Malaysian GP: Alonso and Massa hoping to confirm Ferrari is competitive this season
By Berthold Bouman
A second place for Fernando Alonso and a fourth place for Felipe Massa during the Australian Grand Prix has put Ferrari in the lead of the 2013 FIA Formula One Constructors’ Championship, a good start of the season, and the Scuderia are hoping to confirm at Sepang that they are a title contender for this year’s Formula One crown.
Stefano Domenicali: Melbourne was first step in a very long season
Ferrari Team Principal Stefano was relieved Ferrari were able to score a podium place at Melbourne, but also warned there is no room for complacency. “It was important to see both our drivers deliver strong performances, as it provides a great basis on which we can build a competitive season and I’m pleased for both of them. But it’s only the first step in a very long season and now is the time to analyse and evaluate all the data from Melbourne,” Domenicali said in a Ferrari statement.
About the next race in Malaysia he said, “We need to wait and see how our car will behave in what is a totally different environment: the track will make different demands on the cars to the ones we experienced in Australia, with a change in track surface and the unique weather conditions, very hot and humid, will also impact on everyone’s performance this weekend.”
“We know what is required here and we will need the usual compromise in terms of downforce levels to deal with both the tighter section and the two long fast straights.”
Fernando Alonso arrived at Sepang – Photo: Ferrari
Fernando Alonso: This weekend is a very real test for us
This weekend Alonso will be driving his 200th Grand Prix, and he certainly seems to feel at home at Sepang, as he won the race last year, in a car that was two seconds off the pace, this year Ferrari is back at the top, and hungry for more. “I think there is no comparison with last year, as at the time we couldn’t even get into Q3 and we were nowhere near where we wanted to be,” said Alonso when he arrived at the Sepang International Circuit.
“In Australia, everything went fine for us and we showed we have a good potential. However, it’s true that the Australian circuit is strange and unusual. That means that this weekend we will be looking for a little bit of confirmation that the car is performing well,” the Spaniard added.
He’s also confident Ferrari can keep up with their rivals this season. “The pace of the Lotus was very good, but it was not something we could not do, it was not out of our reach,” Alonso resolutely said. “Red Bull had a big difference in their pace between qualifying and the race and so for them too, this will be a very important weekend to understand what is happening. But that is not our problem: we will just try to do our best and then see what the others do.”
Asked about the goal for this weekend he replied, “We want a clean weekend and hopefully a podium will again be a very good target for us and if we manage it, we can be very happy.”
Felipe Massa hoping for another great weekend – Photo: Ferrari
Felipe Massa: The car is ten times better
Also Massa is convinced Ferrari has a very competitive car for this season. “The car is ten times better and I feel happy and more comfortable than I did at this time last year, when I struggled to understand the car. This year I can be much more consistent and the car is easier to drive, which is pretty good for the team and also for me,” the Brazilian said.
He too thinks that Malaysia is another test to confirm that Ferrari are competitive this season, “Overall, Australia went well for us and we need to make sure we progress race by race now. The situation could be completely different at this track and we need to wait and see. Maybe we will have a clearer picture of what is really the gap between us and the others in qualifying, either negative or positive.”
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