• Ferrari

Alonso has edge but Raikkonen is closing - Allison

ESPN Staff
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Ferrari technical director James Allison says the gap in pace between Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen is closing, but that currently Alonso has the edge.

Raikkonen joined the team over the winter, creating one of the most eagerly anticipated driver line-ups in the sport's recent history. So far Alonso has had the edge, and in a straight fight at the last race used a different strategy to beat his team-mate on the track.

Allison says Raikkonen does not have any specific issues with the car, but is starting to close the gap in pace to Alonso.

"It's not entirely fair to say that he's struggling more than Fernando, they both have similar feedback on the car," he said. "There are aspects of this year's rules that make the cars across the pit lane not easy for the drivers. There is a lot more torque from the engine, there is a lot less aerodynamic grip and the tyres are deliberately a bit less aggressive than they were last year. All of that means that the cars are quite a handful to drive and not easy for anyone at the front or back of the grid.

"The sort of problems that Kimi has under traction and under braking, all those problems are pretty much the same as Fernando and I imagine similar to those experienced around the teams, it's just he's going a little bit slower than Fernando. But that gap is closing as the year progresses."

Mercedes currently has a significant engine performance advantage over Ferrari, but Allison says his team's chassis is also not a match for Mercedes or Red Bull.

"We have been relatively strong at front-limited tracks over rear-limited tracks, but I don't think that we could claim to have produced a chassis that is, at the moment, the equal to either Mercedes or Red Bull. We're not lagging hugely behind but there is still work to do before we can say we are truly happy with the chassis performance.

"It's very difficult to have a rate of improvement that is substantially different to the people we are racing with. However, we've had a race or two where the pieces we have brought to the track were useful but not big steps forwards. We hope in the coming races to have a more steady progression of things that we hope will lift us somewhat, but we won't know for sure until we see what everyone else does as well."

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