Malaysian GP - Aero testing in Malaysia - 4.12.2011
Sepang, 8 April - It might seem strange for the official Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro press release to talk about the team having had a busy Friday, doing a lot of work. After all, isn’t that what preparing for a Grand Prix should be all about? Yes, but with factors such as tracks being green and a bit dirty on the first day and a need to conserve tyres and look after engine mileage, it is not always the case that cars run all the time during Friday’s three hours of free practice.
However, having analysed all the data from the opening round of the season in Australia a fortnight ago, the engineers had come up with a very long job list to work through today, adding aerodynamic evaluations to the usual tasks of set-up and tyre comparison. Over a hundred laps between Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa delivered a lot of answers, but they also confirmed that the situation has not changed significantly in terms of the order among the teams, with two of Ferrari’s rivals, Red Bull and McLaren still having the edge over the F150º Italia cars. In fact Felipe Massa ended the day with the sixth fastest time and Fernando Alonso was ninth, although both men encountered traffic on their quick laps.
Mark Webber topped the time sheet for Red Bull Racing, ahead of the McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, while reigning world champion, Sebastian Vettel was fourth, with another German who happens to have six more world championship titles than the Red Bull man, Michael Schumacher, fifth for Mercedes ahead of Felipe. There remains one more hour of free practice, starting tomorrow at 13h00, before qualifying at 16h00. There is a heavy chance of rain for the grid-deciding session, although it has to be said that, at least ninety minutes after that time on Friday, the track was still dry, so maybe a wet track is not as much of a foregone conclusion as the pundits are predicting.