Circuit de Catalunya
"Without downforce, you can't go forward. In Barcelona, Fernando's talent was not enough"
The Spanish Grand Prix ended with just a fifth place for Fernando Alonso. Unfortunately, this race also featured the team’s first retirement of the season, when Felipe Massa stopped on track with a gearbox problem. After five races Fernando is still fifth in the Drivers’ classification on 51 points, while Felipe stays on 24 and drops down to eighth. The Scuderia is third in the Constructors’ classification.
“There is no denying that being lapped hurts. It’s even more painful after seeing a driver of Fernando’s calibre putting on such a breathtaking display at the start and then fighting like a lion to keep drivers with clearly faster cars behind him for almost twenty laps. We need to provide him and Felipe with a car with which they can fight all the way to the end of a race and not just in the first part.
On a track that favours cars that have a lot of aerodynamic downforce, ours are lacking in this area and that was glaringly obvious, especially on the new hard tyres brought here by Pirelli. We never managed to get this type of tyre to work and our pace was at least two seconds off that of the first four. What to do now? Continue to work on improving the car and finding the aerodynamic downforce that is lacking. We now go into a run of three races which will see the use of the soft and supersoft tyres: we will see what happens and assess the situation at that point.”
“The best bit of the race was obviously the start. We have worked so much on this area and you could see the outcome. It was fantastic to see the crowd cheering in the grandstands! I tried to do the maximum, keeping the quickest ones behind me for around twenty laps, but after that, there was nothing I could do. It was very stressful having them filling my mirrors all the time and we tried as much as possible to copy or anticipate their moves. That meant doing over the half the race on the hards, which penalised us heavily and made the gap bigger than it is in reality.
We did not have a wing that suited this track
We lack aerodynamic downforce: here we did not have a wing that suited this track. We must analyse carefully the behaviour of all the modifications we brought to this Grand Prix and understand why, in the space of two weeks, we have lost ground to Red Bull and McLaren. Now we head off to Monaco immediately for what is a special race on the calendar. Anything could happen there. Sure, we know the amount of downforce required at this track is the highest of the year, but that was also the case last year and we were competitive. I am definitely not thinking of giving up on the championship after just five races: the gap in the classification is very big, but everything can still happen, I’m sure of it.”
“Towards the end of the race I could not select the gears and I had to stop at the side of the track: it was a fitting end to a terrible weekend. Luckily, we can start again immediately, with the Monaco race, which is something of a second home race for me, given that I live in the Principality. Also luckily, we will not have the hard tyres we had today that really did not work for us. When we went from the option to the prime we began to suffer more and more: there was no grip and I was struggling to keep the car on track. Thanks to the strategy, we had managed to pass the Mercedes and Petrov’s Renault, but it all came to nothing in the end. We did not have enough aerodynamic downforce to get the hard tyres to work properly, as indeed we have already seen at other races, but here it was even more of a problem.”
“Yesterday, a fantastic lap from Fernando had seen us for the first time get a place on the two front rows of the grid. Today, the Spaniard did it again with an incredible start, which took him into the lead, putting him into a position that was clearly superior to the objective worth of our package. On the soft tyres we could keep the best cars behind us, but then on the hard we did not stand a chance and we could only think of defending our position.
Clearly we did not expect to be this far off in terms of race pace
Here, Red Bull and McLaren were clearly quicker than us and it was only down to Fernando’s talent that we managed to hold them off in the first part of the race. We did not have enough aerodynamic downforce for this circuit and we could see that right from the start of the weekend, but clearly we did not expect to be this far off in terms of race pace. There is a lot to do to make this car more competitive: we have made a step forward but it has not been enough to let us fight all the way to the end for the top places. From a strategy point of view I think we made the right choices, trying to cover our main rivals throughout the whole race. Sure, it put the pit stop guys under a lot of pressure, pushing it to the limit, usually with a rival car in the pit lane at the same time: all in all, they did a good job.”