Ferrari: 'We're still off pace'
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Despite leading the 2012 championship, Ferrari's Pat Fry believes there's more work to be done as the team's car appears to be off pace.
ROME, Italy - Ferrari's technical director Pat Fry believes the Italian F1 constructor is still almost a second off its main rivals, despite Fernando Alonso leading the championship.
Alonso drove a brilliant race in Malaysia to leap to the top of the Drivers' standings. That followed his fifth at the season opener in Melbourne, Australia.
Fry attributed the team's unexpected success - after underwhelming performances in qualifying - to a combination of good driving from Alonso, particularly in Melbourne, and the Malaysian weather which worked in the team's favour but he said there was still room for improvement.
DIFFICULT TO DRIVE
Fry said: "From quite early on in testing, we realised we had quite a few issues we needed to sort out. Everyone at the factory has been working hard at that as we still have a long way to go. Our dry qualifying performance is still around eight-tenths (of a second) off the best while we want to be the best ourselves.
"Damp low-grip conditions suit our car and flatter some of the issues we have with the F2012."
Pre-season, it was suggested that Ferrari was in a crisis and that the F2012 car was undriveable. Fry acknowledged the difficulties, as seen by Felipe Massa's performance so far.
Fry said: "The car is quite difficult to drive but Fernando has managed to get the most out of it. Felipe? We have struggled to find the right balance to keep him happy.
"In addition, in Malaysia, we had Felipe on intermediates after the red flag but we had a lot of understeer so we took the gamble of an additional pit stop which did not work out. The fact the tyres were only graining and not worn out was about the only call we got wrong from the pits wall at the last race.
"It was a setback for Felipe, one of a few unfortunate circumstances for him."
Meanwhile, Fry said he was surprised by Red Bull's poor start: the team has not been able to match McLaren's pace in qualifying. World champion Sebastian Vettel was second in Melbourne but failed to make it into the points at Sepang.
Mark Webber has had a couple of unspectacular fourths.