Ferrari press release
Determination not enough: only fourth for Alonso at Spa, Massa finishes eighth after a puncture
Scuderia Ferrari and Fernando Alonso’s run of four consecutive podium finishes came to an end at Spa-Francorchamps, even though the Spaniard fought right to the last lap for a top three result, before having to settle for fourth place. Felipe Massa’s race was ruined by an unexpected puncture which meant he had to make an unplanned stop on his way to finishing eighth. Fernando made two pit stops: having started on the Soft tyres, he then fitted a second set of Soft and one of the Medium. Felipe also started on the Softs and initially followed a similar strategy, except that he had to fit an additional set of the Mediums, because of the aforementioned puncture.
“It would have been difficult to do better than this fourth place today, especially given how much we suffered on the Medium tyres: in these conditions, we are a second and a half slower than the best. Honestly, I didn’t think I had a real chance of winning, but a podium was within our grasp. The strategy saw me lead in the early stages, but then, we knew that in the final part, we would have struggled more. I had fun in the first stint: the start was good and then I had some nice duels. A shame about the podium: it was our target and was possible, despite qualifying eighth yesterday. Compared to the gap we saw yesterday in qualifying, the situation was very different today, but we are well aware that, with temperatures which were definitely not very hot for summer time, we paid too high a price. At the moment, we must congratulate our opponents, who are doing a fantastic job, but we will not give up, at least until the mathematics tell us otherwise: we will always try and win, giving it our best shot, starting in Monza, a very special event for Ferrari and for all its fans, and then in all the other remaining races this season.”
“It was rather a strange race for me. In the opening phase I was absolutely in the fight for the top places, but then I started to have tyre problems and the car seemed to no longer be so well balanced. With the Mediums, the situation improved, maybe also down to an adjustment to the front wing which we made at the pit stop, but we were not quick enough, as was clearly evident and by then it was too late. On top of that, I also had a puncture on the left rear tyre which meant I had to make another stop. When I found myself behind Rosberg, I could not pass him, despite the DRS, because their top speed is very good. Furthermore, I was struggling especially in the slowest corners – the final chicane and La Source – and that stopped me from getting as good a tow as possible. The next event is the home race for the team, but it is also very important for me and I really want to get a good result there.”
“We definitely cannot claim to be happy with this result, but we must evaluate it objectively, without letting emotion get the better of us. We saw our car perform in two different ways, depending on what tyres it was running: very good on the Soft, especially with Fernando, but definitely lacking with the Medium.
We must evaluate it objectively, without letting emotion get the better of us
This explains how Fernando, who delivered an extraordinary performance, taking the lead and fighting for the win in the first stint, then gradually saw what would have been a very well deserved podium place slip from his grasp. Felipe began his race in a very aggressive fashion, but then he paid an even heavier price for our chronic difficulties on the harder tyre. The Safety Car definitely did not help, coming out just as our main rivals were struggling the most, which meant they could make up for their initial handicap. We know what is our Achilles Heel and we have to continue to work on it: we have made up ground in some areas, but on this one – I refer to the ideal window of operation for the tyres – we are still lagging behind. Now we go to Monza, our home race: our objective is unchanged, which means trying to win. I am convinced we can be on the pace, while aware of the fact we are up against very strong opponents.”
“We are not happy and how could we be at the end of a race in which we were fighting for a podium finish right up to the final stages. Unfortunately, we are still seeing a drop in performance on the hard compound tyres, which is too much when up against our main rivals.
Unfortunately, we are still seeing a drop in performance on the hard compound tyres
It’s a problem we have still not managed to fix and which is even more accentuated once the temperature is rather low. It’s disappointing for our drivers, as we have not been able to put them in a position to fight at their best in every type of condition. From a strategic point of view, certainly the arrival on track of the Safety Car did not work in our favour and I don’t think that we could have made any different choices compared to the ones we went with. If Fernando had copied Vettel, he would have come back out on track in traffic and would have lost the chance to attack for the top spot. After that, there was no point splitting the second part of Fernando’s race in two, thus using a third and final set of Softs, because we would definitely have finished fourth with no hope of fighting for something better. Now we must prepare as well as possible for Monza, the Scuderia’s home race.”