Despite bringing five new upgrades, Ferrari suffered in the Chinese Grand Prix, with Alonso starting and finishing nineth, while Massa fell back from twelfth to thirteenth.
Ferrari would have been hoping for an improvement in race form compared to qualifying, and in some ways that is true, but they failed to capitalise on this.
Alonso went into this Formula 1 race ahead of the F1 Drivers’ Championship, but now lies third. Massa has still yet to score any points in any of the three races this year, which will put even larger question marks over his future in the Italian team.
Fernando Alonso: “We knew this would be a difficult race and that’s how it turned out. We were always in traffic, without an opportunity to exploit the car’s potential and when you are behind other cars, the tyres get worn much more easily. Choosing to do three stops clearly meant we would be forced to do some overtaking, but with the top speed we had, it turned out to be almost impossible on the main straight, so I had to invent some overtaking moves at other points on the track, where I could make better use of the car. Obviously, this does not leave me very optimistic for Bahrain, on a track where traction and speed are vital, exactly the areas where we are weakest. Once again next week it will be mainly a case of damage limitation… In Spain we will have major updates but so will the others and so it’s not that I’m expecting a miracle of going one second quicker than the others.”
Felipe Massa: “I tried to do my best in a very close fought race. Sure, thirteenth place is not something I can be happy about, but I think that as far as my race was concerned, this was a step forward compared to the first two races of the season. At least I managed to run a normal race and I know I did everything that I could. The decision to make two stops was the right one, given my position, but maybe, in the light of how the race went, it would have been better to stop at different times: however, that’s easy to say now, after the chequered flag. Each and every time I found myself in traffic and paid for the lack of top speed, one of the major problems with our car at the moment. The Sakhir circuit, for the next round of the championship, does not look like being very favourable for us… it is a race where I have always done well, but I’m not under any illusions…”
Stefano Domenicali: “There’s no point denying we are disappointed. We had the potential to get a better result than this, but we did not manage it. The lack of top speed, one of the weak points of this F2012, prevented Fernando especially of making the most of a strategy, which at one point, had put him in a situation where he could fight for a place in the top five. Felipe went for a two stopper, counting on others having higher tyre degradation, but this only turned out to be the case for a few cars… At this stage, we must do the maximum on track and exploit every opportunity, but the most important work is that done in Maranello, especially on the aerodynamic development. We need to accelerate the introduction of updates and change gear…”
Source: Scuderia Ferrari