- European Grand Prix - FP2
Too early to judge updates - Alonso
Fernando Alonso believes Ferrari's latest updates have improved the car's overall performance, but said it was too early to tell if they had helped close the gap to McLaren and Red Bull at the European Grand Prix.
In front of his home fans on the Valencia street circuit, Alonso set the fastest time of Friday practice, 0.056 seconds ahead of the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel. The Ferrari was in contention for a win at the Canadian Grand Prix two weeks ago and Alonso said it was too early to tell how much of an improvement the updates, including a blown diffuser, had made.
"Here, as in Montreal, our car seems to work well, even if it's difficult to make a direct comparison, given that the track surface is very different and that one needs a bit more aerodynamic downforce," Alonso said. "Together with Felipe [Massa], we worked on the development of new technical solutions, but it is hard to say how much we have improved compared to the others.
"The F10 has turned out to be easy to drive and competitive in every situation, both with low and high fuel loads, but it is too early to say where we are: this morning, the McLarens were very quick, the Red Bulls are always on front running pace and even Mercedes and Renault are very close. However, our only aim is to be ahead of everyone, otherwise we wouldn't be Ferrari."
Meanwhile, Felipe Massa struggled to match his team-mate yet again and finished the session seventh, 0.664 seconds off the pace. His cause wasn't helped by a spin in the second session, which saw him stall and miss a good 30 minutes track time while his car was recovered.
"The track was very dirty, which makes it difficult to understand exactly how much the new parts which we used for the first time today have improved the performance of the car," he said. "I never managed to get a clean lap when I was on new tyres with low fuel and this explains my position on the time sheet. Nevertheless, I am pleased with the handling of my car. I think we have made a step forward in performance terms and that we should be competitive this weekend: I hope I can fight for a place on the top rows.
"The spin? I hit a kerb, spun and then I chose to brake to avoid hitting the wall: unfortunately the engine cut out and we now have to look into why the anti-stall did not work."