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Not a happy homecoming for Alonso as Ferrari struggles in Spain

May 11, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

Fernando Alonso has recorded his worst finish at the Spanish Grand Prix in over five years after finishing today’s race down in sixth place.

Not since he retired from the 2009 event when racing for Renault has Alonso finished so far down the order at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. For races he actually finished, it was his worst result since his debut season with Minardi back in 2001 when he came 13th.

However, it was all that he could manage today. The F14 T car was well off the pace once again, and he was unable to prevent Sebastian Vettel from passing him in the closing stages of the race. A strategy error with Kimi Raikkonen did allow the Spaniard to pass his teammate, but it was not a good day for the team.

“Of course I’d have liked to have done better here in my home race, but I knew right from the start that it would be difficult,” Alonso explained. “Our pace was too slow compared to the leaders and on top of that, not making up any places at the start didn’t help.

“The gap to the best is nothing new and today’s result confirms the fact our rivals are strong on both the performance and the reliability fronts, but until it is mathematically impossible to catch them we will continue to believe and do all we can to catch up.”

Kimi Raikkonen – a two-time winner in Spain – was left helpless to defend from Alonso and Vettel in the dying stages of the race after a strategic error on the Ferrari pit wall cost him dearly.

“Going for a two stop strategy proved to be the wrong choice because tire degradation meant I couldn’t push all the way to the end,” he explained. “Overall here, we went better than in the last race, maybe because the characteristics of this track are very different to those we have raced on so far.

“We cannot be happy with sixth and seventh places, because we are a long way off where we want to be.

“It will take time, but we will do our utmost, because we know where we must keep pushing if we want to improve.”

It has been a terrible start for Ferrari in 2014. The ‘dream team’ of Alonso and Raikkonen has failed to deliver so far, scoring just one podium finish between them. However, both drivers have won world championships for a reason, and once the team is on top of its problems, it should return towards the front of the field in no time.

  1. manik56 - May 11, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    It’s the car; not the drivers. The “dream team” is probably overachieving.

    • redrock81 - May 11, 2014 at 8:00 PM

      Look at how much Alonso was slower at the start. you really see him visibly struggling with it.

  2. ditto65 - May 11, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    Fernando seems to be a seat of the pants driver, finding max efficiency from what he is given. Kimi seems bent on precision, hitting his marks with extreme efficiency. Alonso’s style seems a better fit for a junk car than Kimi’s; Alonso works the car, finds alternate lines, & adapts. Wen Kimi’s car doesn’t work, he still tries to hit his mark, but the car either under steers and he has to lift or the back end steps out. This is not a swipe at either driver, just an observation.

  3. techmeister1 - May 12, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    Hitting the marks produces the fastest lap times period. Alonso is better than most at getting performance out of an under achieving car.

    Ferrari claims they know where the issues are and that they are working on them but so is everyone else so if you can’t bring big performance gains to every race compared to the competition you’re at best standing still or more likely falling back as seems to be the case with Ferrari.

    I fully understand how difficult the situation is for all the F1 teams. Mercedes happened to get things right but I also suspect they have some tech that the other teams have not discovered that allows Mercedes to maintain a second or more advantage to the others.

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