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Ferrari targeting China upgrade

ESPNF1 Staff
April 11, 2011 « Jenson Button eyes title challenge | »
The Ferrari still struggled for single-lap pace in the heat of Malaysia © Getty Images
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Ferrari is planning to take immediate action after another disappointing race weekend at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso finished the race fifth and sixth, although Alonso had looked capable of a podium until he ran into the back of Lewis Hamilton's McLaren with 10 laps to go. Ferrari had been hoping the hotter weather at Sepang would help its plight after problems with tyre temperature in Australia, but it was still a second off the pace in qualifying.

There were no major updates to the car, with the team instead trying to understand its problems before enacting a development plan to get closer to the promise it showed in winter testing. With over 100 laps of data gathered on Friday plus the race itself, team boss Stefano Domenicali is hoping a quick turnaround of new parts will see boost to performance in China.

"Felipe and Fernando both drove great races: it's up to us to give them a better car," he said. "We find ourselves in a situation where we need to be perfect to maximise our potential, given that we are lagging behind in terms of performance: we did not manage that and we must do all in our power to avoid that situation repeating itself.

"At the same time, we have to seriously ramp up the development of our car to make up the lost ground compared to the best. We will try and complete an analysis of the aerodynamics of the car as quickly as possible and introduce some developments as soon as we can, maybe right from the next race in China."

Technical director Aldo Costa said: "We are working on different areas. There will be something new in China, and something more significant in Turkey and for the rest of the season. Will it be enough? I don't know the answer to that now. Clearly we have to push harder than the others because we have to make up the ground we have lost."

Costa said the lack of performance had not gone down well back at base but had worked as an incentive to work harder.

"At Maranello, we have a lot of talented people and they are very peed off with this situation and I know that everyone is very keen to fight back."

Looking back at Sunday's race, Domenicali added that both drivers missed out on a podium in Malaysia due to unfortunate incidents; in Alonso's case the failure of his DRS while trying to pass Hamilton and in Massa's case a problem with the front-left tyre at his first pit stop.

"We cannot be pleased with this result, because today, we had the possibility to finally leap up onto the podium," Domenicali said. "Two incidents, linked one to a reliability issue and one at a pit stop cost us very dear. It's a shame, because in terms of race pace the 150ยบ Italia seemed much more competitive when compared to its qualifying performance, as we had already seen in Melbourne. Once again today one driver, Vettel, was probably uncatchable but we were capable of fighting with all the others."