Ferrari have admitted that they made mistakes in yesterday’s season opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
The Maranello team, whose drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen both retired from the race, said that tyres were the cause behind their failure to pick up any points.
Felipe Massa was threatening to challenge the front at the start, but was one of the drivers who had opted to start on the super-soft tyres, which faded very quickly.
”The start was great, but after five or six laps we ran into trouble with the soft tyres, to such an extent that we had to pit early,” explained the Brazilian.
He then fell back as he changed strategy to cover for his early stop, but ended up retiring with mechanical gremlins.
“We then switched to a very aggressive strategy, which with hindsight turned out to be the wrong one, as shortly after the pit-stop the safety car came out on-track. I found myself third, but after the re-start I had less than ten laps to try and make up ground on those who were behind me, but with more fuel. At the second stop we filled it to the finish, but then I was very slow and finally I had the problem which forced me to retire,” said Massa.
His team-mate Kimi Raikkonen continued the race and was looking like a candidate for second place until a mistake put his Ferrari into the wall.
“When I ended up in the wall it was my mistake,â€ the 29-year-old admitted. “A shame as, given what happened later, I could have finished second. We lost valuable points, but we will try and make up for it starting right away in Malaysia. There, we will get a clearer picture of the situation, because this circuit is not very indicative of performance,” he added.
Raikkonen defended Ferrari’s decision to use KERS even though some observers noted that the running of the system made little difference to the cars.
“The KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) worked well at the start, but there was not much room to go anywhere. If we did not think it gave an advantage, we would not use it. Definitely the main problem was in managing the tyres, but we also need to improve our overall performance.â€
Felipe Massa promised that the squad would be burning the midnight oil to find more speed before next weekend.
”The solution for Malaysia? Work and work hard.â€ said Massa.