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Is Ferrari unconcerned about Lotus pace?

Victory went for the Finnish man, but there's more that meets the eye.
Thursday, March 21, 2013

March 21st, 2013 (F1plus/E. Black).- There are some stories making the rounds the world wide web that Ferrari aren't really worried about the pace of the Lotus. Were Fernando Alonso and Ferrari was actually faster in Australia? What? You ask? How is that possible? Kimi recorded the race's fastest lap.

Yes very true, Kimi recorded the fastest lap in Australia on lap 56 on the softer of the two Pirelli P-zero compounds. Fernando Alonso only managed the third quickest lap time.

The BBC F1 (see here) performed an interesting exercise in trying to best determine the competitive order in Formula One after the first Grand Prix. Eliminating a number of factors from the overall equation, such as pit stops, last two laps etc...They reckoned that Alonso was somehow 6.175 seconds faster than Kimi.

I'm not sure I buy that though. It's difficult to validate a theory by eliminating a number of relevant factors. The, "what if" argument, immediately discounts the theory in my opinion.

Here is what we do know or can assume with relative confidence

  • We know that Kimi won the Australian GP by a margin of 12.4 seconds over Alonso.
  • We know Kimi pitted twice where Alonso pitted three times.
  • We can assume with relative confidence that the Ferrari F138 is a more competitive car than the F2012 was at the start of last season.
  • We can assume with relative confidence that the Lotus E21 is much gentler on its tyres than most of the rest of the field.

Food For Thought

Quotes from Ross Brawn from his interview with Germany's Auto Motor und Sport

"On average, of all the lap times in Melbourne without traffic, Ferrari had the best race pace...", "If they had done a two stop race, they would have won..."

Quotes from Fernando Alonso on the Ferrari website:

“The pace of the Lotus was very good, but it was not something we could not do, it was not out of our reach,” affirmed Fernando. “They had a very clean race with no traffic, so I think we can fight a bit closer to them.”

Final Thoughts

Draw your own conclusions. I for one will enjoy watching the action unfold.

Some numbers to consider:

Pit stop times:

Driver Team Time Lap
Fernando Alonso Ferrari 21.792s 9
Fernando Alonso Ferrari 21.606s 20
Fernando Alonso Ferrari 21.704s 39
Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 22.709s 9
Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 22.181s 34

Total time in pits:

Driver Team Total
Fernando Alonso Ferrari 65.102s
Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 44.890s

Delta: 20.212s

Gap at the flag:

Kimi Raikkonen P1 Lotus 1:30:03.225
Fernando Alonso P2 Ferrari +12.4 secs

If one takes the difference between time spent in the pits (20.212s) and the gap between them at the end of the race (12.4s), one will find a difference of 7.812s. I’m not drawing conclusions, just stating the facts.

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