Ferrari miss out on top ten in qualifying

2012 Australian Grand Prix

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Both Ferrari drivers were eliminated before the top ten shoot-out in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso had set the fifth-fastest time when he spun at turn one. He put two wheels on the grass on the run towards the corner and spun backwards into the gravel.

Alonso was visibly frustrated at not being pushed out of the gravel by the marshals. The session was red-flagged while his Ferrari was recovered.

“He had managed to keep the engine on, waiting for the marshals who did nothing,” the team lamented on Twitter.

Alonso slipped to 12th by the end of the session. Felipe Massa ended the session 16th, a second slower than his team mate.

The Ferrari F2012 has proved problematic in testing and looked difficult to drive in Melbourne.

The drivers languished in 16th and 18th places in the final practice session. Massa had two spins in the three practice sessions leading up to qualifying.

2012 Australian Grand Prix

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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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    86 comments on “Ferrari miss out on top ten in qualifying”

    1. I hope this is a sign of things to come. Could Alonso and Vettel be looking for new teams with a faster car?

      1. Its only a matter of time before Ferrari get it right. Just look at McLaren.

        1. they’ve lost a lot of great technical people. look at Mercedes. Brawn is building another ‘Schumacher-era’ team.

          1. David Smith
            17th March 2012, 7:38

            Maybe Pat Fry Has Gone Off Spagetti, Pasta And Pizza Already?

        2. but there was never anything wrong with the Macca…it just had an over-heating exhaust because the FIA did a last minute U-turn on what materials they could use, once they changed the layout slightly they were off, they didn’t even have to change the concept

          I think there is a little bit more wrong with the Ferrari. What has always concerned me is they keep saying they have built a car that they don’t understand….how do you fix a car you don’t understand?

          personally I think they should employ Craig Scarborough, i bet he could fix it…after all, they clearly followed the instructions on @scarbsf1’s when designing it

          the only way forward for Ferrari now is for Montezemolo to stay out of thing and let Stefano and his team do their work and learn F1’s secrets for next year then so Ferrari can then do what they do best…build their own car in their own style and get it right, instead of building bits from everybody else’s car, bolting them together and getting it very very wrong

      2. Alonso has a contract thru 2015/2016 with the prancing horse. Vettel may leave if he wants too. the question is where would he be willing to leave. Answer Ferrari….but only if Ferrari has a quality car, which hasn’t been the case now for several seasons.

      3. Seriously, Vettel? The first race hasn’t even happened yet!

      4. Red Bull would have to have at least two consecutive seasons off the pace before Vettel considered abandoning them. Alonso might already be wishing he was somewhere else, but he’s got a stupidly long contract. So, no.

        1. Alonso will now be cursing himself for that selfish exit from Mclaren

          1. I’m not sure he’ll be cursing himself, but he might feel bitter about the circumstances of his exit again. I think he’s always blamed the team for siding with a rookie (or as most people saw it, treating their drivers equally) instead of a double world champion.

            It’s an interesting point though. Given the way Hamilton won the title in 2008 with a fair share of mistakes along the way, Alonso would have had a great chance of beating him to it in the same machinery.

            Ferrari and McLaren have been pretty evenly paced since then though. In 2009 they were both uncompetitive (one win each), in 2010 they were even (Hamilton and Alonso both went to the last race with a chance of becoming WDC), and in 2011 McLaren had the edge but it didn’t matter as Red Bull walked all over both of them. I think he was delighted to move to Ferrari, but he must be feeling pretty angry at the prospect of another year chasing 3rd-5th place at best.

      5. I bet Alonso would have been happy to be Grosjean’s team mate right now :-)

    2. heads will roll!

      1. That’s why you don’t use Lego’s to make an F1 car.

    3. Oh, Ferrari, Ferrari, Ferrari.

      This is what happens when you loose so much star power in a short period of time. Ever since 2007, Ferrari lost Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, Michael Schumacher, and now Aldo Costa.

      Ferrari = Williams 2.

      1. the big question is why Ferrari are always struggling since 2009 ?????????
        the ban of testing has affected Ferrari very badly it’s obvious that in Maranello (unlike the guys in Working & Milton keynes) they haven’t the knowledge of building a Formula 1 car with the simulator it’s not in their culture making “Virtual” cars
        Ferrari has been always good at designing & testing step by step on the track the the functionality of each component
        it’s not because they lost many people that they are doing rubbish look at Mclaren they also lost many great engineers but they are doing well

        1. Agree 100%

          The entire Ferrari design philosophy was based around using the test track in their back yard that they build at great expense. The other teams went the other way and spent their money on developing simulators and rig testing. The FIA bans testing and Ferrari have to change the whole way they design and validate a formula 1 car. Yes they’ve lost a massive amount of talent in the past few years but their fall from dominance coincides with this change.

          The only positive Ferrari can take from today is that if Alonso had a chance to do another run at the end of Q2 he’d probably make the top ten but I can’t see them being too pleased with just making Q3.

    4. we don’t really what position Alonso could have achieved but Massa has really lost his mojo hasn’t he?

      1. Massa clearly can’t adapt to a car which does everything you don’t want it to do. If Ferrari don’t get their act together, it going to be a long season for Massa. Alonso I imagine will adapt and should still be strong throughout the year.

        1. you think Massa will see the season out if he cant perform?

          Ferrari have nothing to loose in trying out some young Italian drivers if Massa is not scoring points, at least that might appease the (no doubt) very angry Italian fans back home

      2. @dt He was only fairly narrowly bumped out. I think he’d have made the final ten.

        And that would have focussed attention more sharply on Massa’s shortcomings as well as the car’s.

    5. We tifosi will support FERRARI in good time, bad time, a life time commitment same as marriage.

      1. But your mother in law is Luca di Montezemolo…

        1. Which is going to make things very interesting.

          If Ferrari has a hard season, at least we get to see who their real fans, like Kelly are, as opposed to the many bandwagoners.

        2. And he whines as much as any mother in law.

    6. Haven’t been able to see it yet but hearing about it on the radio, I’m not sure how easy it is to push a beached car out of a gravel trap?

      1. Nando was quite far from the track when he beached.

        1. Much to far, I think, to allow the car to be easily pushed out of it by the marshals (and while the engine is running). I can see why Alonso, still in the heat of the moment, thought they should, but the team really should have been more sensible in recognizing the situation for what it was, told him, and us. But then, that’s part of who they are now I suppose.

          1. i think pushing him like that is not very safe imagine if another car crashed into him while the marshals are pushing ????????????????

        2. Yeah even if they were keen on pushing him out of there it would have been impossible. He was too far into it.

          1. @solo I don’t know about that. All he needed was a small push-off enough to get the tures spinning so he could get himself back on track.

      2. I think he may have been wanting to be craned out of there and back onto the track with the engine running.

    7. sid_prasher (@)
      17th March 2012, 7:32

      It seems Ferrari went for a radical design for the heck of it…the only thing innovative about the car was the front suspension and even that has been questioned by the experts. The fact is that they have been out thought by the other teams. Now once more they will look at the solution of others and try to catch up.

      But as a fan we have to remain optimistic and hope they can resolve the issues before this season is lost…:(

      1. David Smith
        17th March 2012, 7:44

        And I’m optimistic I’ll be the next lotto millionaire!

        1. sid_prasher (@)
          17th March 2012, 8:20

          I hope you do win :) Hope is all we have.

    8. Is it illegal to help a driver who is in Gravel ?? no idea what the rule book says..

      1. @romesh82 It’s not illegal. Drivers may be pushed by the marshals if they’re in a dangerous position, but it’s largely at the discretion of the corner workers.

        In qualifying because there is very little time they usually prefer to stop the session, pull the car out of the way and restart it.

        In this case Alonso had gone quite a way into the gravel trap backwards. It was unlikely he could have been freed very quickly as I think there was about eight minutes left.

        It bears pointing out that Vettel and Schumacher had similar spins in practice and were also not pushed free by the marshals.

    9. The 2012 Ferrari is a dog of a car, no, it’s worse than a dog. I think Ferrari might be the worse of the established teams. Yes, they are THAT bad!

    10. theagentorange
      17th March 2012, 7:46

      anyone have a pic of the ferrari in the gravel trap?

    11. Fernando should apologize. It has been understandable but very ugly.

      1. At first I thought you meant apologize for the ugly car! I guess you mean his anger getting out of it, though I’m surprised his main emotion wasn’t relief at not having to drive it any more. Was the red flag intended to clear the track while Alonso’s rage subsided??

    12. For myself, I am quite pleased to see ferrari in so bad position…And also red bull less high on the grid

      Great deal to make a car without that ugly broken nose and make a great challenger of it
      Well done Mc :-))))))))))))

      1. I don’t believe any real F1 fan would enjoy another team’s woes.

        1. Agreed. I would rather teams beat each other on merit, rather than mistakes! Where’s the pride in that?

        2. So would you consider someone to be a “real F1 fan” if they said “I care so much about F1 that I want every team to finish in the top 12 of the constructors championship”? I think that’d be a very strange thing to say.

          I enjoy watching F1 when it’s unpredictable, and for that to happen, some teams have to underperform, others have to overperform. For example, I have nothing against Red Bull, but I’m glad to see they’re not going to dominate this season again. I am not at all sad to see Ferrari struggling as they seem to think they have a divine right to be at the front, and they panic so much when they aren’t.

          1. ShaneB457 (@shaneb12345678910)
            17th March 2012, 9:13


        3. To be honest am a little happy too but not because i want to see Ferrari suffer on the track but because i want to see them getting off their high horse in F1 politics and all the secret deals they try to get and trying to especially hurt the smaller guys so they can stay small (example exiting FOTA to probably get a better deal from Bernie and ruin all the chances of other team to get better money). I just hate that “we are unique, we are F1” attitude they have.
          I wish they didn’t have to suck at the track to eat a little humble pie but it seems to be the only thing.
          On the other hand sucking at the track will bring a lot of nagging. We will hear a lot of crazy demands from Montezemolo in future months it seems.

    13. Alonso has got a few sets of fresh tyres at his disposal tomorrow, I still expect to see a decent points finish for Alonso, barring any unusual circumstances.

      1. For myself I think both ferrai drivers get more chance to be out of the points…

      2. If there’s anyone capable of that, it should be Alonso. He has the tyres to do so.

      3. @slr

        I still expect to see a decent points finish for Alonso, barring any unusual circumstances.

        Like, say, a car that is practically undriveable over one lap, much less fifty-eight?

        1. i think that this car is even worse than the F60

          1. top speeds :
            Alonso 305
            Hamilton 314
            Perez 316,7
            even in the straight line the F2012 is slow it’s not only due to the aerodynamic resistance but perhaps due to the necessity of using a lot of wing which makes it slower

      4. sid_prasher (@)
        17th March 2012, 9:00

        Yes @slr I think/hope if he finishes the race, he ll be in points…possibly 7th(?)

    14. The biggest looser today was Massa. Massa could not beat an Alonso that was unable to defend his position.
      Your first opponent is your team mate.
      I’m a Ferrari fan, I’m happy that F1 started, I’m happy that everyone is so much closer (except Ferrari ofc :) ). I’m happy it’s not Vettel and his finger again… and so many more.

      Gentlemen, start your engines !

      1. Comment of the day…

        1. I wonder how often a nomination for COTD actually works? Never, I’d assume. Maybe through coincidence sometimes.

      2. Biggest loser? Don’t you mean the biggest joke?

    15. Time for Ferrari to dump this chassis and copy the MP427….otherwise the season is over.

      1. I don’t think it’s that straight forward.

        1. How hard can it be? Get some photocopy design or steal a car while Dennis and Whitmarch look the other way and then paint it red.

          1. The chassis is homologated, you can’t change it during the season :P

    16. The televisions stockists of Maranello will be rubbing their hands with glee

      1. @keithcollantine I didn’t know that.

        I imagine that he will go for the two-birds-with-one-stone and throw the TV at his drivers.

        1. sid_prasher (@)
          17th March 2012, 9:04

          @andrewtanner at the drivers or Pat Fry and his team? :)

          1. @sid-prasher At the drivers this weekend. They were far from fantastic today.

            He’s probably placed a big order to cover throwing them at his technical team for the rest of the year ;)

    17. I think Alonso has actually given the team as a whole a bit of breathing space here. Sure, questions will still be asked of the F2012 but at least for this weekend the car wasn’t so much at fault, it was Alonso.

      I’m not forgetting Massa, but it’s no surprise that he’s woefully behind his team-mate.

      Unfortunately for us we don’t know the true pace of the F2012 yet but fortunately for Ferrari they won’t have to explain the car too much.

      A disappointing start but let’s be optimistic. They have fresher tyres and can start on what they want tomorrow.

      1. sid_prasher (@)
        17th March 2012, 9:09

        @andrewtanner yes perhaps he could have been in the top 5 but with Massa ending where he did, they have no hope of winning the constructor’s title. The only good thing is that this is race 1.

    18. As a Ferrari fan, I really hope we can resolve the issues sooner rather than later. Lets hope it is a good season….looking forward to the first race tomorrow :-)

    19. Alonso should not have lost his temper on the marshal…..Very bad

      1. Shaun Robinson (@)
        17th March 2012, 16:01

        During the heat of the moment i’m sure alot of people would have done the same. i.e. fighting with all your talent to keep an awful car on the track and then not getting the help you wanted fromt he marshall. BUT consider the marshals position, what if he pushes the car and something breaks off? who do you blame then? In my opinion he should give a public apology to the marshall but I can understand why he was frustraited

      2. Alonso looked like Roger Federer out there. “Fernando, use the best of your tennis forehand, we know how big it is – use it.”

    20. I don’t know why anyone is surprised that Ferrari are crap. They were pretty rubbish for 20 years before the Todt/Brawn/Byrne/Schumacher era and since they left its been a downward spiral.

      In Fernando they’ve got a brilliant driver who will win the odd race or two, in the way Prost did but unless they can sign Adrian Newey its mid table mediocrity for them.

      1. Alonso has contract with them until 2016…

        I really want to take bet he will not be world champion anymore if he stays there…

    21. Alonso had some bad luck, but he felt out because of his own mistake, nothing more. He hit the grass at the corner and so he spun into the grind. I truly believe that Alonso surely would have made it to the top ten.
      Massa was a very big disappointement, being nowhere at the track and nowhere at the time tables as well. Hopefully for him, he’ll improve during the season, otherwise, I fear that his career with Ferrari will be over. He has never been the old Massa since his crash at Hungary (except in Germany and some other rare good races).

    22. pre-season tests: We are here to improve the car. We don´t need to prove anything until Melbourne
      Melbourne: It’s an unusual track. Weñll see where we are at the second GP
      Second GP: It’s the same car we had in Australia. at the first race in europe we’ll have a big evolution.
      1st race in Europe: The other teams have brought evolutions too, but we have more potential to improve.
      half season: Our rivals have taken a big advantage in the first half of season. Now we have to start to think in how to build a new car for the next season which allow us to fight since the first race.

      And come back to the begining of the post.

      1. sid_prasher (@)
        17th March 2012, 11:11

        Well said!

      2. That’s pretty funny and not far from the truth but to be fair what else can they say?

        It wouldn’t be much motivation if they said something like “Our employees aren’t very good at their jobs and have been beaten by their counterparts in other teams. They are working to fix this but we don’t think it will make much difference in the coming races as they are the same people who failed in the first place.” It’s the same as a football manager who blames the ref when the teams loses to deflect the media attention off the players.

    23. Shaun Robinson (@)
      17th March 2012, 15:56

      Never liked Ferrari’s way of doing things – backing one driver, team orders, throwing huge amounts of cash around. Mclaren however, letting drivers fight amongst eachother, becoming carbon neutral – you get a real sense that their philosophy is more than just to build a great car but to build a great future for their fans and formula 1 in general. I don’t know which smile was bigger, the one where niether ferrari qualified for Q3 or the smile from Mclaren’s 1+2.

      1. Yes Mclaren are perfect aren’t they?? Not as if they told Kovaleninen to move over for Hamilton in silverstone 2008 or got involved in a scandal in 2007 or told their driver to lie in Melbourne 2009.

        1. @realracer

          told Kovaleninen to move over for Hamilton in silverstone 2008

          I’d be interested to see your proof of that – I’m not sure I’ve seen anything to indicate it was a team order.

          1. Proof? Kovalainen didn’t really defend his position he just sort of let him through, watch a replay.

            1. @realracer That’s not proof, that’s supposition.

        2. Just note @realracer, that the most recent of those examples is 3 years ago now. Surely even if it would have been common practice for McLaren to act like that then (I am far from convinced), that’s a lot of water under the bridge since then.

    24. The 2012 Ferrari is like Clifford – the big red dog.

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