|Distance||305,270 km / 189,727 miles|
|3||Fernando Alonso||F138||299||Scuderia Ferrari||2.|
|4||Felipe Massa||F138||298||Scuderia Ferrari||8.|
Maranello, 11 June –Scuderia Ferrari headed home to Maranello yesterday after the demanding trip to the Canadian Grand Prix ended with a second place for Fernando Alonso and an eighth for Felipe Massa. There are now three weeks to go before the next round on 30 June at Silverstone and they will be important ones in terms of preparing for the races coming up in the summer months. The Scuderia engineers face a very busy time, starting with an analysis of a hefty amount of data aimed at taking a clear look at the performance difference evident between qualifying and the race.
The task at hand is to improve the performance of the F138 over a single timed lap, which is what is required to be at the top of the time sheet in qualifying. The checks the engineers will undertake over the coming weeks will take into account the various ambient conditions and the nature of the surfaces of the various tracks. Indeed, on this front it will be necessary to find out why the F138 did not seem well suited to less abrasive track surfaces as found on street and semi-permanent circuits, or to cold and damp conditions as was the case in qualifying in Montreal. Canada produced untypical conditions that were also hard to predict, but in a championship that takes place over a full nine months, every possible situation has to be analysed.
“Both Fernando and Felipe staged a really great fight back,” commented Stefano Domenicali. “But when making a final assessment of this weekend, Saturday’s qualifying weighed heavily on the outcome, even if in the race, we showed our potential once again. If we had started from the very front of the grid, we would have had everything in place to aim for the win. The circumstances in which qualifying was run did not suit the characteristics of our car and we paid a very high price for that.
“At the same time, we must also continue to push on the development of our car,” continued Domenicali. “Because our rivals have made clear steps forward. Apart from Red Bull, in Montreal, Mercedes was also very competitive, not just in qualifying over a single lap, but also over the whole race distance. We must give our drivers the wherewithal to fight for the front two rows of the grid, because that is the key to be able to capitalise on our car’s race pace. Now we have a slightly longer than usual gap before the next race in Silverstone. We will try and use that time as well as possible to work on the car and continue studying tyre behaviour, because on Sunday we saw cars which were able to do two thirds of the race with just one set and therefore, understanding how the tyres will work at every circuit will require very close attention.
“We have completed the first seven races of the 2013 season and we are in the fight for both the drivers’ and constructors’ titles,” concluded Domenicali. “Now we move into a phase were it will be vital to make up the ground we have lost, trying to put together a string of useful results. The opposition is numerous and very strong, but they too know our strengths. It will be a closely matched contest from race to race, on a variety of different circuit types with races held in different conditions. It’s an exciting prospect and I don’t think it will reach its conclusion until the very last race of the season.”
Stefano Domenicali: “Today, we absolutely had to make up for the difficult day we had yesterday, because we knew the more normal weather would allow us to demonstrate our true potential. The podium was in our sights and we can claim to have hit the target, in a race that was complicated from start to finish by our grid positions. Fernando produced an absolutely extraordinary performance, especially when taking into account that today, our competitors operated at a really high level. Felipe also showed exactly what he could do: managing to bring home points after starting from the back was the best response to those who felt he was affected by the unfortunate incidents of the last few days. I must congratulate the winners, because even if it’s easier to get the job done when starting at the front, it’s also true that they managed to produce a perfect qualifying, a task which we know we must improve on. Today’s race demonstrated how two of our closest rivals, Red Bull and Mercedes, have managed to make a step forward and that’s the same direction we are working in, so that we can be contenders right to the end of the Championship”.
Fernando Alonso: “At the end of an extremely complicated weekend, this second place tastes like a win, because we were competitive and managed to fight with the front running drivers. You never feel in danger with them, because, even wheel to wheel at 320 kilometres per hour, they have the necessary intelligence and experience to know to leave a margin of safety. The overtaking moves on the two Mercedes had an almost identical dynamic, although maybe the pass on Hamilton was more intense because we were running at the same pace, while with Rosberg, I knew it was only a matter of the laps going by, thanks to the advantage of having the Medium tyres, while he was on the Supersoft. In terms of points this is a great result: now we only have Vettel ahead of us, who was untouchable here and deserved the victory. Even if he has increased his lead, there’s still a long way to go in the championship and there’s plenty of time to catch up. I don’t know if I could have done better if I’d started further up. Qualifying, even in the wet, is our weak point and an aspect we absolutely must improve on: we are working very hard on that, both back home and at the track.”
Felipe Massa: “I am very happy with my race today, which was a real battle from start to finish. After going off the track yesterday, I knew it wouldn’t be easy starting from sixteenth place, but I also knew I had a good car and I tackled the race on the attack, managing to pull off several nice passing moves. However, because of a problem with graining, I lost precious time behind Sutil in the Force India: that’s why I think a strategy based on using two sets of Medium tyres would have seen me gain at least one or two places. Even if I can’t be satisfied with this result it was still a positive day, in which we showed we had a good pace and that we were able to fight. Now I’m looking ahead to the next race with a lot of confidence, because Silverstone is very similar to Shanghai and Barcelona, where our car worked very well”.
Pat Fry: “The long straights and the DRS zones at the Montreal track, which usually help with overtaking, meant we were hopeful of being able to race up the order, while aware that starting from sixth and sixteenth would not make that an easy task, especially as the performance levels of the front runners were very similar today. Fernando got a great start and managed to pass Bottas, moving up to fifth. From then on, he did an amazing job of managing his tyres, pushing at the most opportune moments which brought him in touch with the leaders. The climb up to second place was a performance worthy of his talent, with some daring passing moves, like the one on Hamilton. Felipe fought hard all race long, also pulling off several overtaking moves, including a very important one on Raikkonen right at the end. Maybe if we had opted to fit Mediums at his first stop, Felipe could have gained another place. From the pit wall, we had to manage the race for both drivers in very different track conditions to what we experienced in the past couple of days and all in all, after all the difficulties we encountered yesterday, it was a good result. Now, our priority is still to improve our qualifying performance and on this front, we will try to do that right from the next race in Silverstone”.
|Pit-stop||1st stop||Lap 16||New Medium|
|2nd stop||Lap 47||New Medium|
|MASSA||8th||1:32.38.951||+ 1 lap||707..111||1.16.939||69|
|Pit-stop||1st stop||Lap 17||New Supersoft|
|2nd stop||Lap 41||New Medium|
|Weather: air 24/25 °C, track 32/34 °C. Sunny|
Montreal, 9 June – Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa both produced very strong drives at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit to keep very much in the hunt for both championship titles. The Spaniard went from sixth on the grid to second on the podium, while the Brazilian battled all the way from sixteenth at the start to eighth, with both men pulling off an endless series of overtaking moves. The 22 points they brought back home today sees the Scuderia maintain second place in the Constructors’ classification and Fernando jump back up to second in the Drivers’. Felipe is still fifth place. However, championship leaders Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull produced a dominant performance for both driver and team to take their first ever Canadian victory. Completing the podium trio was Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes.Finally on Sunday at the Ile Notre Dame, the rain jackets could be put away as the race got underway under sunny skies and warmer temperatures. The top 16 runners all started on the Supersoft Pirelli. The run down to turn 1 on the opening lap in Canada is always a tense moment and as the lights went out to signal the start of the seventh GP of the season, the cars left more or less in grid order, although Bottas was soon dropping back from third in the Williams after banging wheels with Webber at Turn 1 and Fernando passed him to go fifth at the end of the opening lap. Felipe made up two places to lie fourteenth. By the end of the second lap, Vettel had a 2.8 lead over the field in the Red Bull, followed by Hamilton, Rosberg, Webber, Alonso, Bottas, Vergne, Sutil, Ricciardo with Raikkonen rounding off the top ten. Felipe was thirteenth.
Bottas was passed by Vergne on lap 6, promoting the Toro Rosso to fifth and on the same lap Sutil spun the Force India when fortunately the cars behind managed to avoid him as Felipe moved up to twelfth. The gaps at the front were growing, with leader Vettel 4.5 ahead of Hamilton in the Mercedes, with Rosberg a further behind. Fernando was 11.4 off the leader. Felipe? His progress continued as he was eleventh on lap 8 and one lap later, the hard charging Brazilian had got into the points places in tenth. In eighth place, Ricciardo was causing the bottleneck so that he had Raikkonen, Felipe and Hulkenberg all nose to tail behind him. As they started lap 11, Felipe pulled the F138 alongside Raikkonen’s Lotus but could not make the pass. Lap 12 and Raikkonen passed Ricciardo and when the Toro Rosso driver pitted on lap 13, Felipe moved up to ninth. Hulkenberg and Maldonado also changed tyres on this lap. Webber came in from fourth on lap 13 in the Red Bull followed by Vergne from sixth in the Toro Rosso and Perez also changed tyres on the McLaren. The run of stops meant that Fernando was fourth and then third on lap 14 when Rosberg pitted, with Vettel and Hamilton still leading. The leading Red Bull came in on lap 16 followed by Fernando, with the majority of drivers now switching to the Prime Medium tyre, although Rosberg was still running Supersoft as he fought off Webber in a wheel to wheel battle for third. Felipe came in from eighth on lap 17, fitting a new set of Options, rejoining in fourteenth place, but he soon dispensed of Bottas and Guttierez to take twelfth.
Hamilton was going for a very long first stint, but he finally came in from the lead on lap 19 in the Mercedes. With 50 laps to go, the order was Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg, Webber, Fernando in fifth, Raikkonen, Vergne, Di Resta, Grosjean, the Frenchman yet to stop, having started last and Button tenth. Behind them Felipe was engaged in combat with Sutil, getting alongside and nearly touching wheels. Raikkonen had also gone long and came in on lap 22 for Primes, but it was a slow stop. Fernando was having something of a lonely race in fifth, 1.4 behind Webber and over 20 ahead of Vergne. Sutil and Felipe both passed Button’s McLaren and again, Felipe nearly got the better of the Force India. Lap after lap, Felipe tried to pass the German, mainly at the end of the pit straight, while further up the order, Webber’s pursuit of third placed Rosberg was providing plenty of close action. However, as they duelled, so they let Fernando close up on them with the Spaniard just 0.2 off the Australian’s gearbox on lap 27. The crucial move came at the start of lap 31, when after Webber had passed Rosberg, Fernando also managed it going into the first corner, so that the Spaniard was now fourth.
The Mercedes driver immediately pitted next time round. Lap 37 saw Webber clip Van der Garde at the hairpin and a piece of the Red Bull’s front wing came away in the impact. At the same time, Fernando put in the fastest lap of the race so far and closed back to within 0.7 of the Red Bull. It seemed like the only two drivers not having an exciting Sunday afternoon were the two cars out in front, as Vettel led Hamilton by 16.2 and the Englishman had a 7.6 cushion to Webber. Felipe was ninth on lap 40 of 70, at which point, the two cars directly ahead of him, Di Resta and Grosjean had yet to pit at all. At the start of lap 42, Fernando finally got the better of Webber, on the run down to the first corner, so that he now had one foot on the podium. On the same lap, Felipe came into the pits to fit the Prime tyre for his final stint. The Ferrari man went down to twelfth and then up to eleventh after Perez changed tyres on the McLaren.
Webber made his second stop on lap 46, with Fernando doing the same on lap 47 and one lap later it was Hamilton’s turn to pit, followed by Vettel on lap 49, but the positions remained unchanged for the top four. Felipe finally got back into the points by passing Grosjean for tenth on lap 53, just as Fernando popped in another quickest lap as he chased Hamilton, 3.4 ahead.
Lap 57 and Rosberg pitted from fifth, followed by Vergne from sixth, and on the next lap, it was another fastest lap for Fernando, as he closed the gap to Hamilton to one second and then 0.4 on lap 59. On lap 62 on the run to the hairpin, the Spaniard edged his F138 alongside the Mercedes but it didn’t stick, however a few corners later, yet again the run to the first corner, Fernando moved up one more place with just 7 laps to go to the flag. Felipe hadn’t finished his race either and on the very last lap, he slipped past Raikkonen to claim a very hard fought eighth place.
One third of the season is now over and now the F1 circus can pause for breath until the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in three Sunday’s time.
3 podium finishes for Fernando Alonso from 11 Canadian Grand Prix starts. Today’s second place comes after a win with Renault in 2006 and a third in 2010, his first year with Ferrari.5 points finishes for Felipe Massa in the seven races run so far this year. The Brazilian has scored 49 points to date, whereas last year he only had 11, from three top ten finishes.
7 top ten finishes for Felipe Massa in ten Canadian Grand Prix starts. The Brazilian’s best result here was a fourth in 2005 with Sauber, while with Ferrari he has finished in the top ten five times out of seven.
32 podium finishes for Ferrari in the Canadian Grand Prix. Fernando’s today was the tenth second place for a Prancing Horse car in this race and can be added to the eleven wins and the same number of thirds. The last time a Scuderia driver made it this high up the podium in Montreal was in 2006: then it was Michael Schumacher who finished behind the self-same Alonso.
96 Fernando Alonso’s points tally from the first seven races this season, ten more than after the same number of races in 2012. Last year Fernando was also second in the classification, but the gap to the then leader Hamilton was only two points while today he is 36 behind.
1460 Fernando Alonso’s total points tally from 205 Grand Prix starts. Thanks to today’s second place, the Spaniard has reduced the gap to the leader of this classification, Michael Schumacher, who has 1566 points, to 106.
Montreal, 9 June – The Scuderia Ferrari pairing of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa finished the Canadian Grand Prix in second and eighth places respectively. This result move the Spaniard back into second in the Drivers’ classification.When the lights went out, Alonso made up one place to fifth, while Massa began moving up the order from 16th place with several passing moves. On lap 16, Fernando switched from Supersoft to Medium tyres, with Felipe coming in on the next lap, fitting another set of the softer rubber.
In the second stint, Alonso passed Rosberg’s Mercedes on lap 30, then Webber in the Red Bull on lap 42, when Massa made his second stop to fit the Mediums. Alonso’s final pit stop was on lap 47 after which he rejoined behind Hamilton in the Mercedes, who had been second right from the start.
Alonso pulled a spectacular move on the Englishman in the braking zone for turn 1 on lap 63, holding him off after that to the flag to take a second place which was his just reward for such an attacking race. There was plenty of excitement from Massa in the closing stages too, as he finally won his duel with Raikkonen in the Lotus to take eighth place on the last lap. Sebastian Vettel won the race for Red Bull.
Fernando Alonso: “We were well aware how difficult this weekend could be, because with such changeable weather, the track can change from one lap to the next and right to the end, you can never be sure what are the right tyres to use. I am reasonably happy to have salvaged what I could from a qualifying that featured so many unknowns. Starting from sixth here isn’t bad, because you can overtake at this circuit. I’m definitely hoping for a race with no rain, because in the dry, looking at yesterday’s long runs, we can be more competitive and quicker than some of the cars that start in front of us tomorrow. The aim is still to make up ground on our closest competitors: with Raikkonen we have a slightly better chance of doing so, as he is starting behind me, while with Vettel, it’s a tougher task. In any case, I won’t take anything for granted, because here, especially if it rains, anything can happen and it can be the case that strategy counts for less than luck does”.
Felipe Massa: “I am very unhappy with the way qualifying went for me. Track conditions were not easy, there was very little grip and I was struggling to put together a good lap. I went out in Q2 because I braked on a white line at Turn 3 and when the rear end broke away, there was nothing I could do anymore. Physically, I’m fine, but within myself I’m very disappointed. Never before have I had three accidents in such close succession, even if it’s always the case that when you try and give your all on tracks like this one and Monte Carlo, the risks are always higher. I still don’t know exactly how badly damaged the car is, but even if I’m very disappointed with what happened, we must stay focused, because tomorrow’s race will be long and on this track, anything can happen. I had a good pace today and tomorrow I plan to drive an attacking race”.
Pat Fry: “Today’s qualifying was extremely complicated and its outcome was significantly influenced by the variable weather conditions. In situations like this, the drivers must absolutely be able to do the right number of runs in all three phases that make up the session and with that in mind, we paid close attention to how much fuel we put in the cars, in addition to making the best tyre choices on a track that was in a state of continuous evolution, because of the intermittent rain. In fact, we had a few problems in getting the tyres up to temperature and on top of that the track surface here is less abrasive and so it’s even harder to get the right feeling from the tyres. Fortunately, overtaking is possible here and from where he starts on the grid, Fernando can certainly try to attack. It will be harder for Felipe, because he’s starting from quite a way back. But in the last few races, we have always had a good race pace and we hope that tomorrow the weather clears up enough so that we can make the most of our potential”.
|ALONSO – Chassis 299||MASSA – Chassis 298|
|Q1||P2||1:23.224||New Supersoft – 1 lap
New Intermediate – 7 laps
New Intermediate – 4 laps
|P5||1:23.735||New Supersoft – 1 lap
New Intermediate – 6 laps
New Intermediate – 5 laps
|Q2||P8||1:28.788||Old Intermediate – 5 laps
New Intermediate – 5 laps
|P16||1:30.354||Old Intermediate – 4 laps
New Intermediate – 4 laps
|Q3||P6||1:26.504||Old Intermediate – 3 laps
New Intermediate – 5 laps
|Weather: air 17 °C, track 18/19 °C. Light rain|
Montreal, 8 June – It was a case of damage limitation for Fernando Alonso in today’s qualifying session for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix and just damage for the unfortunate Felipe Massa, who for the second race weekend in succession had a crash that was bad enough to see him play no more part in the afternoon proceedings after Q2. The Spaniard will start from the third row in sixth place, while the Brazilian is sixteenth on row 8.
Qualifying is always one of the most manic and tense parts of a Grand Prix weekend, with tyre changes often made during the session in true race configuration in the pit lane, rather than the more relaxed method of pulling the cars into the garage. On top of that, fuel loads have to be precisely calculated, so that you have just enough to do the number of laps your plan demands, without having too much, so that the weight penalty slows you down. When it’s wet, the tension and complication all goes up a notch or two and the fact that the level of rain kept changing made life even tougher for everyone today.
In fact, the track seemed dry enough for slicks as the cars left the pits for the start of Q1, but it only took less than a lap for all the drivers to report that they had no grip as the rain intensified. Everyone dashed back into the pits to fit intermediates, the only tyre that would be used for the rest of the afternoon. In the Scuderia Ferrari garage it was clear that getting the rain tyres up to the right operating temperature was proving tricky and certainly didn’t help Fernando’s chances, although as usual the Spaniard gave it his all. Felipe was also fighting his car’s lack of grip and he got caught out when he clipped a white painted line at the side of the track, just as he was braking. Painted lines, rain and braking make a famously strong cocktail in motor racing and there is usually one outcome, a spinning car. So the unfortunate Brazilian had a third successive accident following the two in Monaco and will have an uphill fight as he tries to head for the points zone from the back end of the grid. But with dry weather forecast, slower cars ahead of him and a track where overtaking was even possible in the days before DRS, he has every chance of salvaging something from his Canadian weekend.
Fernando also expects to go on the attack when the lights go out at 14h00 on Sunday and he too has cars ahead of him that probably can’t match the pace of the F138. That probably doesn’t apply to the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel, who broke the recent Mercedes stranglehold on pole, even if Lewis Hamilton starts alongside him for the Anglo-German team. On a day that was full of surprises, the biggest one is surely the fact that in third spot on the grid is Valtteri Bottas in the Williams. Alongside him is Nico Rosberg in the other Mercedes, while Fernando has Mark Webber on his inside in fifth place for Red Bull.
Montreal, 8 June – Fernando Alonso finished sixth in today’s qualifying at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit. Felipe Massa had an unlucky afternoon ending his qualifying in Q2 when he went off the track and is down in sixteenth spot.
The poor weather we have experienced this weekend continued throughout all of qualifying and the tension was palpable right from the start of Q1, a part of proceedings the top teams usually feel quite comfortable about. At the green light, the drivers set off on dry tyres, but it was clear after just a few corners that intermediates were the correct choice. With rain still falling, Alonso was second with Massa a good fifth. It was still a case of intermediates even though the rain intensified in Q2 and two laps from the end, Massa lost control of the car under braking for turn 3 and ended in the barriers, while Alonso was second again.
In Q3, all ten cars were still on intermediates, with Alonso doing his first run on a used set, then with three minutes to go he went out with his last set of new tyres. The rain intensified towards the end making it impossible to improve on the times set earlier. Pole position went to Sebastian in the Red Bull in a time of 1.25.425.
Montreal, 8 June – The third and final free practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix only lasted 30 minutes instead of an hour as a damaged crash barrier had to be repaired, before the cars were allowed out on track. In the damp and tricky conditions on the Ile Notre Dame, Mark Webber was quickest for Red Bull in a time of 1.17.895, followed by the Force India of Adrian Sutil (1.18.248) and Lewis Hamilton (1.18.732) in the Mercedes. The Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were fourth and eighth respectively in times of 1.18.977 and 1.19.750. They both only got in a short but vital final run on the Supersoft tyres as the track gradually dried out, having started out on rain tyres. The Spaniard did 10 laps in his F138, while the Brazilian completed one less, as they worked on finding the best set-up for qualifying and the race.
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|
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.
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.
Ile Notre Dame, 6 June – Facing the media for his usual Thursday meeting, Fernando Alonso was very clear on what he and the Scuderia has to do this weekend. “We were hoping for some consistent results, but in Monaco we did not pick up so many points, so now we need four or five races on the podium or at least very near the podium in order to recover some of the points we have lost,” was his assessment of the challenges that lie ahead in the short term for Ferrari. “All the races are different and unique and this weekend will be a tricky one with the weather conditions. Anything can happen especially in the wet and we saw in qualifying in Monaco, that when the rain came it was chaotic: it means that if you are not on track at the end if the track is drying, or if you have a problem with a yellow flag or you make a small mistake, then you are out. So it will be a case of maximum concentration to do well here and also in the coming races, at Silverstone, Germany and Hungary. So every Thursday it will be a case of saying the same thing, ‘we must score good points.’”
Although he clearly has so much natural talent and ability to count on, the Ferrari man still sees luck as playing a part in the championship. “We have had some unlucky situations this year, like when I had a slight touch in Malaysia which put me out of the race, while we have seen for example Hamilton and Vettel touching in Barcelona and they were both able to continue,” he said. “However, in Monaco it was simply a case of not having the pace. At this stage of the season, we have two more points than last year when we were leading the championship, so in a way we are doing a little bit better than last year. What is not so normal is the amount of points Sebastian (Vettel) has scored in the last six races – a lot! We need to try and finish in front of him, because everyone has bad luck at some point and it will come to him as well. Kimi had his bad luck in Monaco with the accident, so that we are now only five points behind him.”
Every once in a while, Fernando is asked to assess his team-mate and today was one of those occasions: “Felipe is a very talented driver; you don’t get to drive for Ferrari for eight seasons if you don’t have the talent to do it,” began the Spaniard. “Then, there’s the commitment and the hard work with the team, as it’s not just a case of driving on Sundays, as Felipe works hard all year with the engineers in the factory. This year, he has returned to a very competitive level and is really strong and we both work together for the team and the fight for the two championships.”
As for the complicated Canadian track, it has not always delivered for the Ferrari man. “It’s true we’ve never had really great results here,” commented Fernando. “Some of the inconsistency was down to strange circumstances, but it’s a circuit that’s a little bit tricky to understand, as it changes all through the weekend: not just the surface but also the wind can change a lot which affects your braking points, plus there is no room for mistakes, just like at a street circuit with the walls so close, but hopefully this year we can do a bit better.”
Ile Notre Dame, 6 June – There are several aspects of the Gilles Villeneuve circuit in Montreal that remind one of the “good old days” of Formula 1 and holding the FIA press conference in a tent is certainly one of them! Today, Felipe Massa was one of the six drivers on the panel and the first topic for him was his unfortunate Monaco weekend. “I am one hundred percent fine,” he reassured the media about his physical condition. “The two accidents looked very similar from the outside but were completely different in their cause. In the first one, I locked up over the bumps, went straight on and hit the guard rail, whereas the second one was down to suspension failure. I did have a slight pain in the neck, which is normal if you have two accidents in two days with the impact going in the same direction, but it was only muscular pain and it’s gone now. And my confidence has not been affected by these incidents.”
After a poor showing in the Principality, it goes without saying that the Scuderia is hoping to return to more competitive form. “This is an important weekend for us,” agreed Felipe. “I hope that everyone, me, Fernando and the team, can do well and fight for the podium again.” Asked if there was a specific reason why he has never got a podium in Canada, the Ferrari man had no simple answer. “I don’t know, there’s no particular reason. Last year I was quick, but had a spin, but I do know I will be trying a hundred percent to change that situation this time!” Perhaps that’s why the Brazilian also struggled a bit to remember a “favourite memory” of Montreal, when asked by a local reporter. “Maybe my fourth place in 2004 with Sauber when I had a good race.”
As a few drops of rain began to fall while the conference was in progress, the topic of the experimental Medium Pirellis was raised, as each driver will have a couple of additional sets of these to test in free practice this weekend. “Rain is forecast for the next two days, so I am not sure how useful they will be!” said Felipe. “Even in the dry, this is a difficult track to use for tyre evaluation, particularly because the grip level increases a lot as the weekend goes on, so it might be difficult to draw an accurate conclusion.” Still on the subject of testing, there was a final question regarding the pros and cons of using simulation versus testing on track. “A simulator is useful, but it is just a simulator,” was the Brazilian’s view. “But with real testing on a track, you always understand better what the car is doing.”
Montreal, 6 June – Fernando Alonso’s Canadian weekend got underway with a Shell event aimed at the local media. Having arrived yesterday in the city for the seventh round of the Formula 1 World Championship, the Ferrari man was a guest of the Maranello Scuderia’s long time technical partner and his task was to prepare a cocktail, no ordinary one though. This one included ingredients to represent the components of Shell’s V-Power Premium, its most advanced fuel for the motorist. Fernando was helped by Shell engineers before chatting with the guests about the upcoming race. The Spaniard always enjoys racing at this historic circuit, named in honour of Gilles Villeneuve, but he would not be drawn into making predictions for Sunday, because of the uncertainty over the weather here.
Maranello, 4 June – After the first four races of the year, the talk is always of the start of the European part of the season, but in among the seven races that are still run on the Old Continent, there is one brief and entertaining interlude that sees everyone head across The Pond for the Canadian Grand Prix. It’s a long-time fixture on the Championship calendar and a very popular one too, with Montreal hosting the race for the thirty fourth time this year, out of a total of 44 races held on Canadian soil.After a poor showing in the last race, this weekend’s seventh round of the world championship will be a very important one for Scuderia Ferrari. “The Monaco GP was not an easy weekend for the team,” admits Team Principal Stefano Domenicali. “Since then, we have been working hard; first of all studying all the data to see why we had not performed as expected and from that point, we have been looking ahead, setting up the cars in the completely different configuration required of Montreal, as we go from the highest downforce track of the year to the one where we will use the least downforce of any track we have visited so far this season.” In the case of Massa’s car, this involved building it around a completely new chassis, following his accident in the race. Choosing the best set-up for the cars also took into account the fact that Pirelli has chosen its Medium and Supersoft compounds, while the tyre manufacturer will also be supplying two sets of a new Medium construction to each driver to evaluate in free practice. “Of course we also focussed on the problems we had with reliability, which absolutely had to be resolved,” adds Domenicali. “What is sure is that the team is completely motivated and we are determined to regard what happened in Monaco as an isolated incident.”
Therefore when assessing the prospects for the F138 at the semi-permanent track on the Ile Notre Dame, just outside the Montreal city centre, Domenicali prefers to take an optimistic view. “Looking at the first six races overall, our car has proved to be strong with very good characteristics in the majority of cases, even if, at times, other teams have proved to be faster. I think the Montreal circuit should allow us to exploit those strong points such as braking, which is a key factor at this track, so let’s hope that works in our favour. However, on the other hand, we must ensure we keep working on the areas where our car is not yet where it should be.”
The Canadians cannot be described as “arriviste” F1 fans as the early races in the mid Sixties already drew big crowds, but it’s fair to say that their enthusiasm for this European form of “auto racing,” as they like to call it this side of the Atlantic, reached new levels when the mercurial Gilles Villeneuve came on the scene. Indeed the venue for this race is named after him. At the time that Gilles was racing, our current Team Principal was just a fan from the town of Imola. “As a kid, I was part of the crowd at Imola, a circuit that played its part in the history of Formula 1 and when I was a schoolboy I would get work helping the organisation at the circuit,” recalls Domenicali. “But I remember Gilles as a great driver, a great personality and a man of passion who was always able to inspire and enthuse all Ferrari fans and everyone who followed Formula 1 at that time.” Last year, Ferrari organised a special tribute to Gilles in the thirtieth anniversary year of his death and son Jacques drove one of his father’s cars at Ferrari’s Fiorano track. “I remember Jacques as the man who beat Michael Schumacher in Jerez to take the world championship title in 1997,” says Domenicali. “He changed during the time he was driving, because I think at first he wanted to appear to be something he wasn’t, because of the weight he carried on his shoulders of being his father’s son. But as time went by, he began to realise that was normal and something of which he could be proud. When Jacques drove his father’s Ferrari last year, the most emotional aspect was to see all the mechanics working on the car, those who used to work with Gilles and to see the car itself being driven once again. It gave us a glimpse into what the atmosphere of our sport must have been like at that time.” It was a completely different era back then, but Domenicali sees one constant factor: “Formula 1 has changed in terms of the technology and the working methods and that is normal, but when one talks about Formula 1 in the Fifties or in 2013 the one constant is that one is still talking about Ferrari.”
Maranello, 3 June – No other name sums up the relationship between Ferrari and Canada better than that of Gilles Villeneuve. He never won a world championship nor did he rack up a host of wins; just six Grand Prix victories came his way and yet Gilles is part of the Prancing Horse’s history and its soul and he has a special place in the heart of all its fans. His talent, speed, courage, bordering on the reckless made him immortal in the public psyche, in Maranello and around the world, but especially in his Canadian homeland, which has hosted a round of the Formula 1 World Championship almost uninterrupted for over thirty years and a total of 43 times to date.
Therefore, it’s entirely logical that the track that has hosted the Canadian Grand Prix since 1978, situated on the Ile Notre Dame, in Montreal’s Saint Lawrence Seaway, is named after Villeneuve. And history relates that he was the one to take the victory on its debut year, when he also took his maiden Formula 1 win at the wheel of a Ferrari 312 T3: one can only imagine how happy Gilles must have been to achieve that in front of his home crowd.
Prior to 1978, there had been ten Canadian Grands Prix, dating back to 1967. Over the first four years, the race alternated between Mosport, Ontario and Mont Tremblant, Quebec. It was on this latter track in 1970 that the Scuderia took its first Canadian win, courtesy of Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni securing a nice one-two finish. From 1971, it stayed at Mosport until 1977, the year in which, still on the theme of Gilles, he made his debut at the wheel of a Ferrari.
The Scuderia has won this event eleven times. Apart from the aforementioned victories courtesy of Ickx and Villeneuve, flying the Maranello flag from the top of the podium have been Rene Arnoux (1983,) Michele Alboreto (1985,) Jean Alesi (1995) and Michael Schumacher (1997, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004.) Particularly significant, at least on an emotional level was Alesi’s triumph, the Frenchman’s only Formula 1 win which came on 11th June, which just happened to be his thirty first birthday. Apart from 1970, Ferrari posted a one-two finish a further three times: in 1985 when Stefan Johansson was runner-up to Alboreto and in 2000 and 2004, when Rubens Barrichello crossed the line behind team-mate Michael Schumacher. However, that was the last time a Prancing Horse car has won here and since then it hasn’t been too lucky, with only one Maranello driver making it to the podium – Alonso third in 2010 – even if the team has usually been pretty competitive. The Spaniard won here in 2006, but apart from the aforementioned third place in 2010, he has failed to make it to the podium in his other eight starts. Massa’s record is even worse, never having made it to the top three from nine starts.
After Monaco and its Casino, the circus moves on to Montreal which also boasts a Casino, actually inside the semi-permanent island circuit, but the wheel of fortune has usually turned the wrong way for Ferrari. It’s to be expected that strange things can happen in a race usually subject to changing weather or the appearance of the Safety Car, but the most bizarre, not to say grotesque incident, has to be the one that caught out Kimi Raikkonen in 2008, when he was hit by Lewis Hamilton, while waiting at the end of pit lane as the red light was showing. That day, a return to winning ways at Gilles’ circuit was on the cards: let’s hope this weekend could be the good one!