Alonso says Ferrari are not fast enough for win or pole

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Sepang, 2011

Fernando Alonso admitted Ferrari face a “difficult weekend” following the first practice session in Malaysia.

Alonso said: “This is only the start of the season: we are not quick enough to fight for the win and pole position, but that does not mean that we have to throw in the towel.

“Instead we have to step up our efforts to quickly reduce the gap that separates us from those who have done a better job than us.”

Alonso, who posted the ninth-fastest time in both of today’s sessions, said the team had not been able to achieve a good balance with the 150??? Italia:

“Today, things did not go well and we struggled to find a good balance on the car, so this evening we will look at how we can improve.

“On a track like this, with such variable weather and with tyre degradation being what it is, there will be a lot of factors in play in the fight for the top places and just being quickest will not be enough.

“This morning we did a lot of work on the aerodynamics to understand what had not worked the way we had expected in Australia, but even if we had been quick in Melbourne, there would still be work to do.”

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    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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    66 comments on “Alonso says Ferrari are not fast enough for win or pole”

      1. Sush Meerkat
        8th April 2011, 17:34

        swearwords, asterisk … is … faster.. than …you
        confirm you understand?

        1. From Australia: “Petrov is infront of you”

          Alonso: “****”

          1. Looks like he may be in front of him again!
            :) don’t get me wrong, I want the scuderia to do well and compete at the front, but I don’t mind seeing Alonso struggle a tad.

            1. Team to Petrov: Alonso is faster than you…
              Petrov: Haha! Good one.

            2. or as Barrichello would phrase it “Don’t make me laugh”

        2. A bit tired, no?

          1. yes,bunch of losers here ,that’s old and not even funny anymore.

            1. @tata, I think you forgot the quote?

              Alonso: “yes,bunch of losers here ,that’s old and not even funny anymore.”

    1. The only chance Ferrari have (and any other team) to beat the Bulls is to copy their car, any other option would be inneficient. Last season Ferarri became championship contenders only because they copied Red Bull’s blown diffuser so I can’t see why it wouldn’t work this year.

      1. Last year Ferrari were the best of the copycats, but at no point during the entire season did they ever have a car better than the RBs. As soon as they copied the EBD, RB was already perfecting the flexi-wings. By the time Ferrari copied the flexi-wings, RB had worked on different areas of the car, and had a machine that could deal with everything Ferrari threw at them.

        Ferrari had nothing innovative on their car last year except for those rims. This year its almost like they created the most basic car they could, and decided to leave room for further copycat ideas from RB and Mclaren.

        Ferrari need to understand that they cant win championships by imitating other front runners. Mclaren took a huge risk with their car design, and I’m sure it will be the only challenger to RB this season as it was built on an innovative philosophy and original thought.

        1. I totally agree about the need for original design, but rigt now Ferrari don’t have time to create anything innovative (that needs to be tested and in the end might even fail) so the best option for them is to be copycats again.

        2. Megawatt Herring
          8th April 2011, 22:02

          It’s a fine line to walk. I remember last month people criticising Mclaren for being innovative rather then doing what Ferrari had done and developed their car from last season based on the pre-season test times.

          Although I do agree that Ferrari can’t lead if they are just following the development of the red bulls.

          1. Richard Musson
            8th April 2011, 23:06

            The philosophy of the Red Bull design is the quickest car in the form of results from an interpretation of the rules so far. However it’s not the ultimate design from the interpretation of the rules. Mclaren were right to gamble to go in a different direction and i respect that. Ferrari on their launch seem very tame in their ideas. At first i thought they were being bold and launching a ‘vanilla’ model. It was interesting to see how quick they were in winter testing but we cannot get away from the fact they were SECOND in winter testing by a considerable amount. Maybe if Mclaren were up there with this spec MP4-26 the Ferrari wouldn’t have ever been classed as a contender.

    2. Do not seem to understand were saying in testing they have a good car but now??????

    3. As a Ferrari fan this does not sound good. They did the most testing but it seems it didn’t pay off.

    4. Damn…Oh well it’s a long season. If Fernando can pick up solid points until a major upgrade package he could be in a position to challenge again.

      But still anything can happen in the race, sure pole isn’t realistic but a race win is not out of the question just yet.

      1. Seems thats exactly how Alonso sees it. And he is right. If he avoids mistakes he made last year and the engineers do just as good a job it is far from a long shot to finish ahead.

      2. Quite right, if he can keep finishing fourth or thereabouts and have a comeback like last year things aren’t lost.

        It is puzzling how they seemingly never saw this kind of unstability with the car in the winter but did have it so for on both race weekends, at two very different tracks.

        Does maybe point to them being too careful to show their pace over the winter with the result that they never actually tried to go to the limit with it or something.

      3. I can’t understand why Ferrari start the season behind only to be forced to win the last races to remain in contention. They need to be competitive straight away!

    5. This Alonso guy is quite perceptive …..

      Well its obvious that Ferrari has a lot of catching up to do, first step is not to lose to much ground on the competitors so lets hope he can get as many tents out there tomorrow as he can and a focused race in possibly changing conditions and if he stays in the top 5 that’ll have to do for now.

      1. Instead we have to step up our efforts to quickly reduce the gap that separates us from those who have done a better job than us.

        I think he’s after Whitmarsh’s job.

    6. Whats new? The Ferrari has had a dog of a car for the last three years.

      Alonso will have to fight hard again, like last year and carry his team to the finish.

      1. I will hardly call last years car, a dog.

        1. Ok it was a Terrier, small bark but fiesty. :-)

        2. Yea, hardly :/

          Their rate of development, like McLaren’s the year before is to be feared.

          1. Actually, it took well over half a season before Ferrari were competitive again in 2010 (which they were at the start). During that first half they dropped back a lot costing them a lot of points to McLaren.

    7. Ferrari came back very strongly last year. This is just the second race, i am sure in 2-3 races they will catch up with McLaren and Red Bull.

      Once that happens Alonso should do really good. He really reminds me of Schumacher of the old, able to lift the team and keep championship hopes alive with an inferior car.

      1. HBG-on holiday
        8th April 2011, 22:53

        I can’t believe that the moody Alonso would be able to motivate the team as Schumacher did. But then I can’t believe that Frrari are so far behind.
        Let’s see what happens in qualifying. After all, this is only the second race and the first ‘high-speed’ circuit.

      2. Richard Musson
        8th April 2011, 23:16

        Alonso is so overrated. He is not the Michael Schumacher of Ferrari. He’s is quick, very quick but he isn’t one of the all time greats that can do wizardry in a machine. Maybe sometimes but not race after race. He only has a few years left of his career. His statistics are that good compared to his peers.

        1. Richard Musson
          8th April 2011, 23:18

          Edit: His statistics aren’t that good compared to his peers.

          1. Statistics don’t mean everything. You have to keep in mind that his statistics are in part due to time spent racing at Minardi and in uncompetitive machinery at Renault. Hamilton has had a car fast enough to win every year he has raced and Vettel had a Torro Rosso that was fast enough to win in his first season.

            I agree he isn’t Michael though.

            1. Sorry Vettel’s first full season.

    8. This is pretty surprising, if I was expecting anyone to perform better than they did in Australia it was Ferrari.

      1. I guess they were too. I read this as Alonso trying to get the team working fast. Last year, arguably, it cost a bit too long to get up to speed after a weak start of the year; would make sense to be alert for not making the same mistake this time.

    9. Strange. Pre-season testing suggested that Ferrari were right up there nipping on the heals of Red Bull like a rabid terrior. This is either Fernando issuing a rallying call to the team via the press, or a double bluff and Ferrari have a little more than Alonso is letting on.

      1. They do have a little more but still probably not enough to win against Red Bull and Mclaren.

    10. Looking forward to Petrov v. Alonso round 3!

      1. If it happens again, I’m sure Alonso would hit diffuser of him lol

      2. Maybe Alonso’s true rival will become Petrov haha :)

        1. Alonso overtook Petrov 4 times in 2010.

    11. Practise times as we know are rarely that indicative and even less so weekend with the weather as unpredictable as it is. I would expect them to have a better weekend than Melbourne.

    12. Hmm…at least it’s not truck as Prost drove.

      1. Lol, I was thinking the same. Alonso should tread very carefully if he starts blaming the car ;)

    13. Fear not fellow Ferrari fans. Ferrari had the 3rd fastest car last year and got pretty far, Alonso is probably the best driver on the grid, it’s only the second race, they are generally always a bit behind during practice and it takes more than pace to win a race. The cars at the front will hate it if it rains as they have everything to lose while Ferrari may have a chance to pick up the pieces. If Mclaren can turn a car around in such a short space of time then I’m sure Ferrari can have a good stab at it too.

      1. Ferrari had the 3rd fastest car last year

        No they didn’t – their performance and reliability were better than McLaren’s, albeit not by very much:

        2010 in stats part three: car performance

        They may have been third in the constructors’ championship, but that’s not the same as having the third-fastest car…

        1. I know you had that article Keith but I also think that Mclaren said themselves they had the 3rd fastest car so I think it was pretty close and Alonso brought a lot more laptime than Felipe did in 2010.

          1. Although I would like to add that I do appreciate all the work you do to compare cars and drivers!

        2. They may not have been the 3rd fastest car, that point is debatable, but Steph is still making a good point. There were only three races (Bahrain, Hockenheim, Monza) last year when Ferrari had the fastest car yet despite that Alonso went into the last race leading the drivers championship.

          Although the down side of that is that last coming so close last year was dependent on Red Bull’s own failures rather than Ferrari’s pace and it looks like Red Bull will be much less error prone this year.

          1. That’s because the Red Bull team and it’s drivers were blundering through the whole season. Pretty much like they did in 2009.

            You’d expect Red Bull to finally learn from their mistakes though.

        3. Keith, please see the difference between car performance and Alonso’s performance.

          1. Hamilton is faster than Alonso, so I guess he already did that ;)

      2. Problem is McLaren had to go back to Square 1 whereas after testing Ferrari had honed the car to its pre-development potential.

        1. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that Mclaren went back to square 1. They just re adjusted their over ambitious exhaust system, and fixed a couple of fundamental flaws they discovered during pre season testing.

          Gotta agree with you on Ferrari’s approach though.. after developing on their mediocre platform, they realised that its just not good enough.

          1. The Ferrari of last year has reached it’s development potential as this years car.

            Macca started with a clean slate is what I think Icthyes is saying.

    14. It’s worrying times again for Ferrari. I think Mercedes has the edge on Ferrari in Malaysia. However, a high chance of rain is predicted for the race so anything can happen.

    15. hard weather conditions usually bring surprises and highlight drivers’ skills, so this can be Nando’s territory. Oh well, this is just my dream, a great race and a Ferrari comeback.
      But i think that we’ll have to wait at least the European season to see some relevant improvements…

    16. Cast your mind back to testing:

      “What have McLaren done…their innovation has come to nothing…Ferrari understand you have to make a good basic car and build on it…McLaren will be fighting with Mercedes and Renault”

      Serious worries and there’s worse: the reason Ferrari fell so far behind last year was due more to mistakes and circumstances than not having a great car.

      -Bahrain: 2nd fastest in quali but very good race pace (I still feel Alonso had enough to challenge without Vettel’s problem), won race
      -Australia: 2nd fastest, chaotic opening stint, but lost points only to Button (of the main title rivals)
      -Malaysia: 2nd fastest, messed up qualifying, lost out to Hamilton plus Alonso’s reliability gremlins. Red Bull 1-2, pull ahead
      -China: 2nd fastest, jump start, chaos again but Alonso got 4th out of it, beating both Red Bulls
      -Monaco: Chance of a win goes as Alonso crashes in FP3, loses considerable points to Red Bulls and a few to Hamilton
      -Turkey: Car nowhere, drivers largely nowhere (including Alonso being stuck behind Petrov for many laps)
      -Canada: fought for the win but had to settle for third but beat both Red Bulls
      -Valencia: first time all season you could say things went against them and them alone
      -Silverstone: Alonso has bad start, then doesn’t give Kubica back the position after cutting the corner (bad) but Kubica retires before he can (unlucky?) and gets a drive-through but has to wait because of a Safety Car (unlucky) then gets a puncture (unlikely he would have got points by then though)

      And then came Germany…but yes, though they lost points last year and came back, can they really rely on Red Bull and McLaren coming a-cropper enough times to pull it back, or by some miracle make the best car out there?

      1. Ah indeed, Alonso had a pretty poor season last year too.

        1. True Last year was an exciting season but in many ways it was more about who made less mistakes as opposed to who grabbed the championship by the scruff of the neck. Anyhow it was an entertaining season.

      2. Rose tinted goggles my friend. It’s racing deal with it.

        “What have McLaren done…their innovation has come to nothing…”

        The Mclaren is soooo different in looks to the RedBull but closest to them in forms of pace.

        “Ferrari understand you have to make a good basic car and build on it…McLaren will be fighting with Mercedes and Renault” – this just isn’t happening now is it?

        I loved your comments of last year, they took me a trip down memory lane but they were so biased. I’m a Formula 1 fan and an avid Mclaren supporter. I also lambast them when they do wrong.

        Maybe you should do the same for your team ;-)

    17. securevettel
      8th April 2011, 23:14

      I think redbull is much more ahead then anyone else on the grid (0.7sec).I hope that its not going to be a boring season whit the redbulls on top. and i am a serious vettel fan from belgium. i like to see a year like last year. sorry for my bad english. sya…

    18. Ferrari innovated with theIr compact pushrod suspension, so they’re not doin nothing innovative…

    19. Until they get rid of Stefano the clown this team will not win another title.Since he became principal there has been too many mistakes and errors,bad strategy calls(Malaysia 09,Abu Dhabi 10)and other things and the blame has to be taken by Domenicali.

      Had Brawn and Todt been on the pitwall Fernando would have had his third title in 2010 and a much better car for the start of 2011 in my opinion.

      Looks like getting a 5th place would be an achievement this weekend.

      As a Kimi fan i’m obviously delighted there struggling but if I was a Ferrari fan i’d be very concerned right now

    20. I suspose it’s a bit too early to start calling it the Italia 180… :P

    21. Ferrari are seething and will fight back,it seems when they are on the back foot they come back stronger than ever. Red Bull and McLaren have the upper hand for now.

      Ferrari and Alonso are a package to fear, and if you think its all over remember what happened last year.

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