May 10th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Ferrari have had a strong start to the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, finishing FP1 first and second and then featuring second and fifth fastest in the afternoon practice session. The morning's running was not particularly representative of race pace as the track started out wet and dried through the session, but the afternoon's running was dry throughout, which allowed the teams to work on their setups for qualifying and the race.
Ferrari have brought updates for their car to Barcelona, like many of the other teams, and intended to spend most of the morning testing the new parts. The weather had other ideas, however, and rain prevented the team from running through their full testing programme and meant much of the morning's work had to be squeezed into the afternoon session, along with the usual tyre evaluation and setup work.
At the end of the day, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa are happy with the progress the team has made and are confident of a strong result this weekend. That is not particularly surprising, as the 2013 Ferrari has been quick from the start of the season.
This is what the team had to say after Friday practice:
Fernando Alonso: “The signs from today are positive, as we were quick in both the morning and afternoon and the car seems to be well balanced on light and heavy fuel loads. But it is always premature to try and draw conclusions on a Friday when everything seems to be going well, because in the past we have seen how our competitors can take off in qualifying. We have a great deal of data to analyse this evening, especially because the rain in the morning meant we had to squeeze almost all our planned programme into the second session when it was dry. The feeling is definitely good and even though we are aware it won’t be easy, we are sure we can fight it out with the best. I don’t expect any great surprises compared to Bahrain and I think the top group is now defined, with Red Bull, Mercedes, ourselves and Lotus, although we need to see how much McLaren manages to improve, while also keeping an eye on Force India, who have been very strong in qualifying and the race”.
Felipe Massa: “Everything went well today, even if this morning’s rain reduced the amount of time we had to test everything we had planned for the first session. We began that job as soon as the track dried and then finished it off in the afternoon session, paying maximum attention to the handling of the car on both types of tyre Pirelli has brought on this track, especially the new Hard. Even on the long run, the car seemed competitive and this makes me confident and so I hope we can continue to do well right to the end of the weekend”.
Pat Fry: “This morning’s rain strongly affected the work we had planned for today, preventing us from completing a sufficiently representative evaluation of the updates we brought here to Barcelona. We have got an immediate and positive validation for some of these, but with others, we will have to wait for the next races and hope for better weather. But it’s normal that if, apart from evaluating updates, one also has to pay particular attention to the tyres, a vitally important element in this season, everything gets more complicated. When the sun finally came out, thanks to a programme split between the two drivers, we were able to get a substantial amount of data on the Hard and Medium compounds. First impressions seem positive: both on a single flying lap and on a long run, we were always in the top five and the new Hard compound shows improvement in terms of performance and degradation. As usual, now we can expect a long night analysing in depth the performances we have seen today and making a more precise comparison with the competition”.