Ferrari: Improved tyre usage essential for title push 31 Aug 2011
With their 2011 title chances now hanging in the balance, Ferrari had hoped for a lot more from last weekends Belgian round than fourth place for Fernando Alonso and eighth for Felipe Massa. So ahead of their home race next month, the Italian team are desperate to identify and solve any weaknesses in their campaign - and at the top of their to-do list is tyre usage.
From the seasons outset they have struggled for pace on Pirellis hard compounds, and though they seemed to get to grips with the issue for a spell, the problem resurfaced again in Belgium, with Alonso and Massa both slowing significantly once they had swapped to the harder (medium) rubber.
Engineers will look at why the switch to the tyres marked with the white stripe failed to deliver good enough pace, the team said on their official website. Its true that previously, in the first part of the season, similar situations arose and the temperature definitely did not do any favours to the car.
It is now down to the engineers to find the best way of widening the usage window of the harder tyre. Otherwise, there is a high risk of struggling, with the car not delivering its true potential, as could be seen in qualifying and the race this weekend.
Although well aware of the tyre usage issues they need to solve, Ferrari weren't wholly displeased with their Spa-Francorchamps showing.
The last part of the race should not obscure some positive aspects which emerged, particularly the fact that, on the soft tyre, the car is very competitive and was again able to run longer stints than our rivals without any noticeable drop in performance, continued the statement.
It is unfortunate that the race was neutralised at a crucial moment, even after analysing how the race panned out in the cold light of day: if the safety car had not come out on track, second place was definitely within Fernando Alonsos grasp, as the Spaniard delivered a magisterial performance, full of grit, determination and the will to win.
The teams focus now turns to their home race at Monza. Last season Alonso scored a memorable win at the Italian circuit, and with Massa also finishing strongly in third, Ferrari would love a similar result this year, especially as the team have now fallen even further behind in the constructors standings. They currently have 231 points to McLarens 295 and Red Bulls almost insurmountable 426.
On the fastest track on the championship calendar, there will naturally be a specific package designed to suit the characteristics of the famous circuit, concluded Ferrari. It would be fantastic to reprise last years Italian weekend, but one has to be realistic: doing so is possible, but it involves beating some very strong opposition.
After Monza, there will be a further six Grands Prix to run and therefore still time to achieve the results that the team and the fans would want. No one at Maranello is ignoring the true situation in the championship standings and they dont have any intention of throwing in the towel, aware that any good that comes out of this year will above all be useful for the next one.
The Formula 1 Gran Premio Santander d'Italia 2011 takes place on September 9-11.
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