Ferrari: Montezemolo demands reaction after poor result

2011 Chinese GP team review

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Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo says “this cannot and must not be the team’s level” after his cars finish sixth and seventh.

Fernando Alonso Felipe Massa
Qualifying position 5 6
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’35.119 (-0.026) 1’35.145
Race position 7 6
Laps 56/56 56/56
Pit stops 2 2

Ferrari drivers’ lap times throughout the race:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56
Fernando Alonso 110.079 105.202 104.834 104.609 104.69 104.419 104.043 104.618 104.851 104.731 104.99 105.311 104.839 105.027 105.735 109.177 123.366 103.842 103.434 103.387 103.263 103.352 104.136 103.778 103.775 103.339 103.223 104.565 104.641 104.664 104.014 108.052 119.78 102.666 102.333 102.327 102.346 102.427 102.549 102.297 102.07 102.401 102.439 102.612 103.251 102.436 102.566 102.352 102.946 102.723 102.445 102.454 102.093 102.397 102.389 102.563
Felipe Massa 109.483 104.984 104.918 104.519 104.68 104.165 104.234 104.374 104.518 105.407 105.294 105.139 104.295 105.242 109.381 122.048 103.009 103.089 103.046 102.873 102.647 102.842 102.688 103.035 103.222 102.721 102.698 103.274 102.885 103.273 103.309 103.203 107.164 119.995 101.764 101.84 102.057 102.102 101.678 102.419 102.026 101.867 101.941 102.774 103.616 102.248 101.911 101.788 102.911 104.321 104.047 103.05 103.107 103.009 102.867 103.069

Fernando Alonso

A pair of hydraulic leaks cost Alonso time in second practice. The, after the team had spent the first session doing more aerodynamic tests and running a new front wing and brake ducts.

They decided against using them in the race. Alonso said: “It’s still too early to use them in a race: we hope to make a significant step forward in Turkey.”

He out-qualified Massa for the third time in 2011 – and Massa kept up his record of passing Alonso at the start.

Ferrari put both their drivers on two-stop strategies. But even though Alonso stayed out long enough to inherit the lead for two laps, when he came back out following his pit stop he was seventh, behind Michael Schumacher.

The ensuing battle with Schumacher, which Alonso eventually won, cost the Ferrari driver as Pat Fry admitted afterwards: “Fernando was battling with Schumacher for at least eight laps and his tyres suffered because of that, to such an extent that he was unable to push as hard as he wanted once he had a clear track ahead of him.”

Alonso was demoted to seventh by Mark Webber towards the end of the race and spent the final laps fending off Schumacher.

Fernando Alonso 2011 form guide

Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Shanghai, 2011

Felipe Massa

Massa continues to show improved form, finishing the race almost 15 seconds in front of the team mate who gave him such a hammering last year.

However he wasn’t happy with his race strategy, as a team statement showed afterwards: “In the heat of the moment, Felipe was not completely convinced about the choice made together with the pit wall.

“It’s easy to understand the frustration of the Brazilian driver who fought alongside McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes for most of the race and was still in third place eight laps from the end, only to see himself overtaken by three cars in the final moments.

“By yesterday evening, having further analysed the detail of the situation, even Felipe agreed how, for Ferrari, the difference between the two strategies would not have been huge in terms of finishing positions.”

The same statement hinted at the reasons for Ferrari’s problems: “This year’s Formula 1 is much more unpredictable, you just have to think about the different performance of the same type of tyres on two identical cars or between one race and another.”

Massa ran second after passing Lewis Hamilton early on, but the McLaren driver came back past him on lap 43.

After that Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber all made their way past the Ferrari on consecutive laps.

Ferrari have not had a car on the podium for the last four races, which last happened at the end of 2009.

Felipe Massa 2011 form guide

2011 Chinese Grand Prix

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    69 comments on “Ferrari: Montezemolo demands reaction after poor result”

    1. I was interested to read Fernandos comments about not enjoying the racing in 2011.

      I will be very interested to watch how the Ferrari situation simmers away over the coming months.

      Felipe appears to be much more like the Massa we know from pre-accident, and I’ll be keen to see whether he has the upper hand on Alonso for much longer.

      1. This season is more combative, which perhaps suits Massa more than Alonso. Not that Alonso is shy of a track fight, but he’s more predatory, weighing up his strike first and planning for the entire race distance, whereas Massa seems to respond better to more action on the track.

        I think overall Alonso heaped a lot of responsibility onto himself when arriving at Ferrari as the new number one assuming a big role in all the key team development and strategy decisions. The pressure is now on him, whereas Felipe just has to drive well – if that means quicker than Alonso, even better.

        1. Interesting assessment of the two drivers. I hadn’t really thought of it in those terms, but I think you’re right about the pressure on Alonso to deliver vs. the pressure on Massa to just drive well.

          1. Another part of the equation might be Alonso’s tendency to want to be able to read the race and guide the team from the car. (I saw Bosyber and Todfod commenting on that as well).

            With the tyres being a bit unclear it is hard to do so at the moment for Alonso, only adding to the lost feeling when getting overtaken on shot tyres and not even knowing up front where he was at.

            1. Exactly. You can only admire his application and range of abilities. I just think it’s a lot to take on when the car suddenly isn’t there to compete. Plus I want to see a fair fight between him and Massa this year.

      2. I wouldn’t make quick judges on Massa being back on form because this last two tracks are places where he usually does well and enjoys. He still may struggle in the European races.

        1. When was he quicker than his team mate in China?

    2. Fernando needs to sort out the starts. Massa is still nowhere near Alonso, if the car comes good by Turkey expect Massa to be falling behind again as Alonso gives it his all.

      1. 3 slow start in 3 races…this is not what I know about Alonso. Well, It could be better than last year’s mistakes but still not pleasant.

      2. “nowhere near Alonso?” He’s finished ahead of him in the last two races.

        Seems to me like Felipe might be getting back to the driver we used to know.

        I don’t understand why Alonso wouldn’t give it his all now anyway. Every driver should always put in 100% no matter what car they’re driving, or they should go and do something else.

        1. Dude.. this is only the second or third race in nearly 22 races where Felipe has actually looked stronger than his teammate. Dont get carried away..

          1. New brand of tyres, no coincidence. Massa said last year he was looking forward to this.

          2. ‘might’ be getting back

        2. I agree with you. I think Massa is coming back the old Massa, that was the quicker driver in one lap. After his accident in 2009, his spent a lot of time out the track and races. In Melbourne Alonso was better then Felipe; in Sepang, they were in the same level but in Shangai, Massa was better than Alonso. By the way, Shangai never was a great track for Massa, Malasya and Bahrein were. If Massa stay in front of Alonso in the finish of the Turkey GP, Fernando will do the same that he had done in 2007 with Hamilton.

      3. “Turkey expect Massa to be falling behind again as Alonso gives it his all.”
        Come on, Massa won 3 Turkey Races in a row (2006, 2007, 2008). It’s you who expect that, right?

        1. And also was the one track in 2010 that he was much faster than Fernando across qualifying and the race.

    3. so Filipe was faster than Fernando…It’s good thing if Alonso doesn’t lost his mojo. I want Alonso to win the title but it’s painful to watch helpless Massa last year. I hope this is the sign of revival. Ferrari needs two strong drivers. Mclaren and Redbull has it and it’s the reason they were lost to Mclaren.

      2 stop looks good until final stage but it’s shame it costs podium of Massa.

      I hope Alonso’s low pace is due to test and failure during practices(I heard Marc Gene said Alonso used Massa’s set up due to lack of practice) and Turkey updated works well! I want 3 way title battle!

      1. One more positive thing of the race is their pit stop speed. It was way faster than last 2 races.

      2. Fernando didn’t end up doing any long stints because of his hydraulic issues on friday. I think that is a huge reason why didn’t look all that comfortable during the race. I think it was just a bad day for him, and I expect him to bounce back in Turkey.

        1. Well then Felipe and Alonso will match very closely!

        2. i read and mark gene said live in qualifying that due to the hydrolic problems alonso had in p2 and the fact that he was testing the new aero parts in p1,he was forced to use massa’a set up for the race.
          but if you see this alonso was right behind massa until the 1rs pit stop.after tha t it was game over due to the fat that the first one to pit are the one that will be running 2-3 seconds faster pr lap than those that pit last,like alonso did.

    4. Massa continues to show improved form, finishing the race almost 15 seconds in front of the team mate who gave him such a hammering last year.

      However he wasn’t happy with his race strategy

      Exactly what I said during and after the race.

      1. Yes, especially considering Massa was ahead of Hamilton before their strategies diverged.

        Obviously Ferrari’s pace on the hard tyre is relatively worse, so Massa probably wouldn’t have won the race, but he definitely would’ve been on for a podium with a shorter final stint.

    5. The question for me is that why Ferrari chose the 2-stop strategy when it was fairly clear from Australia and Malaysia that they had some troubles with prime tyre longevity.

      This, as well as some of their decisions from earlier in the year, indicates to me they haven’t fixed the deficiencies in their strategy department that cost them the championship in 2010.

      1. Pat Fry and Neil Martin didn’t help them for sure.

        1. Pressure on Pat I think, I’m still amazed at where there pre season test speed has gone. They seem to have taken the wrong development route. I know all the stories about simulation data and real world being out of sync but this is ferrari not virgin racing we are talking about. 3 weeks to sort it.

          1. I suppose that’s part of Ferrari’s problem, They are expected to be at the top, it will be interesting to see how the top brass reacts.

      2. Well, McLaren and Red Bull also chose a 2 stopper as marginally the better way to go. Only McLaren reacted to Rosberg and on track developments right.

        Beat me why Ferrari did not switch at least Fernando as well, after his battle with Schu.

        To little flexibility in the race strategy.

        1. OK, but as I mentioned above, it was reasonably clear from earlier races that Ferrari’s strength was its option tyre pace, and Felipe in particular was having some troubles with long stints on the prime tyres.

          Of course hindsight helps a lot.

        2. Yes, it does seem as if they aren’t very good at switching tracks during a race, also seemed that way often during last season.

          I think Fernando really lost a lot of time in that second stint (around a second a lap slower) – was that when he was fighting MSC the first time?

          Since MSC was so fast this race, maybe they shouldn’t have tried overtaking him yet – and just drive behind him to save fuel and tyres for the end of the race instead.

          I am glad to see Massa again doing so well (compared to his teammate) – their qualifying times are really close, so seems they both got close to the max out of the car on Saturday.

          Clearly, they need to work on that quali-pace, but more importantly, they have to think about evaluating their ability to react to on-track situations better. Seems their post-Abu Dhabi reshuffle isn’t fully working yet.

          1. But Schumacher was some way off Vettel’s pace, and that’s who Alonso would have wanted to be fighting.

    6. Alonso needs to sort out his starts. He got away with it in Melbourne and Sepang but it really cost him here.
      Dropping down that single place really compounded for him – firstly sitting behind Massa and then pitting later, resulting in having to battle with Schumacher cost him several seconds.

      I’m amazed that Ferrari didn’t take the opportunity to split strategy and cover off what Rosberg and the McLarens were doing. Massa was looking good on the two stopper but ultimately dropped back from Vettel having to battle with Rosberg and Jenson.

      With Alonso stuck behind Schumacher it was the perfect opportunity to try and get him up the field with a more aggressive approach, but for whatever reason they chose not to. Lack of decent sets of tyres perhaps?

      Ferrari also need to sort out their DRS – not working at Sepang and glitching yesterday is a bit of a hinderance.

      Other than that their race pace seems ok, it’s just the little things letting them down at the moment. It all adds up though…

      1. Alonso hasn’t gained a position at the start in the last 10 races he hast taken part in. (Singapore he started in pole, and maintained it.. so actually it should be 9 races out of 10)

        That is a ridiculously bad statistic to have. Due to some of the starts he had earlier on in his career, we expect him to be really agressive off the line, but so far, he has been nothing but disappointing. Getting stuck behind his slower teammate for the 1st few laps really hinders his race.

        1. That could have more to do with how good the Ferrari is off the line than the driver himself. The engines and clutch settings play a very, very big part in it.

          1. They may play a big part, but that is pretty bad anyway you slice it.

          2. Felipe seems to manage just fine..

          3. As Todford says, while it could be due to differences between the Renault and Ferrari starting, the one thing Massa did manage better than Alonso last year, and so far this year, is gaining positions at the start. Of course, he has much more time in the Ferrari, so maybe that’s the difference, but even if so, Alonso really should start comparing with the start of his team mate and find out what they do different.

    7. I think the biggest problem with Ferrari in the last years is the engine rule. They were used to have one of the strongest engines in F1 but since engine development was freeze they can´t and aerodynamics has never been one of the strong points in any F1 car (except the F2002).
      In addition I think Ferrari prefers an orthodox approach to the new rules, they prefer to copy rather than innovate and that is something you can´t afford (double diffuser, blown gas exhaust, pull-rod suspension).
      Honestly I think Ferrari should focus in design a 2012 winner car and incorporate creative solutions such as Williams low-line gearbox, blow exhaust instead of trying to catch up like Mclaren.

      1. You are right, the nature of the game has changed and now it is aerodinamics and sophisticated computers that are the winning card.
        Ferrari is still seemingly in the mechanical era ?
        I dont know

      2. Eh? But that’s this years “innovations” If Ferrari do that, then surely they’ll be behind again in 2012!

        It just shows that winter testing should not be compared with others teams apparent performance, and I think that is where they went wrong. Too many variables to really know who had what and Ferrari clearly thought they had a fast car in testing because that’s what the press “speculated”

        I’m not sure if I’ve got this right because I can’t find the report that said “Fernando’s fastest lap in China was SLOWER than Jarno Trullis. Now that IS a shock. (If correct)

    8. Fernando, Felipe was faster than you. In both the second and third stints.

      1. So Massa 1 race – Alonso the rest of the races.

        1. I think most people would argue Massa drove a better race in Malaysia as well, so it’s 2-1 to Massa so far.

          1. Dont kid yourself. Alonso made a mistake in Malaysia, but he looked quicker than his teammate in qualy and every lap of the race. He might have finished in front of him in Malaysia, but he didn’t driver a better race.

            1. Yeah Alonso killed Massa in Malaysia. Massa did nothing but special except finish.

              Massa did better in China, and good for him. But history has shown that Massa is very good on the early tracks, but he lacks skill on the middle and end season tracks.

            2. I think part of driving a good race involves not making mistakes.

              I’m not sure about him being faster on every lap of the race either, if you see the lap time comparison you would see that Massa was as fast or faster than Alonso for much of the 1st and 3rd stints.

            3. If crashing into your number one rival is the definition of a better race I think it may be Alonso and not Kimi who needs to go to NASCAR.

              If he hadn’t messed up and hit Hamilton he would have had a better race, but he did and it cost him.

    9. Maybe they should ask Ford if they can use (an) F150.

      Surely one of those stands a better chance?

      1. lol a ford would explode before the end of the first lap. Thats the most unreliable brand of car (I would know… I have to fix them)

    10. Andrea Stella: OK, so, Felipe is faster than you…

      1. :D :D :D :D :D
        you are so funny ………

        As I said in earlier comments, Ferrari probably should have tried putting Alonso on 3 stops when they noticed he didn’t go anywhere with Schumacher but its always easy to say this after a race. His start and the time lost behind Schumacher cost him that race, but I doubt he would have finished far from Massa anyway.

        1. But the thing is, they didn’t. I don’t know why Alonso didn’t ask them to change strategy halfway though his middle stint (maybe it was also too much changeable for him to have a full overview of who was where, on what strategy?) when he was loosing quite a bit of time to Massa? I sort of expected him at least to demand something different from his team. But he seemed a bit dejected at his pace instead.

          1. Last year everyone was saying what a master strategist Alonso is, now he can’t make any calls?

            You have to wonder how well-deserved most reputations in F1 actually are.

            1. fullthrottle
              19th April 2011, 17:59

              “That’s exactly the kind of comment I would expect to hear from someone with no knowledge of F1…”

              Rules are not the same, and it has enormusly changed what a driver can understand about the race state.

    11. the “faster than you” joke is starting to be really annoying.. OLD STUFF!

      1. Tell me about it. It should somehow be filtered out by the mods..

      2. too, old stuff is the fact that all of a sudden when Massa finishes 1 place ahead of Fernando, he becomes a better driver…he is catching up to Alonso…Alonso is looses his temper when a team mate beats him….and all the other comments that stop existing like last year when he finished 2nd in the championship against a killer car: RedBull.

        1. Yeah, but was that a reflection of Ferrari might? or Red Bull stupidity?

    12. di Montezemolo doesn’t waste any time in getting his thoughts across does he?

      Good result for Massa. Would be brilliant to see him win a race this year. I think he can do it.

      1. After Melbourne I had some doubts, but I think (and hope) after Malaysia and China, Massa will win some races this year.

        Even in a car that requires development and isn’t close to its potential, Massa was ahead of the race winner at the half way mark in China, and was one of, if not the fastest car on option tyres.

    13. I think he will win at some point this year. Not sure what makes me say that – I just have a feeling…..Monza maybe?? ;)

    14. Ha ha, I can see the reaction. So Domenicali will rant “we have to stay calm and try to understand why our car is so slow”. Hopefully they will understand it before the season ends. I don’t want to sound pessimistic but looking at the drivers’ table and the current form of other teams I tend to agree with Briatore – Ferrari should scrap the car (and Domenicali also). I remember in 2005 Todt once said: “Sometimes when you are bad, it’s good to have your nose in the s-hit so that you smell it clearly and you react.” Domenicali doesn’t seem to ever realize in how much s.hit he and Ferrari are.

    15. Montezemolo: Here I sit in my fly Italian suit, in my big Italian mansion built with “passion”. I DEMAND that you succeed on the otherside of the world!

      …what a ****, no wonder Ferrari are strugling,with that guy leading them, Alonso’s coment dont help the cause.

    16. It is the team’s level and nothing says it has to be any higher.

      Two teams are doing a better job than you and another two are consistently knocking on your door.

      I can well see a repeat of 1990-1991, when Prost almost took them to the title and then next year they were nowhere. And now Alonso has no teams left to move to if the slump continues even further.

      With no Byrne to come up with innovative designs or Brawn to come up with good reactive strategies, this might be the shape of Ferrari’s future for the next few years. If this year is a failure I see Stefano for the chop.

    17. its very rare for me to make negative comments as I believe we are all only a few wrong decisions away from rock bottom at any given time, and in finding yourself in such a position I would hope others around you would be supportive…not looking down on you with contempt

      that said…

      Ferrari deserve all their getting at the moment and lots lots more…why…for the same reason that I started with

      They are without doubt the most arrogant, rude and self righteous bunch of SOB’s I ever had the miss-fortune of hearing about!

      montze-what’s-his-faces’ most recent outburst just about say’s its all, dosn’t it?

      “This cannot and must not be the team’s level,” said di Montezemolo on Ferrari’s website. “It’s a very delicate moment.

      “I expect our engineers to act with determination and know-how, unleashing the maximum of their capacity to improve the performance of the car in a short time.

      “I want Ferrari to be at the level that both we and our fans demand it should be.”

      …seriously…like they aren’t doing that already?…maybe what he means gets lost in translation some how…

      but seriously…who the **** would want to work for a *****like him?

      perhaps Ferrari should go on a people/leadership skills course before they pour millions into re-developing their car, that way their staff might just want to do a good job and not be so scared of failure that they actually produce.

      I for one am sick of Ferrari thinking their better than others and I’m actually glade their feeling the heat a little, wait till the MP4-12c hits the streets, then lets see how much they squirm when they realise they have a lot of work to do off the track as well as on it

      once upon a time in a galaxy far far away I used to be a Ferrari fan, but seriously, who would want to support them now? not because they have a rubbish car, I am sure they will bounce back eventually…but purely because the entire team (massa excluded) has a serious attitude and personality diss-function!

      1. Wobblebottom
        19th April 2011, 23:57

        That’s a shame dude, cause I’m a Ferrari fan for precisely the reasons you just stated. They are the best, they should think they’re the best and they should think of themselves as above everyone else.

        Their current form is embarrassing for them as a team and for us fans. It’s one thing being 1st or 2nd, though 1st is better. But 4th or maybe even 5th is unacceptable for Ferrari and I agree with Montezemolo.

    18. my suggestions for Ferrari are:
      1) go to the folder where the project of the 150th Italia is
      2) select all files and press the delete button
      3) empty the bin (or destroy any single trace of F60 F10 and F150th italia)
      4) take a blank sheet and develop a completely new car

    19. Everything about Aloneso (pun intended :p) tells me he is not a happy bunny this year, as yet.
      Only time will tell … I’m going to leave it until at least after Barcelona; then I’ll compare all the teams’ performance during the winter testing done at Barcelona, and then compare that data to the results, in order to guage where they are all at (just my 2 euros worth :P)

    20. I’m still waiting for the reaction from the Horse’s Big Fat Mouth :-D :-D

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