|Distance||307,104 km / 190,866 miles|
|3||Fernando Alonso||F138||299||Scuderia Ferrari||1.|
|4||Felipe Massa||F138||300||Scuderia Ferrari||3.|
Maranello, 14 May –Good traditions are always upheld and there is no exception to that rule at Maranello. That’s why, after yesterday’s flag raising, today it was time for the buffet with the men and women of the Scuderia, who all gathered together in the Logistics building to celebrate Fernando Alonso’s win and Felipe Massa’s third place in the Spanish Grand Prix.
“It’s always nice to come together at moments like this, but it’s important not just because of the result pure and simple,” said Stefano Domenicali. “We have won two of the five races so far, but we can do more. For people like us, who always aim for the maximum, it’s hard to swallow having missed some opportunities. In Barcelona we won without ifs and buts, we won fair and square.
“We are doing a good job, but we will continue to concentrate on ourselves and on the challenges that lie ahead, aware that if each one of us does our job perfectly then we can do well,” continued the Team Principal. ‘The aspect of the Barcelona weekend I was most pleased about was that we started our post-race meeting at 17.15, just as planned and at 18.30 we were still there analysing the data in detail: that’s the right approach, the right attention to detail and the right working method. That’s what I expect to see right to the end of the season. Our strength comes from all of you who are here today under this roof.”
Stefano Domenicali: “I am really happy with this great team result! We did a great job, both here at the track and back in Maranello. It was a very tense race, in which the slightest little detail could make a big difference. On this front, we read the race very well, when one considers how tyre management and calling the pit stops today made the difference and I can say without being presumptuous, that the team of engineers didn’t put a foot wrong. I think that is down to Pat Fry, even he wasn’t with us today on the pit-wall. These forty points taken in Barcelona are very important: Fernando yet again drove a great race, aggressive at the key moments and conservative when he had to manage his lead, making up ground on all his main rivals. I’m pleased we have closed the gap to all our closest rivals. I am also particularly happy with Felipe’s performance, because on this track, to start ninth and finish on the podium is not easy. He was in the fight right to the final moments and this result is very well deserved. After the way qualifying went yesterday, this result is the best we could have hoped for. We held our own against very strong opposition, but we know there is much to do to improve our car for Saturday afternoons, as we have said many times before, if we want to ensure we start from further up the order”.
Fernando Alonso: “Even if this is the third time I’ve won a home race, the emotion is still very strong, as if it had never happened before. It’s nice to be able to give the whole of Spain this win, especially at a time when the country is in crisis and for many people, it’s not possible to come here to bring their support. I thank everyone for that support and the team for doing a fantastic job. After a far from easy qualifying, everything went perfectly, the start, the strategy, pit stops, tyre management. At the start, I had to make up some places but after passing the halfway point on the straight, there was no more room to do so. So I switched off the KERS, so as to use it in Turn 3, where I realised, after watching the GP2 race, that it was possible to attack around the outside. We had to bring forward the final stop because of a slow puncture which meant the left rear tyre was losing pressure in the final part of the lap, but fortunately, that had no effect on the final outcome. I think that with this car we can fight for the World Championship, because in five races we have finished second once and had two wins. From now on, we must manage to produce a consistent performance and score as many points as possible because we are well aware that we are not the quickest and to change that many people are working night and day at the track and in Maranello”.
Felipe Massa: “I am very happy with this podium. It was a really nice race and a fantastic result for the whole team. When you start from far back everything’s more complicated, but I managed to get away well and I immediately had a fantastic pace. On the first lap I pulled off a few overtaking moves thanks to the car being very competitive, which meant I could be aggressive, while at the same time looking after the tyres. Right to the very end, I thought it might be possible to fight with Kimi, but when I fitted my last set of Hard tyres, the ones we thought would be best as they were new, I had oversteer and began to lose the rear much earlier than I had expected. All the same, I am very pleased with our performance at this track. Now we head for Monaco, a completely different track where overtaking is very difficult. We know we don’t have the quickest car, but all we can do is continue to work with the same amount of effort, because I’m sure we are going in the right direction”.
|Pit-stop||1st stop||Lap 9||New Hard|
|2nd stop||Lap 21||New Hard|
|3rd stop||Lap 36||Used Medium|
|4th stop||Lap 49||New Hard|
|Pit-stop||1st stop||Lap 8||New Hard|
|2nd stop||Lap 20||New Hard|
|3rd stop||Lap 36||Used Medium|
|4th stop||Lap 51||New Hard|
|Weather: air 20/21 °C, track 35/38 °C. Sunny|
Montmelo, 12 May – There were telephonic shenanigans before the Spanish Grand Prix podium ceremony. While Stefano Domenicali was climbing the steps along with the drivers, he knew he had an urgent mission to complete, namely calling President Montezemolo. The first, traditional call made every day at the end of every session or race between the two men had already been dealt with, but the Team Principal knew how keen Montezemolo was to congratulate his two drivers, without having to wait for them to return to the motorhome after the prizegiving and the obligatory press conferences. The Presidential joy knew no bounds at Fernando Alonso’s triumph and for Felipe’s fantastic race, which confirmed that the team had pulled together to do the best job seen so far this season.
The scene was caught on camera by FOM who had switched the microphone on, so everything Montezemolo, Domenicali and the drivers said was broadcast for all to hear, much to the amusement of Kimi Raikkonen, who clearly remembered similar conversations during his three years spent in red.
Montmelo, 12 May – The Spanish crowd got what they wanted today at the Catalunya circuit, as Fernando Alonso drove brilliantly to secure his first win here in Barcelona since 2006. Adding to the delight in the Prancing Horse garage, Felipe Massa made sure that two Ferrari drivers were on the podium for the first time this season with a fantastic drive from a grid-penalised ninth place to third at the end of the 66 laps. Splitting the two men in red was the Flying Finn, Kimi Raikkonen. The result means the Scuderia overtakes Lotus to go second in the Constructors’ championship, 14 points behind Red Bull. Today’s winner moves up one place to third in the Drivers’ classification, while his team-mate overtakes Webber to go from sixth to fifth.
The race got underway in front of a 94,000 crowd and both Ferraris made excellent starts, Fernando getting up to third and Felipe to seventh and on lap 2, Felipe set the fastest lap as he passed Perez in the McLaren for sixth. Rosberg had maintained his pole advantage but Vettel got his Red Bull ahead of Hamilton in the other Mercedes at the start to be second, so that Hamilton and Raikkonen in the Lotus were fourth and fifth ahead of Felipe, who by lap 3 led Perez by 1.5s. Fernando was 0.6 behind the reigning world champion Vettel.
By lap 5 the leading trio were nose to tail, while Felipe was now closing on Raikkonen so that these two and fourth placed Hamilton were also in a tight little group, until the Finn passed the Englishman for fourth on lap 7, leaving Felipe glued to the Mercedes gearbox. On the next lap, the Brazilian swept past Hamilton to be fifth, until he and Sutil, Maldonaldo, Hulkenberg and Grosjean all pitted. Fernando came in on lap 9, along with Hamilton, Di Resta, Guttierez, Vergne, Van der Garde and Bottas, as Grosjean in the Lotus posted the first retirement.
On lap 10, Rosberg, Vettel, Raikkonen, Perez and Ricciardo also pitted. Last year’s winner here, Maldonado in the Williams was given a drive-through penalty for speeding in pit lane, when Button was one of the last to stop for McLaren on lap 11, although Gutierrez led, having not yet pitted the Sauber. The run of stops produced a second key moment after the start as Fernando get the jump on Vettel and the partisan crowd went absolutely wild when the Spaniard shot past Rosberg to take what would be the lead once the Sauber pitted. Vettel and Felipe both passed Rosberg too so that when Gutierrez finally changed tyres, the order on lap 13 was Fernando, Vettel, Felipe, Rosberg, Raikkonen and Webber in sixth.
By lap 18, Fernando had a 3 second lead over Vettel who in turn had Felipe 1.8 behind him, with the Brazilian having 1.5 in hand over Raikkonen, but then the Brazilian began to struggle and so made his second tyre change on lap 20, as did Webber and Vergne. Fernando came in on the next lap. Felipe flew past a couple of cars with another fastest lap to be fifth behind his team-mate on lap 22, at which point Vettel, Raikkonen and Rosberg were the lead trio having only stopped once, with the Red Bull being around 14 seconds ahead of Fernando. But then the Spaniard put the hammer down and reduced that gap to just 10 seconds in one lap! Lap 24 and Vettel made his second stop, as did Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso who had got up to sixth.
When Raikkonen made his second stop on lap 26, the Prancing Horse duo were again back in the lead, 7 seconds apart, with Vettel 8.2 behind Felipe. Then came Raikkonen, with Webber back in fifth in the other Red Bull, as Rosberg made his second stop. Vettel’s mirrors were full of Lotus, as Fernando extended his lead over his team-mate to 11.2 with Vettel and Raikkonen now banging wheels in a thrilling duel for third, which went in the Finn’s favour at half-distance on lap 33 as the Lotus began to close the gap to Felipe.
On lap 36, both Ferraris pitted and that meant the lead quintet on lap 37 was Raikkonen, Alonso, Vettel, Massa, Di Resta, but two laps later, Felipe was back in third as Vettel made his third stop, with Fernando having dispensed with Raikkonen on the main straight on lap 38 to retake the lead. The Brazilian was lapping over a second faster than the Lotus man and by lap 44 he had closed the gap to second place to 7.3s and inevitably Raikkonen pitted on lap 45, leaving the two F138s at the head of the field again with 20 laps to go.
Lap 49 was when the race was won, as Fernando made his fourth and final tyre change to run the Hard tyre to the flag. The Spaniard had enough of an advantage to still lead, by 5.5 seconds from Felipe, with Raikkonen only a further 2.4 behind in third. Vettel was fourth. Felipe’s final pit stop was on lap 51, and he was followed down pit lane by Vettel. Raikkonen who all season has shown how kind his car has been on tyres, was on a three stopper, but with Fernando maintaining the lead, even though stopping one more time, the Lotus strategy was not going to be effective enough. On fresher rubber, for a time there was hope that Felipe might be able to close down Raikkonen, but it was not to be and in the closing stages, both Ferraristi managed their F138s to the flag and scenes of jubilation in the packed grandstands, as Fernando arrived in parc ferme having done his cooling down lap clutching a Spanish flag in the cockpit. Now the F1 circus heads to Monaco for Round 5 in a fortnight’s time and a race that Fernando has won twice before.
Montmelo, 12 May – Scuderia Ferrari secured an excellent first and third place finish in the Spanish Grand Prix at the Catalunya circuit this afternoon. Fernando Alonso completed the 66 laps with a perfectly executed four stop strategy managed from the pit wall.
After the last of his stops on lap 49, he managed to maintain the lead as he came out of pit lane and then comfortably controlled the remaining 17 laps that separated him from a triumphant arrival at the chequered flag.
A great day for the Scuderia was completed by a valuable third place for Massa. The Brazilian was also on a four stopper, which proved to be the perfect match for the speed characteristics of the F138.
Second place went to Kimi Raikkonen while, in the championship, Alonso is now third, 17 points down on the leader Sebastian Vettel. Massa is up to fifth on 45 points.
2 the number of wins for Fernando Alonso in the Spanish Grand Prix, with the previous one coming at the wheel of a Renault in 2006. Fernando has been on the podium in 7 of the 12 races he has contested at the Catalunya circuit. Apart from the two wins, he has four seconds and one third.
5 Fernando Alonso’s start position on the grid: it’s the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix has been held at the Catalunya circuit that the winner has not started from the front two rows. Before that, just once – 1996 with Schumacher (Ferrari) – the winner was not on the front row. Michael was third on the grid on that occasion.
11 wins for Fernando Alonso in 63 races at the wheel of a Ferrari. Today’s is his second consecutive win on Spanish soil after winning last year’s European Grand Prix held in Valencia. The man from Oviedo now has 36 podium finishes for Ferrari.
32 wins for Fernando Alonso out of 203 Grand Prix starts. The Spaniard thus move ahead of Nigel Mansell on the all-time winners list, on his own in fourth: ahead of him are only Ayrton Senna on 41 wins, Alain Prost with 51 and Michael Schumacher with 91.
36 podium finishes for Felipe Massa from 125 Grand Prix starts for Ferrari. The Brazilian won the 2007 Spanish Grand Prix and was second the following year, behind his then team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen.
40 points for Ferrari in this race. Not since the 2010 Korean Grand Prix has the Scuderia brought home such a big haul, beaten only in the German Grand Prix earlier that year in Hockenheim when it scored a one-two.
221 wins for Scuderia Ferrari from 856 Grands Prix starts. Today’s is its twelfth in the Spanish Grand Prix, a race it had not won since 2008. Unusually, the three drivers on the podium are those who have given the Scuderia its last three wins in this race: Fernando today, Raikkonen in 2008, Massa in 2007.
Stefano Domenicali: “First of all, I want to wish the best of luck to Pat Fry, our Technical Director who will be undergoing an appendectomy this afternoon and we wish him all the best for a rapid recovery. As for qualifying, we knew we couldn’t be in the hunt for the very front: we definitely cannot be satisfied with the result, but the third row is still a good starting point on which to build in tomorrow’s race. It was not a surprise to see the two Mercedes being so quick, as it was also the case in winter testing at this track. Looking ahead to Sunday, we are reasonably sure we can count on the potential we have seen so far and as usual, the start will be very important to try and make up a few places. Tyre degradation will still be a key factor and so we must stay focused and make the most of any opportunity.”
Fernando Alonso: “It’s a well known fact that Saturday afternoon is our weak point and fifth place is more or less what we were expecting. We were well aware that Red Bull and Mercedes would both be very strong, but while it’s true we have to start taking back points on Vettel, we are not too scared of Mercedes, who usually have higher tyre degradation. The team and I are optimistic for tomorrow as our race pace is good and usually we manage to go better on Sunday. We start from the clean side and hope that will allow us to get off the line well, because what we need here is to make up some places at the start and then put in a few clean laps in the early stages or at half distance. We will also have to defend against Raikkonen: so far he has gone very well in the races and the Lotus doesn’t seem to suffer too much on the tyre front. As usual this season it will be very important to choose the right strategy, because there is only one lap difference in terms of degradation between the two tyre compounds”.
Felipe Massa: “I can’t say I’m pleased with this result, because I was expecting more after the times I did this morning. Unfortunately, in the third sector I had slight understeer which was costing me time, but all the same, I feel very confident because our car seems competitive. Now we must concentrate on tomorrow’s race, because it will be a long one and anything can happen. As for the Stewards’ decision relating to what happened with Webber in Q2, it was not my intention to get in his way and in all honesty, I can’t recall having affected his qualifying. When I saw him in the mirrors, I thought I’d get through the corner before letting him by, which was the only course of action at such a narrow point. On top of that, he was on worn tyres at the time and I don’t think he was doing a quick lap. I’m not surprised at the pace of the Mercedes, as they were already strong here in winter testing and their car is always very competitive in qualifying. This result shows once again that, on Saturdays, our rivals prefer to take a more conservative approach in the morning before revealing their true potential in the afternoon”.
|ALONSO – Chassis 299||MASSA – Chassis 300|
|Q1||P5||1:22.264||New Hard – 3 laps||P7||1:22.492||New Hard – 3 laps|
|Q2||P3||1:21.646||New Medium – 3 laps||P8||1:21.978||New Medium – 3 laps|
|Q3||P5||1:21.218||New Medium – 3 laps – New Medium – 3 laps||P6||1:21.219||New Medium – 3 laps – New Medium – 3 laps|
|Weather: air 22°C, track 35/38 °C. Sunny|
Montmelo, 11 May – The top eight cars on the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix all set lap times within the same one tenth of a second, from 1.20.718 to 1.21.570, but if you’re looking for something even closer, what about the one thousandth of a second separating Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa? The two Ferrari men took identical routes through the three sections of this afternoon’s qualifying in terms of tyre useage and eventually set almost identical times on their way to fifth and sixth spots on the time sheet, the Spaniard having the marginal edge here at his home race and thus getting to start from the clean side of Row 3. Having been fastest in this morning’s final free practice, Felipe actually looked to be heading for pole on his final lap, but then lost time in sector 3. There was worse to come for the Brazilian as the Stewards deemed he had impeded Mark Webber during Q2 and imposed a three place grid penalty on the Ferrari man, who will now start ninth on the inside of Row 5. Felipe is not exactly in agreement with the Stewards, but as always the team accepts the official decision.
After a cloudy start to Saturday in this part of Catalunya, the temperatures increased as the sun came out, while at the same time the wind blowing against the cars down the main straight increased in intensity. All three sessions were relatively straightforward, with Caterham, Marussia and last year’s Spanish pole and race winning team Williams, failing to get to Q2, while Jenson Button in the McLaren was the most high profile casualty of the cut to Q3. Even though the margins were very small, one team dominated with Nico Rosberg taking pole ahead of Lewis Hamilton, thus creating an all-silver Mercedes front row for tomorrow. The second row features the two men currently at the top of the Drivers’ classification, Sebastian Vettel, third fastest for Red Bull, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus. When the lights go out tomorrow afternoon, Fernando will now have Romain Grosjean in the other Lotus next to him, while his mirrors will be full of Mark Webber in the Red Bull and Sergio Perez in the McLaren, these three being the principal beneficiaries of Felipe’s penalty. Felipe will now have Paul di Resta on his outside, tenth for Force India.
Strategically, it promises to be an interesting fifth round of this year’s World Championship, with three stops seeming the most logical and quickest way to complete the 66 laps of the Catalunya Circuit, although four stops might even be a possibility. That being the case, the drivers will not have to worry too much about tyre wear, as in past races this season, and should be able to push all the way from lights-out to chequered flag. However, choosing the right time to pit for fresh rubber will, as always be one of the key elements of a race. When the lights go out, watch closely, because the F138 has proved to be quick off the mark and the two Ferrari men will be keen to dispose of some of their rivals as quickly as possible as they head down that long Catalunya pit straight.
Montmelò (Barcelona), 11 May –Luca di Montezemolo made a lightning visit to the Catalunya Circuit today, his first track appearance of 2013. The Ferrari President had decided to come and support the Scuderia on this Saturday of the Spanish Grand Prix. It was also an opportunity for him to have various meetings at the highest level, from Bernie Ecclestone to the main technical and commercial partners of the Maranello marque, to get an overview on many topics, starting with the current state of Formula 1.
Meeting the media after qualifying, Montezemolo had this to say on what the two Prancing Horse cars achieved today and the prospects for tomorrow. “I witnessed a great team, very focussed on its work. All in all, I am not disappointed and what gives me cause for hope is the race pace we showed yesterday. Maybe today we could have hoped for a little bit more, at least one car on the second row. We were losing a bit of time in the final sector, but we saw that, apart from Rosberg, everyone is very evenly matched. Fernando will start from the clean side of the track and here, the straight leading down to the first corner is very long, so maybe some places can be made up right from the start.”
On the topic of the future of Formula 1, Montezemolo expressed himself thus: “I can only repeat what I have maintained for so long: this sport must remain a true laboratory of cutting edge technology and advanced research and must serve as a training ground for our engineers. I think there will be some interesting changes in the near future and I will do my utmost to ensure we go in that direction.”
Montezemolo also wanted to wish Pat Fry a speedy recovery, after the Englishman was admitted to hospital in Barcelona this morning with appendicitis. It’s also a time for happier wishes as the Scuderia’s Team Principal, Stefano Domenicali turns 48 today.
Before leaving the circuit around 5pm, Montezemolo went to the Race Control tower where he met with Charlie Whiting.
Montmelo, 11 May – Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were fifth and sixth respectively at the end of a very closely contested qualifying session. In the final Q3 section, both Scuderia Ferrari drivers took to the track for two runs on the Medium tyre. Alonso crossed the line a few seconds ahead of Massa, beating the Brazilian’s time by just one thousandth of a second.
In Q1, Fernando and Felipe were fifth and seventh, doing just one run on the Hard compound. In Q2, they used the Medium and both drivers needed only a second attempt to ensure a place in the top ten shoot-out, with the Spaniard in third and the Brazilian eighth,
Pole position went to Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes with a lap in 1.20.718. The conditions were stable throughout, with clear skies, 21 degrees ambient temperature while the track got up to 35.
Montmelo (Barcelona,) 11 May – Felipe Massa was fastest in the third and final free practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix at the Catalunya circuit. During the last sixty minutes of track time prior to qualifying, the Brazilian took his F138 round in 1.21.907, to beat Kimi Raikkonen by just six thousandths, the Finn doing a 1.21.907 in his Lotus. Third was Mark Webber (1.22.044) in the Red Bull. In the other Ferrari, Fernando Alonso was sixth in 1.22.254 in a session when the Scuderia concentrated on finding the best aerodynamic set-up and on a further comparison of the two Pirelli compounds. Alonso did two runs on the Medium after first going out on the Hard, while Massa also started on Hard and ended up on the Medium.
Fernando Alonso: “The signs from today are positive, as we were quick in both the morning and afternoon and the car seems to be well balanced on light and heavy fuel loads. But it is always premature to try and draw conclusions on a Friday when everything seems to be going well, because in the past we have seen how our competitors can take off in qualifying. We have a great deal of data to analyse this evening, especially because the rain in the morning meant we had to squeeze almost all our planned programme into the second session when it was dry. The feeling is definitely good and even though we are aware it won’t be easy, we are sure we can fight it out with the best. I don’t expect any great surprises compared to Bahrain and I think the top group is now defined, with Red Bull, Mercedes, ourselves and Lotus, although we need to see how much McLaren manages to improve, while also keeping an eye on Force India, who have been very strong in qualifying and the race”.
Felipe Massa: “Everything went well today, even if this morning’s rain reduced the amount of time we had to test everything we had planned for the first session. We began that job as soon as the track dried and then finished it off in the afternoon session, paying maximum attention to the handling of the car on both types of tyre Pirelli has brought on this track, especially the new Hard. Even on the long run, the car seemed competitive and this makes me confident and so I hope we can continue to do well right to the end of the weekend”.
Pat Fry: “This morning’s rain strongly affected the work we had planned for today, preventing us from completing a sufficiently representative evaluation of the updates we brought here to Barcelona. We have got an immediate and positive validation for some of these, but with others, we will have to wait for the next races and hope for better weather. But it’s normal that if, apart from evaluating updates, one also has to pay particular attention to the tyres, a vitally important element in this season, everything gets more complicated. When the sun finally came out, thanks to a programme split between the two drivers, we were able to get a substantial amount of data on the Hard and Medium compounds. First impressions seem positive: both on a single flying lap and on a long run, we were always in the top five and the new Hard compound shows improvement in terms of performance and degradation. As usual, now we can expect a long night analysing in depth the performances we have seen today and making a more precise comparison with the competition”.
|ALONSO – chassis 299||MASSA – chassis 300|
|First Session||P1||1:25.252||20 laps||P2||1:25.455||20 laps|
|Weather: air 17/18 °C, track 19/21 °C. Cloudy, rain at the beginning|
|Second Session||P2||1:22.825||35 laps||P5||1:23.110||37 laps|
|Weather: air 22/23 °C, track 31/35 °C. Sunny|
Montmelo, 10 May – It was as though the collective Formula 1 psyche decided it had to make up for the fact it has gone without any track action for three weeks, because rain or shine, the Catalunya circuit saw constant action for all three hours of today’s free practice. The true reason naturally has been the arrival up and down pit lane of a raft of technical updates and Scuderia Ferrari was no exception to that rule. Furthermore, Pirelli provided some extra rubber in the form of a “prototype” tyre just for Friday use, in addition to the Medium and newly-modified Hard compounds. With aerodynamics being the most important performance booster in the sport under current regulations, inevitably, most of the aforementioned updates were related to this area and unfortunately, a wet and slippery track is not the perfect test bench to evaluate them. Therefore, the bulk of the Scuderia’s programme on this front had to be shifted to the afternoon, without neglecting the basics of ensuring the F138s will perform to their maximum in qualifying and the race. It made for a very busy second session.
Generally, it was a positive day for the Prancing Horse, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa setting the first and second fastest times respectively in the morning, ahead of a surprising Jean-Eric Vergne for Toro Rosso. In the afternoon, it looked as though reigning champions Red Bull Racing would make a clean sweep of the Friday “front row,” but that didn’t take into account an excellent lap from Fernando which meant the Ferrari split the two blue cars, with the Spaniard just 17 thousandths off Sebastian Vettel’s time. In third place, Mark Webber was the only other driver to break the 1 minute 23 seconds barrier. In the second F138, Felipe was fifth behind the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen, while Lewis Hamilton rounded off the top six for Mercedes. Between them, the Scuderia Ferrari drivers racked up a total of 112 laps over the course of the day; 55 for Fernando and 57 for Felipe. Tomorrow, the final hour of free practice in the morning should run to more usual lines, with everyone’s efforts more focussed on the afternoon’s qualifying session and the following day’s 66 lap Spanish Grand Prix.
Montmelo 10 May – The Spanish weather improved for the second free practice session on the Barcelona circuit, so that drivers and teams were able to get through their programmes on a completely dry track.
Fernando Alonso was second fastest, with a time of 1.22.825, just 0.017s off the fastest man, Sebastian Vettel. Felipe Massa ended up fifth, setting a time of 1.23.110.
The first runs saw many drivers come out on the “Prototype” Hard tyres supplied by Pirelli. Alonso did 6 laps on this rubber, one more than Massa, after which the rest of the programme resumed.
Apart from the usual set-up and long run work, the Scuderia engineers were also evaluating technical updates introduced on both F138s for this Spanish weekend. In total, Alonso did 35 laps, with Massa doing 37.
Montmelo (Barcelona,) 10 May – The first European event of the Formula 1 World Championship, following on from the opening two sets of back to back races, got off to a wet start in Montmelo. In changing conditions with the track drying out patchily after rain started falling around one hour before the start of the session, Fernando Alonso was fastest for Ferrari in a time of 1.25.252, ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa, who posted a 1.25.455. Third fastest was Jean-Eric Vergne (1.25.667) for Toro Rosso. Both Ferrari men managed a short run on the P Zero Orange tyre, the new Hard compound from Pirelli, running different programmes so as to get through a test of the various updates brought to the Catalan track. The team will continue to evaluate them in the second session that gets underway at 14h00.
Montmelò (Barcelona), 10 May – “First day of school” at the Catalunya circuit for the media unit, revealed yesterday by Scuderia Ferrari. The start of the European leg of the Formula 1 season is always marked by the appearance in the paddock of the hospitality units, still traditionally called “motorhomes,” which are home to team personnel and media over the race weekends. Changes to our unit have radically altered its look inside, starting with a brand new logo.
The aim has been to adopt the trend of a paperless office and the old style printed press reviews have been replaced, so that journalists can see up to the minute multimedia content, interviews with team personnel, technical analysis, FIA regulations, Ferrari publications and statistics, as well as car specifications and race by race results, on 15 iPads and five interactive stations. These boast focused sound which is directed only towards the user, thus not disturbing others.
With the three touchscreens on the left side, one can follow practice and the race live, while with the two on the other side, four channels of SkySportF1 HD (Italy) give more in-depth information on what is happening on track. All this is courtesy of a collaboration between Scuderia Ferrari Philip Morris International and Sky Italia, whose channels can also be accessed through the SkyGo app on the special iPads located alongside each area.
Montmelo, 9 May – No prizes for guessing that Fernando Alonso was called to this afternoon’s FIA Press Conference at the Catalunya Circuit, in the build up to his home race. The Ferrari man went from laconic to loquacious as he faced the media and the overall vibe he gave out was a positive one.
“I think it motivates you to race at home and you find an extra 10% in everything you do, in every detail of the weekend, starting with tomorrow’s practice,” began Fernando. “You try and do everything well, because you know a nice podium finish makes you happy, the team happy and many people in the grandstand happy. It’s a special weekend and after all these years here, it is more motivation than pressure. I want to make everyone enjoy Sunday afternoon.”
Alonso was asked for a comment on the fact that only two winners in twenty two Spanish Grands Prix have not started from the front row. “This year, we have seen that race pace and tyres are the key factors, more so than previously,” he explained. “Obviously it’s good to start from the front, because you know your chances are high and you can almost touch the podium if you qualify on the front row. We need to have a normal weekend, finding the right balance between qualifying and the race. But, the first really important qualifying will come in two weeks time in Monaco, when we know it is extremely important.”
As to his hopes for the weekend, Fernando is optimistic and he outlined the reasons why: “last year we were 1.5 seconds behind the others and thanks to the weather and luck we won in Malaysia. But this year, we finished second in Australia and we won in China, because we have a very different package. This gives us optimism and confidence that we can have a good championship, if we deliver consistent results. We are some points behind at the moment, but it’s a long championship and we have seen many examples of people fighting back: last year, Sebastian was 43 points behind us after the summer break and arrived in Austin leading the classification, so in five or six races you can recover 45 to 50 points if you get some consistent results. This year is the first time I have arrived here with a competitive car but we still need to do everything right and put together a good weekend if we want to fight for the top places. We will also need to see how the car responds to some new parts we have here. But we can say we are approaching this weekend with a positive mentality, not a defensive one like we did in my first years with Ferrari.”
Pirelli has altered the characteristics of the Hard tyre which will be the Prime this weekend and Fernando seemed relaxed about dealing with a further unknown. “We will try it for the first time tomorrow and learn something and we will know more after the race, but I don’t think the new tyre will benefit one team more than another,” he said.
Finally, it was time to switch from F1 to Football and the recent European semi-finals, which saw both Spanish teams go out of the competition. “It was sad for the two Spanish teams, especially for Real which is my team, even if they played better in Madrid than in Germany, but there was too much to make up after the first game,” said Fernando. “I think the final will be a close game.” As both these defeats came at the hand of German teams, and Vettel was sitting on the Ferrari man’s right in the press conference, the man from Oviedo was asked to assess Spanish-German sporting relations! “We don’t have too many games together, apart from this week’s semi-finals. In other sports, we don’t play much together, because the sports at which we are good, like tennis and basketball, the Germans are not so good and the sports they are good at, skiing for example, there are no Spanish competitors,” was Fernando’s assessment, before adding with a hint of irony, “in Formula 1 we are always a minority because there are four or five German drivers but I’m happy if the Germans keep winning at football!
Montmelo, 9 May – With his team-mate in the FIA press conference, it fell to Felipe Massa to tackle the first press conference of the year to be held in the Scuderia Ferrari Media Hospitality, as the team motorhomes and trucks make their opening appearance of the season, now that we are back in Europe. “This could be a good track for us and it’s one where we went well in the winter,” was Felipe’s opening remark. “It’s a track I like too and I also feel very positive about this race, thinking about our race pace, but I also hope we will be competitive in qualifying.” That confidence stems in part from a package of updates that will be tried on the F138 in tomorrow’s free practice, but the Brazilian is realistic enough not to expect miracles. “We have new parts yes, and of course we are always hoping for a car with more downforce, that degrades it’s tyres less, but gives more grip and hopefully we end up with a car that helps the tyres work better, not just in qualifying but also in the race,” he said. “I don’t think the situation will change so much from what we have seen so far, although it’s true that many teams will have a lot of updates and we will see improvements. Maybe the teams who were suffering the most will suffer a bit less. But some of the front-runners could also move forward, because at the end of a three week break it’s logical that a team might come up with an update package that’s an improvement, but I don’t think it will produce a major change.”
Felipe is also looking forward to trying the reworked Hard Pirelli, as he was a critic of its previous incarnation seen so far this year. “The new tyre is a positive change, because the difference between the Hard and the Medium was that the Hard this year was always slower but also wore out more than the Medium,” he revealed. “Now I think the Hard should be a little bit quicker than before with slightly better wear than the Medium. But it’s hard to say until we’ve used it and also we need to see how the other teams get on with it.”
Lastly came a question from left field: how come Felipe had started to bring his little boy to the races? “I have always been a family man and I remember when I was karting, my parents were always with me and, as you know they come and watch me in Formula 1,” replied the proud father. “I feel happier when they are here and now that my son is three years old, I have started to bring him to more races, because he is beginning to understand more. He knows who all the drivers are and it’s fun to have him here and it’s surprising how much a three year old can understand. He’s got competition in the blood!”
Barcelona, 9 May – Have you ever seen a Ferrari Formula 1 car fly and glide onto an extraordinary landing strip on the seafront of one of the most beautiful Mediterranean cities, before then thundering off back into its natural environment, the race track? It’s a video put out by Santander Bank, the Scuderia Ferrari Sponsor, to celebrate the start of the European part of the Formula 1 World Championship season, which gets underway with the Spanish Grand Prix, at the Catalunya Circuit, this weekend.
There were many Scuderia fans at the marina in the Catalan city the day the video was shot: this sort of spectacle doesn’t happen every day after all and to see it live was a truly unforgettable experience.
Tombazis takes stock: cautious yet confidentMaranello, 7 May – This weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix signals the start of the European part of the season and more importantly, the point when all the teams run their first significant car updates of the year: in an interview to ferrari.com Scuderia Ferrari’s Chief Designer, Nikolas Tombazis, assesses the first quartet of races and looks ahead to the Iberian weekend.“I think in general, the first results mean we can be reasonably optimistic about the rest of the season, with a sense that we can fight for wins and the championship,” reckons Tombazis. “However, if I was to score our overall performance, I would only give it a 6 out of 10 and that’s for two main reasons: one is that we are not yet quite where we want to be. In the first four Grands Prix, we were not really able to fight for pole position and that is one of our main objectives at the moment. Secondly, if you look at the actual results, even if it’s true we’ve had a win, which naturally we can be very pleased about, we have also had two very bad results where we scored very few points. However, I reiterate, that overall, we can be optimistic for the future.”The Scuderia has had its most competitive start to a season for many years and Tombazis reckons that is down to a variety of factors. “We have made a series of changes to our approach in terms of our working practices and also from an organisational point of view. At the same time, we are improving our facilities and I believe we now also have a better understanding about how certain aspects of the car work. Putting all that together has enabled us to make a better start to the season than in previous years. However, the process is not complete and we feel we are only halfway through these fundamental changes and we continue to work on improving all these parameters, which, in the case of our facilities, includes the work we are doing on our wind tunnel. I think the new working methods we have adopted and the new structure put in place has allowed us to be more creative and this was one of the objectives we established along with Pat Fry, to reorganise the place and to give people more time to think. We identified areas where, in the past few years, we were a bit understaffed, which meant people were under pressure and did not have time to think about what could make the car go faster. It is working, but there is room to improve still further, even though this aspect has definitely contributed to the improvement in performance that we have seen so far this year.”
The first four races have taken place on race tracks each with very different characteristics to the others and added to this, the weather has thrown a full range of variables at the teams, from very hot to cold, from tropical downpours to dry desert heat. This has been challenging but it has also allowed engineers to get a view of how the cars perform in all conditions in just a few races. “The variability of weather conditions as well as the different characteristics of the four tracks we have raced on so far has enabled us to gauge our relative strengths and weaknesses compared to our competitors,” concurs Tombazis. “We have seen that we have been stronger in certain conditions, both in terms of track type and weather, than in others –this includes looking at the type of corners, whether a circuit involves heavy braking and other similar parameters. Overall, depending on the circuit, some of these strengths and weaknesses will be highlighted and therefore, based on what we have seen so far, we do not expect a constant performance level over the next few races, but rather we do expect to be reasonably competitive in most conditions.”
All this means that the Spanish Grand Prix is an important barometer of what we can expect from all the teams and what the hierarchy might be, at least for the next few races, because the Barcelona circuit provides an all-round test of a Formula 1 car’s ability. “I believe most of our competitors will have a significant number of updates in Spain, which is not surprising, as there was a reasonably long gap after the first four races,” says Tombazis. “Of course, we too have updates and naturally, I don’t want to go into too much detail, but they extend to the bodywork, floor and wings. With any new component, the difficulty lies not so much in its development but in deciding whether or not it is working on track as well as we had hoped. Therefore, by Friday evening in Barcelona, our objective is to have a clear view on what we will take forward to use in the race, in the hope of seeing measurements taken from the wind tunnel confirmed on track.”
Maranello, 30 April – For a long time Spain’s motor racing tradition was primarily on two wheels. Still today the Iberian Peninsula is one of the most fertile lands for motorcycle racing but in the last 25 years the performances of two drivers have led to a boom in interest in four-wheeled sport: Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso. Both are double world champions – Sainz in the WRC and Alonso in Formula 1 – but Fernando still aims to add to his haul.
The Spanish Grand Prix first entered the Formula 1 calendar in 1951, and since 1991 it has been held at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona. From the 22 races that have taken place on this track, Scuderia Ferrari has seven victories – the last in 2007, the year in which Kimi Raikkonen took the world championship. That is a very strong tradition, but what has made the Spanish round really special for the whole Scuderia has been the arrival of Fernando Alonso at the team. In the last ten years the annual visit to this track has become an amazing event, mostly due to the passion of Fernando’s fans, who have transformed the grand prix into a real party. It could be no different given that the Spanish driver continues to cement his status as the national figurehead in motor racing. The big turnout of fans packing out the circuit’s grandstands from the start of free practice on Friday shows the huge passion, leading to a sea of hundreds of Spanish and Asturian flags for the whole weekend.
Alonso’s home race has always been rewarding and touching but at the same time it is very demanding. That is a mix of emotions that Fernando experienced for the first time in 2001 at his first Spanish Grand Prix. He finished his weekend with 13th place at the wheel of his Minardi – and it’s been uphill ever since. Of his 11 appearances, the 2006 victory stands out: a success he took in front of the King of Spain, Juan Carlos. In total Fernando has reached the podium six times and, in his three races for Ferrari, his record stands at two podiums and a fifth place.
“The wins at Barcelona in 2006, Monza in 2010 and Valencia last year are unquestionably the races that have given me the best emotions of my career,”said Fernando. “The warmth of the fans and the feeling you get when you race in Spain are always special, from the moment you arrive at the airport and you head to the hotel and the circuit. From the first laps on the track on Friday and Saturday morning you can immediately feel the passion of the fans in the grandstands and that sparks off extra motivation because you want to do that little bit extra to make sure they can celebrate. That’s how the search begins for that elusive tenth of a second of performance that you are always seeking when you’re in a Formula 1 car.”
Felipe Massa also has a good record at this track. The Brazilian driver took pole position and victory at the wheel of the Ferrari in 2007. Felipe also made it to the Circuit de Catalunya podium the following year, finishing second behind his team-mate Raikkonen in the last of the four one-twos the Scuderia has secured in the Spanish Grand Prix.
“I really like going to Spain,” said Felipe. “I’ve always liked both the feel of Barcelona itself and the atmosphere at the track during the race weekend. The Circuit de Catalunya is the track that we know best thanks to all the tests that we do there at the start of the year: it’s a complex, technical track where it’s important to have good aerodynamic downforce. My best memory from Barcelona came in 2007 when I won the race: it was a great victory in front of a fantastic crowd that saw me fight with many opponents –including Fernando, who was then at McLaren. Obviously I’m not happy with my last race in Bahrain and so I hope to be able to get back to fighting for the top places this weekend.”
In the 2013 championship the Barcelona round will be the only one on Spanish territory – by contrast with the last five seasons when the Formula 1 World Championship had a second race in the country, the European Grand Prix at the Valencia street circuit. Interestingly the first and the last editions of that race were won by the current Ferrari duo: Felipe in 2008 and Fernando last year after he pulled off an outstanding and unforgettable climb through the field.