Ferrari believe they have a car capable of challenging for the world championship
Scuderia Ferrari
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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1

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.

2

“their superior speed” doh!

3

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.

4

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

5

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 🙂

6

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.

7

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.

8

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.

9

Exactly what I was thinking!

10

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.

11
VP of Common Sense

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.

12

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.

13

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…

14

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.

15

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.

16

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.

17

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!

18

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

19

Looking forward to it James…

20

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.

21
Bring Back Murray

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.

22

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…

23

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!

24

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.

26

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

27

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.

28

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.

29

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?

30

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

31

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.

32
Val from montreal

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 .

33

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.

34

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

35

Seems like a Kimi quote to me 🙂

36

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

37

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!

38

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

39

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!

40

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.

41

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

42

Alonso would tell it like it is.

43

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!

44
Michael Prestia

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.

45

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

46

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

47

In contrast and for camparison:

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

48
Bring Back Murray

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

49

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 😉

50

“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

51

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

52

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.

53

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!

54

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

55

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

56

Nope, just mind games.

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

57

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

58

Massa is not far from outscoring Vettel.

let’s see if he can make that extra step.

59

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!

60
Spinodontosaurus

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

61

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…

62
Val from montreal

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 ??

63

Enough of this.

No more will pass moderation – Mod

64
Bring Back Murray

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

65
Val from montreal

+ 791

66
Val from montreal

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 !

67

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.

68

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

69

Funny way to spin it.

Let me try one…

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

70

They also had one last year, right? And in 2010? 🙂

71
VP of Common Sense

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.

72

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.

73

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.

74
VP of Common Sense

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.

75

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!

76

To Doobs above same applies for Webber/Vettel no?

77

Alonso would have got the McLaren on the podium.

78

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

79

You’re not serious, right?

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