ferrari-logo-2011Canadian GP – Tight for time

Montreal, 7 June – Overall, this was a good day for Scuderia Ferrari as the team set about preparations for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix. A good day at the tricky and treacherous Gilles Villeneuve circuit, especially when pretty much fifty percent of track time is spent in the wet, means one when both your cars get through the three hours without stepping out of line and hitting the walls that are so close to the track. Mission accomplished on that front and partial mission accomplished when it came to ticking off items on the long, very long, job sheet. Constantly striving for performance in this sport means constantly bringing updates to each race and that’s what the Scuderia did, although the rain in the morning meant that a clear picture has yet to emerge on the effectiveness of the new components. It was a similar story with the tyres: as Pirelli continues to fine tune its products, it had brought two extra pairs per driver of a prototype Medium compound, which the Italian company hopes to introduce at the British Grand Prix in a fortnight’s time. But you can’t test slick tyres in the rain, so this was a task for the afternoon, as the prototypes can only be used on the Friday, along with the regular evaluation of the two compounds in use for the rest of the weekend.

A quick look at the breakdown of laps completed shows how little work got done in the morning: in FP 1, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Mass managed a paltry 16 and 13 respectively, while in the afternoon, they got through a dizzying 48 and 43. One can also consider it to have been a good day for the Scuderia, because even if the planned programme was not fully completed, the other teams faced exactly the same weather-induced difficulties. The final icing on the cake – with the usual proviso that lap times mean little on a Friday – was that Fernando ended the day fastest of all, with Felipe sixth. Not only was the single lap pace encouraging, but so too was the performance on the longer runs. Splitting the two Prancing Horse drivers this afternoon were last year’s Canada winner Lewis Hamilton in second place for Mercedes and along with Fernando, the only driver to break the 1m 15s barrier, followed by Romain Grosjean third for Lotus, Mark Webber in the Red Bull and Nico Rosberg in the other Mercedes.

Canadian GP – The Friday variables

Fernando Alonso:“It was an untypical Friday, affected by the extremely changeable weather. We didn’t manage to complete our programme because the track was wet in the morning and so only tomorrow will we find out if the updates we tested here produce a real performance evolution. It was very important that we try them just as it was also important to try the new Pirelli tyres. Felipe and I made different choices for the long runs and this is another reason why we will have to wait for the outcome of qualifying to understand more. The only certainty is that we must ensure we make the right decisions, because today we saw how getting a clean lap depends a lot on the time you make the decision and what track conditions are like at that moment. We can expect a very complicated weekend, because the weather is due to remain changeable right up to Sunday and judging the grip level will be difficult, both in qualifying and in the race”.
Felipe Massa: “Today, it was a case of working for just half a day, because in the morning, the rain meant we could only do a small number of laps. Therefore, the bulk of the work, given over to evaluating the tyres and new parts brought for this race, had all to be squeezed into the afternoon session. Now we will have a busy time analysing all the data we gathered to try and understand which of the updates could be used in the next couple of days. If it does not rain tomorrow, then the track conditions will be completely different and that means we must be ready to tackle whatever situation could arise”.
Pat Fry: “As every Friday, today too we had a particularly busy day’s work in prospect, as it is now a tradition on the first day to reconcile working on developing the car with the usual race weekend programme of comparing tyres and finding the best set-up. Given the forecast, we were ready for any eventuality the rain could have thrown at us. At one point in FP1, it wasn’t wet enough to use the Intermediate, nor dry enough for the Medium and at that moment we therefore preferred to wait for conditions to improve: in the final minutes we managed to go out on the experimental tyres Pirelli brought here in preparation for the British Grand Prix and we also ended the session with a few laps on the Medium. We knew we wouldn’t get a clear enough comparison in terms of pure performance and therefore we worked mainly on different aerodynamic configurations. In the afternoon, the rain eased off and we managed to exploit the fact the track was dry and with the prototype tyres, we ran some evaluations on the two cars, using different aerodynamic configurations. Making the most of the time available we did a comparison for the two nominated tyres for this race, the Medium and the Supersoft and gathered important data which we will now use to find the best balance on the car for Sunday’s race.”

ALONSO   –   chassis 299 MASSA   –   chassis 298
First Session P4 1:21.308 16 laps P11 1:23.341 13 laps
                                    Weather:  air 17°C, track 18°C. Rain at the beginning,  cloudy
Second  Session P1 1:14.818 48 laps P6 1:15.254 43 laps
                                     Weather:  air 18/19  °C, track 19/21 °C. Cloudy, light rain

Canadian GP – Alonso flies while the rain stops

Montreal, 7 June – The rain held off for the second free practice session so that teams and drivers could get on with their usual Friday programme after the wet first session.

In the first half hour, Massa and Alonso took to the track with the prototype tyres Pirelli had brought to Montreal, these being the Medium compound that could be used as from the Silverstone round. Massa was quickest at this point, with Alonso paying the price for a small but crucial mistake in the third sector.

In the second half hour, Massa and Alonso did runs on the Medium, before switching to the Super Soft, with Alonso setting the fastest time of the day in 1.14.818, while Massa was sixth fastest in 1.15.254.

In the final part of the session, both Ferrari men did a long run, using both compounds that will be raced on Sunday. The lap times in this configuration were promising and overall, Alonso did 48 laps while Massa did 43.

Canadian GP – All about bad weather

Ile Notre Dame, 7 June – As expected, the bad weather was bang on time as free practice for the Canadian Grand Prix kicked off this morning at Montreal’s Gilles Villeneuve circuit. Fastest was the Force India of Englishman Paul Di Resta in 1.21.020, ahead of the McLaren of fellow countryman Jenson Button (1.21.108) and the Lotus of France’s Romain Grosjean (1.21.258.) Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari was the best placed on the time sheet, fourth in 1.21.308, while in the other F138, Felipe Massa was eleventh in 1.23.341. Both Ferrari men only did a handful of laps, with the track drying just enough towards the end for them to have a quick look at Pirelli’s Medium prototype tyres, which can only be used today. Starts and pit stop practice as well as some aero testing were the main elements of this first 90 minutes of this the seventh round of the Formula 1 World Championship for Scuderia Ferrari and now the teams are preparing for the second session which starts, as usual at 2 pm.