Malaysian GP team-by-team: Ferrari

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After a strong start to the season Fernando Alonso’s problems in Sepang have Ferrari worrying about reliability. But they still lead both the championships.

Felipe MassaFernando Alonso
Qualifying position2119
Qualifying time comparison (Q1)1’53.283 (+0.239)1’53.044
Race position713
Average race lap1’40.991 (-0.217)1’41.208
Pit stops11
Malaysian Grand Prix lap times - (click to enlarge)

Felipe Massa

Failing to get out early enough in the wet qualifying session cost both Ferraris dearly – Massa started from 21st on the grid.

Not wanting to risk the soft tyres early in the race Massa stayed on hards until lap 26, gaining seven places at the start and, importantly, getting ahead of his team mate.

Having been 14th at the end of lap one he rose to fifth before his pit stop as cars in front of him pitted – but he wasn’t able to get past Sebastien Buemi’s ailing Toro Rosso.

He made up for that by getting by Jenson Button for seventh towards the end of the race, patiently pressuring the McLaren driver until he made a mistake at the final corner, allowing Massa to get by at turn one.

Compare Felipe Massa’s form against his team mate in 2010

Fernando Alonso

Alonso started 19th – ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Massa – but taking the wide line at the first turn cost him places to his rivals.

Although he scrambled past Button early in the race, that only meant he spent the following laps stuck behind his team mate – just as he had at Melbourne.

Despite losing his clutch early in the race Alonso kept up with his rivals and often looked capable of lapping quicker than them. He ran the longest first stint of the race – 36 laps – and even with his gearbox problem set some of the quickest laps of the race.

Three laps from home his engine blew, losing him a likely ninth-place finish and the lead of the drivers’ championship.

Compare Fernando Alonso’s form against his team mate in 2010

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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40 comments on “Malaysian GP team-by-team: Ferrari”

  1. Roger Carballo AKA Archtrion
    5th April 2010, 22:21

    Wrong. What costed places to Fred was that when he arrived to the first corner he got his car in neutral with no gear engaged and without knowing what to do… Then he throttled and the gear was engaged, and he recovered his pace.

    Awesome drive what he did sunday. He needed to move all the brake bias to the rear brakes, cause he lost all his engine break…… he had to reduce to the needed gear for each corner, then when he was on idle, make a hard acceleration in order to engage the gear selected. That’s why he seemed to run wide while following Jenson on last turn and first turn of that laps…. And he was able to follow Massa’s pace and finally outpace him…. Maybe Massa won the points, but Fred won the respect of his team and mine too.

    1. hear hear. Was a remarkable performance from Fernando on Sunday and I can see why he says it was his best race of his career, he outpaced his teamate throughout despite having a problem that was costing him several tenths per lap, that he nearly got past the reigning world champion with no clutch was remarkable. Massa is currently leading the championship but I don’t think anyone is in any doubt that Alonso has been much faster.

      1. He also nearly successfully passed the reigning World Champion twice despite his problems. Both those passes would have likely been pulled off with ease had he not had those problems.

      2. If Alonso was so much faster than Massa, why was Massa’s average lap 2 tenths faster? Alonso was not faster than Massa in the race, nor did he ever get a reasonable opportunity to attempt to pass him. He had a gearbox failure and its a miracle that he did so well in the circumstances (massive credit to him for it), but over the race distance he did not outpace his team mate. Numbers dont lie.

    2. Fair point. By saying “taking the wide line” I didn’t mean to imply that was necessarily out of choice. Don’t get me wrong, I was very impressed by Alonso on Sunday.

      1. Roger Carballo AKA Architrion
        6th April 2010, 1:15

        As an spanish president used to say…. no acrimony in my explanation :-)

    3. why do you call him Fred???

      1. Roger Carballo AKA Architrion
        6th April 2010, 1:33

        Ask Negative Camber at I saw it there the first time.

        I liked “The Fred”, although it would translate as Frederick – Federico…

        Maybe Keith know something more about it.

        1. I heard from Alonso himself that his friends call him “Fern”…

          1. as a spanish speaker, I can tell you that Fer is the usual abbreviation. Cheers Keith, this blog rocks, and I check it several times a day!

    4. who is fred fred isnt fernando fred is frederico

  2. Roger Carballo AKA Archtrion
    5th April 2010, 22:24

    You can watch it by yourself…

    1. nice compariosn yes.

  3. Can Alonso have his engine repaired, or one blew engine is one lost engine for the rest of the championship?

    1. I believe it was 3 races to an Engine. Hence he will was already due a new engine for China.

      1. He wasn’t necessarily using the same one in Malaysia as in the previous two races though. I believe they switch them during the weekend (after practice).

        1. I just read (needs confirmation) that Alonso is going to use his 4th engine in China.

  4. anyone else think that if hamilton had the clutch problrm, then Keith would have praised him a lot more?

    Sorry if im being a douch Keith, but in the article you you did not give Alonso the credit he deserves.

    1. i don’t think anyone really knows what the problem was exactly, so it’s harder to judge.

    2. See my first comment.

  5. That was an amazing drive for sure.. then to have the fastest lap until Webber stole it late was remarkable.. :)
    Many people on this very live blog during the race said that Fernando was “stupid” to try and pass Button and should of been happy with 2 points.. time will tell how badly he needs those points but really we want the drivers to fight at all cost.. that’s what makes truly great races and memorable drives.. I applaud Fred… besides a few more wins and it won’t be an issue.. :)

    1. Many people on this very live blog during the race said that Fernando was “stupid” to try and pass Button and should of been happy with 2 points

      Well, they were all wrong.

      1. Why is it, Keith? If he was facing the problems he said he was, the sensible course of action would have been nursing the car home and collecting the points rather than bringing the car beyond its limits — it seemed a less than smart move to me.

        1. Because taking a risk is not the same thing as being STUPID. Alonso took a risk, he wanted the position, almost got it, and it fell through. Thats risky, but I certainly wouldnt call it “stupid”.

          1. Taking a risk that outweights the expected gains of your actions is somewhat the technical definition of stupitidy. If the downshift problem had any relation with the engine failure, then he brought his retirement upon himself by not taking care of his ailing equipment – and in the process, he threw away 2 points.

        2. I don’t believe Alonso did anything that damaged his car. And I have more respect for racers who race than those who cruise and collect.

          1. TheSecondRex
            9th April 2010, 3:32

            Agreed! Just think of what’s going to happen when two of the “real” racers, Hamilton and Alonso tussle. Alonso’s incident reminded me very much of Lewis’ in Monza last year, as the only way you can push the car to the limit is to discover where it is, sometimes by exceeding it. Just look up some of the great Senna’s quotes. I can’t wait!

      2. Alonso did nothing wrong, he is there to fight for his place n so did he do. It works for him at times,it doesn’t at times(As in Malasia). But end of the day he is a class act as far as racing is concerned. 3 cheers to him….. Spectacular race….

  6. Yea, nobody called hamilton stupid when he pushed at the end on the monza gp last year

    1. I’m sure many people did. I called him a few more “detailed” things too :D

  7. The rule is that you can use 5 engines for a season.
    In the fourth race Fer will use his third engine.

    1. It’s eight engines per season actually.

  8. Keith, do you know, in Sepang Ferrari was in engine number x? was it engine number three?

    – first enginge was changed because of simply reading error.

    – In Bahrain n Aussie Ferrari uses enginge number two.

    – Is it in Sepang they use engine number three?

    – Which that wil mean Fernando will use engine number four in the fourth race in China? If its true, Fernando will suffer a lot with this engine number issue, because still 15 races to go after (if true) engine number four in China.

  9. The engines used by both Alonso and Massa in the first race are fine and can both be used again. They were only changed as a precaution at the first race. Ferrari have said here that they may be used for FP1&2 later during the season.

  10. I don’t like Alonso too much. But when I saw him trying this hard he gained my respect. I think he will be the champion this year:D

    1. he was awesome!!! with no cutch! i think he would be the champion 2 or 3 more years… as shumi!

  11. I fully expect Alonso to end the season as champion. The Ferrari is a very good car and Alonso is an excellent driver. I think they will nudge Vettel into second place. Massa I think has been out-driven by Alonso, despite having more points than him. Alonso with free reign to race and a healthy car would have beaten him at the last two races.

  12. Not sure why so many are saying that Alonso has been so much better than Massa. Both have been quite impressive thus far, but I could see it going either way. A lot of people are bitching about how alonso would be way faster if he were given “free reign”, but the fact of the matter is that both drivers are given the same amount of freedom in the race. The results speak for themselves.

  13. massa is never fast out of the takes him a few races to get up to speed.if he can keep in front untill spain and some luck 2 for the lad.he will be a champion THIS YEAR..forza massa

  14. Go Massa.. got money on you to beat Alonso. Just make sure you get ahead of him at the first corner and you’ll be OK!

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