Ferrari 'working hard' on qualifying pace
9 April 2013 – Ferrari is pushing to extract more one-lap performance from the F138 at future Grands Prix, having been focused on maximising the life of Pirelli’s new tyre compounds during the first two rounds of the campaign in Australia and Malaysia.
Despite an impressive showing in a mixed qualifying session at Sepang, where Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso claimed second and third on the grid, Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel still held a comfortable advantage, with Technical Director Pat Fry adamant that there is ‘more to come’ in this area as the campaign progresses.
"We’ve shown reasonable race pace and on all the tyre types we have used so far we have performed well, however we still have a way to go to be quickest in qualifying and we are working very hard on that at the moment," said Fry, who joined Ferrari in June 2010. "We’ve been concentrating on the longer runs, even if they are not as long as in the past, because this year we expect more pit stops during a race.
"However, we have not ignored our qualifying pace. I am sure there is more to come on this front, as we learn more about our car and start getting the best out of it."
Fry added that Ferrari is bringing upgrades to the track in a more efficient manner this season, with the team enjoying better aero correlation than it did 12 months ago.
"The key will be to try and move our car development programme forward quicker than the other teams do," added Fry. "It’s a tough cycle that will last all year and we need to at least match our 2012 development pace if we are to perform better in qualifying.
"So far, we have worked well, all the way through from design to manufacture, improving on how we did things last year in terms of actually getting new bits onto the car. Also, our aero correlation is better."
Ferrari lies third in the Constructors' standings ahead of this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, tied on points with Lotus and 26 behind current leaders Red Bull.