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Ferrari working on qualifying pace

Wednesday 10-April-2013 09:57

Ferrari technical director Pat Fry insists there is "more to come" from the F138 when it comes to qualifying pace.

Unlike in 2012 when the team not only struggled during qualifying but also in the race, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have found themselves challenging at the right end both on a Saturday and a Sunday.

The pair finished second and fourth in Australia while they were second and third fastest in qualifying in Sepang, but Ferrari will be the first to admit that Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel remains the man to beat when it comes to qualifying.

Fry admits they have a bit of work to do when it comes to their pace on Saturdays, but believes there is plenty of potential.

"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.

"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.

"The key will be to try and move our car development programme forward quicker than the other teams do. 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."

After a three-week break, F1 returns this weekend with the Chinese Grand Prix and Fry believes the tyres will once again play a crucial role.

"Is it going to suit our car better than some others? It is too early to say, as there are too many unknowns. For example, it will be the first weekend this year that we will use the Pirelli Soft compound, along with the Medium.

"At the end of this Grand Prix, we will have a clearer picture of how all the tyres compare to one another. So to some degree, Shanghai will be another learning exercise for everyone, although we can say that our pace, relative to the other teams, has been okay on all the tyres we have tried so far."

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