Ferrari's torrid qualifying grabs headlines in Italy

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari after spinning out of in qualifying Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday 17 March 2012.

Fernando Alonso after spinning out in Q2

Mar.18 (GMM) Ferrari has made a “devastating start” to the 2012 Formula 1 world championship season, the Italian sports newspaper Corriere dello Sport has blasted.

“The new season could barely have begun worse,” said the report.

Felipe Massa qualified sixteenth for Sunday’s Australian grand prix, while Fernando Alonso also failed to make the ‘Q3’ cut when he spun into the gravel.

“There are deficiencies with the aerodynamics, with the tyres and the speed,” the Spaniard is quoted as saying.

Added Massa: “I have the impression that the car has deteriorated compared to winter testing.”

Looking on the bright side, however, Alonso said Ferrari’s situation is actually better than it was a year ago.

“In 2011 we started with a deficit of 1.4 seconds, so we have recovered four tenths. Last year our first victory was in July, so this year we need to do it before.”

La Stampa, a major Italian daily, sees it differently.

“A year ago there was one car (Red Bull) clearly stronger than Ferrari, now there is McLaren in front, Mercedes and Lotus as well, and Toro Rosso and Force India improving …”

Massa agrees: “We were more competitive in 2011.”

Alonso, however, is staying positive for now.

“The tests in Barcelona were worse (than Australia), so it means that we have chosen the right path. We must improve and we must do it quickly,” he said.