Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Domenicali: Qualifying Not So Vital This Year

Ferrari put out a news release today ahead of this weekend's first Grand Prix of the season in Melbourne -- with some interesting thoughts on qualifying.

This year the Scuderia would appear to have a great car from the start, with testing indicating their machines to be both reliable and right on the pace with the Red Bulls.

Ferrari's Team Principal, Stefano Domenicali, will be desperate to banish the demons of Abu Dhabi, where a pit wall decision to pit Fernando Alonso cost him the championship last season.

Domenicali is naturally cautious about the pace of the Ferrari as nothing really counts until the first race.

But he did reveal that this year's new Pirelli tyres -- and their higher rate of degredation over the bullet-proof Bridgestones of last year -- will mean qualifying will be less important because there will be more pit stops.

"This is significant in terms of teamwork at the races, because more pit stops means the role of team members becomes even more important in terms of deciding the final outcome of the races.

"A further impact of having more pit stops is that possibly qualifying and therefore grid position will be less important than in 2010. In simple terms it is more likely that a car that has not set the fastest time and taken pole position can still go on to win the race.

"It will be absolutely vital to have the right strategy in order to win the race.”

Races will be marked with three, or even four pit stops, mixing up the order and bringing a new element of drama to proceedings.

Add to that the new moveable rear wing to improve overtaking, plus the reintroduction of KERS for an instant speed boost, means it'll be an unpredictable season as driver workload in the cockpit reaches near-saturation point.

Less than five days now to Lights Out in Oz!

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