|Circuit||Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir|
|Distance||308,238 km / 191,571 miles|
|7||Kimi Raikkonen||F14 T||305||Scuderia Ferrari||10.|
|14||Fernando Alonso||F14 T||304||Scuderia Ferrari||9.|
Stefano Domenicali: “This race provided an epilogue to a weekend which turned out to be as difficult as we had thought it would be, even before arriving in Bahrain. This circuit is particularly tough for our car and Sakhir’s technical characteristics showed up the gaps in our performance. Now, we must forget this race and look ahead, because I don’t like seeing our drivers fighting hard everywhere and then being unable to attack or defend on the straights. We’ve got an important test ahead of us now, when I expect to see an initial step up in terms of quality. The team must not get downhearted, even if things have not turned out the way they should so far. They must continue to work in order to step up a gear as quickly as possible.”
Fernando Alonso: “Today’s race was complicated for us, even if we knew what to expect because, with its long straights, this track shows up our weak points. The team did a super job and sorted the problem I had yesterday in the final part of qualifying and the start and strategy were perfect. The Safety Car helped us make up a bit of ground on the cars ahead of us and also allowed us to save fuel, but it was not enough to change the result, with eight cars ahead of us doing a better job. Although we did all we could, we can’t be happy with our level of performance and now our sole focus must be on working day and night. The season is in its early stages and I think we can stage a recovery. We have the resources and the potential to do it and it’s all down to us. Next week will be very important as we get back on track on Tuesday and Wednesday to test in preparation for the upcoming races. We have got a very aggressive programme, which we need as our rivals will not just be sitting back and watching.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “I am very disappointed with today’s result, because after how qualifying went, I expected to do better. I didn’t get a good start and immediately lost some places. On the first lap, I was hit by Magnussen, luckily without it doing any damage, but trying to move up the order at this point was very difficult, because the lack of aero downforce and speed on the straight meant overtaking was complicated. We knew this track was less suited to the characteristics of our car than the first two and that the Mercedes would be very quick. Overall, the handling of our car has generally improved compared to the first races and this makes me confident for the upcoming ones. We can expect a lot of work to do and we will make the most of the test days to try and improve already in time for the next race in China.”
Pat Fry: “Today, we could not have asked more of our car and drivers, because here, our most limiting factor was a lack of top speed. That meant we had to run a defensive race and even if in the middle sector, the one with the most corners, the F14 T was competitive, it was not enough to allow Fernando and Kimi to attack our rivals. In Maranello, we are working on solutions to ensure better power delivery and better driveability. We are also trying to improve the efficiency of the car on the aerodynamic front. The data we acquired in today’s race will provide a baseline for the major checking programme we have planned for the test, right here at Sakhir on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
Sakhir, 6 April – Lewis Hamilton took his second consecutive win of the season, ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, the two of them joined on the podium by Sergio Perez for Force India. The other winner under the floodlights in the desert was the sport of Formula 1, as the race was absolutely spellbinding, with duels throughout the field from start to finish. Unfortunately, the two Ferrari drivers could only play supporting roles, Fernando Alonso coming home ninth, one ahead of Kimi Raikkonen as the F14 T showed up its Achilles Heel, namely a lack of top speed.
The first ever Bahrain night race got underway with Kimi ahead of Fernando on the grid for the first time this season and the the two F14 Ts were side by side soon after the start, with the Spaniard pushing past the Finn, so that they were 7th and 8th, until the Finn was hit by Magnussen in the McLaren and dropped to ninth. At the front, the two Mercedes duelled wheel to wheel, with pole man Rosberg dropping to second behind Hamilton. Massa shot up four places to third in the Williams, ahead of Perez in the Force India, with Bottas fifth in the Williams ahead of Button, the Englishman in his 250th GP, ahead of Fernando. On lap 5, Hulkenberg got his Force India ahead of Fernando, who in eighth spot, was leading the non-Mercedes powered championship. Raikkonen and Vettel were in close attendance, until Fernando extended the gap slightly on lap 9.
Both Ferrari men ran a three stop strategy, as did the majority of the field, going for Soft, Soft, Medium and finally Soft in terms of the tyres they ran. They made their last stops together on lap 41, during a Safety Car period, the other visits to pit lane coming on laps 12 and 28 for Fernando and 13 and 33 for Kimi.
Lap 19 and Fernando had to cede 6th place to Perez. One lap later and Kimi was passed by Button, so the Finn was now ninth. The race leader, Rosberg, came in on lap 21, taking on Medium tyres, while Kimi was clearly struggling as he had his mirrors full of Vettel. With the whole field having stopped, the order on lap 23 was Hamilton, Rosberg, Bottas, Massa, Hulkenberg, Perez, Alonso seventh, Button, Raikkonen, ninth with Vettel tenth.
Then, a huge crash when Maldonado in the Lotus hit Gutierrez’s Sauber, tipping the Mexican right over, thankfully with the car landing on its wheels, brought out the Safety Car, so Fernando and Kimi came in on lap 41 for their third and final stops, fitting Medium tyres. Behind the SC, Fernando was tenth, with Kimi right behind him. Despite trying all they could to make up places, the fact that they were swamped from behind on the straights, while those ahead were out of reach, meant it was a lost cause today.
Fernando finally passed Button for ninth on lap 50, where he would stay to the flag, Kimi right behind him. For the Maranello squad, it was a very long night for 3 points. However, there is no rush to pack everything away, as all eleven teams will be testing here at the Sakhir circuit on Tuesday and Wednesday, as part of the relaxation of the in-season testing ban that had previously been in place.
Sakhir, 6 April – It always looked like being a difficult race and so it proved for Ferrari in Bahrain. Fernando Alonso brought his F14 T home in ninth place, with Kimi Raikkonen right behind him. This circuit was expected to be the least suitable for the Maranello car in its current state of development. Lewis Hamilton won, ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, with third place going to the Force India of Sergio Perez.
Alonso and Raikkonen had to fight tooth and nail to stay in the points zone, which was the best they could do.
Scuderia Ferrari is fifth in the Constructors’ championship with, Alonso fourth in the Drivers’ and Kimi twelfth. The next round is in China in two weeks time, by when Ferrari will be looking to move forward in terms of performance as it strives for better results.
Fernando Alonso: “We tried our best as usual today and now we need to wait for the car to come back from parc ferme to work out why there was a drop in power in Q3. In winter testing here we had already seen that this circuit is particularly suited to the Mercedes powered cars, because the long straights allow them to use their top end performance. But given how free practice and the first two parts of qualifying had gone, maybe we could have hoped to be a bit higher up the order. Now, we must think only of doing well tomorrow, especially at the start, given we are on the clean side because of Ricciardo’s penalty. Then
we must work out the best strategy, choosing between two or three stops. A lot will depend on how the tyres perform: I think that, in lower temperatures than we have seen so far, the Medium could throw up some surprises.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “I am reasonably pleased with my qualifying, because up until this morning, I did not feel completely comfortable in the car, but the faith I put in what we had at our disposal was paid back with this result. We are improving in all areas, on the engine, data acquisition, electronics and the new parts fitted to the car have given me a better feeling from the front end. Sure, we are not yet where we want to be, but I think we are on the right path and we have the right people to give us every possibility to continue to move forward. It’s hard to say how tomorrow’s race will go, because in the simulation done yesterday, I was struggling on the Medium tyre, while the balance was better on the Soft. We know we can’t fight with Mercedes, but today’s result gives me more confidence than at the previous races and I will do my best to bring home a good result.”
Pat Fry: “The results we’ve seen so far here are not a surprise because we knew we would be racing on the defensive and that we would see a bigger gap to the Mercedes, who are currently on their own out in front. The track characteristics do not highlight the potential of our car and the long straights favour the teams that can get the highest top speed. To do a perfect lap here is always difficult and today, Fernando and Kimi found themselves fighting four teams, all within a few tenths. Qualifying was complicated for both drivers and Kimi did a good lap, confirming the improvement we’ve been looking for, while with Fernando, we didn’t manage to exploit all our potential. Because of Ricciardo’s penalty, both drivers start on the clean side of the track and we must try and make the most of it. It looks like being a tough race, fighting all the way, with reliability and fuel consumption playing a very important role.”
Sakhir, 5 April – The Scuderia Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso set the sixth and tenth fastest times in the final part of the first ever night-time qualifying session held in Bahrain. However, the Finn and the Spaniard will start tomorrow’s 57 lap race from fifth and ninth places respectively, thus gaining the clean side of the track advantage. That’s because Daniel Ricciardo, third today in the Red Bull, takes a 10 place grid penalty handed out in Malaysia last Sunday.
Kimi was fifth in Q1, one place ahead of Fernando, with both men having completed a preliminary run on the Medium before switching to the Soft, which would also be the choice for the rest of the afternoon. Q2 was a bit more tense for the crew in the Scuderia Ferrari garage because, while Fernando got through to the top ten shoot-out in fifth place, Kimi took the final tenth place slot. The Finn then got a good final lap, while the Spaniard was mystified by a drop off in performance that will need to be investigated.
The strongest team of the moment monopolised the front row, with Nico Rosberg piloting his Mercedes to pole, ahead of Lewis Hamilton. The second row tomorrow will see Valtteri Bottas promoted to third with Force India’s Sergio Perez alongside him.
This was the first Bahrain night time qualifying, but the organisers today confirmed that the after dark format will continue in future years, as the late start is proving popular for spectators for whom Sunday is a working day in this part of the world. Those who come tomorrow will hopefully be treated to an interesting race, as this is the first venue of the season where fuel saving should play an important role. Plus, tyre performance suggests that best strategy involves making three trips down pit lane to take on new rubber is quickest, unless degradation is low enough to try for just two.
Sakhir, 5 April –Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso will start from the third and fifth rows tomorrow night in Sakhir. The Finn struggled in Q1 and Q2, but strung it together to post an encouraging 1.34.368, good enough to go sixth fastest in Q3.
As for the Spaniard, he looked on the pace in the first two session, but did not get the most out of the car in the final part and had to settle for tenth place with aq 1.34.992.
Both drivers will move up one place on the grid, although not actually changing rows, as Ricciardo, third today, takes a ten place penalty from the Malaysian Grand Prix. Pole went to Nico Rosberg, ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The second row will feature Bottas in the Williams and Perez in the Force India.
Sakhir, 5 April –Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the third and and final free practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix, which is to be run as a night race for the first time this year. The Mercedes driver lapped in 1.35.324 ahead of his team-mate, Nico Rosberg (1.35.439) and behind this pair, qualifying for the third round of the season, which starts at 6pm on the dusty desert track, looks like being particularly closely contested.
Third was Sergio Perez in the Force India (1.35.868.) Fernando Alonso (1.36.454) and Kimi Raikkonen (1.36.772) were seventh and tenth respectively, with both men working on set-up running bth Pirelli compounds, first the Medium then the Soft.
Fernando Alonso: “After many daytime races, it was really strange to be running here in the dark even if it was not very different to the other night time races, so we just have to get used to it. From this aspect, today was very useful, especially FP2, to learn about the behaviour of the tyres and the car. Even if we did a lot of running here in winter testing, now it’s like starting from scratch and one has to adapt to the new indications coming from the differing track conditions. We know our strong points and the areas we must focus on to improve, but we must not overreact in trying to close the performance gap. At the moment we must make steady progress while still keeping an eye on reliability, which has brought us a good points haul in the first couple of races, which is always very important.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Overall, this was a difficult day, because I didn’t feel comfortable with the car in either session. In the first one, I damaged the floor on the kerb at turn 4 and this meant I had to pit. The team did a super job, because they got me back out on track in a short time, but then, because of a problem with the brakes, I was unable to complete the programme. In the second session we concentrated on looking at the two Pirelli compounds and with the Soft it was definitely better than the Medium. Now we will get down to analysing all today’s data, especially regarding the immediate change in the track from day to night and we will try and improve for qualifying and the race.”
Pat Fry: “Today’s two sessions were very different to one another, as was predicted, partly because of the programmes we ran and partly because the track was cleaner in the second one. In general, the second session was more representative, just because the temperatures were more similar to what we can expect in the race. Work on both cars concentrated on set-up, aimed at improving stability under braking. In the earlier session, Kimi’s programme was interrupted when the floor on his F14T was partly broken after he hit a kerb at turn 4, but we had no problems with Fernando. Then tonight, we did a long run test and now we must look closely at tyre performance, which is a key factor this weekend along with fuel consumption. It will be interesting to see how the hierarchy will change between tomorrow and Sunday, because the technical characteristics of this track mean the gaps between some of the teams could close up.”
Sakhir, 4 April – It was a day of mixed fortunes for Scuderia Ferrari as we witnessed the first ever night time session at this desert track, in preparation for Sunday’s third round of the world championship. Fernando Alonso had a relatively straightforward day to finish third in both sessions behind the currently unstoppable Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. But on the other side of the Ferrari garage, Kimi Raikkonen was having a more difficult day, which ended with the 14th fastest time. It’s been well reported that the Finn is not yet finding himself at ease in the cockpit of his F14T and today his troubles were compounded by the fact he broke the floor of his car in the first 90 minute session, after a heavy landing on the kerb at turn 4. Time lost having to fix that added to his woes.
We have begun to know what to expect in night races now after the experience of Singapore and Abu Dhabi and today’s track action followed a similar pattern, with lap times dropping considerably in FP2, not just because of the track cleaning up but also because its temperature was 12 degrees cooler in the second session. Another clear lesson was that Pirelli’s Soft compound was producing significantly faster lap times than the Medium.
Completing the top six tonight were Daniel Ricciardo, fourth for Red Bull, Felipe Massa next in the Williams, with Jenson Button sixth for McLaren. Tomorrow’s qualifying takes place at the same time as did FP2, so the lessons learned and data acquired will provide useful pointers for the grid deciding session.
Sakhir, 4 April – Fernando Alonso was third this evening, just as he was in the first session in Bahrain. The Spaniard stopped the clocks in 1.35.360, completed 28 laps. Fernando and the entire field managed to improve their times considerably in the second session. That was down to a cleaner track, but most of all to a drop in temperature after the sun set.
Kimi Raikkonen had a more complicated time this evening, still not getting the F14 T to his liking. The Finn’s best time was a 1.36.366, which was good enough for 14th place. Over the final 35 minutes of the 90 available, the Finn, like all the others didn’t bother chasing lap times, but concentrated on a long run, using the Medium tyre to run a comparison with Alonso who used the Softs up the final minutes. Kimi did 33 laps.
Once again Lewis Hamilton topped the time sheet in 1.34.325 ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg,
Sakhir, 4 April –Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen were third and sixth respectively in first free practice in Bahrain. Fernando did 17 laps at the wheel of his F14 T with a best of 1.37.953, four tenths off the pace of fastest man, Lewis Hamilton who did a 1.37.502 with his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg second.
Raikkonen’s best lap was a 1.38.783, although he only managed 12 laps.
Finn hit a kerb very hard and had to pit so the floor of the car could be checked. Air temperature was 25 with the track at 45, but that’s likely to change significantly in the second session, which will run in the dusk, seeing the floodlights brought into play for the first time here.
The session starts at the same time as tomorrow’s qualifying and Sunday’s race, so it will be a useful exercise.
Maranello, 4 April – Sakhir is a typical modern circuit with long straights and very demanding corners which require very heavy deceleration. Therefore, it’s not simple finding the right set-up here, because while you need good top speed, you also want plenty of downforce to tackle the slow corners. Brake balance also needs to be looked at carefully and the most demanding corners are definitely Turn 9 and 10, as it’s easy to lock up the rears on entry.
“On the long straights, you already have to think about how best to take the next corner so as to look after the rear tyres as much as possible,” Scuderia Ferrari test driver, Pedro de la Rosa told www.ferrari.com. “By doing that, I was able to set the lap record here in 2005.”
Pedro explains the demands made on the driver at this track. “As with all heavy braking tracks, Bahrain is tough on the drivers. Long straights followed by slow corners is a very demanding mix: in Turn 1 for example you are subjected to 5g,” continues the Spaniard.
Fuel consumption is also a key factor at this track. The car is flat out for a long time and with just 100 kilos of fuel on board it will be important to keep a close eye on consumption. “As always, the key is to balance the use of fuel with aerodynamic efficiency.” And then there’s also the weather: “It’s not a problem for a driver, because although it’s hot, its also very dry.”
Manama, 3 April –The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Manama hosted the Bahrain launch of the 458 Speciale this evening at an event organised for its customers by the local importer, Euro Motors. Unveiling the innovative car, which had already made its Middle East debut back in November at the Dubai International Motor Show were Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella, both here in Bahrain for the third round of the Formula 1 World Championship.
The two Ferrari drivers, spoke to the guests, sharing their experiences at the wheel of this car, which like all the special series made by the Maranello marque, are notable for the technological innovations aimed at customers who are looking for maximum excitement at the wheel. The uniqueness of the model, its links to technology used in Formula 1 and the ease of driving it were all stressed by Fernando and Giancarlo, who before departing, posed for a group photo alongside the star of the evening.
Sakhir, 3 April – Today was much cooler than expected in the Sakhir paddock, as Fernando Alonso faced the media, with his first comments defending the Scuderia’s title aspirations. “It would be extremely sad if I felt I would not be in the fight for the title in Abu Dhabi, as today is only the Thursday of the third race,” he affirmed. “I definitely think we can do a good job. It is early days for the development of the car and this year, instead of the usual half tenth performance increase, we are moving forward two tenths at a time. There is very good room to improve and become more competitive. No question, we think we will be in the fight in Abu Dhabi. We need to improve in all areas. We will try to do better, there have only been two races, so there’s a long way to go and we are ready to fight.”
Talking about the Formula 1 in 2014, Fernando did admit he would like the cars in general to be faster. “Driving these cars is still exciting because you are competing against others and that’s the DNA of a driver, we enjoy driving karts at 50 km/h on very hard tyres, sliding everywhere,” said the Spaniard. “You keep enjoying the competition but for drivers like me, Kimi or Jenson who were around before that, you miss the quicker cars. The cars are much less physically demanding. In the past, Malaysia required a specific training programme, but this year I told the team I didn’t even need a drinks system. The cars are still hard to drive, as they slide more and we have more switches to manage all through the race, which makes it more complicated. However, it’s interesting how F1 has developed over the 14 years I’ve been racing.”
The Spaniard anyway is keen to give the sport another chance: “There will always be some exciting races and some boring ones, just like in football, where you can see a terrible nil-nil game and the next one is an exciting 5-4 which you enjoy so much,” said the Ferrari man.
Sakhir, 3 April – Kimi Raikkonen is keen to get racing this weekend, after early promise in Malaysia was wiped out on Sunday after a first lap coming together with Kevin Magnussen. “In Malaysia, the car was more or less the same as in Australia, although clearly we learned more from doing a lot of running and of course, the circuit layout in Sepang is different,” the Finn told the media at his usual Thursday press meeting. “Those factors make a difference and overall, we were much better in Malaysia, even if not quite where we want to be. Then my race was destroyed, which was not my fault, but that’s how it goes. There are a lot of things to improve in all areas, but we have the right people and all the tools we need to fix those things. It will take time, but we will get there. As for this weekend, if we start well as we did in Malaysia, but then don’t have the problems we had in the race there, we can have a better weekend.”
As for how life was going with Fernando Alonso as a team-mate, the 2007 world champion explained he had more pressing matters on his mind. “I don’t have any real opinion formed yet as I’ve been putting all my effort into sorting out my side of things,” he said. “If I can do that, then we can get the results we want which is our aim. I haven’t given much thought to Fernando, apart from seeing his lap times and data of course. There’s nothing there I would not have expected.”
Asked about whether or not he liked the current Formula 1 so far this season, Kimi was his usual pragmatic self. “It makes no difference if we like it or not, as we do not make the rules. We cannot change it and it is what it is. Sometimes you end up in areas that you would not choose, but you just have to make the best of it. I don’t see the point in talking about the sound of the cars or whether I like it or not.”
Maranello, 3 April –The poll which began a few days ago on www.ferrari.com to sound out people’s opinion on the show put on by the new Formula 1, has come to an end with over 50,000 fans expressing an opinion.
83% are disappointed with the new format, dismissing it mainly because of the drivers being forced to lift off to save fuel. In addition, the fans don’t like the noise from the new engines and are confused by rules that are too complicated.
Interesting to note that the “no” vote increased dramatically after the Malaysian Grand Prix. The most vociferous in their opinions were the Italians, British, French and Australians, these countries having long links to Formula 1. But there were also plenty of votes from large countries such as the United States and India.
Maranello, 2 April – Scuderia Ferrari is working round the clock to recover the gap to its opponents that was revealed by the first two races of the season. While part of the team is in Bahrain for the third grand prix of 2014, at Maranello work is ongoing to develop the car to its maximum and to extract from the F14 T project the performances that have so far only been foreseen. As Team Principal Stefano Domenicali said: “We must give our drivers a car that is as close as possible to what their driving demands. We have a programme of development to bring forward, we know where we have to improve and we know what we have to do in a very short time frame.”
As well as the generic development programme, the engineers have therefore also devised a personalised plan based around the characteristics of the two drivers. With Kimi, in particular, work is going on to tailor the F14 T as close as possible to his driving style, which has always been very specific. After the first race the Finnish driver gave feedback to the engineers to be able to have a car that could make him more at home. His suggestions have been applied and the first improvements were seen in free practice in Malaysia, when Raikkonen set the second fastest time in both sessions. This adjustment work will keep going over the coming weeks.
With Fernando the target is instead to increase even further the interface work between the driver and the team. Indeed there is no computerised simulation that can substitute for direct experience from whoever is driving the car and the feedback by the Spanish driver – both at the end of every race and at the end of every testing session – is fundamental to understand in which areas performance can be further improved. Given his experience at Ferrari, the Spanish champion is equipped to show the team not just the elements that need to be worked on but also the priorities that must be followed to make the process of increasing the F14 T’s performance as immediate as possible.
Maranello, 1 April – The Championship moves on immediately to Bahrain, scene of the majority of winter testing, for Round 3 at the Sakhir Circuit on Sunday. In Sepang, Fernando Alonso secured a valuable fourth place, while Kimi Raikkonen at least benefited from the experience of another race distance, although the first lap collision meant points were never on the cards. Before leaving Malaysia, both Scuderia Ferrari drivers gave us their thoughts on the challenges they will face this weekend.
Since the last test in Bahrain, we have made a big step forward in terms of the interaction between the electrical motor and the combustion engine. Everyone now has a better understanding of the rules, also for us drivers in terms of the driving style and how to manage this new Formula 1, so we come to this race with a much better basis than we had in the winter tests.
The most difficult aspect of the Sakhir circuit is the braking, as there are long straights followed by heavy braking, then a tight corner and another straight. Braking performance and the feeling you get from the brakes gives you the confidence to attack and so get a better lap time. Apart from that, another priority will be to work on our top speed.
We have seen different types of racing over the first two Grands Prix, with the first one highlighting fuel saving a bit and the other shifting the focus to tyre management because of degradation, due to the high temperature. I think Bahrain will feature a combination of both these factors. We will have to save fuel more than in Malaysia and the tyres will be affected by the temperature in the Bahraini desert. We can expect a tough race, as some of the competition is very strong and we will have to raise our game to close down the gap as quickly as possible.
After testing in Bahrain in the winter, we now go back there with much more experience and knowledge after the first two races. We must put that learning to good use for this race. There is a lot to do, but everyone in the team is pushing hard to sort things out as quickly as we can.
There are not so many corners on this Sakhir track, but it seems to be very difficult to get a perfect lap, due to the combination of high speed sections and some very low speed corners. You would think with only few corners it would be easy to get the lap right, but it’s actually quite complicated. The key will be to find the right set-up as soon as possible and then we can improve the car over the weekend.
Obviously, every circuit can be different in terms of its effect on fuel use and tyres: looking at Bahrain, fuel saving will play a more important role than in the last two races, but it might not turn out to be too bad, as it was less of an issue than we had expected in Melbourne. Also on the tyre front, I think Sakhir could be a bit easier to deal with than Sepang and also if we can get the car perfectly right, it will make life much easier.
What can we expect in Bahrain? In Malaysia, you couldn’t see it because of what happened on the first lap, but I felt I made a step forward in terms of understanding the tools I have to work with, so I think we can be better prepared this weekend. That should give us faster lap times and better positions.
Maranello, 31 March – The day after the Malaysian Grand Prix Ferrari is already at work on development of the F14 T aimed at improving the overall performance of the car. The Scuderia’s Technical Director James Allison summed up the work carried out so far and what is still to come: “We are working in a constant way and with the highest levels of dedication in all the areas of potential development. We brought a useful upgrade to the Malaysian GP and were duly rewarded with a more competitive performance than at the first race, but the whole team is in no doubt about the size of the challenge that remains ahead of us this season.”
The work towards better performance encompasses all areas: “We are not disregarding anything,” adds Allison. “Much has been spoken about the new power units on the 2014 cars, but it is rarely mentioned that 1% of engine power is not so different in its effect on the stopwatch as 1% of aero efficiency.”
The road to follow in the Technical Director’s mind is clear: “Our development programme will keep delivering steps to the efficiency of the F14-T; aero, power unit, mechanical grip – race by race these steps will help to hunt down those in front.” Allison signs off with a sign of optimism even if Bahrain will be another very difficult race for the Scuderia: “If we can keep up the progress that we made between Melbourne and Malaysia then it will start to tell in both in grid positions and in the Championship.”
Maranello, 31 March – Sunday’s race will be the tenth Bahrain Grand Prix and Sakhir is the only circuit to have hosted it, although it once ran on a different longer version. Ferrari has a quartet of wins out of nine starts, equivalent to a 45% success rate.
The Scuderia won the debut event in 2004 in a dominant style with Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello that secured the Prancing Horse’s sixty third one-two.
Ferrari won again in 2007, when Felipe Massa was on a different planet to the rest, taking pole on Saturday, before leaving the rest for dead on Sunday, also setting the fastest race lap. The Paulista won from Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren and Kimi Raikkonen in the other F2007, to secure the first of four hat-tricks in terms of pole, win and fastest lap so far in his career.
Massa was victorious the following year as well, when Ferrari again secured a one-two finish, as Raikkonen was second, with Robert Kubica third for BMW Sauber, which put the Brazilian back in the championship chase after two races with no points.
The 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix marked Fernando Alonso’s debut with Ferrari. He and Felipe Massa secured the Maranello marque’s eightieth one-two. Alonso thus celebrated his Scuderia Ferrari debut with a win, joining an exclusive club featuring the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell and Kimi Raikkonen.
Last year’s event heaped misfortune on Ferrari. Fernando Alonso was one of the favourites, but while following Vettel who went on to win, there was a problem with the DRS, which required two extra pit stops to fix the rear wing, before he fought his way back up to eighth. Felipe Massa was afflicted with punctures, no less than two of them and finished fifteenth.