Fernando Alonso has conceded the Scuderia were not as a quick as they wanted to be on Friday during practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Alonso was sixth in the morning session, but dropped back to tenth in the afternoon, when he was also quite fortunate to get away with a big moment at the first Degner, which required every ounce of the Spaniard's innate skill to keep his Ferrari F138 out of the barriers.
“We were not as competitive as we wanted to be and now we must try and improve, putting together a series of changes that we already have in mind,” Alonso remarked at the close of day one.
“Luckily, when I spun I didn't ruin the tyres: we also managed to use them on the long run with a full fuel load, even if we definitely lost a few extra tenths from the first lap. We hope to get a clean lap tomorrow now and to be ahead of those cars, such as the Toro Rossos and the McLarens that we cannot have in front of us, as happened today”.
Felipe Massa meanwhile was ahead of his team-mate in both sessions, posting the fifth fastest time in FP1 and the eighth best time in FP2.
“Today, we did all we could and managed to get through all our programme,” stated the Brazilian. “It's hard to know how to rate today because it's only Friday and there are a lot of cars that are very competitive.
“From tomorrow, I hope to have a faster car, which will allow us to fight with those ahead of us. We will definitely do our best in preparing for qualifying, but above all for Sunday's race.”
“It was a demanding day of testing in which, once again, we tried to optimise the set-up of the cars to adapt them as well as possible to the characteristics of the track,” added Ferrari technical director, Pat Fry. “At Suzuka, one move in the wrong direction carries a heavier price than at other tracks and so it's necessary to come up with a configuration that gives the drivers as much confidence as possible in all three sectors.
“We didn't manage any quick laps on a low fuel load and so I don't think the final Friday time sheet is particularly representative.
“Now we must be cautious, trying to reduce the gap to our closest rivals, while also not underestimating what those behind could do. This evening we will pay maximum attention to all the data we have gathered and assess every possibility for improving.
"In order to tackle what is a difficult track for the drivers as well as the engineers, it's absolutely vital to get the car as well balanced as possible”.