They thought they might have cracked it this time, but Ferrari were left disappointed after qualifying in seventh and 10th places for the Canadian Grand Prix, after a promising build up to the session with updates to the car.
Fernando Alonso was three tenths of a second slower than the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel and the Williams pair, who set almost identical times, within 3/100ths of each other.
Ferrari president Luca Montezemolo had built up the Canada update package as a major moment for the team in its fightback. In recent years the team has suffered from updates coming to the car and not improving lap time.
Improvements to the wind tunnel in Maranello have been aimed at ending that trend.
Here the team had a new engine cover, new front and rear wings and sidepods among a raft of aerodynamic updates, this will have been 10-12 weeks work in the wind tunnel.
On Friday they found a good gain from the package including the engine cover, which is much lower and tighter than the old one and from the sidepods. Alonso used them in the morning session (above) and said that the car was better balanced and had more rear end downforce.
But, according to leading F1 technical journalist Giorgio Piola here in Montreal, they were not able to run the full update package today; they decided not to risk using the engine cover and side pods for qualifying and the race because of concerns about cooling.
In contrast, Red Bull have gone for it with their radical new engine cover, which looks quite marginal on cooling.
On the power unit side Ferrari have a new turbo and a new MGU-H (the heat regeneration unit, connected to the turbo, on which development is free), plus more aggressive engine maps.
The Ferrari was 12th through the speed trap at 328.4 km/h, compared to 337.7 km/h for Force India and Williams and 334km/h for Mercedes.
Kimi Raikkonen did just one lap in qualifying, having used his supersoft tyres earlier in the session. The Finn had looked more confident in the car under braking and in the corners during practice but it didn’t translate into lap time when it counted,
“It wasn’t a very good lap in the end, but obviously I only had one chance,” Raikkonen said. “We could have improved the speed a bit if I could have another go, but then that doesn’t change an awful lot our position.
“It’s sliding around and it’s very difficult to make one good lap. If you hit a little bit of kerb in a different way then it changes. It’s right on the edge.”