It was a dreadful Friday for Ferrari at Abu Dhabi as the team could manage no better than ninth fastest across the two sessions around the Yas Marina circuit, displaying a severe lack of pace that if not overcome on Saturday, could spell the end of the team’s hopes of securing second in the Constructor’s Championship this season.
Fernando Alonso, who could only manage twelfth and ninth fastest across the two sessions on Friday was left confused by the team’s apparent lack of pace around the Yas Marina circuit, declaring that the only upside to come from the days running was the assurance that the blistering that affected both Ferrari’s in India should not be a problem here in Abu Dhabi.
“Compared to other Fridays, today we were a bit less competitive than usual and now we need to work out if that is down to the fact that the track characteristics do not suit our car, or if it’s a question of set-up.
“The tyres work better here than in India, where they suffered a lot from blistering in the fast corners, while here they are better, especially at night when the temperature drops.
Despite Friday’s setbacks, with the Scuderia seemingly unable to match the pace of either of its rivals Lotus or Mercedes, the Spaniard remains bullish over his team’s chances of remaining in the fight for second in the constructors’ championship throughout the rest of the weekend.
“Unfortunately, in performance terms, we are behind our rivals for second place in the Constructors’ classification. Compared to the start of the year, they have improved and will be difficult to beat, but tomorrow we will make some changes and will do our utmost because we absolutely don’t want to give up the fight”.
Felipe Massa, who was just 17th in the first session, before improving to 10th fastest as the darkness descended on FP2 , experienced similar issues to his team-mate in the sister F138, explaining that the team had been left unsure over which set-up option to pursue due to the highly differing nature of the two sessions on Friday.
“Today we got through the entire programme we had planned for this day, concentrating on set-up and the behaviour of the two Pirelli compounds.
“At the moment, I am not very pleased with the car’s behaviour, as we are not as competitive as I’d expected to be.
“On this track, we found ourselves running in daytime in the sunshine, with very high temperatures, with the conditions changing completely in the evening and in this situation, it’s not easy to understand which direction to go in.
Like his team-mate, the Brazilian remains hopeful that the Scuderia can find an answer to their Friday woes before qualifying.
“Now we will try and work out how to improve the car’s performance for tomorrow’s qualifying, which we know won’t be easy, but we’ll give it our best shot”.
Ferrari’s Director of Engineering, Pat Fry, admitted that the team had been left bewildered by the substantial difference in performance between the soft and medium compound Pirelli’s – around two seconds – but was adamant that the team would do all it could overnight to provide a solution to the problems experiences by Alonso and Massa on Friday.
Image courtesy of Pirelli Media