A couple of days after the Australian Grand Prix, the opening race of the season, here we are back in Malaysia, ready for a new race: a long and exhausting journey for the first back-to-back races of the season.
Once again we were welcomed by the typical, not especially pleasant Malaysian climate: hot and extremely humid. This will translate into another test on a weekend with an extremely demanding task and it’s definitely not the ideal weather to carry out the exhausting work on the agenda, while we decided to try out some new solutions. The desire to restart and get our pace up to our rivals’ level is huge. This is why we worked as much as possible on our F2012.
Let’s be clear: today’s session wasn’t satisfying. For the second time we had problems to qualify for Q3. Alonso - due to a penalty for Raikkonen - will start from ninth position, while Massa gained 12th position for tomorrow’s grid. We can already see the improvements of the car and we’re working hard on the new chassis we brought to Kuala Lumpur. We’re convinced that we can have some say in tomorrow’s race, despite the unknown factor of the tyres. And then there are also the weather conditions, which are uncertain for tomorrow and it might even rain. The ingredients for an exciting race are all there also because this year the balance of power on the track is shifting and we could gain our position back.
Before the start of the GP season there has always been guessing about the strength of the different teams, while the (first) answer is always only found after the qualifying in Melbourne. The usual question is how the strength will be distributed amongst the teams on the track in a season about to start. Inside the Scuderia, after the winter test sessions with an extremely innovative single-seater like the F2012, we were aware of the fact that we’d have a start into a race to catch up. The first qualifying session here at the Albert Park circuit confirmed our theory: Fernando Alonso 12th, Felipe Massa 16th.
Q3 was at Fernando’s hand, but also a double World Champion is not infallible: when he hit the grass with the left front wheel he lost control over the car and spun into the gravel. Meanwhile Felipe had problems with the car’s set up all morning and we have to understand what exactly was the problem here.
Let’s face it, we’re not happy with this result: usually the Scuderia fights for completely different positions. We know that we have to work hard (and we can assure you that we won’t leave any stone unturned) to call up the entire potential of our F2012. That doesn’t mean that we are giving in or giving up. To our fans all over the world we want to say that their disappointment is comprehensible, but this is not the moment to make a final judgement. The season is very long and we’ve got all in place to return to the top spots.
In tomorrow’s race it will be extremely important to avoid trouble in the hot zone of the field, where our cars are. And who knows: maybe the Ferrari tradition of an excellent start will allow us to immediately gain some positions on the first metres of the race. Let’s not delude ourselves: at this moment our goal is to drive into the points.
Barcelona, 1 March 2012 – Second day at Montmelò near Barcelona for the winners of the "Vinci Barcellona con la Scuderia Ferrari" Contest with the participants at the track for the conclusive tests of the season. Felipe Massa drove the F2012 on a sunny day and the four lucky winners from Italy, Russia and the USA followed his moves from the paddock terrace and inside the Ferrari structure at the test site.
In the late morning they met Marc Gené, who explained the box and showed them how the behind-the-scenes of the Ferrari Formula 1 department works.
These are the enthusiastic impressions from today:
Maxim: "Another fantastic day for me. I’m so happy to be able to be here at the box during the test sessions with the possibility to see the behind-the-scenes of Ferrari’s Formula 1. What a privilege!
I’ll return to Russia with my heart filled with amazing emotions. I’m really happy that I had the possibility to experience the tests here in Barcelona.”
Neil: "We’ve seen the cars on the track, which was great. The most exciting thing was the chat with Marc Gene, who is really very interesting. He spoke to us about the technical aspects of Formula 1, aspects we didn’t really know anything about. I will never forget the moment when I was at the pit lane and the cars came in and went out again. Even the food is great here. Well, it’s just an unforgettable experience!”
Niccolò: "Another very interesting day. We’ve seen the cars on the track and even their competitors. We were very close to the single-seaters and it was really exciting, because usually it’s so difficult to get so close. I’ll never forget these days, it was my childhood dream come true."
Franco: "Thank you so much, Ferrari. I have been a fan for a very long time and I never thought that I would make such an experience. I spoke to the people involved, I lived with the team and I’m really happy.”