Ferrari play down tyre concerns

Ferrari MechanicsFerrari have dismissed fears that the tyre problems they experienced in Hockenheim have reared their head again this weekend after both their drivers struggled on the super-soft tyres in Friday practice.

A chief cause of the Italian squad’s disastrous showing in the German Grand Prix a fortnight ago was the way the Ferrari F2008 used the hard compound Bridgestone Potenzas in cool temperatures.

When Felipe Massa reported tyre graining after Friday’s running at the Hungaroring, particularly on the super-soft compound, it was suggested that Ferrari were once again at a performance disadvantage to rivals McLaren.

“It’s hard to say exactly where we are compared to the opposition, but clearly they are very quick,” said Massa. “I did not feel too comfortable on the softest tyre while on the harder one, which I used first, the situation was much better.”

However the team have dismissed the graining issues as a consequence of the track’s characteristically dusty and ‘green’ tendencies on the opening day of running, and they expect the problem to alleviate as the weekend progresses.

“I think the last race for us was very difficult for finding the good grip from the tyres but we were not the only team,” explained Ferrari’s Technical Director Aldo Costa. “Most of the drivers were having, during the race mainly, a lot of problems to find grip.”

“The tyres were very, very hard, probably too hard for that kind of circuit, especially the hard tyre. There was no wear at all, the tyre just was not working for that kind of circuit. This was valid for us and it was valid as well for most of the teams.”

But the Italian stressed: “Here, the situation is – in terms of tyre grip, tyre management – it’s a typical Budapest track situation on the first day.”

“The track is very green at the start, you have graining issues and then little by little the track gets rubbered in and the grip comes, so there are no particular issues from that side.”

Hotter temperatures are predicted for the weekend which would also play into Ferrari’s hands.