ferrari-logo-2011Chinese GP – New data on Friday in Shanghai

Fernando Alonso: “By the end of the day, the overall feeling is positive. We worked well and on top of that, it’s always great fun driving the Shanghai track which has some really unique features, such as the first corner. From one session to the next the track conditions improved significantly, because the other categories that ran after our morning session cleaned the surface. The increase in temperature means the conditions were very similar to those predicted for tomorrow. Once again, tyres will play a key role in this Grand Prix because of the high level of degradation over a long run. We will have to ensure we pick the right strategy for Sunday, as well as deciding on which of the new parts we tried this morning to fit to the car. As usual, we can expect a long evening studying the data.”
Felipe Massa: “Today, I immediately had a good feeling in the car and even if, at the start, I was not completely happy with the performance of the Medium compound and we were not as quick as our rivals, the times were good all the same. When I fitted the Softs, the car improved a lot and this meant I was able to set the fastest time of the day. It was impressive, like driving two completely different cars. Our race pace looks competitive, the car is handling well on both types of tyre and degradation was not excessive, even if the higher wear rate of the Soft compared to the Medium compound will be an important factor when it comes to choosing the right strategy. I feel confident and hope that the whole weekend can keep moving in this direction”.
Pat Fry: “Today we managed to complete our programme without any problems, which is extremely positive for the rest of the weekend. In the morning, we concentrated on analysing various aerodynamic updates we brought here to Shanghai, the result of a lot of hard work back in the factory on the car development front. The first signs are that the updates appear to match our expectations, but we need to analyse the data carefully to make a more accurate evaluation, in terms of which ones we can use for this race and the upcoming ones. In the second session, we continued to work on various specifications with both drivers, doing some set-up work aimed at finding the right balance on both cars. Obviously, we did the normal comparison between the two types of tyre that Pirelli has brought here to Shanghai, with the Soft compound making its debut. The race pace from both F138s is interesting, but once again there is the unknown factor of tyre performance: the Softs seem to degrade quite quickly, while the Mediums offer better stability and last longer. Now we can expect a long night ahead of us to decide on the best combinations for qualifying and the race, with a lot of  data to go through”.

ALONSO  –  chassis 299 MASSA  –  chassis 300
First Session P5 1:37.965 17 laps P7 1:38.095 14 laps
                                        Weather:  air 20/22  °C, track 27/31 °C. Sunny
Second  Session P3 1:35.755 30 laps P1 1:35.340 30 laps
                                         Weather: air 24 °C, track 35/37 °C. Sunny

Chinese GP – Flat out Friday

Shanghai, 12 April – Felipe Massa setting the fastest time this afternoon around the 5.451 kilometres of the Shanghai International Circuit can be seen as the icing on the cake, at the end of the first day of practice for the Chinese Grand Prix. However, to continue the analogy, for Scuderia Ferrari it is the “cake” itself that matters most and that too showed signs of being well prepared.

The speed of development in Formula 1 moves on at such a fast pace that Fridays at a Grand Prix, particularly in the early part of the season are incredibly hectic for all the teams. The job sheet would be full enough if it was simply a case of preparing the car as well as possible for the race weekend, but these days, the three hours of track time must also find room for testing new components aimed at keeping the development of the cars, the F138 in the case of the Prancing Horse, moving forward throughout the year. So far this season, there had not been much time to run new parts, given that the first two races in Melbourne and Sepang took place so far from home and only one week apart. But since the Malaysian round, two weekends have gone by without a race and so there’s been time to introduce a raft of new components which all had to undergo their track debut here in China. The engineers need to remain cool and calm to combine this work with the more regular tasks of a race weekend. It’s something the men from the Scuderia have had plenty of practice at and the day went off smoothly, with Felipe and Fernando racking up a total of 93 laps between them – 47 for the Spaniard and one less for the Brazilian.

There was also something new on the tyre front as the Pirelli Soft compound makes its season debut here this weekend. Degradation was always going to be high at a track where some of the corners seem to go on forever, turning in on themselves and tightening up. Fernando, who ended the day third fastest, and Felipe tried this new compound and the harder Medium on a mix of long and short runs and clearly the softer tyre is offering a big performance advantage which will become evident in tomorrow’s qualifying. Splitting the two Prancing Horse cars on the time sheet was the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen. Last year’s winner here, Nico Rosberg, was fourth for Mercedes, while Mark Webber in the Red Bull and Jenson Button in the McLaren, completed the top six.

Chinese GP – Massa makes the most of the “softs”

Shanghai, 12 April – Felipe Massa was quickest in the second free practice session this afternoon at the Shanghai track. The Brazilian’s best lap was a 1.35.340, while in second was Kimi Raikkonen with a 1.35.492. In the other F138, Fernando Alonso was third in 1.35.755.

The weather got warmer today thanks to some sunshine, reaching 22 degrees, with the track hitting 31, as Massa and Alonso began the session on the Medium compound, completing the task of evaluating new aero components, as well as the usual set-up work. As the track rubbered in and a clean line emerged, all the teams then tried the Soft compound, seen for the first time this season.

The new tyres produced faster times over a single lap, by almost 2 seconds in fact and Massa produced a strong lap to post the fastest time of the day. The last 40 minutes of the session were given over to race simulation, acquiring important data in view of establishing a strategy for Sunday’s race.

Alonso did his long run on the Soft tyre, while Massa did his using the Medium. The Spaniard did 30 laps, with the Brazilian doing two more.

Chinese GP – We’re off again in Shanghai

Shanghai, 12 April – Fernando Alonso posted a best time of 1.37.965 and his Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa did a 1.38.095 to finish the first free practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix in fifth and seventh places respectively. Fastest was the Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg (1.36.717) and Lewis Hamilton (1.37.171.) The team evaluated some updates fitted to both cars, the first step of a development process running over this Chinese weekend, for the third round of the Formula 1 World Championship. In addition, work was carried out on set-up and on different aerodynamic configurations, with three runs, all on the harder Medium tyre. In the second session, as the track cleans up, it will be time to try the Soft P Zero Yellow tyre, which is making its first appearance of the season here.