Ferrari is pinning its hopes on gaining an advantage from its KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) technology in the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this weekend – as it limits its race day hopes to 'points' rather than the podium or victory in the wake of a disappointing qualifying result Down Under.
Neither of the two scarlet F60s have featured right up at the shape end of proceedings at any stage over the Albert Park meeting so far, and that trend continued into qualifying, with flashes of form here and there from both drivers, but ultimately lap times that left them in the lower reaches of the top ten.
Seventh and ninth until the disqualification of the Toyota duo elevated them to sixth and seventh respectively, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen wound up just over a tenth apart from each other and both almost a full second adrift of the pace-setting Brawn GP machine of Jenson Button – and, as it would transpire, lighter on fuel to-boot [see separate story – click here
“We reckoned it would be possible but very difficult to get into the top five and this turned out to be the case,” the Brazilian mused afterwards. “It is definitely not very satisfying, but it represents the best we could do this afternoon.
“Now we must concentrate on tomorrow's race, which will be extremely tough. The first round of the season here in Australia is always a step into the unknown, especially as the track is slippery and accidents are a strong possibility. We will try to get to the finish and pick up as many points as possible.”
“This morning, a hydraulic problem meant I pretty much missed out on the third free practice session,” added former Formula 1 World Champion Raikkonen. “[That was] a shame, but better that this should happen on Saturday than Sunday. The car was far from ideal for qualifying, but I think we are in pretty good shape for the race.
“A points finish is possible, even if we could have been further up the grid. From what we have seen today, clearly we lack a bit of performance compared to the quickest guys, but the race will be very long and we will see what we can manage to do.”
management were similarly disappointed by the outcome, but they can at least take comfort from the fact that if things are bad at Maranello, then they are considerably worse at Woking, headquarters of arch-rivals McLaren-Mercedes.
“We cannot be happy with this result,” underlined team principal Stefano Domenicali. “We knew that, apart from one team that today seems to be out of reach of the rest, in terms of pure performance there were various teams that could aspire to being near the front of the grid.