• Malaysian Grand Prix

Ferrari bracing itself for another difficult weekend in Malaysia

ESPNF1 Staff
March 19, 2012 « Tyres cost one-stopping Perez sixth | De la Rosa expects HRT improvement in Malaysia »
Ferrari © Getty Images

Technical director Pat Fry says Ferrari is expecting another difficult race in Malaysia this weekend, but reckons the gap to the top teams is not as big as it looks.

Both Ferraris failed to qualify in the top ten at the Australian Grand Prix last weekend, although Fernando Alonso recovered to fifth place in the race after a strong drive through the field. The team has just four days before its cars hit the track again for Friday practice in Malaysia and Fry, although optimistic for the future beyond Sepang, is bracing himself for another difficult weekend.

"We are behind when compared to the best, even if not as much as could be seen yesterday," he said. "We must work very hard, that's for sure. Next week in Malaysia, we will have another difficult race: we must try and adapt as well as possible to the characteristics of the Sepang circuit."

Team principal Stefano Domenicali said the team knows where the car needs to be improved and called on his workforce to react as quickly as possible.

"We know we must raise the performance level of our car: from what we have seen here in Australia, there are several teams not so far off one another and one does not need to make enormous progress to make up several places," he said. "We know the main areas we need to work on - traction and top speed first and foremost - and we must accelerate as much as possible the development work to reach the level of the best as soon as possible.

"We knew that this weekend, the car we had was not the one we wanted going into this season, but on Sunday we also saw a situation that was a bit different to Saturday, especially as far as Fernando was concerned, because, in the first stint, his pace was not that far off that of the leaders."

Domenicali praised Alonso's performance at Albert Park and said Massa's struggle, which eventually saw him retire after a collision while running in 13th place, was down to the poor balance of the car.

"Clearly we cannot be happy with a fifth place but, given how things went yesterday, Fernando's result is a positive one, the result mainly of yet another super performance from the Spaniard. Felipe's bad Sunday is the result of the Saturday that preceded it: the balance of his car was not right and he paid the price, especially in terms of tyre degradation: a shame because thanks to a really good start, he'd managed to move up straight into the top ten."