Valencia Street Circuit
Off on the right foot in Valencia
A reasonable start to the Valencia weekend, which kicks off a very busy cycle of four races in five weeks. Allowing for all the usual unknown factors on a Friday –different work schedules and fuel loads – the two Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro drivers displayed a good level of competitiveness in both sessions. Fernando Alonso was quickest in FP2, having been third in FP1, while Felipe Massa was sixth in the morning and fifth in the afternoon.
“Overall, a positive start to this Valencia weekend, my second home race. We got through all our planned programme, working mainly on tyres, where the chief element at this Grand Prix is the first appearance of the Medium. It was important that we were able to do so many laps, because on a circuit like this one, getting a lot of kilometres under your belt helps you gain confidence in the car, looking for the limits and thereby improving performance. The track characteristics are well suited to our car, but it is too early to say where we are compared to the others.
Already, in the past, we have gone well on the first day only to see ourselves losing out by a second in qualifying, therefore I don’t even want to consider today’s time sheet. In FP1 and FP2 you try so many things and the track changes very quickly – even more so on a street circuit like this one – so it is really impossible to make predictions. The car seems to handle well, therefore we can tackle qualifying with confidence, aware that we are up against very strong rivals: it’s not by chance that Red Bull have always taken pole in the first seven races of the year and clearly they are still the favourites. Overtaking here will be easier than in Monaco, but grid position will nevertheless be important.”
“I’d say it was a good day, better than many other Fridays this season. From what we could understand after three hours of free practice, the car is pretty competitive and I don’t expect the situation to be that different to the one we saw two weeks ago in Canada. It’s true it is only Friday, but at least it’s a positive start! The tyres worked well: both the Prime and the Option delivered more grip than we had been expecting going into the weekend.
Sure, there’s a big difference between the two compounds, but the Medium, with higher temperatures than we saw in Canada, did not do badly. Now we must make the right decision regarding set-up on the car for the next two days. The car balance is not yet perfect – for example we are still locking the fronts too often under braking – but we are working in the right direction. Let’s hope we can put up a fight in qualifying, just as we did in Canada.”
We must try and improve our performance in the third and final sector of the track
“Another busy day’s work, divided up as usual into working on development of new solutions and preparing for the race weekend. The track was not as dirty as expected, which allowed us to gather a lot of interesting data to evaluate over the next few hours in order to define our technical choices for the next two days. We still have to fine tune the car, so it is still a bit early to say if we will be as competitive as we were over the past two races. In particular, we must try and improve our performance in the third and final sector of the track. The Medium compound tyre makes its debut here: from what we could see, it offers less grip than the Soft, which is the other tyre for this Grand Prix, but we have not yet found out how it lasts over a long run as we worked mainly with the Option, as did so many other teams.”