Did Ferrari favour Alonso over Raikkonen? Strategy Analysis from Spanish GP
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 May 2014   |  1:52 pm GMT  |  368 comments

The Spanish Grand Prix this year turned on Strategy; the battle for the victory between the two Mercedes drivers centred on two different strategies, as did the impressive recovery drive of Sebastian Vettel from 15th to 4th and the battle between the two Ferrari drivers, which has been the subject of a lot of speculation.

Here we will clear up exactly what was going on in the strategies of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso and why Alonso ended up ahead.

Pre-race considerations

Based on Friday running, it was clear that the difference in performance between the Pirelli medium and hard tyre was around 4/10ths of a second per lap and the tyres were lasting well enough in most cases for the majority of drivers to feel that a two stop strategy was the best way to go.

Simulations showed that two stops was slightly faster for some teams, albeit fairly similar for others. Arguably two stops is less risky with traffic hold ups, however the teams are learning this year with three stops that if you have a new set of tyres and turn up the ERS boost to the maximum with zero fuel saving modes, the gain is over a second a lap. It is relatively easy to overtake, certainly backmarker cars. Sebastian Vettel’s drive was a perfect illustration of that, but he also had some tough overtakes to make.

If a car was not suffering too much degradation, then two stops was fine, as Bottas’ excellent drive for Williams proved.

In the race, eight of the top ten finishers were on two stops.

Rosberg on a different strategy –did it have a chance of working?

The Mercedes was in a league of its own in Spain. Like Bahrain, Rosberg lost the start to Hamilton and was stuck in second place in the early stages. If he did the same strategy as Hamilton he would follow him for 66 laps. He could try to undercut his team mate by stopping a lap earlier, but would be unlikely to be able to make enough of a difference to get the track position.

The preferred option – the Plan B agreed before the race between the Mercedes strategists and the driver – was to switch him to the harder tyre at the first stop and look to attack in the final laps of the race when Hamilton would be on the slower tyre. This increases the pressure on the leader and is more of a psychological challenge, because the gaps are offset and need to be calculated all the time, allowing for the difference between compounds.

It was noticeable in his radio messages with his team about the gap he needed to maintain over Rosberg, that Hamilton sounded quite stressed.

Simulations showed that Rosberg should catch Hamilton with six laps to go, at which point Rosberg would be 0.58s per lap faster. Would it be enough to overtake?

In fact he only caught Hamilton in the final two laps and didn’t really have a chance to attack. This was partly due to being slightly less effective in clearing slower cars (Button and Kobayashi in particular) than Hamilton, who was also able to maintain the gap in at the higher end of the desired range. He was asked to keep the gap at 5 seconds, Rosberg told to get it down to around 2 seconds.

Against that, Hamilton’s stops were both slower than Rosberg’s. His combined time in the pit lane was 46.54 seconds, while Rosberg’s was 44.56 seconds.

Like Bahrain Mercedes gave Rosberg a fair chance to challenge, after he had lost out in qualifying and the race and he said afterwards that he was happy with the strategy he was given. Another time he will know the details he needs to work on to give himself the best shot at beating his team mate.

Red Bull – Vettel getting the hang of 2014 cars

One thing was crystal clear from Barcelona: Sebastian Vettel is now getting up to speed with the handling of the 2014 cars, whose weaker back end due to reduced downforce, gave him little confidence at the start of the year. His recovery drive from 15th place on a three stop strategy was the drive of the day and the strategy relied on him passing a lot of cars.

The key to his 3 stop plan was that, while slower on paper, it offered the chance to have a bigger pace differential at key points of the race. If he had done two stops he would have struggled to make headway.

It was clear what his plan was from Lap 12, when he made an aggressive early stop and then he was able to run in clear air at times at a high pace as well as to turn up engine and ERS and pass cars relatively easily. He was held up by Massa and Grosjean, but neither was able to hold him for long.

He was fortunate however to finish fourth rather than sixth and this was down to Ferrari making a mistake on the final stop with Alonso.

As we shall see, the Spaniard had been switched onto a three stop plan and was running ahead of Vettel on lap 51; both of them having one more stop to make.

At this point, Ferrari should have pitted Alonso to cover an undercut from Vettel, but Red Bull pitted the German first on lap 52 and he undercut Alonso, taking the position away from him. He also cleared Raikkonen, who was two stopping, in the same move. This allowed Vettel on fresh tyres to catch Bottas and gain another position before the end.

Had Alonso covered Vettel’s final stop, by stopping on lap 51 or 52, they would have been on the same strategy, albeit with Vettel on fresh tyres and it would have been hard for Vettel to pass him. After all, Alonso had comfortably held Vettel behind him for 14 laps before Vettel’s final stop.

Ferrari – did they give Alonso the advantage over Raikkonen?

By far the most talked about subject after the race was the strategy moves at Ferrari, which led to Fernando Alonso beating his team mate Kimi Raikkonen to the finish, despite qualifying and racing behind him for much of the race.

So did Ferrari give Alonso the better strategy, as some people are claiming?

The first point to make is that 3 stops was not faster than two. Both drivers started the race planning to stop twice, what happened was that Alonso had higher tyre degradation in the second stint and converted to a three stop at that point.

The contentious question is why did Alonso get to make the first stop on lap 16, one lap before Raikkonen? Normally the prerogative lies with the lead car. There are two explanations for this.

One is that Ferrari was trying to get Alonso ahead with a classic under cut, but if that was the case he did not pull it off. Another explanation, Ferrari’s explanation, is that he pitted first because he was under threat from Massa, who had pitted aggressively on lap 15 and they had to cover that stop with Alonso. This worked and so Raikkonen and Alonso remained ahead of the Brazilian into the second stint. The optimum stop lap was 18, so Raikkonen was the closest to that with his stop on lap 17.

According to the team, Alonso then suffered greater tyre degradation in the second stint than Raikkonen and they wanted Alonso to cover Vettel, who was clearly three stopping, so the team switched him to three stops. Raikkonen was informed of this via radio.

The lap times don’t really show the degradation difference clearly; they are quite similar with Alonso sitting between two and three seconds behind the Finn from laps 17 to 35. But clearly he felt he was losing performance with another seven or eight laps to go to the second stop. The degradation for Raikkonen towards the end of the second stint was damaging for his race effort and opened the door for Alonso to close and pass in the end (see Race History Graph below).

Again the timing of Alonso’s second stop was set by the gap back to Massa, who was clearly three-stopping. Alonso pitted on lap 35 and stayed ahead of his former team mate.

Even allowing for the difference in tyre use, Alonso had slightly better underlying pace than Raikkonen and this meant that the gap between them was only five seconds after Alonso’s final stop, with the Spaniard now back on medium tyres, albeit used ones.

Approaching that third stop, Ferrari also had an eye on Vettel who was just behind Alonso by this stage, however they made a mistake in not covering him, as they had done Massa earlier in the race. (see separate section)

In the final stint, Alonso cruised up to Raikkonen quite quickly, stayed behind for five laps and then passed him.

Raikkonen said afterwards that two stops was the wrong strategy for him, because he was unable to push at the end and because he struggled all race with low grip and poor traction causing degradation.

He was very frustrated, partly because of the way the strategies worked out, but mainly because he was lapped by the winner and he and Alonso were so far off the pace with little sign of a recovery. It is going to be a very long season for the two Ferrari drivers.

Did Ferrari deliberately favour Alonso? It’s not clear that they did. The moves they made were certainly done with others like Massa and Vettel in mind, as Alonso was vulnerable to both.

Bottas’ race shows that two stops should work out better, but Raikkonen’s tyre degradation was worse than expected, as was Alonso’s.

But something was done to overcome that in Alonso’s case and not in Raikkonen’s. Draw conclusions from that as you will.

The UBS Race Strategy Report is written by James Allen, with help and input from several of the leading teams’ F1 Strategists, from JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan and from Pirelli.

Race History Graph, courtesy of Williams Martini Racing

The zero line is the lap time of an imaginary car doing the winner’s average lap speed every lap. It is intended to show the gaps between car performance.

Note the end of Raikkonen’s second stint, the tyre degradation compared to another car, eg Bottas, doing the same two stop strategy. This is where Raikkonen’s race was compromised.

Williams have had tyre degradation problems in the early races, but Bottas’ result of 5th showed that they are getting on top of these issues. If Ferrari had covered Vettel at the final stop, Bottas would have finished fourth, a great effort.

[Click on graph to enlarge]

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I don't think Ferrari deliberately jeopardised Kimi's strategy compared to Alonso, so any conspiracy theorists can be shelved and put to be from that. Why harm you chance of maximising the points for the all important constructors cup?

When you have two drivers closely matched it's inevitable that opting for an unorthodox stint length or pit-stop lap will either work for one driver against the other, or vice versa. This time it worked for Fernando, perhaps next time it'll work for Kimi.

Anyway, the whole strategy issue at Ferrari is a red herring, a case of two bald men fighting over a comb. They finished a 66 lap race over 66 seconds behind the Mercs. A second a lap slower on race pace. That's the real issue.


It clearly showed in the race that the tire strategy of Alonso was much better than his team mate whose tires by that time degraded so much compared to Alonso's that they did not allow him to stay ahead at the last part of the race. It is obvious that Ferrari had a better strategy for Alonso. Whether it is deliberate or being wise after the event I don't know.


Whatever strategy calculated with meticulous care one has before hand, one should not stick to it religiously. A team should play it by ear so to speak as there are always cars or back markers in the way, safety car deployment, things unforeseen. If not, just have James Allen in your team to work out your strategy to bring your cars home in the best finishing positions.

If you are watching the race, it is obvious that the strategy for KR is wrong and the one for Alonso is better. Tires nowadays play a big role on which teammate is faster on the circuit at any given time.

But in any strategy, I feel that it is of great importance that the cars should be on the faster tires at the final part of the race and make sure not to put on the softer tires too early to ensure they will have enough life to make it to the finishing line without giving too much time away to your opponents. Look at Hamilton at the last race, he would have been cooked if there was a safety car deployment to help Rosberg.


"This time it worked for Fernando, perhaps next time it’ll work for Kimi."

Err, it did not happen in Bahrain for Kimi. In Bahrain the situation was very similar like in Spain except that Kimi was behind in Bahrain and Alonso in Spain.

So, I doubt that will ever happen.


As a Kimi fan I agree that the potential preferential treatment of Alonso over Kimi at this time is a largely a moot point. My disappointment with Ferrari is 90% (or more) related to the care performance and 10% (or less) related to the strategy calls.

We have to accept that there is a more than a fair chance that Alonso is a better driver than Kimi and that Alonso would beat Kimi more often than not. That hurts, I would not deny it, but it would never hurt as much as it hurts being lapped by lead drivers.



Agree with this assessment. Ferrari has always maintained the drivers work for the team and not the other way around.

In this instance it was tough luck that Kimi got the raw end of the deal but Alonso was under threat from Massa and Vettel.

Last few years with Massa is a different story, their performance difference specially during race day is night and day.

Seems this year, perhaps Ferrari is doing it's best for its own best interest.

Eyes Wide Open

It seems lacks of common sense to realize Alonso is still the #1 driver because of Santander sponsorship and not because of driving skill WITHIN Ferrari even if he is one of the best of the grid (but not best per se). If you don't thins so, please read Massa's tcomments of this year.

This explains why he pitted first than Kimi twice. The first time he failed to leap Kimi because of traffic and Kimi's time lap.

The second time they don't want to risk again so they decide keep Kimi on track 9 laps more with slower times than Alonso. Of course after Kimi pitted he rejoined behind Alonso.

Is this so hard to see?

All of this just for 2 points? Is this worth enough to piss off one of your driver for 2 points, even more considering the performance of its car? We are just in the 5th race of the season. Ferrari team should not have drivers preferences by now, no team should have.

Ferrari have to realize nowadays' Kimi is not Barrichello, neither Massa. He is not going to wait to leave Ferrari to comment what happens there.


Normally I laugh at the conspiracy theories but it's apparent that political infighting at Ferrari is leading to some very skewed decisions. I think Alonso is known to be looking to get out of his contract, at least Ferrari suspect he might jump ship - and they are trying to appease him. Whether it's a slight favoritism or talking about hiring Adrian Newey - it's possible these things are just to keep Alonso hanging on.

Ferrari know Kimi will complain and not keep quiet like many 'second' drivers but they must accept its a calculated risk and that as the oldest driver on the grid Kimi is a short term option for them anyway.


You're dreaming. If Ferrari want Alo first they'd have told Kimi to move over. Too easy.


What do you think the reply would have been given they all have publicly stated they have equal status..


If alonso was in fact faster in anytime of the race, we were gurranteed to hear that alonso complained over the radio.

Eyes Wide Open

I'm not dreaming. I just say Alonso is still the #1 driver in Ferrari because of his sponsor (Santander).

Kimi is not Massa. Kimi wouldn't have obeyed that radio message. Ferrari knows that. Everybody know that.

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

I think it's quite the oposite. Ferrari showed a big amount of respect for Kimi. In that situation (Kimi holding Alonso on the first stint) I would expect to hear: "Kimi, Fernando is fasttterrr than you!!!". As RBR did with Vet and Wilians did with Massa. What would Kimi do??? You know, he was fired once.

Eyes Wide Open

Everybody saw the race but it doesn't mean everybody is right about their opinions.

You say Kimi held Alonso for the first stint and don't show facts just what you think without analysis.

Perfect. You (an Alonso fan) thinks that, the rest of the world think in a different way. End of this discussion.

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

Some stats for you:

Races: 5x0
Q3: 3x2


@eyes wide open ( good name btw).. H.Guderian & Yago dont have a clue. The race has been analysed by the best F1 strategists saying Raikkonen was always faster before the 3rd stop and they dont know why he was not given the same opportunity.

- Sat -Fernando even with your fuel flow turned up on Sat

Kimi is still faster than you-by actions not words

- Sun- Fernando, Kimi is faster than you - fact- track position & attempted failed undercut and subsequent gapped. - faster on track- Facts not words.

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

I don't need to check the charts.

I saw the race.

Eyes Wide Open

Thanks you the reply.

Your reasoning failed when you mention Kimi was holding Alonso in the first stint.

Check the times of both during the race please. I have spent time analyzing them.


Although initially furious, after this analysis I realized that Ferrari did NOT favor ALO. Here's why:

1. Sim showed 2 stop faster (ALO and RAI both)

2. During the race ALO needs to cover the three stoppers. RAI does not.

2. ALO switched to three stoppers (which Ferrari believe is slower but can cover). Therefore, there is no need to offer/inform RAI (of) this slower option.

3. In the race though, 3 stopper is faster because of deg.

4. Ferrari COULD have switched RAI at the second stop seeing this. The REAL question is why didn't they?!

My conclusion: Ferrari did not favor ALO. But they also did NOT think proactively for RAI.

My Thoughts: Ferrari's brand-new boss' first true test was to get Ferrari to start being aggressive and change the culture of thinking proactively, not reactively and switch RAI. He failed.

His Second test will be to calm down RAI. from what I read, RAI was still at the circuit late into the night with his engineer. That is how angry RAI was!!


Remember what martin brundle commented after Alonso's last pitstop that ferrari should have pitted Kimi as well bcoz he was losing 1-2secs per lap over His teammate? If ferrari pitted alonso earlier to cover messa/vettel, i dont see why they didnt see the need of pitting kimi to cover alonso, when we talking about race positions?

It is clear that as a team ferrari dont mind if alonso ended ahead of kimi. By keeping kimi on a 2-stop after seeing how fast alonso was catching him in the last stint, it is obvious that ferrari was ok with alonso passing kimi.

Eyes Wide Open

Thanks for your reply. This confirm what I thought. Ferrari thinks proactively for Alonso and not for Kimi because of preferences.

I have another question: Why Alonso pitted before Kimi after the first stint? The preference within the team belongs to who is ahead.


Good comment. There is a simple explanation to post 4, although people don't want to see it, I don't know why. The explanation: the two stopper was not slower than the compromised three stopper Alonso followed after all. Both cars are driven by two different drivers, so one car can be faster than the other, and beat the other car with a slightly worse strategy.


Who's closer to top of the WDC standings, Kimi or Alonso?

Who brings in more $ with sponsors?

Truth is, on all fronts Kimi is behind. He's been unlucky, but as a team principal it's clear that has put him in even bigger deficit in team standing. Alonso is a safer bet statistically to at least be up there. You're not going to throw Alonso under the bus just to get Kimi back up to his points standings. It's better to pool the points in Alonso's account at this point as much as possible

Kimi at this point is not in a good position at Ferrari. Alonso needs to get unlucky and Kimi needs to pull himself up in points to get fair treatment. It pains me to say this but at this point it's self distructive to throw Alonso's points away just to be all fair and equal to Kimi. Even I, a strong "disliker" or Alonso can say I'd rather Alonso not be made to sacrifice points so that Kimi can be soothed. Alonso is 3rd in standings after all.


Agree with everything you say, even if you are a strong disliker of Alonso.


Well for once your the first person to speak any kind of logic on the subject & its probably those reasons along with Santander boss actually being there on Sunday and millions of betting Spanish fans + investing fans ( maybe the same thing :). )

But like Phil Glass rightly stated its too early in the season for that and surely even Alonso can see that the driver in front is usually the preferred option,especially if he was quicker car on Sat also. But then maybe thats why he gave his fuel flow that extra bull rush on sat & failed the also

Other than that Ferrari should see that one driver found the most gains in a race weekend ( ok his last few werent good). surely they can see it is this guy that is getting more on top of the car after only 4 races). Kimi is finding better ways to get the most out of it and surely 2007 is not that distant a memory for people to see how things change during a season especially where he is concerned.Where as for years Fernando is still flogging a sick horse instead of finding better ways to nurture it back to health--(memories of black beauty lol).. Right now I'd be more worried about Raikkonen walking out because hes been quoted as saying " I didnt come here to be the 2nd choice, you should explain me this sh..".. So they can stick with a tried and failed formula or one that is at least already making progress- they re not going to be top 2- but they will at least be ready to be stronger in 2015. Further I will just LMAO if they do progress well and Fernando jumps ship anyway- as most in the paddock are suggesting-which then makes it more silly a decision. I cant wait to see the back of this guy hes 4 times more political / less trustworthy than anyone in the sport and no better than those of his gen. Especially given some people are suggesting Kimi retire.


Kimi to walk out on Ferrari!!....hahahahaha. The guy who drove for free for lotus....The way he's started this season will lead to him leaving f1 for good. No other team will take him when Ferrari cut his contract short...AGAIN.


Yes, and almost all of these things could have been predicted before the year even started, apart from Ferrari's overall lack of pace. Even that might have been seen as at least possible, given recent history.

So why did RAI even go there? I suppose the lure of a regular paycheck still counts even when you have millions in the bank.

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

"so the team switched him (ALO) to three stops. Raikkonen was informed of this via radio".

That says it all.

Kimi bet on a two stop strategy and lost.

That's it.


If Ferrari would help to put all available points on Alonso's account because he is the safer bet, they should have ordered him past Räikkönen at the very first lap. I can't help thinking he (Alonso) would have been fourth instead of Bottas.



Probably not appropriate for live coverage....


This is possible.

I wish they did it, just so we could hear the conversation on the radio.


That would make sense if we were at the end of the season Sebee with a no prospects at all for RAI, not now at the beginning.


Ferrari season is already over, they can start working on 2015 🙁


Sure, I understand mathematically Kimi is not out of the WDC. No one is. But truth is Alonso is further up the road.

Bottom line, Kimi is not in a position of strength right now. He basically needs to realize that he is free to do the best job he can, but it's best for the team if Alonso gathers up the points, in case developments happen.

With Mercedes dominating and RBR second, Ferrari are fighting for scraps here. Basically, there is not enough points to go around.

Right now if Alonso DNFs Kimi needs to knock it out of the park and catch up. But he cannot gain points at Alonso' expense on the track. It's just not wise for the team.

End of the day you want to put a driver as high up that WDC standing as you can, and Kimi is outside of top 10 while Alonso is 3rd.


Sebee, you make some good points, and reading your post it's hard to disagree with your political analysis!

Having said that, like I said, the worrying issue for Ferrari is that on aero-balance/efficiency circuit the red cars were a whole second a lap slower - on average! - than the Mercs.

Can Ferrari really make up that deficit? In this season? This Euro/Canada summer?

Answers on a postcard please.


Can Ferrari really make up that deficit...



No chance they catch up this year nor the next and next. Hamilton would be 5 time champion before rule changes make another car win.


Their performance sucks.

But they need to put a player in a position to possibly challenge in case opportunity comes up. Who should that player be right now?


+1 Well said




So Kimi was given the best strategy and still was unable to make it work.

There will be plenty of posts here trying to discredit Fernando and Ferrari but data never lies.

Conspiracy theorists will plough along though, as they always have.


But why they gave Kimi an USED HARD TYRE for final pit stop?


It had one out lap only, sometimes it is better to combat graining I think. It is discussed some post further down.


That is all they had left,


Hi, any comments to this conversation between Kimi and his engineer.

"It went wrong at the end, sorry about that," his race engineer Antonio Spagnolo said over the radio after Raikkonen crossed the finish line in seventh place in Barcelona one position behind Alonso.

"Yes, but who is making the calls?" asked Raikkonen referring to the pit calls which saw the Spaniard pitting first between the two. "In one of those... I mean it seems to me at least we are not... We seem to be getting second choice!

"So, I wanna know what the hell is going on," he demanded.

To me Fearrai are out on thin ice and sadly desperate making calls satifying different issues like is Alonoso leaving and a pure spekulation make him look good. Its not my Ferrari now like the one from 1996-2007.

Magnus Sweden


NO. That's not correct. Kimi had one set of new hards left, as he used two sets in quali (one of them only for an out lap). We already clarified this point further down...


That doesn't sound correct. RAI used one new hard tyre for his first run in Q1 -- he did not use hard tyres after that. He should have had two new sets of hard tyres at his disposal.


yes, clearly ferrari rate kimi way higher than alonso! this shows that they are comfortable that kimi can handle the tire deg that alonso was struggling with no problem...


When radioed on the strategy options he apparently switched off communication with the pit crew, I am not sure if this is true, but if it is then there is no one to blame...


You may be right on that one. I also heard that it wasn't' really hamilton driving in the gp, it was his brother in the car whining to his engineer. I am not sure if this is true, but if it is then there is no one to blame…


Are trying to be funny, or what ?


Thats a lie,drivers never would switch of communications with the team, it makes no sense.

Im not even sure if they even turn it off from the car, James can you clarify us on this ?


Ave heard this from the horses mouth, Kimi tend to be rude to his crew and that is typical him. When they ask him some feed back or give him some info/suggestion he is always playing his own game and wouldn't be the first time.


Im not even sure how you came up to such conclusion when in the Analysis James pretty much states that two stops wasn't ideal for Raikkonen because he was losing too much time due to high degradation.

Alonso stated on his interview that he had the better strategy and that was the reason he managed to pass Raikkonen.

Raikkonen on the other hand blade the two pit stop strategy for his liability to defend against Alonso

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

The simulation showed that two stops was best.
During the race Alo realized that was not the case and switched to three stops. Kimi didn't. He knew what was going on and decided to stay with two stops. He lost. Period.


For those who commented that Kimi was on a better 2 stop strategic wise, then why ferrari only changed alonso's when they needed to cover messa/vettel but not kimi's when alonso was catchin kimi by 1-2sec per lap after the last pitstop? Martin brundle commented that ferrari left kimi out on worn tyres did no good to kimi's race position - he was meant to lose his position to his teammate.

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

@Andrew R

I see two possibilities here:

1) You didn't read Jame's article.

2) You didn't understand a thing.


Yours is the most precise explanation and the one the journalists should have given. It is clear that Alonso himself changed the stategy without compromise the one of Kimi. Why should he be responsible for Kimi´s Strategy?


Do you realize that that De La Rosa 2 stop prediction turned out wrong as it it didn't took into accord that Ferrari drivers would suffer from great tyre degradation ?

As for the strategy, thats easy because it wasn't Alonso that made the the strategy change during the race but the team. It was Ferrari that after calculation the input from the drivers and taking into accord many other data decided on the strategy ? All Alonso did during the race was to ask for if they could stop sooner.

Can we at least get down the basics of Formula 1 right before we start assuming that drivers do everything during the race?

Please lets keep the childish remarks away and lets have a proper conversation and keep the quality of this place high as it used to be.


A bit too politically correct, but a good analysis. However, Kimi's tyre degradation in his second stint was not worse than Bottas, according to the graph. He pitted quite earlier, as can be seen, so the slope at the end is misleading. His problem was the compromise taken by pit tin that early to cover Alonso and Massa. To go to a two stopper he should have go longer in the first stint, and that way it would have been closer with Alonso at the end. Or he could decide to switch to a three stopper and pit earlier, but whichever the case, Alonso was going to do the opposite, so he would have ended in front anyway.

The pace Alonso had in his stint with the hard compound is ominous, and it is very telling how his line in the graph is eating Kimi's. This should end any debate on which one of them was faster on race pace, and it was not a marginal or slight advantage as James politically says...


You're clearly mistake to compare Alonso's pace to Raikkonens as at the time Alonso went into new hards and pushing Raikkonen was still on dead mediums, After Raikkonen pitted 8 laps later Riakkonen had to manage and nurse the tyres for 22 laps on an used compound.

So it shows that nowhere Alonso was faster in pure race pace and that Raikkonen actually held clearly ahead of him until they changed the strategy.

You are proven wrong.


Alonso did 18 laps on the hards, if I am not mistaken... Kimi did 4 more, and he was overtaken with 3 (or 4) laps to the end...

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

Kimi used an extra set of tyres in Q3 in order to reach Q2, otherwise, would be impossible.

As a very overated driver once said: "tough luck".

H.Guderian (ALO fan)


Oh, my!!!

Do you really think Alo is feeling any preassure seeing Kimi being 1sec slower than him??? Really??? Kimi was crushed in the first four races. Crushed. Not even Massa was one second slower.

Keep dreaming. You have a long season ahead of you.

Remember, Kimi was FIRED by Ferrari and will be fired again.


ALO fan and Alonso fans in general: Fernando is feeling race after race the pressure from Kimi. In a few weekends the Finn will be over his issues and then we'll see... Besides, Alonso isn't a great car developer. In 4 seasons he's been incapable of developing that car into a winner. For sure he is a terrific driver. Period.


What a nonsense, why people is emotionally blinded, regarding the qualifiaction Alonso qualified with an illegal engine set up and still was .3 seconds behind Raikkonen. You should read skysports Ted Kravitz qualifying notebook.


Seriously what is this.

Raikkonen used only 1 set of hard in Q1 ( not Q3) and a medium compound. He also did an outlap on another hard tyres but came in to change into mediums so, there still 1 set of fresh tyres that raikkonen had available and never used during qualifying .

Do a little bit of research before you comment on things that you clearly got no clue .


I want to do an explanation on the used hards on Kimi vs the new hards on Alonso, as there are people confused (Alex for example) and James does not explain it.

Technically Raikkonen set of Hards was used, BUT it had just an out lap. It was due to a red flag by Maldonado in Q1, it cought Kimi out on track but he did not start his flying lap. Later, for his timed lap, he used the other set of hards. So the set was practically new, with no fast lap on it (how much is worth an out lap, maybe 2 hundreds?…).

To Alex: This is the reason why I said check things yourself. Apologies if it was a bit harsh, but I was a bit tired of clarifying things.

Regarding Hamilton, I think James made a mistake in a post. He used a set of hards in Q1, so he had only one set of new hards for the race, instead of 2 new sets as James pointed out. Also as James correctly pointed out, he had a new set of softs because he used only one set of softs in Q2, and none in Q1.


HAM had 2 new sets of hards for the race I'm looking at a sheet that tells me that.

ROS had 1 new set of hards and 1 mediums

HUL was the only other Top 10 driver with 2 and 1, like HAM


Copy it, but an explanation is needed. Drivers have two sets of new hard tires for qualifying. Hamilton used one in Q1 (I am seeing it right now) so he should have only one new hard set left.

Where is the mistake? Can anybody explain it? Is a set of FP3 being carried to qualifying, and HAM and HUL did not use it in FP3? I don't think so.


Thanks Joshua! So Alo and Ham had two sets of new hards for the race, while Kimi only one. Ferrari deliberately fitted the used set on Kimi's car, which only had an out lap on it (no fast laps). They probably thought it could help with graining. I know sometimes at certain tracks drivers do an out lap to the tire deliberately, this can prevent graining.


Over the race weekend, each driver has access to 13 sets of dry-weather tyres (seven of the harder ‘prime’ specification and six of the softer ‘option’ specification), four sets of intermediate tyres and three sets of wet tyres.

One set of ‘prime’ tyres may only be used during the first 30 minutes of Practice One and must be returned to the tyre supplier before Practice Two. One further set of primes must be returned before Practice Two and one set of each specification must be returned before the start of Practice Three.

This leaves a driver with nine sets of dry-weather tyres (four prime and five option specification) for the rest of the event, but one set of each spec must be returned to the tyre supplier before the start of Saturday’s qualifying session.

 Furthermore, one set of ‘option’ tyres may only be used during Q3, by those cars that qualified for Q3, and must be returned to the tyre supplier before the start of the race. One set of ‘option’ tyres, which were allocated to cars which did not qualify for Q3, may only be used during the race. At the start of the race the cars that took part in Q3 must be fitted with the tyres the driver used to set his fastest Q2 time.



If it was like that, then for example Alonso would have also two sets of new hards, as Hamilton (because he did only 1 run with hards), and Kimi one set of new hards. Then Ferrari deliberately put a set of used hards on Kimi (they were used for only one out lap). Sometimes tires a bit used are better to prevent graining, and indeed there was graining in Barcelona with the hards. It could be.


I thought they had 3 sets of each for qualifying and the race, plus an extra set of options for Q3 which have to be returned.


From the Lap 36 until Lap 44 Raikkonen lost over 17 seconds or average 2.1 seconds per lap if you like from Alonso.

The question is, why Ferrari didn't pit Raikkonen sooner after witnessing such a huge performance gap between him and Alonso ?

Anyway, fantastic analysis once more time James, cheers.


Whatever it is, Raikkonen's strategy is not the most optimal even if it was not completely compromised.

The team prioritized Alonso and gave many reasons to do so.

Kimi was left with a prescribed strategy that never adapt itself as the race developed.

What is Ferrari so afraid of?

Ferrari continues to disappoint me. Each year they performed worse than the year before and now they can't even sort out a simple case of calling the right strategy.

I had expected Ferraris to do way better than they are now because they asked for an engine focused regulation. Got their wish. but they still suck! LOL...


I'd say it was Ferrari incompetence/being dozy (delete as applicable) rather than an ulterior motive to benefit Fernando.

Ferrari should have committed to a 3 stop strategy as their default strategy as their tyre wear on the abrasive surface (it had rained overnight, washing away the rubber leaving a "green" track) was too marginal for a 2 stopper.


Maybe a three stopper was more elastic. I mean, Kimi was pushed hard by Fernando in the second stint (very clever move from Fernando) so he had to go faster and stress more the tires. It is clear from the graph it was bad for him, as immediately after Alonso stops his times fall. To make the best of a two stopper, he should have forgotten about Alonso and go longer in the first stint, and then in the second manage his tires correctly, what he wasn't able to do because he was under pressure from Alonso.

The problem for him was that Alonso was sufficiently faster to commit to a three stop from the beginning and still beat the full committed two stopper Kimi, and also the other way around.

So I agree the three stopper was perhaps more flexible, but the two stopper was at least as fast for the Ferraris (and everybody else, except Massa who suffered terrible degradation) if done properly. The thing is, whichever the strategy, Alonso would have done the opposite and ended in front this time. He was faster and there were two possible strategies, so impossible for Kimi to keep him behind.

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

The real question is: Why on earth Kimi did not switch to three stops???


Another Question, was Kimi told he was loosing time to Alonso by sticking to 2 stops? Or was he hold that Alonso having shifted to a 3 stopper was going much quicker than him.

I guess kimi was angry because both of these things didn't happen.

Lousy work by Ferrari.


Because the team didn't switch him. They favoured Alonso.


He was not allowed to.


Because if you have been ever reading the analysis that James Allen posted in here you would understand that it is Ferrari that is making the strategies and not Raikkonen or Alonso, the people on the pitwall and the engineers are there for a reason....

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

So are you saying that THE DRIVER that feels the car, lap after lap cannot say a word about what strategy he needs??? Really???


Toto indicated NR had a problem getting full throttle in qualifying, a possible reason why he couldn't beat LH for pole.

SV's old race chassis was twisted and "off spec" according to measurements taken at the factory. It showed in his race from 15 to 4 on a circuit notorious for overtaking.


I don't think Vettel's old chassis was twisted, cracked or anything like that but there must have been some small flaws in the construction for him to revert to this current chassis and his race pace transformed!! All RBR need is 2 big steps somewhere Merc has already close to maxed out their chassis and then we'd be able to have some real racing this season and from what I can see Ferrari are also slightly closing the gap even though it didn't look it but in Spain and China Alonso showed he can fight the Redbulls which is something Raikkonen can't at the moment. As for Rosberg well I didn't hear anything about a throttle problem.


That's just looking for excuses if you ask me.


No doubt Kimi was screwed over in favour of FA. Shame on Ferrari!

German Samurai

What do you guys expect?

This is the same team that broke the seal on Massa's gearbox to invoke a 5-place penalty and move the Santander Samurai one place up on the grid!

German Samurai

Because Kimi has some pride unlike Massa.


You conveniently forget Ferrari don't give a flying proverbial what you or anyone thinks when they do something like that; they favour their preferred driver quit openly, so why would they get all secretive now?


Although Pirelli have improved the tyres this year (something of an open goal after last year admittedly), I don't like the fact that there is such a big undercut advantage; it gives far too much strategy advantage to the car running behind, when the advantage should be with the car in front.

Also, Jenson stated implied in an interview that the drivers/teams don't use the word "undercut", wonder how they describe it?


"No grip, no grip, bring me in".


Is it not supposed drivers have a say in changing strategies? They are the ones driving and feel the rubber going off. Is there any clue Raikkonen asked for that? He was very clear in the slow down lap about the wrong strategy for him. My personal opinion is we won't hear those famous "Alonso is faster than you" radio comms, but we'll have this strategy "mistakes" instead.


Home favourite Dan breaks FIA rule with fuel, disqualified in Melbourne.

Home favourite Alonso breaks rule on max power limit in quali, under the noses of stewards, no action.

Is it Santander that made the difference?

I'm happy to be corrected where wrong.


I agree it does look a bit iffy. However, there is a slight difference. Red Bull were warned during/after quali' their cars were exceeding the fuel flow limit and asked to reduce the flow for the race. So, even though FIA had spotted a breach of fuel flow regulations they allowed the Bulls to race. The disqualification followed when they continued to ignore the FIA warnings during the race. Ferrari appear to have heeded the FIA warning after quali and fallen into line for the race - hence no disqualification.

Just a theory, but I do agree that it seems odd that a clear breach of the regulations, bringing an undoubted advantage, appears to have been accepted by the authorities.


AND he was still outqualified by his team mate..thats a big L on forhead & looks at pic of Alonso.


Could it be the FIA decided to avoid to be the centre of a controversial storm by not including ferrari in the checks, and that ferrari knew of this intention, and so .........

No no no. I am sure not.


Hi, I have a question as I really don't know the answer but from my understanding is that the power is regulated by the standard ECU. Did they tamper the code somehow?


ALO struggles to get ahead of RAI in Spain with team help.

Is that a fair summary?


Martin Brundle, "After the race, Kimi Raikkonen's displeasure was evident and understandably so. It seemed clear that Ferrari's race strategy was designed to put Fernando Alonso ahead of his team-mate and that must have been a shock to Kimi."

Can't wait for Monaco

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

What about the previous four races???

Do you think Alo needed any help from the team to beat Kimi by a second???


Hamilton was saying to the BBC after the race he is benefiting so much this year from having all of last year to get more familiar with the engineers and vice versa, as for all last year it was difficult for them to know exactly what he needs to go fast. Fernando has been at Ferrari with his engineers for 4 years. You have to wait longer than 5 races. Having said that, Kimi seems already very close and he's only going to get better


H. G. my good friend

previous races were all discussed in previous articles posted by James:


We are now discussing the Spanish grand prix



sami at it's best, isn't it?

H.Guderian (ALO fan)


Better forget previous races, hum???


Drivers need 6 months to settle in Raikkonen had 4 races not 4 years at Ferrari. The tide has turned and hes getting on top of the car..Fernando already worried and even with the PU turned up to illegal level he's struggling to keep up. Watch out when his toys start flying and duck before they hit you in the face


@h.guderian -six months to properly does not mean the season is over. It means they dont fully understand teams operations/ car engineering staff/ strategy till after. They can still be competitive - maybe 98 % of their potential rather than 100%


@Silver arrow- torros rosso are a Red Bull team and Ricciardo has tested for them. However it is fair to say Seb has not done the job expected of him so far and that Red Bull chassis is in a class of its own. That makes ironing out the other handling issues far easier. Fair play to Dan because he definitely has done a good job. But after Barcelona he will have a tougher battle I think.

Hamilton struggled with Mercedes half of last year before he worked the team and they work out his needs. It was the same for Perez last year and a few others- any team principal will advise the same. That said the Ferrari power unit caused problems to Raikkonen in Australia and Malaysia anyway- so Im not sure what anyones argument is. People comparing apples with oranges & coming out bananas at the end of it...


That's funny, Ricciardo certainly hasn't needed "six months to settle" before beating his four-time world champion teammate. Please drop the bias, it's extremely childish.

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

Do you think a professional driver needs *06 MONTHS* to "getting on top of a car/team"???

***06 MONTHS***

So YOU are saying this season is over for Kimi.

AND, besides that, the car is totally new for both drivers.


The cars is new..therefore the 4 years ALO had at Ferrari makes no difference.

Look at RBR. Vettel is there for 5-6 years and is getting beaten by Daniel which just arrived at RBR.

Your dislike for ALO can be seen from the Moon! That I can accept, but at least be fair and respect the way ALO has beaten Kimi so far this season.

ALO said he was asking when can they pit as he struggled. Ferrari said they told Kimi that ALO was switched on a 3 stopper. Did Kimi request a 3 stopper too, or just went along with 2 stops and then decided to complain at the end.

It took Kimi ages to get passed GRO, while ALO did it in about a lap if I remember correctly.

These are facts, the same as Kimi holding ALO up on 1st stint. Without that, ALO could've probably finished 4th.


I wonder which of Kimi's toys hit you in the face Elie, it's apparently done some serious damage. Even a demotivated Alonso, practically leaving the team, still beats Kimi routinely. Hilarious.




Agreed and probably Kimi an Fernando know that in Spain its is important for their and the teams cash flow that it happens the way Santander prefers.


RAI struggles since he is driving against ALO in the same car

I think this is more accurate


The German AMS has a quite strong take on the Alonso-Kimi strategy battle. They state that Alonso was pushing to come in first at the first pit stop saying that his tires were already gone and that it was a tactical game from him. (His lap times were still quite O.K.) I am sure Ferrari can explain anything, but they should have informed Kimi about this before the first stop and let him decide what he wants to do. Mercedes have been so fair in similar cases, Ferrari should learn from them. Alonso is great, but he carries this manipulative and not always fair attitude with him wherever he goes. Ferrari need two happy drivers and not a full-served Alonso, it has not worked up to now and its not going to work in the future either. Kimi will be up to speed soon and if they upset him that is going to be ugly.


My understanding of the pit stops is that each driver before the race have a strategy in mind with their engineer. For example ALO planned to stop on lap 18 and Kimi the same. If in the race, everything was going to plan, and Alonso's engineer said ALO is coming in, then Kimi's engineer would say "no, Kimi comes first this lap". Then Kimi would get the 1st call, than ALO.

But what happens if ALO during the race says I want to come on lap 16 and Kimi's engineer is still set for lap 18? Obviously ALO could come in on lap 16. The only time they would allow the first driver on track to pit first, is when they both would like to come the same lap. Logical right?

I understand that ALO was asking the team when is the earliest they can pit..so if Kimi didn't want to stop until lap 17, ALO could pit a lap earlier. I don't see a problem with this. Do you?


Ferrari never learns to play fair...I don't think they will ever play fair. It only worked when they had a dominant car, but it will never in this era when competition is a bit more fierce.


Well said Peter! +1 to that


"Raikkonen’s tyre degradation was worse than expected, as was Alonso’s.

BUT something was done to overcome that in Alonso’s case and not in Raikkonen’s. Draw conclusions from that as you will."

End of conclusion.


Yup that says it all. James is indirectly indicating that Ferrari gave Kimi raw end of the stick with no fault of his own. Kimi has every right to be displeased.


Funny I thought Kimi "knew what he was doing" Alonso called the 3 stop, Kimi should have too.....


Elie....kimi was furious cos fernando had the mental capacity to understand that a three stopper was his only chance to keep vettel behind. Kimi is still going thru the telemetry.......


Do you think if he knew what Alonso was doing he would not have change to 3 stop if the team hadnt advised him otherwise.. Use some common sense for goodness sake. Raikkonen was absolutely furious for good reason!!


Kimi has every right to come in for tyres if he wants them.


My last point. Look at the figure. Now put Kimi's last stint slope on Alonso's penultimate stint, and Alonso's penultimate stint slope on Kimi's last stint. Now ask yourself this question: if this was their respective pace, would Alonso caught Kimi? The answer is: NO.

Conclusion: Alonso won the battle by being considerably faster with the hard compound.

Possible counter argument: yes but Alonso's stint was shorter, he would not have managed that pace for more laps.

Response to the counter argument: there was absolutely no sign of degradation in his times, they were absolutely consistent up to that point. How many laps could he have done in those times? No one knows exactly, but for sure several more, as this year degradation is more linear and it should be noticed several laps before the times really drop considerably. Alonso was not yet even at that liner degradation point, where the times slightly drop.


I think you need to learn how to interpret this graphs, Alonso was faster than Raikkonen in the second stint after lap 35, guess what happen in lap 35 Alonso had the second pitstop. Common sense


With alonso as teammate, it explains everything .

Funny fia found out that fernsando 's mgu k has more output than allowed and he still couldn't beat Kimi in q3.

In two out of 5 races when Kimi had a clean weekend, he managed to out qualify alonso.


Hmmm yeah, very interesting:


As Ted said, it's unlikely that FIA told Ferrari to adjust Alonso's MGU-K if it weren't above the allowed output.

Martin Brundle also said that Ferrari is trying to make ALO happy in order to stay...


H.Guderian (ALO fan)


Alo 04 x Kimi 01 (Spain)


3 vs 2

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

Correct. Sorry!!!


Kimi is just no match for Alonso. Ferrari should have finished 4th ahead of Bottas and Vettel but Kimi wasted a whole stint and tyre performance with his inability to pass a much slower Grosjean. With clear road Alonso would have chased down Bottas and never given Vettel the chance to pass him. Extremely average drive from Kimi. Clearly not at the same level with Alonso and Hamilton.


Alonso also has inability to pass slower Raikonen on the same tyre.

If Grosjean is so much slower and Kimi run at the same pace of Grosjean then great Alonso should have passed Kimi, Why he can't pass Kimi??? = Alonso can't pass Grosjean too = Alonso has inability to pass.

The cars that has passed on track usually run at about at least 1 sec slower at that point, at 0.5 sec faster no one can't pass the car in front.


Exactly my point. I think, looking on the graphs, Alonso had quite some more pace when in clean air (see his run on the hards). It shows overtaking a car with roughly the same characteristics but overall slower is very difficult in modern F1.


I think you need to learn how to interpret this graphs, Alonso was faster than Raikkonen in the second stint after lap 35, guess what happen in lap 35 Alonso had the second pitstop. Common sense.


I think u need to learn how to read these graphs or u dont understand me.

Alonso did 16 laps on the hard tyre, Räikkönen 22. But Alonso's stint had no signs of tyre wear as his lap times where pretty much constant. In fact on his last laps on the hards, he was still as fast or slightly faster than Räikkönen at the beginning of his stint on the hard tyre !!

Alonso did come in for his 3rd stop in an ultimate shot to cover Vettel who tried the undercut (with succes).

But his stint on the harder tyre was much faster from begin to end compared to Räikkönen's last stint, despite having significantly more fuel in the car at the time.


I would agree that Fernando hits his peaks more consistently than Kimi...........I was going to say like The Incredible Hulk, but the other Nico had a bit of an off-weekend in Spain, curiously.......


Saying that, FI always said that Barcelona would be one of weaker tracks, and finishing 9th and 10th is something of a come-down after their heroics in Australia and Asia............I guess the big budgets of the Big Boys is starting to make a difference........

Money talks..........




Kimi should of move aside for Alonso right after the start because he was holding him to catch both Hamilton and Rosberg and lap everybody by lap 5.


That's right. Alonso would have passed Rosb and Ham easy and quite likely lapped the whole field incl Ham and passed the chequred flag 2 minutes clear.


No, no, you are wrong Mr. Glass. By the time everybody else finished the race, Alonso would be in Monaco driving FP1.


[mod] Not on the same level as alonso and hamilton? get real mate. The same hamilton who went from pole to 12th last year? that hamilton?


To make myself clear. I do rate hamilton as a fantastic driver, no doubt about it. But like spain last year showed that even hamilton can struggle.


Ahh yes china and brazil 2007....his hilarious tangles with Massa 2011 and 2012....Canada 2012......hitting webber in Singapore.....good times!


But like spain last year showed that even hamilton can struggle...

You must be new to this site. A word to the wise - if Hamilton struggles in a race then it's the car that let him down, not his driving. Ok? 😉


Alonso said his tyre were gone much wRlier than Kimi. Short should we trust? You or fernsando?


I was so frustrated to see Ferrari pit Alonso so late to cover Seb. The whole world and his dog knew that Seb was 3 stopping; why didn't they bring Alonso in 1 or 2 laps earlier? Seb would've struggled to overtake and Kimi would have been safe as well. Argh. So frustrating.

Sorry to all the conspiracy theorists out there (including you Elie)Was anyone else surprised by how early Massa came in to try and undercut both Alonso and Kimi? We were told that lap 18 was when they'd be pitting but 3 laps early for Massa showed that they knew they were faster than both Ferrari's last weekend. but the first stop was clearly a reaction to Felipe. It's just so frustrating that Ferrari covered him (just about...!) and not Sebastian. Whoever it was that made the call must have been half asleep..!


Was anyone surprised that Massa finished 13th in the end?

He never moves forward in a race. He either stays at his starting position or ends up lower in the table.

He may have some flashes of brilliance during qualy but points are awarded during race day.

Williams made an error signing Felipe instead of the Hulk, Koba or another newcomer...


Signing massa brought some brazilian sponsorship interest to the williams. Hulk needs to get some big sponsors on his team very quickly or else we may just lose a great talent


Yeah I have no idea what happened to Felipe. It's such a shame but I think they've made a mistake hiring him. I think Bottas will walk all over him tbh. They had a better car than Ferrari in Spain and he didn't capitalise.


Not Domenicali this time, that's 4sure

German Samurai

Ferrari's justification and the analysis makes sense, but I can't help but think that if roles were reversed in the first stint Alonso would have pitted before Raikkonen.

Reminds me of Australia 2013. Massa was ahead of Alonso so what do they do. Bring Alonso in inexplicably early and keep Massa out inexplicably too long.

So early in the race they bring in Alonso early to get the undercut and ensure Alonso stays ahead of Massa. It seems inexplicable that they could completely drop the ball and not bring Alonso in earlier for the undercut to cover Vettel late in the race. There's a team of guys poring over data in the back of the Ferrari garage.

The first stop indicated that it was going to be almost impossible for Alonso to pass Raikkonen unless Ferrari gambled with a different strategy for Alonso. They tried the undercut it didn't work.

The justification for switching Alonso to a three stopper in the second stint was to cover the three stopping Vettel? So why did they decide not to cover Vettel in the third stint? Ferrari can't keep their story straight.

Makes no sense. I think they switched him to a three stopper to get Alonso past Kimi.


"I can’t help but think that if roles were reversed in the first stint Alonso would have pitted before Raikkonen."

Absolutely spot on.

The situation before the first pits was similar to that in Bahrain! In Bahrain it was Alonso leading Kimi Leading Vettel. When Vettel pitted first the very next lap they chose to pit Alonso and not Kimi! So effectively Kimi lost that place.

It was clear Fernando was favoured by Ferrari.

All revved-up

+1 Great observation re Bahrain vs Spain


If the roles were reversed and Alonso came in first, Massa would have jumped Kimi and cost the team points. It wouldnt have happened, they are well aware they need every point possible.


In response to your next comment 'Kimi wasn't given the chance to cover', yes he was...he came in the next. And as a result, he did cover massa.

The only mistake ferrari made was ruining alonso's third stop; it cost them a lot of points, as james mentioned.


So Kimi isn't given a chance to cover the undercut from the car behind but Alonso is....

Kimi had his manager meet up with new TP of Ferrari after the race questioning the startegy he was put on, that says it all...


…no, ALO wasn't given chance to defend undercut from VET, Ferrari lost 2 places as a result


Interesting article James. While it is clear that Ferrari were trying to cover Vettel and that the Ferraris' had severe tyre issues I think perhaps as you point out, that something was done for Alonso and not for Kimi lies the questions. It's all a bit baffling really. Also, there has been alot of talk/criticism for Lewis regarding his radio transmissions. While Lewis' tone seems off, there was substance behind what he was saying- regarding the pit stop times and front angles. So I think he was entitled to demand answers, particularly in the fight for the lead and the World Championship.

Peter Freeman

But then why we're Ferrari not concerned for Kimi covering Vettel just like the were with Alonso? As it was they failed to cover Vettel with either car, so how then does their explanation hold up? Was Kimi given the option of a 3 stop?


Because Kimi was protected by ALO, he was ahead of ALO.

That's the bit where they went badly wrong. If ALO pits before VET for the final stop VET would have been shut out by ALO and would have struggled to pass BOT, RAI ahead of him before the end.


Elie.....kimi was just too slow.......there's always something wrong on kimi side of the garage.......he's a shadow of the man that was beaten by nick Heidfeld when they were at Sauber....

Peter Freeman

Thanks for the explanation James it does make more sense. On another note, I am sure many are wondering how Ferrari and McLaren are getting it so very wrong right now.

Peter Freeman

Looking at the graph it is clear that for Ferrari 2 stops was not quicker than 3. I suspect that this is what Kimi was asking about when he said that bit about who called the strategy. I can understand his frustration as the difference was not small, 2 stops was way slower. Whether or not they realised this and only changed for Alonso in favour of him or not only Ferrari know, but Kimi's lap time was dropping more than Alonso's at the time they pulled Alonso in for his first stop, so it could indicate that they were running a live test of strategy in an actual race, which is fair enough, except they did not tell Kimi at the time. And if that is so, they learnt that their pre race calculations over No. of stops vs overall race pace were way out.


It was on paper before the race started, as for other teams, most of whom followed through on it and did 2 stops.
McLaren and Ferrari had higher deg than expected

Peter Freeman

Sorry, correction, at the time they pulled Alonso in for is second stop, not his first stop.


James if they pitted Alonso to cover Massa in the first stint. Kimi was 1.6 sec up the road. Dont you think it would have made sense to pit Kimi to cover off both. It would have given Ferrari another 2+!sec gap to Williams. Also the way Fernando attacked Raikkonen after that pit exit was not the sign of a driver looking back was it? It was someone with a plan that failed.

The fact remains Fernando was racing Kimi first and their opponents second. Ferrari could easily have gained 2 sec at the first stop with Raikkonen and another 2 more at least with a third stop against Seb. With Raikkonen always 2-3 sec up the road- its very easy to see the lead Ferrari was always more of a chance at 4th than the second Ferrari.

The other thing that many people miss is that they are wrongly comparing Raikkonens lap times on hard when he Knowingly had to drive them 15 laps longer than Alonso- there is a clear diff in how you drive the car in these situations. That would have been very different with a reset to 3 stops after the first stop.

Other than the above it is abundantly clear every time we have these discussions that strategy is based on what the team heads tell the media. I appreciate the overall neutral picture you endeavour to present. However I get very disappointed sometimes when you dont use your many years of experience behind the scenes to unravel the real reasons behind the strategies. I knew before you posted this its exactly what you would say, same as Webber in front of Vettel (Suzuka last year). Alonso/ Massa Melb 2013. But this one is a little different because Raikkonen was always ahead even after the first undercut and further away at the second stint.

The real reason this happened was Santanders chief was in the paddock on sunday. The Spanish newspapers and all of Spain were all expecting Fernando to win and Ferrari "sold itself for 13 pieces of silver" took another "spitting on" from true racing fans. [mod]



'James if they pitted Alonso to cover Massa in the first stint. Kimi was 1.6 sec up the road. Dont you think it would have made sense to pit Kimi to cover off both. It would have given Ferrari another 2+!sec gap to Williams. Also the way Fernando attacked Raikkonen after that pit exit was not the sign of a driver looking back was it? It was someone with a plan that failed.'

If you bothered to read the article or look at the timings, you'd realise how obvious the answer to this was. if Kimi boxed first he would have covered Massa but Alonso wouldn't have, which would have cost ferrari points. To cover the undercut, the driver closest to the driver behind must come in first. You talk about +2s but it's about points, not time.

I get it, you hate alonso and love Kimi. I love Kimi too, but there's no need to get too offensive about it all. it's pretty obvious ferrari were thinking about scoring more points, as they always should be. They completely ruined alonso's final stop by pitting him too late; that's what you should be frustrated about.


@rockman- the word genuine springs to mind as far as Kimi goes. I would prefer to be ignored by someone who always gives an honest answer and is there to race rather than shake hands with someone I do not trust and constantly talks rubbish.

He is non political in the most political sport on earth. Joe average does not like politics. Aside of that the guy drive...


"The Spanish newspapers and all of Spain were all expecting Fernando to win".

Not true. Only some newspapers, not even all people reading those newspapers, only misinformed people.

Another example of the distorted way of reasoning you use always...


Bit harsh Mister, but I tend to agree.

Hard to accept though for Kimi fans since he's so popular!

Kimi has always been an enigma to me. You never really know which Kimi will turn up in a race weekend because sometimes you feel he'd rather be somewhere else than in a race track.

Out of all the drivers as well, I would say that Kimi is the one that cared the least about his fans. He doesn't even like signing autographs when he arrives. A wave to fans is a rare sighting. I've been to a few GP's and most other drivers tend to take time to greet fans with autograph even Horner does it!

And somehow he's still one of the more popular drivers out there. Like I said, enigma.


My post was to James. However Kimi was ahead on the grid and on track all race till Ferraris pit call- so your point is mute


Kimi was too slow. He was not able to make any progress in the 1st stint..and only backed Alonso with him.

Kimi's time has passed. He always seems to have some sort of problem. At Lotus was the power steering..here is something else. Others, just get on with it and drive the car like it is.

Get Hulkenberg for 2015 and send Kimi to a club or something.


I've been a fan of Alonso over the years but to be honest Ferrari's strategy call left a sour taste in my mouth. I's obvious he received preferential treatment, something which he's demanded in the past. When he eas at Mclaren in 07 we all saw what happened when he never received preferential treatment and got beaten by lewis (Yes they were tied on points but position wise not so). Vettel has been behaved in similar ways in the past. Why can't they just go head to head like lewis is with Rosberg and just fight it out rather than use politics etc to get ahead!


You have been an Alonso fan? And you talk about preferential treatment? Do I need to remind you about what happened during the McLaren year?

Is there anyone in his mind that doesn't think that R. Dennis blew it by promoting his rising star to nothing? By the way, that's what got Kimi an unexpected championship.

The great Kimi, beat time after time by Massa, beat time after time by Alonso. Why is everyone surprised about the 4-0?


You should read the article again. Also, it seems you never noticed how Kimi made no progress in 1st stint managing only to hold Alonso back while Ric and Bot distanced themselves.


How can you really know that Alonso is faster than Kimi in the 1st stint.

even in the 2nd stint, Alonso 3 stop no need to preserve the tyre while Kimi has to, Alonso still can't pass Kimi

U r just guessing


What a nonsense you better have a course in reading as well, the graph is a summary of the race with the analysis from James. In the grap you can see al the stints and Aloso wasn't faster. Reading is agood for the menetal health as well there it go something else more to read.http://www1.skysports.com/f1/report/22058/9310063/2014-spanish-gp-analysis--delving-into-the-detail-and-strategies-from-barcelona



I think you need to learn how to interpret this graphs, Alonso and Raikkonen were evenly matched in pace in the first stint, Alonso was faster than Raikkonen in the second stint after lap 35, guess what happened in lap 35 Alonso had the second pitstop. Common sense


I wasn't talking about the graph. I was refering to the race..and Alonso maybe looks to have the same pace as Kimi because he was behind Kimi and unable to run his own pace.

Basicaly he was faster in 1st and 2nd stint. Kimi is just too slow.


Rosberg and Lewis going " head to head" . Are we watching same races ? BTW did you read this article ?

Chris Partridge

Excellent piece. Great analysis.


As soon as Fernando made his first pit the Sky commentators were all over it with their conspiracies. Even I, a humble teenager, could see they were reacting to Massa, which worked perfectly.

The commentators also went on about how Kimi should have first choice on the pit stop. How do we know he said 'not now' and the pit was offered to Fernando on the same lap and he accepted it. Having first choice doesn't always mean you have to pit first!


" Even I, a humble teenager, could see they were reacting to Massa, which worked perfectly."

That isn't a humble statement, its a humblebrag dear teenager.

Also, the sky team have access to the entire radio transcript real time. Which is why during races you can often hear them inform the viewers of what was said on the radio even when it wasn't aired.


James the main question here is why Ferrari suddenly switched raikkonen to a 2 stop. the benefits of a 2 stop can only be gained if u commit to it early enough.. surely raikkonen could have done few more laps in his first stint if he was goin for a 2 stop. but he pitted just after alonso. that simply does not happen..

the only place where alonso is faster is when he had better tires which is self explanatory..


They didn't switch RAI to a 2 stop.

They were both on 2 stops at the outset and ALO was switched to a 3 stop during the second stint. It's clear in the piece.

The optimum time to pit for a 2 stop is Lap 18. RAI pitted on lap 17. That is also clear in the piece

Tommy Karamin

Sorry James, but Ferrari themselves say that they suffered with degradation! In my opinion, this means that they should try to go a little bit longer than lap 18 which was probably good for any other team, except for Ferrari, in order to shorten the subsequent stints!! By bringing him in on lap 17, actually compromised his whole race....Of course, the optimum for this Ferrari is to go for 3 stops on ALL TRACKS! At least, having fresher tires at all times, will give confidence to the drivers (after all, it's all they can give them.....)


They clearly had not figured it out after FP3 - they thought 2 stops would work. During the race they realized it wouldn't.

It's not hard to believe that they got the strategy wrong. It's been happening a lot.

Tommy Karamin

What i mean, is that Ferrari COULD NEVER-EVER make a 2 stop strategy work!!! Not a chance!! They SHOULD know this by FP3.....Kimi was clear I guess about that!!! If they thought that they could make a 2 stop race on Friday evening, then frankly they have lost it. They should quit and go race in another series....This car is so tail-happy, that no driver can seriously do a 2 stop race....



I would think for Ferrari - I am sure it should have been clear in practice that 3 stops is quicker for reasons mentioned by Kimi - low grip and poor traction causing degradation.If they didnt knew by P3 then they better go racing at their own test track in Italy.They are not fit to race others. Its pretty clear Fernando was favoured

Tommy Karamin



I dont think Alonso was favored. If Ferrari wanted to do that they would have simply told Kimi to move out of the way.


Do you really think Kimi would have simply move out of the way? He's not Massa..


@ Petra

Yes kimi is not massa, however kimi is a pilot who was humbled by massa in 08 & 09 and he was ousted by Ferrari already once


If kimi got fired by ferrari bcoz he was not performing/didnt have motivation n constantly out paced, why the same team hired him back again n dumped messa who is actually faster?


And you think Kimi is above Ferrari? Think again!

We are talking here about employees and employers. Who's paying the bills and wages again?


no way, fernando is above ferrari quite obvious

Stephen Taylor

I think he would rather put Alonso in the wall than move over.


IMO they still would have told him to move out of the way if they were pro-alonso and anti-kimi. If he did so or not, is his own decision and its own consequences.


So team boss Marco has made his first rookie mistake by not covering Vettel in Alonso's strategy and also by not putting Kimi on a 3 stop once it became clear degradation was high for both drivers.

Yes, everybody makes mistakes and we wait and see if Marco has learnt his lesson in future races.

But for sure Ferrari's biggest worry is tyre degradation for we have seen on rear limited tracks like Bahrain, the team has needed an extra stop.

Regards Vettel, it was a good drive from the defending champion but I await further evidence to see whether he has in deed got on top of the 2014 cars.

Yes Barcelona is a high downforce track that would favour the characteristics of the Red Bull car kind of like wet races favour the Red Bull package.

It's nice to see that Williams have not only got on top of their downforce deficiency but now also appear to have improved their tyre degradation >>> perhaps Williams will be the surprise arms race winners.

As for Mercedes, it was an impressive display from Lewis for he was able to read the race from the front.

Firstly, Rosberg revealed that he would have needed 1 more lap to make it happen, and so with Lewis disobeying to box for his second stop immediately, this gave him breathing space at the end.

Also Lewis veoted his engineer's decision to make 3 holes to the front wing, this fact would have made him a sitting duck in the final stint as he was struggling with understeer.

Last but not least, Force India expected to struggle at a track such as Barcelona so it was a decent effort by both drivers to bag points.


PS: Goferet, I know you like your stats, and here's a biggie - it is a whole 12 months since Ferrari last won a grand prix.

Am I right in saying that is the longest period in the new millennium F1 the Prancing Horse have gone without tasting the winners champagne? Let me think..................yes, I think it is.

I think the longest in modern day F1 in, say, the last 35 odd years without a victory for the Fezza must be between Prost winning in Spain September 1990 and Gerhard "cheese" Berger victory at Germany in July 1994, although even the most pesimistic of Ferrari supporters would say they probably won't have to wait nearly 4 years for the next win..............famous last words!

Having said that, Ferrari waited 21 years until Michael gave them a WDC, they have gone 7 years now (and counting) until their last drivers championship, they haven't had a dry weather pole since Singapore 2010 and its a whole 6 years (and counting) since their last constructors cup..............Ferrari do seem to go long periods without any concrete success!


As do anyone who is not RB OR Merc


@ Gaz Boy

Incredible isn't it...

12 months without a win for Ferrari, that's a complete journey around the sun. I can't even begin to understand how disappointed the fans must be.


I have to say I was very disappointed with Ferrari's race pace, irrespective of tyre strategy. I thought Barcelona being a front-limited, understeer pre-dominance circuit would suit Ferrari, and Fernando in particular. I didn't expect them to beat the Mercs on a bone dry track, because at this moment no one can (reliability permitting) but I believed Fernando would spray champagne from 3rd place on the podium.

The worrying issue for Ferrari is that they have a) lack of clean, efficient consistent downforce b) poor suspension compliance c) terrible traction, particularly around 2nd-3rd gear shift d)an engine/PU that is around 60 BHP/60 Lb ft of torque down on the Mercs. With their too stiff suspension and poor downforce producing ability, I expect the Ferrari's at Monaco to handle like a Texan bucking bronco - you watch in practice, Kimi will be locking up left, right and centre unless they can completely re-design their front wing/suspension.

Having said that, Ferrari always struggle with a major rule changes. Remember 2005 and 2009?


I don't think Barcelona is that front limited. There is a lot of degradation on the rears, and also graining is mostly on the rears if I am not mistaken. For example last year, Mercedes were awful at Barcelona, while much better in China. Due to their problems with rear tire degradation, front limited tracks helped them, and indeed it was not the case in Spain.


Alonso's pace woukd hve been enough to be 4th on a two stopper had him been ahead of kimi from the beginning. Imagine Fernandos graph with him being slightly faster for the first two stints and then beeing able to pit 4 laps later to put hards and make them last till the end. Sure 5th and probably 4th covering seb on track


@ Mocho_Pikuain

Now that you mention it, you maybe right.


@ Gaz Boy

Oh my mistake. So Barcelona is a front limited track.

For sure, a car that doesn't go well in Barcelona is pretty lost.


"So team boss Marco has made his first rookie mistake by not covering Vettel in Alonso’s strategy and also by not putting Kimi on a 3 stop once it became clear degradation was high for both drivers."


You seriously think he's making strategy calls?

He looks more like a rabbit in the headlights to me still.


Marco is in charge of schmoozing sponsors and Ferrari dealers and customers in the Paddock Club, not race strategy.


@ Gary

Oh I see!!!!


He would have no say in strategy calls


James, so who is in charge? Is it Alonso and Andrea Stella?


Who was faster at the fisrt stage of the race? Who had a better setup for the race & who had better setup for qualy thinking in this (almost impossible overtaking) track? Why Kimi was so hard against Alonso and so soft against Vettel? Why some peple say is so easy to pass with same car (even with fresher rubber) at Barcelona? Between team mates is very tough (in Vettel words)passing your team mate if not impossible (without a mistake). The car with better aero charge of the grid is the Red Bull, but F1 "saviors" discovered the "talent" of Vettel compared with other cars. The Red Bull was clearly the only car able to get very close of the car ahead without losing aero charge. So many technical aproach and after that the Media Circus choose his products attending, not driver skills but car potential.


Kimi was told by his engineer not to compete with Vettel.that audio transcript was heard during the race itself.


Well, then instead of "Did Ferrari favour Alonso?" would be interesting to have "Why Kimi fought with Alonso instead Vettel?"


So yeah, Ferrari did favour Alonso.


Yes I also tend to favour products that get me better results than others....an example that comes to mind is I prefer Ribena (Alonso) compared to the watered down, tasteless and quite frankly, boring Coles blackcurrant syrup (kimi).


I think the racing strategy lent towards Alonso who on fresher tyres passed Kimi easily.Ferrari are trying to sugar coat the sour taste of team preference. Looks like they want Alonso to stay next season so will provide optimisation in tyre strategy. Thats why Kimi wanted "The Chat" with the Ferrari Strategists regarding neutrality & equality.

It would be a poor decision to favour one driver at present. Kimi will not like to be in No.2 Driver Massa Mode all season.

Mercedes strategy was balanced.Also provided alot of data on opposing tyre deg & fuel consumption.

Red Bull did ok to get Daniel in front of Bottas. Vettel had good race.

Mclaren....hummmm not good. They need a clear out & new ideas.


I don't think there is any doubt that Raikkonen ended up on the wrong strategy in the end based on the tyre deg that both Ferrari's were suffering. What is clear is that the pace between both Kimi and Alonso was very very similar this weekend for the first time and if they had both completed the race on the same strategies, Raikkonen would most likely have finished ahead. Alonso never looked like overtaking Kimi over the first half of the race.

At the very least, it bodes well for future races. Raikkonen looked much more competitive in Barcelona, a track that Alonso has been very successful at compared to his team mates. I certainly think Alonso took notice of Kimi's performance this weekend as he needed an ultimately preferable strategy to get ahead.

As for why Alonso got priority at the first round of pit stops, Ferrari may have a point about covering Massa. Fernando only barely got out in front of him. However, if it was Raikkonen behind Alonso in a roles reversed situation, I think it's fairly obvious Ferrari would not have done the same for Kimi. Arguably, it's Kimi's own fault for being slow out of the blocks this year.... but even so, Ferrari have two world champions in their team, not just one. And Kimi is no Massa when it comes to be screwed over. His post race interview summed up his feelings emphatically. Not a happy Iceman. Watch this space.


Again and again the same thing of Alonso getting the optimum strategy, when the journalists, the teams themselves, James Allen himself and the fact 8 of the 10 first cars did a two stop strategy are all showing the optimum was marginally the two stopper. Not matter how many times it is explained repeated...

Alonso made the three strategy work because it put him in clear air and was able to exploit an speed advantage over Kimi. Is it that hard to understand?


Are you emotionally blind, go and read again the graphs faster after lap 35, after second pitstop, a reading course is a good option


Please don't be so condescending!! I do fully understand that a two stop strategy was optimum for most, but clearly not Ferrari. If you look at the graph above, you will clearly see that Kimi's tyres had completely gone in the final few laps.

Ferrari has been much more susceptible to tyre deg issues than other teams so far this season. That just appears to be a characteristic of the F14T.

Let me put it another way, if Kimi was also put on a 3 stop strategy, Alonso was not getting past him. Whether Alonso had a tenth or two in hand while racing Kimi early is irrelevant as he couldn't get past. Only the strategy change got him ahead.

The optimum strategy for one team may be different to that of another. To band all the cars together is naive on your part. 3 stop turned out to be the fastest strategy for Ferrari in the end. No question about it. Look at the graph.

Tommy Karamin

Exactly! 2 stops was OK for most teams, but NOT Ferrari....The fact that Alonso got a better place with 3 stops, shows it!!! They should pit Kimi for a third time as well. That's the whole story...But they didn't, because they knew Kimi would keep his place if they did....


I'm not condescending, it's just that I don't agree. Ferrari did not have more tire degradation than Williams. If Kimi had done a three stopper, Alonso would have done a two stopper, and would have ended in front anyways. Because the three stopper was not clearly faster than the two stopper for Ferrari, no matter how many times people repeat it.

Eyes Wide Open

Not always the best stop strategy of most of the teams is the best for all the teams. There are many different things in that.

It's right Alonso was able to exploit an speed advantage over Kimi using fresh tires for 9 laps while Kimi was on used tires trying to reach his second pit stop.

The thing is Kimi deserves the same chance of Alonso. Why Ferrari's wall didn't call Kimi to pit then? Why they always call Alonso to pit first instead Kimi, even if Kimi is ahead of him?

Is it that hard to understand?

Eyes Wide Open

If Ferrari had called Kimi for a 3 pit stop so Kimi would have ended in front of Alonso.

Alonso himself has commented he could not overtake Kimi.

Kimi was faster than Alonso in qualification and race (with same degraded tyres).

Is it that hard to understand?

To Doobs: Buddy, I have read not only this article but also others. I have also checked the lap times of both drivers.

This article didn't explain why Ferrari called Alonso to pit first instead Kimi after the first stint. This advantage belongs to the driver who is ahead.


Read the article, it's all explained buddy 😉


If Ferrari had called Kimi for a three stopper, and Alonso had kept with the two stopper, Alonso would have ended in front anyways, and you people would be saying the same things about favouritism towards Alonso.

Is it that hard to understand? Really?


your own review appoints that they favour one driver over another...


No. But he leaves the door open so that way there is more discussion on the matter... Which is better for him... and for us!


I was really surprised that the focus was on the Ferrari strategy. But to address that I feel like that the days of Alonso getting preferential treatment from the team are at an end which probably be the end of a long time since I feel like almost all of his success is been due to preferential treatment. The new guy is smart enough not to let it get in the way of making decisions and friendship will not rule out over performance. This is bad news for Alonzo because with the team focused on both cars instead of just on his car he will be fighting stance and I just don't see him doing as well there.

For I did expectancy a lot of commentary is on the Lewis Mercer Rosburg issues with Mercedes. Louis had to pitstops there were almost 4 seconds Frostburgh's pitstops for the normal sub 3 second stops that you would expect. Then you get to look at the fact that Lewis seemed extremely upset with his communications with the pit wall. The confusion on strategies and wing adjustments strange to say the least. I just assume that all the conspiracy theorist out there at least those that think that Weber was always sabotaged in favor of Vettel will be wondering why Rosburg was getting such preferential treatment.

If you compare this raised the Barrainc I think this race was much more competitive you didn't need a safety card to bring the front runners back together like he did there this race was actually extremely entertaining and a good sign for the new formula


Great analysis.

So James you are saying Ferrari may not have favored Alonso by stopping him first at the first stop, but they should have also 3 stopping RAI, but for whatever reason, chose not to?

I see why RAI was unhappy.


Whatever reason is that Alonso requested for it and obviously Kimi not.


That's not how i read it, because James almost immediately established that the 2 stopper was the preferred strategy.


Did Vettel's new chassis help him?

H.Guderian (ALO fan)



Water nicely poured on the conspiracy theory fire James 🙂


Apparently not enough!


I thought Lewis was told he needed a 4 sec gap rather than the 5 that's stated in this report.

Also, how did nico lose out to Lewis at the start, unless I'm forgetting something, I'm sure it was Lewis that was on pole and as such, kept his position.


I snickered at that too.

The number of Rosberg lost out at the start comments running around.

Or the other version, 'I had a slow start'

Err - you were already in second...

And finished there.

Its hardly a warranty you will pass the pole sitter is it?


For me, the problem is that Kimi had nothing to gain in 2 stopping, Bottas was clearly 2 stopping and far away and everyone being him was 3 stopping. In 3 stopping Kimi they could had a chance to cover Vettel...


Yes but if Kimi was three stopping, then Alonso would have done a two stopper, would not have stressed the tires that much at the end of the second stint to keep going several more laps, and at the end with his pace on the hards the result would have been the same.

What Kimi gained by two stopping was that Alonso had to three stop... so yes, he gained nothing. By three stopping, he would have gained that Alonso would have to do a two stopper, and at the end... yes, he would not have gained nothing again.

It's impossible to keep track position when you are slower than the car behind and there are two similarly optimum strategies. If there was only one optimum strategy, Kimi would have ended in front.




@tommy karamin,

So why didn't Räikkönen request for a 3 stop then, just like Alonso did ?

Tommy Karamin

No.....it's not "exactly"....U don't even take into account traffic and rate of degradation. And the most important thing of all, which is the MOTIVE!! Kimi would most definitely have driven a lot better if he knew he had better tires all the way.....


I'm a little confused on this statement for the graph: "The zero line is the lap time of an imaginary car doing the winner’s average lap speed every lap."

That can't be correct. The graph shows the winner's car lap time always being slower than his average which surely is mathematically impossible.

It must be something else. Or am I making a mistake somewhere? Help!


The graph shows the gap between cars on each lap rather than the difference in lap time for that one lap. So when the cars pit for instance there is a steep drop and the line then stays lower.

If you imagine the theoretical car doing the average lap time every lap, it will get ahead at the beginning as the real cars are full of fuel, and also make big leaps ahead when the real cars make pit stops. Towards the end of the race the real cars catch up again as they are running faster lap times with no fuel on board. And the race winner hits zero at the end of the last lap by definition.

Sometimes these graphs do show the real cars getting ahead of the 0 line, e.g. if there is a late safety car.

The comparison between actual lap times and the theoretical average lap time is reflected in the slope of the line - if it slopes down the car is slower than the average and if it slopes up it is faster.

Richard Groves

The X axis of the graph is not equal time - it is one division per lap, and the lap time gets quicker towards the end of the race. So the winners graph goes upwards after their last pit stop (ie they are going faster than the average time), while at the start of the race it goes down (ie they are lapping slower than the average time).

If the graph was replotted with time along the X axis then the winner would spend as much time above the 0 line as below it - it is shown in laps as that makes more sense in analysing a race to map the graph lines to known incidents such as pit stops etc that are recorded in lap numbers.

The main think to look at is the slope of each line, and in particular the slope of one drivers plot vs another: this gives a comparison between them at any given stage of the race.


The difference to the zero line is accumulative.

Example; 1 min lap time average, race distance 7 laps.

lap 1 = 1:30 graph shows -30

lap 2 = 1:20 graph shows -50 (-30 + -20)

lap 3 = 1:10 graph shows -60 (-50 + -10)

lap 4 = 1:00 graph shows -60

lap 5 = 0:50 graph shows -50 (-60 + 10)

lap 6 = 0:40 graph shows -30 (-50 + 20)

lap 7 = 0:30 graph shows zero (-30 + 30)

Basically, if the graph line goes down, the car is slower than the average speed, and if the graph line goes up, then the car is faster than the average speed.


"The difference to the zero line is accumulative"

Thank you! That's the bit I was missing. It's all clear now.


It's not always slower. It matches at the start and end of the race.

Michael Spitale

The biggest problem is that they let Alonso come in first to jump Kimi. I am not buying they "wanted to cover Massa". The reality is that their actions would have in a normal situation gotten Alonso ahead of his teammate by doing that... Neither Alonso or Kimi will have a shot at the title this year so Ferrari has no reason to play favorites. Whoever is leading should get the best strategy each week and go from that point.


But given that Ferrari is having a massive meltdown with their car. They are now realising that Williams is their most likely competition for 2014.

Why would they want Massa in front of them? Honestly, this looks like Ferrari is now doing it only for their interest, not of their drivers.

They need to beat Williams to third place in the constructors. Because there's no beating Merc and Redbull with the drift car they made this year.


Indeed! Imagine the uproar if the situation had been reversed and Kimi had been favoured over Alonso..


Brilliant. I completely subscribe your article.


I dont think it was Ferrari's intention to favor Alonso over Raikkonen. In either case, all these arguments become irrelevant when you are running 2 seconds/lap slower than the top 2, and you get lapped by the Mercs. Ferrari just doesn't seem like the same team it once was a decade ago. The leaders are long gone.

Question to James and others : With engine restrictions in place, will Ferrari be able to make up the horsepower and fuel consumption deficit in 2015 ? If no development is allowed, i think we are in for another 3-4 years of Mercedes romp. The freeze on engine development has to be one of the silliest rules in F1 especially given that there are only 3 engine makers, and all 3 are not short of money.

All revved-up

I understand from the article below the engines will be rehomologated at the start of 2015.



>With engine restrictions in place, will Ferrari be able to make up the horsepower...<

Evidently you missed the part where they can work on "reliability" issues. Said work mysteriously resulting in nice horsepower gains quite by accident.

Ofc they define "reliability" as "are we slower than Mercedes" so this will continue all season.


I think they will be closer on power in 2015, yes as will Renault

It is bound to close up a bit it always does.

This year is exceptional for Mercedes, like Williams-Renault in 1992 or McLaren Honda in 1988.


James, sorry to burst a bubble, but with the rather silly engine homologation already in place - why wasn't that put back to perhaps September this year? - I fear Renault and Ferrari may find it incredibly difficult to reach the level of engineering that Mercedes are at...........


you know , it must have been going on before , but with Mercedes so dominant the data and strategy sharing between both sides of the garage is really disheartening ( especially for nico) . they say they're racing but there are no surprises , especially things like nico is quicker through turn 3 and 7 , 2 tenths to be made there etc.

I would prefer a non sharing split of the garage after qually apart from safety and reliability aspects.


They both gain from learning each others data. Otherwise, the team will not grow faster.


Of course, Ferrari did favor Alonso. Imagine what could have happened if Fernando being the lead driver and Kimi did undercut him...we might have heard another series of "Quindi c’è da lasciarlo passare… veramente.. siete dei scemi/geni, eh… mamma mia ragazzi”...


Mr.Allen, what is the reason that made Ferrari struggles?


Lack of downforce
Lack of traction
Lack of grip


Lack of effective leader and top management?


James I think Lack of INNOVATION big time.


Lack of power as well?


James, if I may, can I add:

Lack of front suspension/axle compliance (push rod front suspension on an F1 car? Really?????)

Lack of torque

Lack of progressive/smooth torque curve

Lack of good aero balance/centre of pressure

Lack of "clever" electrics to "manipulate" the torque control (yes, that's a can of worms....)

Lack of stability on front axle under braking

Lack of efficient thermal discharge from PU (Ferrari's engines has more heat rejection that Merc, resulting in inferior aero efficiency)

Lack of vision, direction and clarity of thought in Ferrari design/aero department

Lack of cutting edge CFD/simulation software/simulation tools/mathematical analysis compared to those pesky Inglese "garage" teams

Apart from that, Ferrari are doing just fine!


Are you sure pull-rod is a problem? I'd say it's the wind tunnel/correlation. Look what Rob Smedley said a couple of days ago: "At Williams, the correlation between the wind tunnel and the track is amazing. Compared to my previous experience [Ferrari], it is something that has impressed me. Everything we take to the track ends up on the car, so it (the car) really does improve from race to race."

They also have a power delivery problem - too much power too soon


Gaz Boy, may I add a lack of fast drivers? Like Vettel/Hamilton? Alonso/Raikkonen were once very fast, but their time of full speed seems over.


[Apart from that, Ferrari are doing just fine!]

How is that so???


Disregard the Mercs and Alonso is the lead driver. Nice theory though. 😉

kenneth chapman

@gaz boy...just a quick question. are you an F1 engineer? if not where do you get the insight to analyse the ferrari shortcomings in such an authorative and detailed manner?

obviously you have an intimate knowledge of the ferrari cars and i am curious to know more about your sources.


So who are you again to question the pull-rod suspension? To which top company in aero and engineering do you work for?


You forgot "lack of billions of kilometers of 24/7 testing on their own track by their dedicated team of test drivers."


Error, should be pull-rod front suspension, sorry.......damm, this stupid Ferrari auto-correct system, why don't I get the Merc F1 correcton system instead? Toto and Paddy, can I cut a deal with you............


Can anyone explain the race history graph a little better than James? If the 0 line is the average lap time of the winner, how come Hamilton's line is always below the average?

It should be above and below the 0 line to even out to the average by the end of the race surely?


See post #38.

Kenneth M'Boy

Ferrari are showing favoritism to Alonso over Kimi as they did to Prost over Mansell. Alonso plays the politics better, as Prost did, and Ferrari thrive on politics. When Ferrari are going terrible they thrive on politics even more. What Kimi needs to do is bring in bravado and have the Tifosi shout his name. He needs to have some Gilles Villeneuve-esque races. Then Monte will start heralding his name and he may get some more support.

Psychologically at Ferrari, Alonso is the man who fought hard for them and lost out on 2 potential world championships at the death, whilst Kimi is the man who took his ice cream and left, despite his WDC for them.

The only way to break that image is through his driving and I think Kimi is starting to figure out this car so the rest of this season between the two should be very close. Besides, unlike Mansell, Kimi won't retire due to his unpaid seasons at Lotus. He needs the Ferrari income to cover his losses. We as the spectators need Ferrari to give Kimi a decent car.

I'm feeling a bit sorry for the Kimster, unless McLaren make an offer he's kind of stuck in a team that does not favour him. Force India would have been a better drive for Kimi, a more relaxed team with good backing, Smirnoff sponsorship and a Mercedes engine. It would have been a Lotus drive that paid.


Smirnoff sponsorship lol


I don't know what you guys inferred from this report. But the statement in the report ' but something was done in Alonso's case but not in Raikkonen's case and draw your own conclusion' clearly states that some preference was shown to Alonso over Raikkonen


James, would Mattiaci have had any involvement in strategic decisions?



They are called from Maranello by a team of strategists I believe still under the management of Neil Martin, ex McLaren and RBR

The final say is from the Ferrari engineers on pit wall


"The lap times don’t really show the degradation difference clearly; they are quite similar with Alonso sitting between two and three seconds behind the Finn from laps 17 to 35. But clearly he felt he was losing performance with another seven or eight laps to go to the second stop. The degradation for Raikkonen towards the end of the second stint was damaging for his race effort and opened the door for Alonso to close and pass in the end"

So clearly for Ferrari the 2 stopper wasn't the fastest strategy, even if they thought it was before the race. As the race unfolded the 3 stopper was quicker, illustrated by the very high degradation at the end of Kimi's 2nd stint. They reacted with Alonso but left Kimi out on gone tyres.


Alonso requested for a 3 stopper, Kimi obviously didn't.


"One thing was crystal clear from Barcelona: Sebastian Vettel is now getting up to speed with the handling of the 2014 cars"

I don't know where you got the idea that he was previously not up to speed with the handling of the 2014 cars. His problems this season have been with his cars constantly suffering from engine ("power unit") issues, not with handling. Vettel's had one GP so far this year where his car worked properly from start to finish - in Malaysia.

"it is relatively easy to overtake, certainly backmarker cars. Sebastian Vettel’s drive was a perfect illustration of that."



Well perhaps James got it from Christian Horner

"Sebastian is having a tough time at the moment because he hasn't got that feeling from the car that he is looking for," Horner said. "He's tremendously sensitive to certain aspects of the set-up and he's not getting the feedback from the car that he wants.

"The compound effect of that is that he's damaging the tyre more, which is very unusual for Seb, as we've seen since the Pirellis were introduced. It's highly unusual for him to be going through the tyre life quicker than the average. That's just the culmination of the issues that he's currently got and as soon as we've worked those out he will be back with a bang."

I think your being a little bit sensitive about things SteveS.


I think your being a little bit sensitive about things SteveS...

Gazza, did you not know?

SteveS is the self appointed (official) arbiter of all posts and articles which refer to Vettel. He is particularly strict, and takes a dim view, if anyone mentions rocket ships or dominant cars in the same sentence as Vettel 😉


Raikkonen's televised reaction after the race suggests he thought he had been shafted.


By being rude, to the media, to your team, to your engineer, always somewhat a long face does that qualify you as an exceptional person or a driver, though I see it attracts some idolizing and very funny following... Raikkonen should up his game and stop looking for an escape road, it is a cheap attempt and could only work only with Kimi fanatics. If Massa didn't help him in 2007 he would never made WCD, period. So he was helped to and he received preferential treatment...


some guy can never become wdc even when massa helped him countless time =P


MAs was helping ALO all the time during his stay in Ferrari, but ALO was not able to grab a title, period.


Massa after that accident couldn't help himself never mind Alonso, so continue lying yourself but leave the rest alone. Ferrari hasn't produced for a long, long time a worthy challenger. Applying your analogy we could say that Lewis was helped time and time buy Button but he couldn't make one more title beating Vettel either. The truth is that the only one who could come close to dze finger boy was actually Fernando. And suddenly Lewis woke up and he is now winning all over a sudden and beating Vettel by a large margin. So just use a common sense and you will get to the bottom of the issues in the motorsport. If the best measure of your race craft is your team mate then check their respective team mate results, period-------------------


There is allot in the press about Lewis tone and how he sounded stress (James NOT included offcourse).But that stress wasnt evident in his driving.Stress can have both a negative and positive effect on people, and from his performance he was quit lucid and alert,enough to challenge his engineer on the setting.Thats very impressive in the heat of Battle.
Lewis was no doubt under pressure but reacted well,he is only human.
Others want to use his normall human reaction and turn it into some kind of character flaw but what new when it come to LoU lou

Lewis seems to be quit a misunderstood figure.
What people called stress ,I see as Lewis understanding and recognizing,the Great opportunity for another championship and taking it very very seriously and with both hands.

Every point he takes off Rosberg are literally championship winning points,given the dominance of the Merc which almost grantee a one ,two situation.
This race was very very important to and for lewis,because it was his fisrt 4consecutive race win,but more importantly to take the lead in the championship,which was the only crutch Rosberg had.Every race defeat he would say I lost but Im still leading the championship.He cant say that for the next 2 weeks

The pressure is really on Rosberg now because he could afford to come 2nd before,now he really has to start wining to remain in contention

So when ever you here that stress in Lewis voice,its just a reflection of his passion and urgency of the situation.Its that so called STRESS,that gives him the EDGE in quallifing .Its that STREES that allows him to fend off a charging Rosberg on faster tires.And its that POSSITIVE STRESS that may earn him a 2nd championship


Toto came out n defended lewis for ths. U cnt blame him under the situation. Of course if kimi had to lash out at his engineer it would be applauded. Abu dhabi 2012


If people think - for good reason - that Alonso was favoured by Ferrari it is only due to the history of Fernando and his team(mate)s. We should however admit that he is a great gamer and Kimi is just a racer who does not even think of playing games, he just wants to drive fast and race. It is said that they do it with Kimi, who has always been one of the most fair driver even wheel to wheel.


What's clear from the graph is Grosjean had decent race pace until his engine problem struck. The Lotus well have finished ahead of both Ferraris without that.