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Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Mar 2012   |  8:05 pm GMT  |  12 comments

Ferrari’s difficulties in getting to grips with the F2012 was one of the threads that ran right through pre-season and Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa concede the team goes into this weekend’s Australian season-opener still in a position where they need more time to fully understand the car – but remain confident it will get there eventually.

In wake of a disappointing 2011, Ferrari had hoped to be winning from the off this season but in normal conditions that appears a rather forlorn hope at Albert Park given the problematic nature of the team’s winter. The inconsistent handling of the F2012 is something Ferrari still has to resolve but Alonso says the team is at least now sure of the development path it needs to go down to improve the situation, even if the opening four flyaways races may be about damage limitation.

“We definitely still need to improve a lot, working on our understanding of the F2012, adapting my driving style to a new car which, with the loss of aerodynamic downforce at the rear and the new Pirelli tyres, is a bit harder to drive,” the Spaniard told the official Ferrari website. “We know in which direction we need to go in terms of car development and that’s an important step. Sure, we will have to grit our teeth for the first few races, but first of all, we have to see exactly where we are in terms of being competitive and then give our all to bring home as many points as possible in this early stage of the championship.”

He added that the performance of the F2012 this weekend in relation to the team’s rivals would make setting targets for the subsequent races easier: “We have to stay cool and calm and take one step at a time, starting with the race in Melbourne, where we will get an initial impression. Once we know where we stand, then we can set ourselves more precise targets.”

Alonso’s team-mate Massa has publicly appeared more upbeat than some of Ferrari’s key personnel over the chances of fighting towards the front in Melbourne, although today was keen to point out that he didn’t disagree with technical director Pat Fry’s assessment that making the podium in Melbourne may be tough. The Brazilian though is adamant there is much untapped potential in the F2012.

“I already said this last week in Sao Paulo: in my head is the thought that we can fight for the podium but that doesn’t mean that I don’t agree with what Pat Fry said in Barcelona,” he said. “I know perfectly well that the tests didn’t go as we’d hoped because we had some very ambitious targets in terms of performance. We had some problems getting the best out of the exhaust system we had chosen and we had to go for a makeshift solution. That cost us precious time and obviously also a bit of performance. Only in the last two days could Fernando and I do some true and meaningful work on the set-up of the F2012. I remain convinced that this car has great potential: we must just find the way to get everything from it.”

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12 Comments
  1. Simmo says:

    yeah.

    I don’t see any champion Ferrari, but it will definitely be a huge step up to 2011.

    I see podiums (maybe wins) by Bahrain :)

    1. Jeff says:

      That’s optimistic, in my mind they will not podium in the first half of the year.

  2. Rob Newman says:

    There may be something in what the drivers are saying. May be the car is not that bad after all or may be they know something we don’t know. The team is disappointed because they are not at the level they want to be but that does not mean they can’t get on to the podium.

    McLaren did it last year so I won’t be surprised if Ferrari does the same this year. They are a big team and they have all the resources at their disposal.

    1. Simmo says:

      all, with the exception of Newey

  3. goferet says:

    Maybe this new Ferrari explains why the team left FOTA for they need to spent countless hours at their test track getting to grips with new cars & improving them as the season wears on.

    But with only one test session & Ferrari’s inability to develop (fast enough) a car during the season, this year appears to be another write off for the team.

    I for one agree with Massa in that they will spring a surprise on us come race day in Melbourne & will be the third fastest car according to their form in Abu-Dhabi 2011.

    Interesting to see Massa more upbeat about life maybe he knows with a car that’s not able to clinch podiums & wins, this will mean his chances of getting fired will become less & less for he can always point to the uncompetiveness of the car as a cause for his poor form.

  4. James Leaver says:

    Hello James, loving the site but I have a question: why are your Ferrari news stories not showing up on the homepage, for example this one and the “ferrari-not-writing-off-original-f2012-exhaust-design-yet” both only show up on the Ferrari section and not the main page. Is it just me?

    1. James Allen says:

      Some stories on team pages only go on team pages

      1. makes its a bit hard for people coming to your site to see new stories though ? unless i am missing something.

        fine if they follow you on twitter….

        Matt

      2. Martin B says:

        James – what’s the basis behind the decision to do this?

        I have only been made aware that such articles exist by following you on Twitter and linking to them from that.

        If you posted them all on the front page (which I’m sure used to happen?), they’d surely get more hits and therefore better interaction.

        I just think the articles posted only on team pages are not really clearly visible, and as a user I am interested to read articles about different teams, but wouldn’t spend the time browsing each individual team section to find them.

        Cheers.

  5. Paul L says:

    Fernando Alonso now has a Twitter: alo_official

    As an Alonso fan, it’s so disheartening. How much longer do him and Massa have to make the best of a package that isnt good enough? I realise there are many drivers who dont have a car good enough to fight for wins, but who wants to see the top 3 in anything other than a car capable of fighting for wins?

    Being realistic Ferrari can aim to fight for race wins but theyre not in the championship hunt if we’re being realistic.

  6. S2K says:

    I don’t see Ferrari winning championships again as long as they are not allow to test as they wish and as they’ve done before. Unless, of course, they hire Adrian Newey, which is unlikely.

  7. Don says:

    There is one phrase that keeps coming to mind whenever I read a Ferrari story this year. (Sand bagging) We have not heard Massa complain about the car ( as we all know he does very well) and during testing every time they would start a flyer and it started to look good they would pull back. Only time will tell but I think there is more there than the team is letting on.

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