Martedì, 16 Ottobre 2018
ROME

F1: Ferrari brimming with optimism ahead of opener

English
© ANSA

Rome, March 15 - Ferrari are confident they can
mount a strong challenge for the Formula One title ahead of
Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
The Italian team's campaign for the title both last year and
the year before was hampered by slow starts to the season caused
by their car not being up to the pace.
But drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have both said
that the new car, the F138, is on a different planet to its
predecessor, the F2012, on the basis of its performance in
pre-season tests.
That does not mean it will be the fastest on the grid in
Melbourne this weekend.
But the team has a stronger starting point to work from and
the hope is that Alonso and Massa will be among the contenders
for podium places.
"It's not difficult to start better than 2012, but it would
be difficult to start worse," quipped Spain's two-time world
champion Alonso, who finished a close second to Red Bull's
German driver Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' championship last
year despite having a car that was slower by a long shot.
"We have a better understanding of this car and in testing
it produced the results we were expecting.
"That gives us confidence and optimism at the start of the
season.
"We need to start on the right foot and hopefully score
some good points for the championship.
"It is dangerous to make any conclusions based on sector
times in testing.
"However, we can say we are happy with what we achieved
during the winter and got through the programme we had planned.
"So we have 100% of the potential within the car and
hopefully that will be enough to be competitive".
Alonso and Massa notched the sixth and eighth-fastest times
respectively in Friday's practice sessions ahead of the
season-opener.
Vettel, who is bidding for his fourth consecutive world
title this year, notched the fastest time on the Melbourne
street circuit.
"Overall, this was a very productive Friday, as we did a
lot of laps and got through an important initial analysis of the
behaviour of the two types of Pirelli tyres available for this
race," said Alonso.
"Our efforts were helped by particularly favourable weather
with sunshine and summery temperatures.
"However, the weather is expected to change completely from
tomorrow, with wind, rain and a significant drop in temperature,
which could influence Sunday's race.
"I'm not expecting any major surprises here, we already
knew we were not the quickest and that was confirmed today.
"The car responds well, but we know there is still much to
do if we want to fight with the very best".
Brazilian Massa echoed those sentiments.
"All aspects of both sessions were positive, even if we are
aware that much work still awaits us both this weekend and for
the whole season ahead of us," Massa said after Friday's
practice.

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