Fernando fastest Valencia, 25 June - After yesterday's disappointment at watching Italy get knocked out of the football World Cup, today the Scuderia's total focus, as always in fact, was on preparing for Sunday's race. While taking into account...
Valencia, 25 June - After yesterday's disappointment at watching Italy get knocked out of the football World Cup, today the Scuderia's total focus, as always in fact, was on preparing for Sunday's race. While taking into account all the usual Friday unknowns, regarding what programme the other top teams are running, the European GP campaign seems to have got off to a good start for Ferrari, as Fernando Alonso ended the day fastest of the field of twenty four, while Felipe Massa, who lost some track time this afternoon, when his engine cut out after an otherwise harmless spin, requiring his F10 to be brought back to the pits on a truck, eventually got going again to post the seventh quickest time.
Today's free practice was one of the busiest of the season so far for the team, because the ban on in-season testing means that Fridays at a Grand Prix are the only real opportunity to track test new car developments and here the F10s sported several, most significantly a different design of exhaust system: no amount of wind tunnel or bench testing work can accurately replicate how something will work on track, especially with components related to heat and high temperatures as is the case with an exhaust redesign. So far, on this front at least, the new parts are working well. Evaluating the aero updates is possibly a bit harder, because the Valencia track is always very dirty for the first session of the weekend, although it improved dramatically in the afternoon: for example, Fernando was over three seconds quicker in the second session than in the first.
Following the Spanish Ferrari driver on the afternoon time sheet were the Red Bull duo, with Sebastian Vettel ahead of Mark Webber, with Nico Rosberg fourth for Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton was fifth in the McLaren, and Robert Kubica's Renault wrapped up the top six.
With several other formulae competing on the Valencia street circuit this weekend, by the time the Formula 1 cars are back in action for final free practice tomorrow morning, the track surface should be much more rubbered in, giving the team a clearer picture of what improvement the new updates on the F10 have delivered, prior to the afternoon's grid deciding qualifying session.