Fernando Alonso has said there is 'no point getting angry', despite a bitterly disappointing qualifying session today in Australia for the Scuderia.
Ferrari was well off the pace in final practice this morning and qualifying didn't see an upturn in fortunes for the Maranello-based outfit either. Indeed while Alonso got through Q1 with no problem, he made a critical error in Q2, spinning off and into the gravel. Having beached his car, he then had to sit out the remainder of the session, leaving him down in twelfth place on the grid.
With Felipe Massa also struggling in the sister F2012, and only just making it through to Q2, there was little to smile about on that side of the garage too. The Brazilian eventually qualified in 16th.
“It went like this: I got a bit on the grass under braking, the car took off on its own and I found myself in the gravel,” Alonso recounted. “I had managed to keep the engine running and was hoping the marshals would be able to push me back on track. I had done my time on used Softs: maybe with a new set I could have made it through to Q3, but I would not have been able to fight for the front rows.
“Today, we lacked performance, especially because we did not have enough aerodynamic downforce and we are still lacking in top speed. Tomorrow we will be racing defensively and will try and do what we can, hopefully making the most of having four sets of new tyres. Let's hope for a good start in order to catch those who are a few rows ahead of us and then fight with them to the end.
“Here, at the end of qualifying last year, we were 1”4 off the pace, while today, in Q2 it was 1”, therefore hypothetically one could say we are more competitive than we were back then. Sure, there are other teams that have made progress, but I think we have plenty of room for improvement.”
Alonso also warned that there will be no quick fixes: “In Malaysia, we will have the same car, therefore the situation won't change much. We will just have to see how it will adapt to the track characteristics there,” he continued.
“It's true our target at the start of the year was to fight for the win right from the beginning and we have not managed that, but this will be a long season and all we can do is work on improving performance. There's no point getting angry as it does not serve any purpose.”
Massa meanwhile was similarly frustrated, but while Alonso could blame an error for his lowly grid position, the same could not be said for the Brazilian.
“I am very disappointed: this is not the start to the season I was expecting or hoping for. It was difficult right from the start of FP3: the balance of the car was never what I wanted and I never managed to get a clean lap,” he groaned. “I was always lacking grip, both on the Mediums and the Softs and I suffered with oversteer on entry and understeer on exit. I don't know why, but the car seemed to be worse than in winter testing, maybe down to the characteristics of this circuit.
“Now we will try and do what we can in the race tomorrow. It will not be easy, because I will start from a long way back, but I will give it my all. I don't think we'll be able to do just a single stop, but will have to try and make up the ground lost today in qualifying. Clearly we are behind, maybe more than we had expected and there are other teams that have improved a lot compared to last year. We must work to find the right direction for developing the car.”