-25%). It’s widely accepted that Senna was a better qualifier than Schumacher, so I’m merely applying that logic to Alonso and Vettel.

            Also, I believe that the best drivers will put the car on pole if it’s good enough to win under normal circumstances in most cases.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th April 2013, 9:26

            I think that how @vettel1 writes in his comment is pretty close to reality. Also, lets not forget Alonso has a lot of experience of racing, just like Button and Kimi I think their experience will help them over (slightly) less experienced drivers (who might be faster on quali pace).

            I think every driver is different, has slightly different skillets and excels at different parts of the season and of the race weekend. Webber has always been a very good qualifyer, until he got bettered by Vettel. Hamilton has been better at it than most of his teammates. Alonso’s record against his teammates is more even than that, but he has been able to win from further back, just like Kimi has (and Button too, although it seems more limited to slippery tracks).

      • puneeth Bharath (@puneethvb) said on 9th April 2013, 20:45

        @Vettel1

        I think Alonso will have the edge if they had equal cars :)

      • Roberto (@roberto) said on 11th April 2013, 6:01

        @Vettel1

        +1. I believe Vettel is a better qualifier as well..

  9. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 9th April 2013, 17:01

    When Ferrari states their car is not good in qualifying, that means they don’t care about Massa right? i would not say this car is bad in qualifying. Vettel is better in qualifying, that’s one of his skills (like it or not) and Massa has been this last races just there.
    They don’t want to admit they can’t accept having Massa on top of Alonso in any skill (Alonso is better in race pace, overtaking, tyre management than Massa, like it or not). That would mean to redesign some parts of the car to fit Alonso better in qualifying, but doing that they could risk the rest of the package, and except for Monaco, most of the other races are not won by starting first, but by racing the 60-something laps

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 9th April 2013, 18:38

      When you see Australia front row lock out by Red Bull and even in the wet in Malaysia Vettel still got pole by 1s despite making a mistake in his qualy lap, what you want them say about the performance of the car in qualifying , that is the fastest car on the grid or what

      That would mean to redesign some parts of the car to fit Alonso better in qualifying,

      Let’s say that this is true, you didn’t mention that Red Bull also are adapting the car to Seb driving style or Lotus mounting their last upgrades on Kimi’s car
      Double Standard

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th April 2013, 19:02

        @tifoso1989 – I don’t think @omarr-pepper has said anything unorthodox or to the detriment of Alonso, quite the opposite in fact.

        even in the wet in Malaysia Vettel still got pole by 1s despite making a mistake in his qualy lap

        What mistake? Besides, although you can have a car which works better in the wet than the dry drivers have an increased influence over the norm when it’s wet. The car obviously still has an effect, but it’s actually reduced compared to in the dry.

      • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 9th April 2013, 23:19

        Why double standard @tifoso1989? i know RB and Lotus try to favor one driver, and it’s also risky for them to be innovative. Just remember Lotus and the Passive DDRS that didn’t work out well last year.
        What I state is that probably Ferrari should concentrate in improving the car for race pace, where Alonso can master it, rather than working for Alonso’s possible pole, which is more difficult to be true

        • puneeth Bharath (@puneethvb) said on 10th April 2013, 9:55

          @omarr-pepper

          so you think Ferrari will redesign something on the car to suit Alonso well in qualifying because Massa has outqualified Alonso in the first two races of these season… :P
          As if there is some magic part that ferrari are developing and will only suit Alonso.. if they do improve the quali performance of the car it will benefit both Massa and Alonso…

          I like Massa , he seems to be a very nice guy.. but the way people portray him as a victim has gone on for too long… If he was so much disadvantaged in Ferrari he could’ve chosen not to extend his stay in 2011 and 2012… But both times he accepted 1 year contarct extensions .. Either he is getting fair treatment or he is content to play second fiddle to Alonso… people tend to overlook the fact that he was dominated by alonso both in Quali and Race in the last three years…

  10. Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 9th April 2013, 17:11

    At numerous GP’s in 2012 Alonso managed to go slower in Q3 then in Q2. China, for instance, where if he had merely managed to duplicate his Q2 time in Q3 he’d have started the race 4th instead where he did start it – 9th.

    At Monaco in 2010 he crashed his car in practice so badly that he had to use the back-up car and start the race from the pit lane.

    He was out-qualified six poles to two by then rookie Lewis Hamilton in 2007.

    Even in his WDC winning seasons of 2005 and 2006 his qualifying performance was hardly what anyone would call Sennaesque – six poles in 19 races in 2005, six poles in 18 races in 2006.

    As I’ve mentioned before, he has an unusually low percentage of poles and front row starts for a driver with so many wins and podiums. I’m pointing out these things simply because they are facts, not in an attempt to diminish Alonso’s accomplishments. I’d say the fact that he’s been so successful in spite of his qualifying woes is very much to his credit.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th April 2013, 17:26

      @jonsan – China probably isn’t the best example: the changing condition meant that four drivers posted slower laps (and four more either didn’t post one or only made an improvement of around a tenth of a second) but I’m sure there are more meaningful examples of such occurrences!

      Indeed though, as far as qualifying goes he’s not the greatest – he reminds me of Schuamcher in that respect that he performs better in the races than he does over a lap. As you said though, that far from makes him a bad driver.

      • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 9th April 2013, 18:17

        I think Schumacher is a good analogy.

        I count seven GP’s in 2012 (excluding the rain-hit British and German GP’s) where Alonso’s Q3 times were slower than his Q2 times – which may be some sort of record.

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th April 2013, 18:30

          @jonsan – that said though, I always say that I think Senna was a better driver than Schumacher, and he was a good qualifier!

          That is quite surprising actually – track evolution is probably worth at least 2 tenths, so perhaps he’s either inconsistent or can’t handle the pressure in Q3? I’m definitely going out on a limb by suggesting that though :P

          • fangio85 (@fangio85) said on 10th April 2013, 2:17

            It seems odd to me you saying Alonso is inconsistent, and yet you also say he is better in the race than in quali (which is true). Senna was an inconsistent and overly aggressive driver, schumacher was obviously a better racer than senna, as he was able to win more consistently from further back on the grid. Qualifying is an excellent show of a cars pace, provided the driver can get the most out of it for a single lap, which f1 drivers were certainly good enough to do. Over the course of a two hour race, a drivers race craft and consistency is more important. Senna unfortunately had such a short career, mostly in the best car on the grid ala vettel. I’m not taking anything away from senna, but schumacher had a much longer career and drove in much worse cars relative to his opposition than senna. With red bull, the car is very good at generating rear downforce, and heating its tyres quickly. All im saying is quali performance is more a measure of the cars pace than race performance, where the driver has to be consistent for two hours and has to be good at racing in traffic. I’m not saying quali is all car though, merely that the car is more important in single lap pace.

  11. diehardfanatic (@diehardfanatic) said on 9th April 2013, 19:40

    Oh what I would give to see Schumacher race again. Looking back at his victory in the 2006 Chineese GP where he caught up and took that splendid victory that he well-deserved, such a genius.

  12. vishy (@vishy) said on 9th April 2013, 20:41

    I am starting to think it is not the car but the drivers who are not qualifying well. Massa is improved a lot but probably Alonso has lost a little bit of one lap pace.

    It reminds me of final years of Shumi with Ferrari when Massa and Barichello consistently matched Shumi.

    • diehardfanatic (@diehardfanatic) said on 10th April 2013, 15:08

      That’s a very good point there. Everyone is comparing and criticizing the cars of the respective teams and most of them miss the crucial factor, the drivers themselves. They could definitely point at the car if the drivers are 100% consistent, which isn’t the case. But that’s the beauty of sports, and the beauty of F1 racing too, which is diversity. Without that we might as well put robots in their.

  13. In several qualifying sessions in 2012 Alonso recorded slower times in Q3 then he did in Q2. Here are those instances, with the times being Q1 -> Q3 from left to right. (Excluding the rain-soaked British and German GP’s where all drivers slowed down as qualifying went on)

    China
    1:36.292, 1:35.982, 1:36.622

    Malaysia
    1:38.151, 1:37.379, 1:37.566

    Hungary
    1:22.095, 1:21.598, 1:21.844

    Italy
    1:24.175 , 1:24.242, 1:25.678

    Japan
    1:32.459, 1:31.833, 1:32.114

    Abu Dhabi
    1:41.939, 1:41.514, 1:41.582

    USGP/Texas
    1:37.968, 1:37.123, 1:37.300

    It’s possible, though unlikely, that these were all simply bad luck – a mechanical problem here, a slow car in the way there, a slippery track somewhere else. It’s striking that at Monza, Alonso did a faster time in Q1 than in Q2, and a faster time in Q2 than in Q3.

    By way of comparison, Hamilton lost time from Q2 to Q3 just once – by 2/10′s of a second at Suzuka, while Vettel did it twice – a tenth of a second at Singapore and a tenth of a second at Monza.

    • kbdavies (@kbdavies) said on 10th April 2013, 21:56

      @Jon Sandor – very interesting information there. Reading all the comments, reasons abound for his qualifying results. Of course, the car’s characteristics have something to do with it, and one cannot underestimate the influence of the tires…which are tied to the balance of the car, setup, etc. However, the driver is the (most important) differentiator in all this – either by adapting himself to the issues mentioned above, or driving around them. Simply put, anyway you look at it, the driver’s input has a lot more to do with where the car ends up than anything else.

      I find it hard too understand why most fans of Alonso find it hard to accept that qualifying is not strongest suite – when he himself has said so.

    • Roberto (@roberto) said on 11th April 2013, 6:06

      Thanks for that great summary @jonsan

  14. At least it seems they have found some pace http://bit.ly/11WgFG0 :P

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