Ferrari has revealed the two key areas on which it will be focussing its efforts during Formula 1's mid-season break ahead of the resumption of racing in the European Grand Prix at Valencia in just under three weeks' time – qualifying and reliability.
suffered a double whammy in the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend, with Kimi Raikkonen giving himself a mountain to climb on race day after qualifying back on the third row of the starting grid at the Hungaroring – a circuit around which it is notoriously difficult to overtake.
Worse still, the Maranello-based outfit was then forced to endure the even greater agony of seeing the sister F2008 of Felipe Massa cruelly blow its engine almost within sight of the chequered flag after the Brazilian had dominated proceedings in a flawless performance right from the moment he got the jump on pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton when the lights went out.
“We have to take the engine apart piece-by-piece and to try to understand exactly what went wrong,” explained Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali in an interview with Italian news agency ANSA
, admitting that the cause of the sudden failure just 13km from the close remains a mystery. “We had zero idea or warning that something was amiss until we saw the smoke come out of the engine, and it was very bad. Unfortunately there was no signal, no information, no warning on the telemetry.
“We were very disappointed for Felipe because, in my view, he drove the best race of his career. It was fantastic the way he attacked when he had to and managed the race right up to the final laps.
“After such a big disappointment you have to take a step forward and move on, because you get stronger. This is what we are all going to do together, shoulder-to-shoulder, to prepare for the next race in Valencia.”
Whilst Massa may have slipped a further four points adrift of world championship pace-setter Hamilton in the wake of his misfortune, the 27-year-old insists his title chances have not been affected.
“Things like this can happen,” the São Paulista mused. “Sometimes racing can be very cruel, but I'm keeping my head up and will continue to be as aggressive as ever. The top three drivers are within ten points of each other and two of them drive for Ferrari, so things really aren't that bad.”
Whilst Domenicali stressed that Raikkonen being told to back off in the battle over second place following Massa's retirement was entirely unrelated to his team-mate's woes, the Italian did underline that the reigning F1 World Champion needs to up his qualifying game if he is to stand a chance of successfully defending his crown come season's end.