Ferrari back on form after poor start to 2011

2011 British GP team review

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It would be wrong to write off Ferrari’s resurgence in form in the British Grand Prix as being simply a consequence of the change in the diffuser rules.

If that were the case, it’s doubtful the team would have agreed to a return to a Valencia-spec configuration at the next round.

The team’s success at Silverstone was the result of gradual progress made in recent races.

Fernando AlonsoFelipe Massa
Qualifying position34
Qualifying time comparison (Q3)1’30.516 (-0.608)1’31.124
Race position15
Pit stops33

Ferrari drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):

Fernando Alonso118.128112.701112.088111.649112.426111.616111.205111.149111.596110.589110.512107.628131.79105.535104.523101.71100.985101.93999.88199.94998.80398.76198.98698.45698.4597.54195.551116.60297.06996.80396.12295.76996.32896.62297.47296.11896.41596.7193.391113.37794.90895.33495.8895.70895.7495.83496.16195.45196.33596.88398.066101.951
Felipe Massa119.962112.173111.896112.194112.379112.449111.731111.701112.238111.193111.296111.977106.807126.862104.646102.895101.503100.462101.299100.17899.5299.08999.09198.9698.70396.118116.46698.05598.13598.33197.32597.09898.40597.5797.79597.79897.64297.67799.14699.91495.094113.56196.15595.54496.29395.8995.79295.91595.47495.66297.41398.734
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2011

Fernando Alonso

Qualifying did not start well for Alonso as he went off the track at Luffield in Q1. But he was pleased with the result – third on the grid.

He said: “It’s true that the actual result was better in Canada – second – but I was further off pole position than I am today.

“Furthermore, we are at a circuit that definitely does not suit the characteristics of our car and to be just over a tenth off first is a great sign.”

Alonso did not get his usual flying start but held onto third behind the Red Bulls. As the track dried he picked up pace more quickly than Mark Webber and began reeling him in for second.

Both Ferraris struggled to warm their tyres up after switching to slicks. That allowed Lewis Hamilton to attack and pass Alonso for third. But once he was back on the pace he made light work of the McLaren in the DRS zone.

Lapping a few tenths faster than Sebastian Vettel, he looked set to reel in the leading Red Bulls. But he was handed the lead when both drivers hit trouble during their pit stops.

With Vettel tucked up behind Hamilton, Alonso pulled out a ten second lead. Nor was Vettel able to catch Alonso once he’d cleared Hamilton – Alonso doubled his lead by lap 50.

Speaking in the press conference afterwards, Alonso was unsure whether he would have won without Vettel’s problem: “Who knows? You never know.

“I think it is difficult to have any prediction of what could have happened without the problems of Sebastian.

“For sure [it’s] more difficult and you need to overtake on the track and when you are talking about two or three-tenths different pace in favour of them or us it is not easy to overtake as we saw with the McLaren and for Sebastian it was the same when he tried to overtake Lewis.”

Technical director Pat Fry said: “Putting to one side the entire saga regarding exhaust gases, I think our performance today was mainly down to seeing the benefit of the improvements we have introduced race after race, especially here, where we had so many updates aimed at increasing performance on tracks that have these characteristics.”

Fernando Alonso 2011 form guide

Felipe Massa

Massa was fourth on the grid, six-tenths of a second off Alonso, admitting he’d made mistakes on his first lap in Q3.

He lost a place to Jenson Button at the start but re-passed him on the second lap.

However he didn’t pit for slicks until lap 13 – two laps later than Button – and dropped back behind the McLaren.

Massa was well off Alonso’s pace in the third stint and looked to have dropped out of contention at the front until Hamilton hit trouble and had to save fuel.

He caught Hamilton towards the end of the race, but lost out in a wheel-banging battle to the finishing line around the final corners.

Felipe Massa 2011 form guide

2011 British Grand Prix

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    65 comments on “Ferrari back on form after poor start to 2011”

    1. Unfortunately for the Tifosi, I honestly believe it’s still too little, too late for them this season.

      1. I don’t see why they couldn’t catch McLaren in constructors. But Red Bull and Vettel? I agree.

      2. It’s never too late. Stranger things have happened…

        1. 92 points to make up in 10 races. That is a tall mountain to climb.

          Strange things have happened, but if Alonso actually takes the title fight down to the last race, it would be the strangest of them all.

          1. That would be THE comeback of the sports history, surely?

      3. I agree the title’s out of reach, but I’m still hoping to enjoy a few more wins this year. And mega chuffed to see a Ferrari win at one of Red Bull’s strongest tracks, bodes well for the rest of the year.

        1. It’s not impossible that Ferrari could win :P At the very least I hope we get a few more race wins this season.

          1. Yep. I think they have nothing to lose. The title fight seems almost out of reach.. so why not go all out?

          2. Yep, hopefully Ferrari can win some more and nab 2nd in the constructors title from Mclaren :)

            1. I think that is a very realistic target.

      4. yeah last year vettel was definitely not looking to be in a position to win the WDC in the last race (i mean practically, not theoretically), but webber and alonso were stuck behind the renault, and vettel took the title! so who knows!

      5. Very likely you are right, but its not too late to impress for the rest of the season. If Alonso can get 4 more wins this year I’ll still call it a good year. Sometimes you find yourself in positions like this with a different car dominating. And nobody will give up, especially not Alonso, until is is mathematicly impossible. And even then, winning races still tastes good :-P

      6. it’s impossible to win, but this is the start of the battle for 2nd place.

      7. Yeah, early enough to start winning some races and feel halfway satisfied with the year. And give us a good show.

        But not early enough to fight Vettel for the championship.

        But they must be feeling confident enough about the improvements to give up on the ban on hot blowing (hear that Luca, you can speak again)

      8. You’re crazy, Ferrari and Fernando are going to be 17 and 3 times World Champions respectively.

        1. Appreciate your faith :) Lol, I’m hoping (no matter how insane it is) for the same. I mean… you just never know.

          1. Ferrari’s battle this year will be with Mclaren & we will see more wheel-banging between them in this season.

            1. Well as much the prospect of Fernando winning the title is great..its probably a bridge too far to cross..Vettel will be consistently on the podium if he doesnt win. If Mclaren can consistent take points off Vettel along with Ferrari, it could be possible..but highly unlikely.

              For the constructors, Mass really needs to pick up the pace.

      9. I agree Magffrey. There is nothing to really stop Red Bull.

    2. Massa also said that he had a damaged floor from hitting debris at Turn 6 – which makes sense considering Schumacher and Kobayashi clashed there.

      Like Canada, Massa showed in the final stint that he has great determination and never gives up, but

      Ferrari had an abnormally good day in the pitstops, but Massa’s strategy was still quite strange, and seems to be making a habit of pitting too late. For the second race in a row, this has probably stopped him getting above Hamilton.

      1. It’s strange, because Massa pits always three laps later than Alonso but never does one stop less than him. Therefore he loses positions when the others have new tyres and he’s on old ones.

        1. Yes, particularly as they used Massa as a pawn to block Vettel and Webber at Silverstone even though there was a big gap to Alonso. This strategy backfired in Valencia, for both drivers, and didn’t work again here for Massa.

          To correct my earlier point, Massa actually did make his 2nd pitstop before Alonso.

          1. ed thats a pretty far out claim. It is unlikely that Ferrari would give up some good points just to slow some one down a bit on one corner.

            Dont believe everything the BBC commentators suggest. They are afterall, just spectators.

        2. Yep, seems it hurts him al almost all races where he is behind Alonso. Something the team should reconsider.

          I can hardly believe Alonso would mind the team pitting Massa earlier if that would help him to get better points for them. By now he has clearly established, who is the team leader.

      2. The only way Massa should be planning is by doing one stop lesser than the others.

        This way, he can be of help to Alonso by slowing down others and he can somehow come into the play during the final few laps. Remember how well he was doing in China.

    3. @Magnificent
      As tifoso I can assure You isn’t too little! A great result and it leaves room for other good races.

      1. Thats the nice thing about us tifoso. We support our team 100%. Unlike those other teams fans who burn the factory down when something goes wrong.

    4. I think of them as vultures. Feeding on what Redbull left behind.

      1. It’s been like that for Ferrari quite alot, except for Monza and Singapore I guess.

    5. Well then mclaren feeds on vulture leftovers i guess!!

      1. I know, it’s a tough gig.

    6. They didn’t need to use the Hard tyres, though.

      Not saying they didn’t deserve it. Fernando’s pace was astonishing, but still…

      1. There are positive sign on practices. so I hope it works finally…

    7. sid_prasher (@)
      11th July 2011, 16:12

      Never to late to win races I think…especially since the rules will not change drastically next year.

    8. Before the British GP wasn´t expecting Ferrari to be strong but after the practices and especially Qualifyings thought they could do something, at least for 2º, turns out that Ferrari( by Alonso)was the one to beat, in that 2º sector he was absolutely flying, even without Vettel´s pit problems sooner or later Alonso would have overtook him if that was the case.
      The bad news for Ferrari is that Vettel to far away, the good news is that they can win more races till the end of the season.

    9. this is not a return to form, this is not a ferrari revival, this is a poor pitstop from redbull. no matter what ferrari, or their fans believe, red bull is untouchable. rule changes? did not seem to matter, redbull in P1 and P2 in quali, and simply, would have won the race, if not for a pitstop. ferrari revival, i think not!

      1. “DING-DING”
        I ring the bell for common sense…
        Your comment is a real and complete picture of what went down…you’ve taken the words write out of my computer.

        1. fernando was flying before the pits.

          and dont forget fernando had a really long pit stop on his first stop. losing well over 5 seconds.

          vettel has had the luxury of amazing pit stops this season. always 1-1.5 quicker than mclaren or ferrari. If u times that by 3 or 4 thats alot of free time being given away. Eventually they were going to make an error….and fernando took great advantage of it

          1. Alonso would have overtaken him on track in the drs zone.

      2. Judging by how much of a gap Alonso pulled out i’m tempted to say that I reckon Alonso could have done it anyway.

    10. Gnarly Racing
      11th July 2011, 19:50

      So, did anyone feel cheated because the drivers didn’t have to use both types of tyre?! This race showed what a nonsense that rule is. There’s more than enough difference between the performance of a new option tyre and a used one to make it a satisfying tactical battle. I think only Paul di Resta used the harder prime tyre, which explained why he made no progress at all in the second half of the race.

      If ever there was a rule needed changing mid-season, it’s that one. And maybe give the top ten an extra set of tyres to qualify on?

      1. Laranja Mecanica
        11th July 2011, 21:54

        This is the second most incredibly oligophrenic rule of the sport, after the testing ban.

        1. How long you been waiting to use that word?

    11. michael robinson
      11th July 2011, 21:15

      I notice nobodys mentioned that Ferrari won only after the rule changes,do you not think because of 60th aniversary,FIA (ferrari international assistance),bent the rules to suit them.
      Its back to normal at Nurburgring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Niccolo Machiavelli would be proud of luca di montezemo. 500 years of doing what you’ve got to do to win. But I guess that’s what tradition is all about…

      2. Murray Walker was wrong. The 4 worst words in motorsport are “FIA – Ferrari International Assistance”, since it is so frickin’ mundane and tiresome.

      3. Laranja Mecanica
        11th July 2011, 22:40

        Uh-oh, you forgot the”faster than you” mantra. No brownie points for you today.

      4. Funny how the team who didnt try to push the rule through, and instead said they are fine with both are the team who get bashed.

    12. I’m not convinced yet that Ferrari is in a resergence…if this was a dry race and FA had the same result then perhaps we would be seeing more of him near the front on Sunday’s to come but I don’t know and need to see more due to the recent rule change that perhaps suited Ferrari as they were quite silent vs. Red Bull’s protestations, not to mentionthe variable weather and the rare mistake with SV’s pit.

      Let’s see how the next few races go to see if FA is genuinely fighting the Red Bulls now…and if he is, I think that would be great.

    13. DavidA…just wanted to rib you a bit about Ferrari International Assistance (a phrase I’ve never actually used) and your comment about that being mundane and tiresome…guess I must not be the only one then, huh?
      Anyway, for the record it is really strictly the MS/Ferrari era with Max at the helm that I take issue with, and once MS was gone I feel Ferrari went back to better behaviour to both their drivers and I believe Ferrari is much more ‘just one of the teams in F1’ if you will, and I believe that even with Todt now at the helm.

      1. The reason I took issue with your posts is because I got the impression that your comments on Schumacher were excessively harsh, as despite his flaws, he has produced some of the finest driving and racing the sport has ever seen. It is ok not to like the guy.

        I agree that in this case, accusing the FIA of Ferrari International Assistance is incorrect, as this year the FIA have been largely impartial. Nothing can really held against Ferrari since the rules are changing back for the next round.

    14. It would be wrong to write off Ferrari’s resurgence in form in the British Grand Prix as being simply a consequence of the change in the diffuser rules.

      If that were the case, it’s doubtful the team would have agreed to a return to a Valencia-spec configuration at the next round.

      Very true. Alonso qualified 2nd in Canada and may well have been on the podium there had he not had that scuffle with Button. He was also mixing it up with Webber pretty well in Valencia. The signs were there for at least two races that they were making good progress.

    15. It would be wrong to write off Ferrari’s resurgence in form in the British Grand Prix as being simply a consequence of the change in the diffuser rules.

      Maybe. But it’s a case of too little, too late. Sebastian Vettel currently has 204 points, while Alonso has 112. That means he needs four more wins without Vettel scoring a single point just to re-take the championship lead. Which is incredibly unlikely. Even if the Ferrari F150-degrees Italia is now the best car on the grid and the Red Bull RB7 is second, Alonso is going to have to win practically every race between the Nurburgring and Abu Dhabi (and have a couple of other results) just to be in the title fight by the time we get to Interlagos – which he would need to win – because Vettel can win the championship as early as the Japanese Grand Prix and has a big enough points buffer that if he does not take the title in Japan, he will still be able to win it in one stroke at the remaining four races of the season.

      1. That is all REALLY unlikely .. but wouldn’t it be awesome?! I mean, just from a viewers perspective (and BErnies aswell) thar would be spectacular if Alonso goes on to win the next 8 races and Vettel has like one DNF in the meantime and Hamilton getting a second place twice. If I calculated that right that would bring down the gap to just 6 points, so Alonso could win the championship by winning in Brazil. To be honest, its hard to believe but it would be a fantastic story, wouldn’t it?!

    16. Alonso definitely lucked in on the mistakes by Red Bull in the pit stops but Alonso did a great job to qualify third and take advantage of the situations that developed in the race. Good to see a different winner and even though the Brits aren’t too fond of Alonso, the crowd can still appreciate a great drive by a great driver.

    17. 6 wins and 3 second places.
      Alonso in 2006.
      With 9 races to finish and 2010 points, Schumi was second with 140 points.
      If in Germany, Alonso Wins and Vettel dont make any points:
      Vettel will have the same points that Alonso in 2006, and the second will be the ferrari driver with 137 points..
      And 9 races to finish as in 2006.

      I hope Alonso return and can win over the german champion again.. as in 2006.
      But this time, in the red car.

    18. You can’t say there back on form just because of this win? Yeah there getting quicker but unfortunately for Ferrari on form means dominating ever session. I understand where this is coming from they’ve been getting quicker and quicker but until they fully put themselves on the front of the grid, until they win back to back races like they should. It’s all on the definition of “form” really.

    19. I think that it is way too optimistic of any team, red, silver or otherwise to feel anything but “blue”. The redbull has shown it is a force to be feared regardless of the track, the conditions, the tires or otherwise. I think the idea of a ferrari resurgence is simply wishful thinking. Who knows, some bad luck, some DNFs, or simply some finishes outside the top two… never know. Simpy put, the race to second place is what everyone should be watching. Vettel has this wrapped up it appears!

    20. Younger Hamii
      12th July 2011, 18:07

      A ‘Resurgence’ is not what i would refer to Ferrari’s impressive Results(Alonso in particular) They performed quite strongly in Canada and Valencia but think about the Situation in both Race Weekends;

      Canada,A Low Downforce Circuit that requires Mechanical Grip and Top Speed(Ferrari have those requirements but have lacked Aerodynamic Downforce prior to Canada ) and Valencia,Where McLaren struggled with Tyre Degradation due to the Track Temperatures being higher than expected and misunderstanding their Car Setup,therefore playing into Ferrari’s Hand and then we’ve got Silverstone,Ferrari are not fond of High Speed Circuits but with Ferrari International Assistance’s Limitations on the Off Throttle Blown Diffusers and Engine Mappings,Technical Innovations that FERRARI were mostly Complaining to the FIA about,that yet again played into Ferrari’s Hands and hampered McLaren and Red Bull significantly.

      Alonso drove brilliantly,Deserved the Race win and the Car are really competitive all round i must say but the question is that Will the ‘Resurgence’ carry over to Nurburgring,where the Diffusers and Engines goes back to Pre-Silverstone spec in almost a Fortnight.If it doesnt then clearly the net result were that the Canada and Valencia’s Situations suited Ferrari almsot perfectly and it was just the Changes for the OTBDs and Engine Mappings that aided them at Silverstone.

    21. i know its madness.

      nothing has ever been banned, they were told months ago that by silverstone all the teams had to finally comply.

      dont forget back in spain HRT considered appealing the result as it had become clear almost every car on the grid was breaking the rules…..

      Everyone is acting like the whole thing come out of the blue

      1. eh? i put that as a i reply to someone else message not as a new one…. ah well. we need an edit button.

    22. Can’t stop myself thinking Ferrari got something in exchange for accepting to go back to the “old” rules…. Maybe some sort a gentlemen’s agreement where Renault and Mercedes won’t use their engine as “extremely “as they did until Silverstone.

      1. Can’t see anyone going for that to be honest!

    23. A good race from Ferrari, pleased for them. It was good to see some fight in Massa too, liked that!

      It did make me cringe seeing the British fans gesturing obscenities towards Alonso when he took the car for a 4×4 session during qualifying.

    24. There are many things needed to play a role in aiding the ferrari towards wins and the biggest one could have been the RBR teammates quarrel this weekend. RBR has foreseen it and did a smart thing to back off Webber.
      This was the case last year that really affected Vettel to wrap up the title much earlier.
      It remains to see if Webber gets a new contract and how that will affect things. If they give him one, it will have a “#2 driver” clause somewhere.

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