Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Can Ferrari bounce back?

Even the least optimistic Ferrari fan would have been hugely disappointed with their teams' showing in the Australian Grand Prix, fourth place for Alonso, half a minute off the leader, and a very anonymous performance from Massa does not constitute a good weekend.

I am no technical expert but it seemed to me that the root cause of Ferrari's issues in Australia were the cool temperatures, they appeared to have difficulty generating the necessary heat in their rubber. They were also just generally down on pace, weather it was problems in set up or a more fundamental issue is not immediately clear.

The most obvious thing Ferrari have in their favour this weekend is that Malaysia will be hot, very hot (today its 34 degrees). Its also one of Alonso's favourite circuits. So there should be fewer issues as regards warming the tyres. However the nature of the circuit is not all that different to Australia. Melbourne is a relatively high speed circuit with fast-ish corners and a couple of fiddly bits, Sepang probably places a higher premium on your car being effective through fast, sweeping bends, but its not fundamentally different, and neither is China, the next race.

So if Ferrari's problems are indeed of the fundamental kind then its difficult to see how the fortnight since Australia will have made any difference. However their winter testing pace was such that I don't buy that they have such a fundamental problem. I think it'll be a case of finding a set up which works, and quickly, and they will be back on the pace of the Mclarens, if not quite the Red Bulls. Felipe Massa pulling his finger out wouldn't hurt either.

No comments: