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Alonso stresses importance of Ferrari not being cut adrift early again
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Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Feb 2012   |  2:13 pm GMT  |  8 comments

Fernando Alonso believes it is important to Ferrari’s hopes of challenging for the world title that none of their rivals makes a dominant start to the season akin to Sebastian Vettel last year, should the Maranello team not be in a position to win from the first round in Australia.

Team principal Stefano Domenicali confidently declared that “I am sure our car will be winning right from the beginning” at the launch of the F2012 but due to the innovative nature of the design compared to recent Ferraris the team’s pre-season programme has to date generally had to centre on data acquisition work and evaluation of different set-ups and configurations to understand how to get the best out of the car.

With Red Bull and McLaren appearing further advanced with their testing programmes, and just one test left this week, Melbourne may come too soon to hit Domenciali’s aim but Alonso is still hopeful of a strong start, with the wins ideally shared among the top drivers as in 2010 should Ferrari not be at its best immediately.

“It is definitely too early to say where we are compared to the others. Red Bull is very strong, but that’s hardly a surprise. For our part, it will be useful to get off to a good start as this always takes the pressure off the team, but if we do not turn out to be competitive enough to challenge for victory immediately, then it’s important that it’s not just one person doing the winning,” he told the team’s website.

“If one thinks about it, the difference in performance between us and Red Bull in 2011 was not that different to what it had been in 2010 and yet two years ago, we came to the last race leading the championship, while last year we were hardly ever in the title fight.”

He reiterated that Ferrari’s progress to date continued to be steady and further steps forward would be made this week: “Maybe we are only taking small steps forward, but they are coming constantly: in Barcelona, the F2012 was better than it had been in Jerez and it will be better still this week and even more so in Melbourne. There is still a lot of work to do, but as of today, there is no reason why we should not be ready for the first race.”

That final preparation work at the Circuit de Catalunya will now take place for Ferrari as originally scheduled on March 1-4 after the team, along with Red Bull who had adopted the same schedule, scrapped plans to sit out Thursday’s opening day and run into the start of the next week [Monday 5] instead.

Ferrari confirmed that the change had been prompted by “a new clarification of Article 22.4 of the Sporting Regulations, which was sent to the teams late yesterday evening”. The Article in question outlines when track testing is not allowed to take place, with the clarification appearing likely to have been centred on the first part of the sentence which reads that no testing may take place “Between the start of the week preceding the first Event of the Championship and 31 December of the same year [barring exemptions]…”

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8 Comments
  1. Donald says:

    The problem with that is that in 2011 that competitiveness still existed: but Vettel was 5 seconds down the road from it…

  2. Rob says:

    Hi James,

    Nice article. Have you heard anything about the filming days Ferrari have been doing yesterday today? Any thoughts about whether this small amount of running might help them out a bit?

    Many thanks.

  3. Rob Newman says:

    [mod]

    I am still perplexed to the fact that niether the team principal nor the offical Ferrari sposkesman hasn’t made their opinion on the testings todate.

    If we have to believe what Alonso is saying, then definetely Ferrari is hiding something. Otherwise, in Melbourne they will end behind Mercedes and Force India.

    For me McLarens seems to be the stronest package followed by Red Bull. I am sure the final testing this week will throw up something.

  4. goferet says:

    “If one thinks about it, the difference in
    performance between us and Red Bull in 2011 was not that different to what it had been in 2010”
    ————————————————-

    Oh dear, Alonso brings up 2010 again, the year he threw away the title in the first half of the season & now he talks about it like nothing happened.

    Yes Alonso, I have thought about the difference between Red Bull & Ferrari in 2010 and from what I remember it was huge, it was only to Vettel being the crash kid & the unreliability of the Red Bull that 2010 appeared close.

    Anyway, different teams winning will guarantee us a season to cherish but if Ferrari & Alonso wants to win the 2012 title, it’s imperative he wins Australia at all costs.

    Yes ever since Melbourne came onto the calendar (in 1996), that track has had a knack for picking out not only what would be the fastest car in the season but also the champion.

    Get this, ever since 1996, only 5 times have the winners of Melbourne not gone on to win the championship and of those 5 winners, all of them were number 2 drivers.

    So the only hope Alonso has got is by winning Australia or else it’s game over because whenever a number 1 driver has won Melbourne, they have always gone on to clinch the title.

    Interesting to see that Red Bull & Ferrari have been banned from using their private test day on Monday —> Somebody up in Paris is determined no body pulls off dirty tricks this season.

    Once again job FIA and Jean Todt in particular!

    P.s.

    Officially & on paper Jenson was the number 1 driver in 2010, but since he didn’t win the title after winning Melbourne, I placed him in the group of number 2 drivers that had won Melbourne.

    1. Steve says:

      About 2/3 of the drivers won Melbourne went on to win the Championship. And you are saying if Alonso not winning Melbourne, its game over?

    2. KRB says:

      Your gist is that the first race is predictive of the DWC, so we can’t include 2006 or 2010, when Australia was not the first race on the calendar, nor any Australian GP before 1996, when it was the last race of the season.

      So …

      2011 Vettel
      2009 Button
      2008 Hamilton
      2007 Räikkönen
      2005 Fisichella
      2004 M Schumacher
      2003 Coulthard
      2002 M Schumacher
      2001 M Schumacher
      2000 M Schumacher
      1999 E Irvine
      1998 Häkkinen
      1997 Coulthard
      1996 D Hill

      So 10 of 14 winners of the Australian GP, when it’s been the first race, have gone on to win the DWC.

      Hard to make the case in the other examples that those were #2 drivers though. In 1997 Coulthard was the lead driver at McLaren, and in 1998 Coulthard was leading the race and pulled over to let Hakkinen win as part of a pre-race agreement between the two (whomever got to the first corner first on the first lap would take the win). In 1999 Irvine was the #1 driver at Ferrari (though granted not at the first race), and Schumacher – who was injured thru most of the year – was actively helping Irvine’s DWC hopes in the last races of the season.

      Fisi in 2005 and Coulthard in 2003, ok.

    3. KRB says:

      If we go by first races, then Alonso won the first race in 2010, but lost the DWC. Alonso won in Bahrain in 2006, and went on to win the DWC.

      Other 1st race winning DWC’s:

      Schumacher 1995 Brazil
      Schumacher 1994 Brazil
      Prost 1993 South Africa
      Mansell 1992 South Africa
      Senna 1991 USA
      Senna 1990 USA
      Prost 1985 Brazil
      Piquet 1983 Brazil
      A Jones 1980 Argentina

      … stopping at 1980. If anyone wants to carry this on, be my guest.

  5. goferet says:

    @ Steve

    And you are saying if Alonso not winning Melbourne, its game over?
    ————————————————

    Eh, actually am not too sure what you mean?

    Myself what I meant to say is, if Alonso fails to win in Melbourne then his season is a wrap, finito, terminado, fini, afgewerkt, fertig, acabado…

    Comprendre?

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