Shanghai, 14 April – just four days on from talking to the media in Sepang, after the Malaysian Grand, Fernando Alonso faced them again in the even more modern and gigantic surroundings of the Shanghai circuit. If it’s impossible to review a season after just two races, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro man was asked to do so. “I agree we have had a difficult start to the season,” began the Spaniard.
“The problem is we are not quick enough, for reasons we do not yet know. But we do know we need to work, because there are no secrets in Formula 1 and aerodynamics is still the main factor influencing performance. If there is still some gap between us and the leaders, it’s because we need to improve mainly in that area. The championship is long, so now is the time to score as many points as possible and then, when we have a completely different car we will need to deliver the wins. But at the moment, we need to be more realistic, be honest with ourselves and think of the podium as our main target.”
Inevitably, tyres are still one of the main topics intriguing the media and Fernando duly obliged with his views on the subject. “In qualifying we struggle a bit more than in the race, for different reasons,” he said. “I do not believe it is down to tyre temperature, as with new tyres everyone can do a good lap, but in the race in Malaysia it was harder to deliver 58 laps in qualifying mode. It’s true that you can find a different pace between two different sets of the same type of tyre, but in Malaysia this was down to the track first getting better and then worse with marbles off line. We are learning more about the tyres after two races: in Malaysia we were prepared for up to four tyre changes and we can have a better race here as that understanding increases.”
The Ferrari man hopes the Shanghai track might suit the 150º Italia better than the first two venues. “With only four days since Malaysia, the cars will be very similar, so I expect another difficult weekend. But, this is a different circuit and last year we saw differences from car to car between circuits. Hopefully this will be a good one for us, allowing us to be closer to the front in qualifying and especially in the race, which is the most important as it’s on Sunday afternoon you get the points.” As for the problem that prevented him from using the moveable rear wing for much of the last race, Fernando explained that had now been analysed and fixed.
This track should be a good test of the DRS with the long straight
“This track should be a good test of the DRS with the long straight at this circuit and it will be interesting to see how many overtaking moves there are,” reckoned the Ferrari driver. “We have sorted the problem we had with an hydraulic connector which gave us the problem in Malaysia.” As for his penalty in Sepang, he did not want to comment directly, sticking to this general remark. “I think the stewards always work with safety in mind, in F1 and on the road and I think we are reaching a level of consistency in their decisions. This is a line they will follow all season so we need to keep it in mind.”