A good first day of free practice for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
, the final and, at least in the case of the Drivers' title, decisive race of the 2010 season. A small problem on the fuel injection system prevented Felipe Massa from completing his planned
programme, while Fernando Alonso
had a trouble free day. "As always you have to take Friday's results with a grain of salt because there are too many variables at play to be able to draw a really precise conclusion," commented Stefano Domenicali. "We are tackling this weekend with the same sort of approach that we have adopted throughout the whole season: we are well aware of our target and we will do our utmost to reach it, without spending too much time doing the sums. We can claim to have got off to a reasonable start, but there is still a lot of work to do. We are up against very strong rivals in Red Bull and McLaren and beating them will be very difficult, but we will leave nothing to chance. This is a special event for us: we have many ties to Abu Dhabi, a country in a state of rapid growth and which has become something of a second home for us. Coming here and being able to see a fantastic structure like the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi was really exciting: everyone should come and spend at least one day at it!"
Felipe Massa: "Overall, it was a good debut for me at this track, where I was unable to race last year. My times came down progressively, both because of the changing track conditions and also, as lap after lap, I managed to learn where I could push harder. It was a shame I had a little problem towards the end of the second session which prevented me from doing my last series of laps with a heavy fuel load. I hope to be able to continue to make progress so as to be in the fight for the top places. The car seems to handle well: now we must analyse the data we have gathered to try and make the right choices in terms of set-up and aerodynamic configuration. I am sure that there is room to improve our performance level."Fernando Alonso
: "This weekend has got off on the right foot for us, as we gathered a lot of data which is now being evaluated by our engineers. The first thing to do on a Friday is to check that everything is alright and that the handling of the car corresponds to what we have seen in the simulations and after that you have to work on improving performance by changing set-up and aerodynamic downforce levels and that is exactly what we did during these three hours. We are reasonably pleased with the car's level of competitiveness and the fact it feels easy to drive, but we know there is still more potential that can be extracted to go even quicker. I expect tomorrow's qualifying to be very tight: let's hope we can get closer to the Red Bulls than we have been in the past. There is no point in speculating over the possible scenarios that could unfold in the race: we have to concentrate on ourselves and on how to make the car go faster."
Chris Dyer: "The surprise today was the rain shower which hit the track just before the first free practice session! It's not what one expects here in Abu Dhabi, but luckily, it did not upset our planned programme in any way. As for the rest, we can say that, at least from what we have seen, it was a Friday like so many others this season. Fernando had no problems and is reasonably pleased with the handling of his car on a first flying lap while there is probably still some work to do on a longer run, especially as at this track the tyres seem to suffer with higher degradation than we are used to seeing at other venues. Felipe had a problem with the fuel injection system, which meant he was unable to finish his programme, but the consequent lack of some data that he might have gathered does not constitute a serious handicap to the rest of his weekend's preparation. We must try and up our performance level still further, especially as regards qualifying, which will be the crucial stage of this weekend. We have all the elements we need to make our choices."