Fernando Alonso has predicted the first qualifying session of the 2012 season will produce a “very mixed up grid” owing to what looks set to be a closely-matched field in Melbourne.
The opening day at Albert Park proved to be a frustrating one for all concerned as inconsistent weather reduced the time available for set-up and tyre evaluation work, meaning predictions for the remainder of the weekend from both drivers and team management were even thinner on the ground than normal around the paddock on Friday evening. Ferrari’s Alonso concurred to an extent, although did offer up the suggestion that the order of Sunday’s grid may be a little different to what fans have become used to in recent times.
He said: “There’s no point looking at the time sheet from today with a view to making predictions for qualifying. Tomorrow I expect to see a very mixed up grid because there are so many teams that have done a good job over the winter.”
Although on-board pictures showed he had to work the wheel more than some of his chief rivals to generate a good lap time in practice, the Spaniard felt the first day had gone fairly smoothly for Ferrari with the F2012 considering the conditions. “I am reasonably satisfied with the car: the initial feeling as to its balance is positive,” he said. ”However, we have not done the usual comparison between the two types of tyre, because we ran mainly on the intermediates and the m and these seem to be behaving quite well, as far as degradation is concerned.”
Ferrari has been openly pessimistic about the complex F2012’s chances of competing on a par with Red Bull and McLaren at the first race and Alonso added: “My opinion has not changed: we wait for tomorrow to see where we are compared to the others. But if I was to give some sort of opinion on the day, I would say it’s been positive. We did the important things, the balance is good and the car responds well to changes.”