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Ferrari believe they have a car capable of challenging for the world championship
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Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Mar 2013   |  1:57 pm GMT  |  139 comments

Ferrari believe they have a car capable of challenging for the world championship after taking the lead in the constructors’ standings following the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

A radio message to Fernando Alonso from his engineer said: “Ci Siamo” (“We are there”) after the Spaniard finished second, ahead of Red Bull’s reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa.

That would suggest the Italian team feel they have a good chance of the title this year starting from this baseline which is much stronger than that of last year at this point in the season.

While Kimi Raikkonen was able to use a two-stop strategy to take victory in Melbourne, Alonso was the top performing driver to do three-stops and technical director Pat Fry believes the decision to do that strategy was the right one.

“Maybe we could have risked a two-stop strategy,” said Fry. “But given the unknowns linked to tyre degradation, we preferred not to do that. In the next races, it will be vital to understand the tyre behaviour, in order to choose the best strategies.

“We had a good race pace and both drivers performed well without making any mistakes but we are aware that we still have a lot of work to do if we want to continue to improve.”

Massa’s fourth position, combined with Alonso’s second place mean Ferrari lead the constructors’ championship by four points from Lotus at this early stage of the season and highlights the need for Massa to deliver consistently if the Italian team are to contend for both titles.

Team principal Stefano Domenicali refused to get ahead of himself after the strong result and highlighted that tyre management and strategy will be key to maintaining a title challenge.

“We need to be prudent because it’s only the first race,” he said. “There are so many things that will change in the next couple of races in terms of understanding race preparation, in terms of tyre management.

“For sure the strategy is always important. I put in front of everything reliability, because if you don’t finish, you don’t score points. For sure the championship this year will be very intense this year up to the last race, no doubt.”

Domenicali added the strategy in qualifying could also be key.

“We saw a car that started seventh and finished first, and a car that started fifth and finished second,” he added. “So that means that the situation of tyre management is crucial this year. But, if you are able to do that and be able to start on pole, it would be the perfect scenario.

“What could be an element of the year is to see quite a big gap between certain cars. Maybe the cars that will not qualify in the first ten will make a choice of tyres that can characterise the traffic during the race.

“This could be an element that may sometimes be in your favour or sometimes not. But it could be something that is a point of consideration.”

Alonso added that it was “a worry” that Raikkonen was able to do a two-stop strategy while his rivals were forced to do three, but the double world champion insisted he was happy with the result overall.

He said: “It is a worry, yes. Lotus did a very good job and Kimi was driving fantastically and could do two stops. But at the end I am extremely happy. We had an extremely difficult start to the season two years ago and last year and this year is very different.”

“Finishing ahead of the Red Bull tastes like a win, even if we know that despite today’s race result, they are still the quickest.”

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139 Comments
  1. Don Farrell says:

    I sure hope they can do it… but it’s going to be a very, very long year… with lots of challenges and hurdles to over come… but they have a fighting chance… like the other teams!

    1. KGBVD says:

      “like the other teams” – an excellent cavate.

      That’s my problem with Alonso, he has this attitude that if everyone else does their job properly, then he will deliver –no ‘if’s, ‘and’s or ‘but’s. Problem is, he ignores all of the ‘if’s, which makes him look arrogant to a fault.

      It’s this attitude that because of who he is and who he drives for, that “like the other teams” rarely factors into his assessments.

      For Alonso, there is a difference between the ‘luck’ of an alternator failure for a competitor, and the ‘luck’ of being crashed into at the first corner. Which is nonsense.

      The man is not holy, and his is not god’s gift to driving. He’s obviously talented, but once he realizes he is fallible (Schumi didn’t get this til around 2005), he’ll be a lot more likeable.

      1. Justin Bieber says:

        An alternator failure is not luck its a failure! Reliability is not a question of luck but design and quality control.

        Being crashed into at the first corner now that’s what you could call luck.

      2. Matt W says:

        Not really, that can also be dependant on how you position your car. Didn’t he spin off at Suzuka based on his own doing?

      3. KGBVD says:

        Agreed w/ Matt.

        The failure of a 3rd party supplied part is down to luck – the Renault alternators were failing on the Lotus and Williams too. Nothing to do with RB, Vettel or Webber, just bad parts.

        That Webber’s KERS always fails over Vettel’s is also down to luck. That RB pushes the limits is down to risk and reward (something Ferrari aspires to know about – they expect to win, without any real risk).

        That Ferrari hasn’t been able to beat the RB’s over the past 4 years has been down to under-performance – not luck.

      4. Shane says:

        Repeated alternator and KERS failures are not bad luck. Maybe one failure per season could be attributed to luck, but mechanical failures at this level aren’t left to luck.

        Alonso’s arrogance? Why is confidence arrogant. If you give him a fast car, he is confident he will produce. The same can be said of any driver on the grid, they should all be thinking the same thing, if not, they’ve no business suiting up.

    2. gudien says:

      Where is the incentive for a faster Felipe to move over this year when requested? It could, indeed, be a very, very long year for Ferrari management.

      1. Porkazil says:

        I like Massa, but he was not faster then Alonso in the race, he was holding up Alonso, that’s why he had to pit earlier then Massa.

      2. gudien says:

        Then why did Massa start the race in front of Alonso?

      3. Wild Man says:

        Same reason as the Red Bulls.

      4. Shane says:

        Agreed, it was tough watching Alonso stuck behind him for the first few laps.

      5. Williams4ever says:

        but he was not faster then Alonso in the race, he was holding up Alonso,
        >> Please watch the racing with live timing on going forward. Massa was the faster Ferrari in the first stint. Ferrari played fair by pitting their lead driver ahead of Alonso. Massa was doing consistent lap times to the cars around him in the subsequent stints.

        It was Alonso (and his race engineer probably), who decided to undercut both Vettel (and Massa) for their second stop and that helped because, both Vettel and Massa were held up by traffic( one Force India car, Mostly Sutil) after they emerged from their second pit stops and that put both Vettel and Massa 12 – 13 second behind Alonso. After Sutil Pitted for supersoft, Vettel and Massa were free but it was too late by then to catch up Alonso.

        That was how the race panned out. So the credit goes more to Alonso (and his engineer) on how they outfoxed faster Vettel and Massa through strategy.

      6. mdmax says:

        he is being paid millions and driving for ferrari. if that is not a good enough incentive, then i don’t know what is.

  2. **Paul** says:

    “Finishing ahead of the Red Bull tastes like a win, even if we know that despite today’s race result, they are still the quickest.”

    RBR fastest over 1 lap, Lotus fastest over 70 odd. Ferrari 2nd fastest over 1 lap (with Merc) and 2nd fastest in the race. Doesn’t that mean they’ve potentially got the blend of 1 lap and race pace on the grid (AKA the best overall car!) Probably. Then the pressure is really on Alonso to deliver the championship.

    1. Irish con says:

      It’s a we bit early to be saying that mate. Give it a few races at different tracks at different temperatures and different track layouts. Every team will master the tyres sooner or later.

      1. **Paul** says:

        Yeah I know, I only quickly wrote the above, having added “we’ll see in Malaysia though’ on other comments. You’re right though, probably too early to call with any certainty, but if I were a betting man I’d have some money on Alonso this season having seen practice, a dry line qually session and the race.

    2. Philippe H. says:

      Ferrari definitely looks like the fastest (so far!).

      I hope Malaysia shines a brighter light on the situation.

    3. Joel says:

      Ferrari was and is the fastest over a race distance. Kimi wasn’t as fast as Alonso or Massa, however he was well saved by Lotus’s gentleness on the tyres.

      1. Porkazil says:

        Only reason why Kimi won was because he did a two stop instead of three stop. if everyone did a three stop then Alonso would have won. Remember before Alonso pitted, Kimi was 16 seconds ahead, when kimi pitted and came back out Alonso was only 5 seconds behind, then the traffic kinda runined Alonsos race.

      2. Arnie S says:

        Your logic doesnt really make sense, because Kimi had the same traffic, just five seconds earlier. Look at it like this: Kimi had 16 sec advantage – then run into traffic, 5 sec advantage. Then Alonso took the same traffic, 10 sec advantage. We will never know if it was traffic, or just Kimi cruising or tyre-wear….

        Everything is peculation, but that Alonso’s race was ruined by traffic is nonsense

      3. **Paul** says:

        If a car is gentle on it’s tyres to the point where it can do a stop less, then that needs to be accounted for in overall race pace in my book. We’ll see what happens in the heat of Malaysia though.

      4. Williams4ever says:

        Everybody in this discussion have also forgotten the car behavior in clean air (leading the race) vs racing in wake of cars ahead.

        RedBull whenever it runs in clean air is perfect car, both on pace, and tyre management, and same is true for Lotus as well.

        Having said that Lotus and Sauber have been two teams that have always understood the Pirellis better than the competition and maybe it has something to do with the fact that these two teams have employed drivers ( PDLR and Grsojean) who have been Pirelli testers in different stints, so inputs from these drivers must have definitely contributed in these two teams developing cars that are kinder on the Pirellis.

        I was hoping that Alguersueri who was Pirelli tester last season (and who had tested 2013 tyre compounds) would have been in great demand, but looks like the teams missed that plot.

      5. Tim says:

        Only reason why Kimi won was because he did a two stop instead of three stop. if everyone did a three stop then Alonso would have won…

        But they didn’t did they :-)

        The driver that wins the race is the one who completes the race distance in the shortest time, including pit stops. Clearly if the car is still on pace (Kimi did the fastest lap of the race) and requires fewer tyre changes that is a massive advantage. If Lotus continue to be the best at tyre management then they are going to be a serious threat for the title.

    4. Joel says:

      Plus, their bullet-proof reliability is a bonus.
      You should ignore Alonso’s modest comments; he is known for understating and then any result would look like a marvelous achievement.

      1. **Paul** says:

        Not just the reliability Joel, but also I pressume you noted the starts the Ferrari’s got? Just like last season of the top cars they had the best starts on the grid. Ferrari have got something very special off the line that others do not have. I’m certainly not suggesting they’re cheating, but they’ve got the start procedure nailed. P2 is like P1 to Alonso with a car that starts that well.

      2. Shane says:

        Their starts are phenomenal. I don’t know what they are doing, but both cars leave the grid like bullets from a gun. Poor Webber looked like he was standing still, especially from the on board cameras.

      3. Williams4ever says:

        @Shane, @Paul – They don’t have Webber in their car, that’s the difference ;-)

        While RedBull found a party to blame for Webber’s dismal race start this weekend, but bad starts are Webber’s trademark since his Junior Years.

        He indeed has lead a charmed life ( along with JB) in the sport, that has chewed and spat better talents for flimsiest of reasons.

    5. Wayne says:

      Trouble is all those (well thought out) facts come from the very untypical Albert Park track, and in unusual conditions to boot.

      RBR could walk away with Malaysia and Merc could be nowhere.

      I’d like to know if those unusual conditions flattered the McLaren or made it even more of a handful….. I’d like to see anarticle here fully exploreing McLaren’s issues over the last few years. Just bad luck or is something seriously wrong?

      1. **Paul** says:

        True, the cold temps could have caused issues for teams, as the graining we saw was basically due to cold temps and the tyres not working correctly. I’d still be thinking that RBR and Merc will be ultra quick over 1 lap, and the Ferrari’s will be quicker on race pace, off the grid and have better reliability though.

        I guess the point I was making was that if the above is true and Ferrari have the best overall car, then it’s essential for Alonso to deliver, having spent the last few years saying how easy it was for Vettel to win when he had the best car etc.

    6. Random 79 says:

      Alonso can do pressure, and when the pressure was on Massa last year he came good too.

      They’ll do fine :)

  3. Irish con says:

    I remember watching p1 and on fernando’s first proper lap through turns 11 and 12 and thinking wow that’s impressive and a million miles better than last year. And so it proved in the race. I will be surprised if the world champion this year doesn’t come from one of the guys on the podium. Kimi looks back to his mclaren days best.

    1. Philippe H. says:

      Early to tell, but a Kimi, Seb & Fernando fight is on the table. Hope other guys like Lewis, Jenson and Mark can join that party. Watch out for Grosjean this week!

      1. Philippe H. says:

        I forgot Massa! (he’s there. I wonder how Fernando will handle a possible situation where Felipe remains a threat for his championship.)

    2. KRB says:

      I’m beginning to wonder if ALO, HAM, RAI & VET were in contact before the season picture, and all agreed to wear sunglasses. They’re the only four wearing sunglasses, and are the top 4 drivers in the field.

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        As your talking about sunglasses did anyone see the pictures of shocking ones Perez wore on the Melbourne drivers parade

  4. AlexD says:

    This is what I think.
    If by Barcelona Ferrari is still going to lead the WCC and Alonso is going to regularly finish on podium and will win one race on merit, then I agree, they have a very strong chance.

    I think red Bull under-performed in Australia.

    1. Philippe H. says:

      Rb and Mercedes seem to be trailing Lotus and Ferrari over tyre management.

    2. johnpierre says:

      i tend to agree with you Red Bull underperformed. lets wait a couple of races to see everyone true performance in race conditions.

  5. ashboy says:

    They believe correct, with a car as good as the rest, Alonso skil and hunger, Massa showing that he is getting back to his best, who would bet against them?

  6. goferet says:

    Good!

    A Ferrari capable of challenging is good for the show for it’s always amazing seeing those red cars jolt for position on the first lap.

    Also a good Ferrari would give give a rival team much more satisfaction were they to beat them for they would have done it against the best e.g. Lewis 2008.

    Now, a good Ferrari could be bad news for Alonso i.e. Not only does his teammate have one but also if he fails to win the title, he really wouldn’t have much explanations to stand on apart from the competition were faster.

    As for the WCC trophy, at this moment in time, it looks like Ferrari may wrap it up thanks to the good form shown by Massa but the thing is Lotus in all it’s previous disguises has always wrapped up both titles back to back.

    So let the show go on.

    1. Nathan says:

      Hahaha one race gone and the constructors is already wrapped up

      Ok

  7. Marcelo Leal says:

    Ferrari has some “trick” at the start. Since middle last year Alonso has very fast starts, passing two, three, four cars in a row. Filipe is known to have really good starts, but I could see a big improvement on the Alonso’s side of the garage regarding race starts. In the USA last year Alonso has passed the cars at start, and did nothing for the rest of the race. In Brazil was “crazy” too (both Ferrari drivers). I believe is something other teams need to look at…

    1. Yos says:

      You are right their speed at every grand prix start is unbelievable, I think they must have some sort of top launvh system. I hope someone can explain that.

    2. Philippe H. says:

      Definitely the best starting car on the grid! Merrits to the drivers as well, but I suspect Webber would start bettter in a Ferrari :p.

    3. Joel says:

      +1
      I’ve been trying to seek answer for this question for a long time mate. Aparently, no one know is in the business is talking about this or is ignoring it. It is not a co-incidence that the Ferrari is starting off like a rocket off the grid… something interesting is happening there.
      Anyone with any knowledge? Please?

      1. Doobs says:

        Torque characterisitics of the engine maybe? How do the other Ferrari engined cars go?

      2. Shane says:

        I think they are just very good at starts. Remember a few years ago when the onboard cameras showed Alonso engaging some sort of launch control system? Turns out he was simply holding the clutch paddles from the bottom, it apparently gave him better control of the clutch.

        I could, of course, be wrong but I really think Alonso is just very focused on his starts. Massa has always been very good on starts as well. That combined with 50+ years of learning how to make a car go fast could simply be the answer.

    4. Random 79 says:

      Yep they have a trick…it’s called a good car :)

      I don’t pretend to understand all the complicated technical stuff about starts – double clutches and such – but obviously the Ferrari has everything bang on.

      Any chance of an article in the future to explain the start procedures in a little more detail so that we can understand why some cars and drivers get off the line better than others James?

      1. bombardier says:

        check Alonso starts in renault, ferrari car all the time is good on starts and alonso simple the best

      2. Bring Back Murray says:

        Cue Tina turner.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SShGxENBVL0

        Then seach for “best of alonso” and you should find this vid

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVx0tcJgBek

        Play the Tina turner video on one side of the screen and have the Alonso video on silent on the other side

      3. Gdon says:

        I do remember reading some years ago that Ferrari actually had problems getting off the start line quick and Alonso had just come into Ferrari from Renault which at the time had amazing starting speed. It apparently was all down to one engineer at Renault who was an expert in this start/clutch /bite point thing and guess what Ferrari (maybe at Alonso’s insistence) hired him and lo and behold from the next year they were much quicker at starts and it’s gotten better every year since then

    5. **Paul** says:

      A car that can gain that many places on the start doesn’t need to qualify on pole when P2 or P3 is enough to see you in P1 by the first corner.

      There must be something in it, because Ferrari were better than RBR, McLaren and Lotus off the start last season. This year you can add Merc to that list as well. We’re not talking about a little bit better either. Over 100m they destroy the opposition, which suggests either a massive mechanical grip advantage (but that would show on slow speed corners) or they’ve something spot in with their start proceedure.

    6. Toni says:

      RBR has a “trick”. They have a car that is ONE SECOND FASTER in Q1, Q2 and Q3.

      Alonso’s trick is called TALENT.

  8. lethalnz says:

    Stefano is definitely onto it, but i thought the Lotus was light on its tires which was the key to Kimi’s winning.
    we will see next week as to how many qualify on the harder compound just to stay ahead of those that can make a choice and dont get the chance to get in front after the first stop.

    1. Tealeaf says:

      Well starting on the primes won’t help that much because you’ll have to use the options at some point and the fact that you will lose a heap of grid positions won’t help, and in Malaysia I think a hotter weather with a less slippery track the tyres will last longer, also the teams will have setups to match the degredation soon enough and also Pirelli won’t be using the super softs at most races, James what tyres are Pirelli bringing to Malaysia?

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        But surely that means a one stop race, something Pirelli are trying to avoid is it not?

  9. Sebee says:

    They also had one last year, right? And in 2010? :-)

    1. Mingojo says:

      You’re not serious, right?

    2. VP of Common Sense says:

      No, last year Ferrari did not believe that they had a car capable of winning the WDC when the season opened at Melbourne. Perhaps you are not a fan of the Scuderia but they were very clear that the F2012 needed massive amounts of work. The difference from the F2012 to the F138 is night and day. Ferrari will contend for all championships.

      1. Sebee says:

        Bottom line, both years they were serious championship contenders – off the mark by a few points. Anyone who thinks this all happened because of magical Alonso powers is quite off the mark. Clearly the car Alonso was driving was capable of it.

      2. Doobs says:

        That’s the point..with ALonso driving. No so much for Massa

      3. Timmay says:

        Alonso would have got the McLaren on the podium.

      4. **Paul** says:

        To Doobs above same applies for Webber/Vettel no?

      5. Sebee says:

        Doobs,

        Let’s not go around in circles. Clearly Massa was not getting the hardware, and you can see the picture is quite different now that he has been over last part of 2012 when his points haul was needed, and finally now in 2013 since 3 years of not getting the car and support means Ferrari has achieved nothing with their Alonso #1 all the time approach.

        They have finally recognized that giving Alonso all the toys and Massa none is not working out. It only makes Alonso ego large, but his excuse is frequently – Ferrari car is no good. It’s the car’s fault. Etc. etc. While perhaps it was #1 strategy demand of Alonso that was the cause. Imagine all the points Massa could have got in 2012 if he was correctly supported and not thrown under the F1 transport truck at each race!

      6. VP of Common Sense says:

        Sebee- Serious championship contenders win races. The F2012 didn’t win any of the final 10 GP. Vettel won 4 down the stretch and McLaren won 5. If Alonso wasn’t in the F2012, his replacement would have finished much farther than 3 points back.

      7. Sebee says:

        VP,

        As Massa showed when given the car late 2012, he was pulling serious points. Imagine the points Massa could have taken (if he was given same car as Alonso) off Vettel in first 13 races when Vettel won once. Would that have made it possible for Alonso? It is the retardation of their own driver that is costing Ferrari. And I say deservedly so. Bet you they will not win unless they let Massa go for it. I say let Alonso earn it and let the chips fall where they may. But stop holding back Massa for Alonso’s sake. 3 years no spoils. Insanity is doing the same thing over and ove expecting a different result.

  10. hero_was_senna says:

    Finishing ahead of RBR feels like a win. That simple line shows exactly who Alonso knows will be his main challenger.

    For Massa to deliver consistently, all he has to do is outscore Webber and Grosjean over the season.
    I believe the winner of the WDC will come from one of the three on the podium. I hope it’s Alonso, and if Massa fulfills his part of the equation, then Ferrari will be WCC.
    Be an interesting storyline

    1. Val from montreal says:

      If finishing in second feals like a win why was he downbeat after Brazil ? He won , he finished second in the championship !

      So being second behind a Lotus is OK but second to Red Bull is a loss ….. ??

      Delete !

      1. Sebee says:

        Funny way to spin it.

        Let me try one…

        Perhaps he came second for the way he treats his #2 drivers?

      2. Doobs says:

        He’s saying RB is a bigger threat than Lotus over the season…

      3. Elie says:

        Brazil meant he “lost” the championship. Melb was like a win because he was ahead of RBR- his nemesis for the past 4 years.

        BUT – he would be the most arrogant fool if he discounts Raikkonen this year ( & I know he’s no fool).. So that only leave one attribute the multi F1 champ seriously needs to address -Arrogance. If he leaves his driving on the track and NOT in the press with his mind games- he is a solid chance to win as both he an Felipe proved on the weekend. But I think Fernandos biggest pressures will come from within with Felipe and the team fighting to keep him as a number 1. This will only serve to strengthen Kimi, Seb , Mercedes and Mclaren duos chances later in the year. He should not feel quietly confident because his car is faster at this stage – there are many others who have not yet found their full potential and Lotus proved how easy it was already.

    2. Sebee says:

      I pray to F1 Gods that Massa is given the equipment and freedom to give us a measure of Alonso. If yes, it will be the first time since 2007 for Alonso.

      I have hope however. After all, they had Kimi and they let Massa loose in 2008.

      I just hope they do it again. Massa deserve’s it for Karma’s sake!

      1. Val from montreal says:

        + 791

      2. Bring Back Murray says:

        Yes but I tihnk they already nobbled Massa in the pit stop routine

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        I think Ferrari will be more than happy for Massa to challenge Alonso because of their history.
        Anybody who has ever read or watched Ferraris history, would know that they have never had a number one policy.
        Until 1996.
        The first thing LdM done after “retiring” Schumi was allow Kimi and Massa to race.
        Ferrari have only ever run team orders when the championship was at stake.

        As a thought, if DRS had existed in 2007, would the Alonso Hamilton story have been different…

      4. Val from montreal says:

        Geez Hero , for a supposedly Italian tifosi like yourself , you sure are on the wrong side of the fence …

        Italians for the most part believe in values , hard work , honesty, family and loyalty … Schumacher had all those attributes and he was German ! For the record , there is no DI in Montezemelo ! His name is Luca Montezemelo ,
        not Di Montezemelo ….

        Luca ” retired ” MSC not because he was’nt the best anymore , but to take back control of Ferrari … He could’nt of fired Todt so cuttting the head of the snake was his only option … The F-2007 was still Schumacher’s car and funny enough 2007 was their last championship …

        Who knows , maybe it’s going to take Ferrari another 21 years to win another title , around 2028 ? With Vettel onboard , alot sooner !

        Capiche ??

      5. James Allen says:

        Enough of this.

        No more will pass moderation – Mod

      6. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Oh, you mean like he was in 2010, 2011 and 2012? I agree.

    3. nique je te says:

      Massa is not far from outscoring Vettel.
      let’s see if he can make that extra step.

  11. Bav says:

    “even if we know that despite today’s race result, they are still the quickest.”

    And so it begins….the excuses are in place already

    1. Amritraj says:

      Nope, just mind games.

      Alonso will keep pressurising Vettel through such “minor” psychological attacks.

    2. Miha Bevc says:

      I noticed the same thing. Alonso is master of PR.

    3. Tim K says:

      Excuses? Pretty much a fact that Red Bull is the quickest but whatever you say.

    4. Anil says:

      Well they were dominant over 1 lap and only struggled in the race as they set Seb’s car up wrong. Even then he finished a comfortable 3rd!

    5. Hansb says:

      Vettel was able to pull away at the start and also after a pitstop he was very fast. If they’re able to get the tyres working in the right window I fear Alonso is right. I gues we’ll see next race.

    6. Doobs says:

      He’s saying RB have more pace than we saw in melbourne…

  12. Carlos Marques says:

    “Finishing ahead of the Red Bull tastes like a win” – wonderful quote.

    1. Random 79 says:

      In contrast and for camparison:

      “Finishing ahead of the Red Bull tastes like a Red Bull” – terrible quote.

      1. Bring Back Murray says:

        Off topic but I don’t understand how that drink has become so popular all over world. If I was to say what it tastes like on here then this post wouldn’t get past the mods

      2. Random 79 says:

        First off that was supposed to be ‘comparison’, not ‘camparison’. I really hate typing :(

        Second, I’ve never tried the stuff myself and don’t intend to, but I’ll take your word for the taste.

        To answer your question: I was watching an episode of Gruen Planet a little while back and they were talking about the success of Red Bull. According to one of their guests, because it was an energy drink that tastes terrible, is sold in small quantities and is overpriced, people assumed that it must be the real deal and so they bought it.

        Apparently when Dietrich first started his business with this strategy everyone thought he was crazy, but personally I think he showed a touch of genius…and I think his wallet would agree ;)

  13. seeing scarlet says:

    Could be, just don’t stop developing no one else is, Going to be exciting.

  14. Michael Prestia says:

    Too early to tell. The conditions were cooler than normal and most teams are still trying to find their feet with the tires. The first 7 races last year were all about inconsistentcy but eventually the cream rises to the top and the strong teams from a development perspective will start to pull away from the rest. I’m glad Ferrari and Lotus are off to a strong start and Red Bull are not running away from everyone.

  15. Luca says:

    to be honest, we still have not had ‘normal’ quail and racing conditions, so the true pecking order is not known. And we may not have those in Malaysia either…

    So tyre and strategy will be king over quail position ( – well quali position is more to ensure you dont get taken out in the first corner).

    i dont like the uncertainty, but then it does make it more interesting – like last year – its gona be a long season!

  16. Dutch johnny says:

    Good to know.. so no excuses from alonso if he doesn’t win.

    1. Doobs says:

      Alonso would tell it like it is.

  17. Elie says:

    From what I saw live in Melbourne the F138 is definitely a contender – very well balanced car and clearly both Felipe and Fernando were consistently at the pointy end.

    James what struck me from hearing the cars live at Melbourne for the first time in years was just how sharp and quick the gear change was on the RB9 ( particularly the down shifts) and smooth the car sounded. Quite different to the rest. The Ferrari sounded great accelerating, but muffled and splattering. on overrun in the down shifts and you could tell a Mercedes engine car from the deep and resonating roar.

    Definitely the Red Bull and Lotus looked brilliant through the corners next I would say the Ferrari looked very stable also. I think the F138′s straight line speed and solid handling will make it more consistent over more circuits this year. But as usual it will be a question of who finds those extra few tenths- and we haven’t started mentioning Mclaren & Mercedes yet. I think it will be the best year for some time and hopefully a great send off to the mighty V8′s.

  18. Aadil says:

    Red Bull claim they got Vettels setup wrong and that is true. But then again this Red Bull they dont often get car setups wrong! Then theirs the fact that they struggled with degradation in free prac as well so why didnt they change the setup ?

    Then theres the biggest question mark for me and thats
    Webber if he got his setup right and even with standing his kers issues he wasnt exactly flying up the field and he wasnt exactly setting laptimes the lotus or ferrari couldnt

    1. Random 79 says:

      Webber was setting fastest laps at some points in the race, but the bottom line is that – over a race distance – the Red Bull was not as fast as the Lotus or Ferrari, at least in Aus.

      Bring on Malaysia for the rematch!

  19. Richard says:

    I can’t stand Ferrari but hope they beat bleeding Red Bull. A shame that Kimmi and Lotus have no chance

    1. Random 79 says:

      No chance…aside from the fact that they can win races.

      I don’t mind a bit of bias – it makes things more interesting – but come on!

  20. Val from montreal says:

    Delete !

    Why does Alonso have to be so stiff ?

    Can someone tell him to stop drinking the water , juice or any liquid near his vicinity ?
    Im sure Allen knows what that means ….

    Vettel was the one chatting Fernando after the race , and as usual , Alonso did his trademark snub with the drinking .

    1. Irish con says:

      Fernando is there to win races and championships. Not make friends.

      1. Jannto says:

        Seems like a Kimi quote to me :-)

    2. rafa says:

      Val, I get you don’t like the guy at all and you’re entitled to your opinion, but along with another two or three around here there’s gotta be a point where you realize that whatever he says or does your always putting him down:

      if he says the car is great, he’s being petulant.

      If he’s says the car is not great he’s disrepcting his team.

      if he says he’s racing Newey, he’s not giving Seb respect.

      If he says seb deserves his titles he’s lying because you refuse to believe him.

      If he says it’s better to have Lotus in front than RBR he’s disrepecting Kimi and playing mind games.

      If he doesn’t say anything at all, he’s stiff.

      if every single person up and down the paddock says he’s been the best driver of the season and that he dragged an unworthy car to places it didn’t deserve, you pooh these comments stating that the car was in fact very good.

      Massa as well is a victim of endless conspiracy despite the fact that it makes no sense from any point of view.

      Never you mind that all these points which you have held at different times and sometimes simultanously are obviously contradictory. But is it too much to ask that you rest your case for a while, as it is obviously well known that you blatantly dislike the guy? it’s a bit of overkill really all of this.

      Nothing personal, mate, but as much of the vettel or the hami [mod] are tedious this falls into this category as well.

  21. Andy says:

    Ferrari do have a car capable of winning the World Championship. The big question is will they?
    It’s too early to tell whose got the best car, but my gut instinct is that Ferrari will miss out again.

    1. TJ says:

      Well for the last two years where did FA finish with what was certainly a second tier car.

      Begs the question that given a half decent car and you must choose a driver to win the WDC and stake your home on your choice …Who would you chose, so no if’s but’s or gut instincts (another name for wind) who’s your man?

      1. Andy says:

        Vettel. Lotus won’t have the consistency. If it isn’t Vettel that wins then I can only see Alonso winning it.

      2. TJ says:

        Well you’ll probably find Lotus more in the mix then you anticipate. If only because the indications suggest that RB have been closed down by the field and the primary reason for their recent success’s has been own to their designer, not their drivers

        So if Vettel hasn’t got that car superiority this season then it’ll be interesting to see how he cope’s without it. The perceived wisdom is (unlike FA who can win in a dog of a car) he’ll be exposed…and FA starting a season with a car only a smidgen off to pace will be a scary situation for every other driver on the grid.

  22. John Z says:

    Ferrari have lots of parts coming through the development line. The car doesn’t appear to have any major areas of weakness. Tyres are still an unknown but Fernando’s 2nd and Felipe’s 4th proved that Ferrari now has a functioning wind tunnel via Toyota and the F138 should only improve as the season progresses. 6th straight podium finish for Alonso.

  23. F12012 says:

    Ferrari look impressive, no doubt and have a great chance for both titles with Massa back on form

    But it’s only early days, vettel is usually lethal from Singapore onwards, he always seems to find something extra

  24. Steve says:

    It seems everybody forgot what Red Bull did in the finla 1/3 of 2012 season. Its way too early to write them off just after 1/19 of the season.

  25. Phil Shotton says:

    I hope this isn’t like the season where they focussed on Webber and Vettel stepped in and took the WDC from under their noses.. They did finish ahead of the RBRs, but of course they also finished behind the Lotus. Kimi was consistent last year, can he go two better this season? If they are lighter on their tyres and can qualify well… It will be interesting to see where everyone is after 4 rounds or so. I think Lotus were saying that they qualified badly. Although there are a lot of different variables to chuck in to the mix from this round. Lotus do seem good though, as do RBR, Ferrari and Mercedes. It should be a good season!

  26. johnpierre says:

    let me throw this into the mix. there is still a big question mark for the true race pace for the teams with sunny condition. meaning track temp that the pirrelli’s are designed to operate in. lets wait and see were everyone shakes out (in race trim) in warmer condition before we make any real judgements. it could be a case that the cooler conditions hindered RB and helped Lotus, although kimi says he had a good feeling in testing in regards to tire management. that being said, there will be a hand full of races where the temps will be lower and we could get this kind of shuffling of the results, which of course makes for more exciting racing…

  27. Bring Back Murray says:

    Alonso’s owed a decent car to have a really good run at the WDC right from the start.

    He needs to put that upstart Vettel in his place!

    Actually I might even start supporting Ferrai against the Red Bulls this season.

  28. Thompson says:

    I have to say I hate sky’s coverage of f1, even the commentry feels lack luster to me,it just leaves me cold.

    Anyhoo, I still can’t work out how kimi won,it was a strange race. Alonso’s #1 status appears to be kicking in early – Can’t help but feel things are going to become unpleasant in that team, Massa wants it again and for his own place in history he deserves a fair crack at the WDC

    Bad luck for osberg but the Merc looks like a good bet to me for some glory – Hamilton for WDC me thinks or Rosberg for that matter.

    I hope the BBC gets back the rights to broadcast f1 in full again, even the highlight show (without Jake) was more fun.

    1. KRB says:

      Can’t work out how Kimi won?! Because the car was damn fast, and easy on its tires. Kimi had pace in hand at the end, even after setting the fastest lap.

      Dunno how you come out of that race saying one of the Merc’s could win the WDC (Ham fan here, so I’m not hatin’). You could be right, by no means do we know what the trend will be for the season. But just going off of the one race we’ve had, the Merc was the 4th best car.

      Malaysia will shed more light on the competitive order, in likely different conditions (hot and muggy, with high deg). It’s nice to have F1 back!

      1. James Allen says:

        My UBS Race Strategy Report on Tuesday will explain exactly how Kimi won!

      2. Elie says:

        You don’t really need a calculator to see how he did it he stopped on lap 11 after he jumped Webber and Rosberg at the start changed from Supersoft to Mediums and came back out in 7th with clear air he caught & passed both Mercs who’s medium tyres were dropping off. he consistently made ground on both Ferraris & Red Bull who had to pit. Around lap 39 Kimi pitted again for Mediums and passed Sutil on lap 43 on Super softs that were rapidly degrading. Then just controlled the race as Fernando gave chase on new tyres but could not match the Lotus on older tyres.

      3. Brad says:

        Looking forward to it James…

  29. Andrew says:

    They STILL have the fastest car from a standing start (by a mile)

    They STILL have very competitve race pace

    If the car is STILL the most reliable, the team STILL favour one driver and they STILL operate with total efficiency, they will STILL BE a championship contender.

    Now can we put the myth that the 2012 Ferrari was a weak car to bed. It was a slower car in quali due to it’s inferior DRS and probably more difficult to drive that others (hence Massa’s difficulties) but it was always a contender and the package (team, car and favourite driver) was superb.

    1. Roberto says:

      No, because it isn’t a myth. Last year Ferrari car itself varied between third and fourth fastest, never better than that in pure performance. Plus the speed gap between the Ferrari and the others was significant. The team, on the other hand, was nearly always the best or second best, especially Alonso with his superb race craft……….. Massa, didn’t really pull his weight except at the end of the season. The combination, plus very good reliability, produced a close second place in the WDC, but it certainly wasn’t because the Ferrari CAR was a close second to the Red Bull CAR.
      This year things are different. Still a very good Ferrari team, probably still reliable, Alonso’s race craft is still the best, but again Ferrari is not the fastest CAR. But at least it isn’t fourth fastest, perhaps second. The difference is that the gap between the top 4 or 5 CARS this year is MUCH closer.

      1. Jannto says:

        Ok, let’s assume 2012 Fernando was the best driver (quite possibly true) and Ferrari was crap. What does this tell about Alonso as a car developer? The last world title for Ferrari was, if I remember correctly, 2007…

      2. Justin Bieber says:

        Engineer develop cars, not drivers. Drivers can steer the development direction but that’s it.

        Ferrari has had wind tunnel correlation issue since the upgraded their wind tunnel in 2010. They 2013 was develop in the Toyota wind tunnel and we can now see the result.

      3. rafa says:

        It’s the teams mission to develop a car, and to sort out the wind tunnel problems, not their driver. I know limited stuff of F1, but some of the claims around here are simply outrageous.

    2. VP of Common Sense says:

      Aerodynamics on the car were a mess the entire season. That was the biggest reason why the car did not qualify well. Ferrari’s wind tunnel was a disaster and the new parts that they would bring from race to race did not perform as they expected them too. The F2012 wasn’t a weak car, it was a flawed car. It didn’t win any of the final 10 GP, not the stuff of a WDC contender. Alonso’s performance was extraordinary all things considered.

  30. k says:

    Australia was a fluke, i.e. the pace of the RBR was hidden because of it.

    During warmer weekends, they will be untouchable, so Ferrari should stop daydreaming and hoping this sacrificing of Massa’s race like they did in Australia (yes they did, Massa and his teamplayer PR talk, blahblah) will do the trick.

    1. ZF1 says:

      Exactly what I was thinking!

    2. Gate 21 says:

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but Friday was much warmer than Sunday and the long-run pace deficit AND tyre degradation of Red Bull (to Ferrari & Lotus) during P2 was replicated on Sunday during the race.

    3. Richard says:

      What race were you watching? Ferrari’s pace was also hurt by the lower temperatures. Red Bull has a fight on their hands from both Ferrari and Lotus. Much more to come from all three teams.

  31. Kimi4WDC says:

    This race wasn’t even close considering last years gaps.

    1. Random 79 says:

      True. It was a good race, but to be honest it wasn’t the most exciting ever.

      However with Red Bull, Ferrari & Lotus in the mix, Mercedes possibly there, and McLaren busting themselves to catch them all, we should see some great close races this year :)

  32. Giorgio says:

    I do believe overall the strongest is still RBR, they will soon fix tire issues and in pure speed they are supreme. if in the year was only 8-9 races I would rate Lotus or Feri. But I think it’s more easy to achieve rigth tire management than make car faster.

  33. Chris says:

    The championship seems to lie in the hands of Pirelli. If they supply more durable tyres, Red Bull will be able to exploit there superior speed to win, if they stick to the sort of tyres used in Melbourne, Lotus look quids in.

    1. Chris says:

      “their superior speed” doh!

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