For the 17th race in the 2011 Championship the Formula 1 circus came to India for the first time in its history, to race on the brand-new Buddh International Circuit just outside of New Delhi where tomorrow for the first time the Indian Grand Prix will be held. Our sport celebrates its debut in a new country, with enormous growth, but still characterised by huge contrasts. Nevertheless enthusiasm for motorsport in this country is impressive.
It couldn’t be in any other way considering the intense qualifying session in the afternoon, with the Ferrari 150° Italia confirming the positive results from the first day of free practice. Fernando drove the fourth fastest lap time, only one tenth of a second behind the first row of the grid. While Hamilton has been penalised due to him ignoring the yellow flag during yesterday’s free practice session and therefore being moved three positions back on the grid, Fernando will start from third position.
Sixth position went to Felipe, who had to end his qualifying early due to the right front suspension, which broke when he hit the kerb in corner number 8. The most important thing is that the driver was not hurt at all. Felipe got out of the cockpit unhurt, after the car had stopped in the barriers.
So what about tomorrow’s race? Difficult - if not impossible - to say. As usual a new track never offers the perfect grip conditions, but it will improve lap after lap. Regarding overtaking one has to consider an extra variable: every move outside of the racing line forces the drivers to put the tyres on the dirty part of the track.
In the race we’re usually more competitive than regarding the performance in the qualifying. If this will be the case also tomorrow, then the possibility to come back to Maranello with a nice result from the Indian Grand Prix is exceptionally high.
Only a few days have passed since the last Grand Prix and we’re on the track again for another race weekend after hard work on our Ferrari 150° Italia, we’re expecting a lot of over this weekend in Korea…. especially after the Sunday in Suzuka with Alonso on the second step on the podium and with one of the best performances of the season so far, which was the result of great work by the entire team.
Unfortunately the qualifying session didn’t go as we had expected, but the competition from Red Bull and McLaren is always fierce.
Our goal is to make the best out of the race, like it happened during this second part of the season, where we managed to become competitive.
On tomorrow’s grid Massa and Alonso will start from fifth and sixth position respectively. This is a third starting line we’re not really satisfied with, but which pushes us further, to give more. We know that our Ferrari is strong enough to have a say on this circuit, too.
Here in Yeongam there are many factors to be considered. First of all the weather. We passed from rain to sun in the blink of an eye, although the forecast for today is positive. Furthermore this track has been part of the Formula 1 calendar since 2010 and one of the unknown factors is the condition of the surface. It seems that it might be quite slippery, which will not only challenge our drivers, but also the tyres. The race strategy will be very important and the entire team has been working extremely hard.
Fernando and Felipe are very concentrated on the race and the goals for this season. We’re all very optimistic and hope to be able to repeat the result from last year’s race here in Korea, with two Ferraris in the first three places and Fernando winning the first race on this circuit.
The last two weeks have been packed with hard work on our Ferrari 150° Italia. We’ve also been studying the race in Singapore, where we gained less than we had expected and maybe even not enough, considering how it actually went on the track.
Now we’re here in Japan at the Suzuka circuit, highly concentrated on our season’s objectives: first of all we’re trying to win at least one out of the five races left this season, trying to pass McLaren in the fight for second place in the Constructor’s Championship. The Drivers’ Championship is already in the hands of Sebastian Vettel, but our goal remains to conquer as many points as possible in every GP – with Alonso, who is just one point behind Button, and Massa, who is still waiting for his first place on the podium this year. We’re convinced that we do have the means and the possibility. We just hope for a little bit of luck and the right weather conditions for Sunday’s race.
The Suzuka circuit is a tough track, where it is difficult to overtake, but many drivers love this track, because thanks to its particular layout, there is a series of fast corners, where the drivers can really show their skills.
The Team is extremely determined and pays attention to every single detail, while the performance of our two drivers in the qualifying is a good start.
Felipe will start from fourth position - thanks to a lap time, which was only four tenths of a second slower than the one driven by the pole sitter – while Alonso will start from fifth position, close to his teammate.
The performance of our Ferrari 150° Italia lets us be optimistic: there are some positive signals, confirming our expectations for a good result here at the 15th race of the World Championship. Let’s see what tomorrow’s race will bring.