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No panic at Ferrari, insists Marc Gene

Ferrari's long-standing test driver Marc Gene insists that there's no panic in Maranello over Ferrari's uneven start to the 2013 campaign.
While Fernando Alonso emerged victorious in China earlier this month, overall the start of the 2013 F1 world championship has been a frustratingly patchy affair for Ferrari, which based its strong run last season on its consistency and reliability.

Instead, Alonso has already retired from one race - the second of the season in Malaysia after colliding with the rear of Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull - and then suffered a technical issue in Bahrain that left his DRS system out of action for the entire race.

That was the first problem of its kind on Ferrari's drag reduction system in the three years during which it has been used in F1. That issue has now been resolved (see separate story) and team test driver Marc Gene insists that there's no high anxiety at the team's headquarters in Italy as the F1 roadshow heads back to Europe.

"Despite what happened the other day, the atmosphere at Maranello is calm," insisted the 39-year-old from Spain, who competed for two seasons with Minardi in 1999-2000 before becoming a test driver, first for Williams and then later with Ferrari.

"I think this year we will fight until the end for both championships," Gene told the EFE news agency, adding that he thought 2013 would prove to be an exceptionally tough and close-fought season that would go right down to the wire.

"The nice thing about this season is that there are many teams fighting for the top positions," said Gene. "Red Bull is the benchmark, and Lotus is the other team that is very strong, but we also do not forget about Mercedes."

Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko stirred the pot earlier this week by claiming that the reigning champions feared Lotus more than they did Ferrari this season, but Gene brushed aside such comments.

"I think this is just psychological warfare," he insisted, adding that Red Bull certainly "should be scared of Ferrari" if they had any sense.

As for the DRS failure experienced by Alonso in Bahrain, Gene added his own confident assertion that it wasn't about to become a chronic issue for his compatriot.

"It was an unusual problem that has never happened before and won't happen again," he said.

As well as serving as Ferrari's test driver, Gene is also a regular at Le Mans where he already has one win (in 2009) and another runners-up place under his belt from his time with Peugeot in the iconic summer endurance race.

Gene will compete again this year, having moved to the Audi line-up and joined in 2013 by Oliver Jarvis and Lucas di Grassi.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
21.04.2013- Pedro de La Rosa (ESP), Test Driver Ferrari and Marc Gene (ESP), Test Driver Scuderia Ferrari
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F138 front wing and nosecone. 01.03.2013.
21.04.2013- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F138 in the pit lane with problem at DRS
09.07.2011- Saturday Practice, Marc Gene (ESP), Test Driver Scuderia Ferrari and Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
Maurizio Arrivabene and Sergio Marchionne at Ferrari`s annual Christmas media briefing
Maurizio Arrivabene and Sergio Marchionne at Ferrari`s annual Christmas media briefing
Sergio Marchionne at Ferrari`s annual Christmas media briefing
Maurizio Arrivabene at Ferrari`s annual Christmas media briefing
Maurizio Arrivabene and Sergio Marchionne face the press at Ferrari`s annual Christmas media briefing
Esteban Gutierrez joins Ferrari as test and reserve driver
McLaren confirms Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button
Fernando Alonso and Ron Dennis at McLaren
McLaren confirms Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button
McLaren confirms Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button
Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button alongside Kevin Magnussen. Pic credit: McLaren
McLaren confirms Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso
Sebastian Vettel in the F2012 during a day testing at Fiorano
Raffaele Marciello (ITA) Ferrari F14-T Test Driver.

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April 27, 2013 9:26 PM

Talk of bad luck/no panic and such like is understandable but for the hardened F1 followers that in some cases had been following GP/F1 racing from well before Alonso/Gene and most of the present FERREARI team members where even born such terms and or expressions doesn’t go down in their book. Yes, luck is a Part of winning but in most cases luck must be part of the own making/must be helped all along. Alonso/FERRARI has already had more setbacks then they did in 2012, Alonso/FERRARI can’t afford more of the same, they certainly need more than luck on their side. The facts are both Alonso and FERRARI had made a mistake in two out of the four first races, FERRARI twice and Alonso once.

John - Unregistered

April 28, 2013 7:38 PM

It's a lot easier to eliminate mistakes than it is to make a slow car fast. In that sense Ferrari are in a strong position this year, because their car has proven itself the quickest all round at a variety of circuits and on all the different tyre compounds. RB are good on the hard tyres but are poor on the softs, and Lotus don't have the speed of the Ferrari. Right now Ferrari have the best car, they're just not getting the most out of it.

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