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Although Ferrari are very much off the pace at present, Pat Fry believes the Maranello cars are not as slow as they showed to be in Shanghai at the weekend. The Technical Director has explained that a distinct lack of top speed was the team’s major downfall.
After the race, Ferrari titled its press release ‘Without speed and traction you don’t go far’. That was reflected in their result, as Fernando Alonso made a mistake and slid down to ninth place as Felipe Massa struggled en route to 13th spot.
“Definitely an interesting race for the spectators, but very frustrating for us,” Fry commented. “Traffic was the decisive factor, which was easily predictable given where our cars were on the grid. We split the strategies, also in light of the fact that with Felipe we could choose which type of tyre he could start on.
“Seeing where we came out of the third pit-stop with Fernando – alongside Hamilton - I think the choice was the right one, but we will analyse the way the race played out carefully to understand if we could have done anything differently. Clearly, we paid a very heavy price for the lack of a good top speed on a track like this.”
Although the Ferrari F2012 is on average eight tenths of a second per lap slower than the front-runners, Fry does not believe Shanghai was a complete portrayal of its real speed. On the other hand, the ex McLaren man is remaining wholly realistic.
“The result does not represent the car’s true potential in race configuration, but we have to accept it,” he continues. “We lack performance, we know it, but there is no point in beating ourselves up over it; rather we need to concentrate all our efforts on improving car performance.
"In Bahrain we won’t have any particularly significant updates, so we cannot expect a miracle: we must try and squeeze the maximum out of what we have to work with.”
Fernando Alonso, who dropped from the championship lead to third overall on Sunday, is already fearful of an even worse weekend in Bahrain as the Sakhir circuit demands good top speeds and traction levels.
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