Date: 21st April 2011 at 9:31am
Written by:

The Ferrari team are already under pressure, despite the season being just three races old.

Their pre-season winter testing campaign promised so much but eventually delivered little, Ferrari headed to Australia firmly believing that they would be on a par with Red Bull, competing for the win in Melbourne, instead they were a long way off the pace and also behind McLaren and Renault.

In Malaysia and China, Ferrari were once again not in competition with Red Bull or McLaren, settling instead for positions outside of the podium places.

Fernando Alonso’s team-mate Felipe Massa is probably the one who feels the most under pressure, with his future with the team under question at the end of this season, but the Brazilian hopes he answered his critics, beating Alonso in Shanghai.

?I had a very good race on Sunday, running strongly and getting involved in a lot of fights,? Felipe Massa told formula1.com.

?The result should have been a bit better than my eventual sixth place, but I was very happy with how it went and I hope I can continue to fight at a higher level for the coming races.?

One of Ferrari’s biggest complaints to date has been the cars low fuel pace, which is critical for a good qualifying session.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has highlighted this issue and has spoken out on a couple of occasions already, demanding an improvement from his team, but Massa isn’t convinced that solving Ferrari’s qualifying issues is the only improvement Ferrari have to make to step forward and challenge McLaren and Red Bull.

The reason why Massa dropped down to sixth in the closing stages of the race was his two stop tyre strategy that left him on old tyres during the final few laps of the race.

Due to the nature of the tyres this season, the tyres lose grip and ultimately race pace, the older the tyres become.

This enabled Red Bull’s Mark Webber, who had qualified in 18th, to pick off cars with ease in the final stages as he raced through the pack on a three stop strategy with brand new tyres, eventually finishing in 3rd.

?We are always learning at this stage of the season and we should analyse everything very carefully to see if we should adopt a different approach, maybe modify our qualifying strategy to have some fresher tyres for the race,?

?But after three Grands Prix it is still too early to say what is the best way to work with all these new rules, because in China at the weekend, you saw many different combinations of strategies and tyre usage and many of them seemed to work well. Nothing is one hundred percent clear yet and at Ferrari, we have to work out what is best for our car.?


All the teams are learning the best way to race under the new regulations.

Mercedes have had problems with their DRS, McLaren have had problems with their floor and exhaust following the ban on double diffusers, while Red Bull have had issues with their KERS device.

With these issues keeping all the teams down the pit lane on their toes, none more so than the tyres, which have thus far evolved differently during each race.

While Massa and Ferrari may hope to learn what is best for their car, fingers crossed the tyres continue to be unpredictable as it creates great racing.