Sakhir – On the day of Felipe Massa’s birthday the two Ferrari single-seaters are back on the track during the qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix, with the Brazilian on eighth and Kimi Raikkonen on tenth position on the grid, due to some excessive tyre wear during the last part of the qualifying, while the Finnish driver even had to use two sets of used tyres. But over the last two days, Friday’s and Saturday’s free practice sessions and today’s qualifying, the F60s went definitely better than during the first outings of the season. Both F60s are using the KERS at Bahrain, which means they can use 80 bhp more for several seconds, which will obviously lead to better lap times. Meanwhile the best lap times in the qualifying were driven by Toyota, with Jarno Trulli on the pole position and Timo Glock right next to his teammate, ahead of Vettel’s Red Bull and Button’s Brawn GP. Hamilton will start from the fifth position, next the second Brawn, the one driven by Barrichello, ahead of Alonso, and Rosberg between the two Ferrari single-seaters.
Today is also Felipe’s 28th birthday and he will celebrate with his parents and his friends from the Scuderia; but there will be also some very special guests, such as Jean Alesi and Gianni Morbidelli and two of the most famous rock musicians of our times: Eric “Slowhand” Clapton and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason (collector of historical cars and especially Ferraris), who are visiting the Team of the Prancing Horse in Bahrain. Amongst the other attractions of this GP, held on one of the most modern tracks in the world, there is the exceptional Bernie Ecclestone Grand Prix Heritage Collection with some of the most significant models, such as the Ferrari, driven by Jose-Froilan Gonzales to win the first GP for the Prancing Horse in July 1951. Meanwhile the Team is waiting for Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo arriving at Bahrain in the evening. Montezemolo attending the race is an exception as he usually prefers watching the races alone on TV.
As far as the weather is concerned it has to be said that it will be very different from Malaysia and China. The temperatures at Bahrain are around 40 degrees with a track temperature above 50C and the weather forecast for the race tomorrow confirms the temperatures.
Shanghai, April 18 – It is not a whole new F60 racing at Shanghai, but the new aerodynamic solutions changed the Ferrari single-seater quite a bit. Well, the results aren't too bright, Kimi eighth and Felipe 13th, while the Brazilian made a mistake in Q2 and there was not enough time left to send him back out on the track. Otherwise he would have played for a position in the top ten during Q3, as we could already see in Q1. Patience: what's important now is to continue the F60's development according to the new indications, which came out indirectly by the FIA Court of Appeals's verdict as far as the diffusers are concerned.
As you know the Scuderia will not use the KERS at the Chinese GP. It's not definitely abandoned, but it's a decision to not making the car heavier or conditioning its set up before the system's reliability isn't assured. It broke twice durnig the first two GPs of the season in Kimi's F60. The first three spots on the grid for tomorrow's race are taken by Vettel, Alonso and Webber with Red Bull and Renault. This means that the single-seaters' perfomances don't exclusively depend on the diffusers. The Team is working hard - at Maranello and on the track - on the set up, the downforce with the front wing and the modified covers, the air vent system and the tyres' performances, important for the outcome of the race in China. The 'super soft' compound wears off quickly and the intermediates are having problems reaching the right temperature (it's cooler in Shanghai than in Malaysia and Australia).
There are some reasons for being optimistic here at Shanghai, where Ferrari has the best score amongst the teams. Next week in Bahrain and in May, at the first European GP at Barcelona, the F60 could have its debut with a new diffuser. An important part is - as Stefano Domenicali said several times during the weekend - to work on the Team's mood, the “Ferrari pride”, to get back to the top.
We made a mistake and there’s no point for finding excuses. What happened this morning in the qualifying for tomorrow’s Malaysian GP was an erroneous evaluation of our potential and the strategy worked against Felipe. His 16th fastest lap time hurts, because the Team was and is convinced that Q1 reflects the real performance on the track. But, dear friends, to have that confirmed we have to wait until tomorrow. It won’t be easy for Kimi either, starting from row four and we have to pay lots of attention to the KERS and the F60’s overall reliability. But we’re optimistic as far as the race is concerned. It’s time to turn the page.
Well this was a difficult qualifying for the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, but tomorrow is another day. Sepang is a circuit with long straights and fast corners. If the Scuderia reacts well and understood the mistakes they made at the start of the season, then things will change a lot. Tyre-wear and reliability are two main points the technicians from Maranello have worked a lot on the F60. The slicks should be more resistant compared to the season’s first GP, while the single-seaters’ reliabilities in the first race should have been a one-off, when the Felipe and Kimi both had to retire before the end of the race. The Finnish driver won already twice at Sepang and came in first last year.
"The Team’s motivation is high. It’s not the first time they have to deal with such a situation, where they have to start from the back of the grid, but they can count on a great race rhythm. We have to use each and every possibility", Massa said. But then we also have to watch out for the rain, which could change everything and turn the GP into a lottery. The rain in Sepang is tropical, considering that the race will start at 5pm local time there’s the risk that the end of the race will be held in the rain and with night falling.