Official Press Releases, Communications and Timing of the 2010 FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX


Fernando Alonso on Sunday won his first race for Ferrari


Bahrain GP – Race  – March 14, 2010


18Fernando AlonsoScuderia Ferrari Marlboro25
27Felipe MassaScuderia Ferrari Marlboro18
32Lewis HamiltonVodafone McLaren Mercedes15
45Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing12
54Nico RosbergMercedes GP Petronas10
63Michael SchumacherMercedes GP Petronas8
71Jenson ButtonVodafone McLaren Mercedes6
86Mark WebberRed Bull Racing4
915Vitantonio LiuzziForce India F1 Team2
109Rubens BarrichelloAT&T Williams1
1111Robert KubicaRenault F1 Team
1214Adrian SutilForce India F1 Team
1317Jaime AlguersuariScuderia Toro Rosso
1410Nico HulkenbergAT&T Williams
1519Heikki KovalainenLotus Racing
1616Sébastien BuemiScuderia Toro Rosso
1718Jarno TrulliLotus Racing
Ret22Pedro De la RosaBMW Sauber F1 Team
Ret21Bruno SennaHRT F1 Team
Ret24Timo GlockVirgin Racing
Ret12Vitaly PetrovRenault F1 Team
Ret23Kamui KobayashiBMW Sauber F1 Team
Ret25Lucas di GrassiVirgin Racing
Ret20Karun ChandhokHRT F1 Team



Bahrain GP – Race  – March 14, 2010


ForceIndiaThe Force India F1 Team has opened its points account at the first race of the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Bahrain Grand Prix.

 14 March 2010 – 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix Report

Tonio Liuzzi drove a faultless race, matching the pace of the Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes cars, to secure ninth position. With the implementation of a new points system this year, Tonio has chalked up two points – marking his first points since the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix and Force India’s first points since the 2009 Italian Grand Prix.

Adrian Sutil (car 14, VJM03/03):
12th (49 laps)

Tonio Liuzzi (car 15, VJM03/01):
9th (49 laps)
Adrian Sutil was unfortunate to finish out of the points in 12th position. The German spun on the first lap when a cloud of smoke from the back of Mark Webber’s car completely blocked his vision and he made light contact with Robert Kubica. The incident was enough for him to spin to the rear of the field, but he pushed hard to make up several places and was closing on the top ten in the latter stages. He did have some consolation of posting the second quickest lap of the race.

Adrian Sutil (car 14)
At least we finished. After the incident in the first corner it was the maximum we could do. We had a good race in the end, learning a lot about the tyres and how the car behaves at the end of a race, but the incident pretty much destroyed my hopes of getting any points. I don’t really know what happened in that corner – I was driving and then there was a big cloud of smoke so I was blind going into it. I touched someone and spun and that was it. It’s a shame but we will keep pushing for the next race.

Tonio Liuzzi (car 15)
I’m really pleased. We achieved our target and scored some points, which is a great result for myself and for the team. It was a difficult race as with this amount of fuel and the tyres, plus the heat, we had a bit to control but overall I think we can be pretty happy about how we handled it and to be in the points is magic. All the top teams finished ahead of us and there were no failures or reliability issues so it was the maximum we could have achieved. I’m now looking forward to Australia where we will get some more updates and it could put us in an even better position for the next race. Overall a great result for the team.

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal
What a great start to the season! I am absolutely delighted that we have scored in the first race of the season. It was always our aim to score points and we knew we had the pace to do it, but nevertheless to finally get there gives a great feeling. Tonio drove a superb race, matching the pace of the top teams in front, and it is certainly encouraging for the coming races. Adrian was unlucky and I know he will be disappointed not to have been able to capitalise on his starting position, but the season is long and he is hungry so I do not think he will have to wait long for his turn.


RenaultF1TeamThe season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix saw Robert Kubica finish in 11th position, while teammate Vitaly Petrov retired in the early stages of the race.

 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix Sunday 14 Mar 2010 – Renault F1 Team

 Robert Kubica, P11
All our hard work this weekend was undone by the incident on the first lap. During the lap to the grid, we had high engine oil levels and we took some out on the grid, but it seemed like Webber had the same problem after turn one: his engine just sucked the oil in and there was a massive amount of smoke in front of me. I think Sutil just didn’t lift off because he couldn’t see anything and he hit me. I spun during the incident and that cooked the rear tyres: they were overheating from that point onwards and I eventually stopped very early on lap 12. I completed the rest of the race on hard tyres, and that was a big challenge: I just set myself the goal of finishing in the points, but we didn’t quite make it. Without the incident on lap one, I think we would have had a very strong points finish because we showed the pace to fight well. Overall, it was a positive weekend for us, though: we were well prepared after the winter; the team did a fantastic job at the track and back in Enstone to get the cars ready with the new package, and we didn’t have any issues with the engine or the brakes. Now, we need to keep working and keep pushing.

Vitaly Petrov, retired, lap 13 – suspension
I made a fantastic start and was running well in P11 at the end of the first lap. The car felt good, and my pace was better than Barrichello in front of me. Then I ran wide over a kerb in turn 12 and it seemed to damage the right-front suspension at that point. I came into the pits to have the car checked over, and that was when we realised that the suspension couldn’t be repaired so I had to retire. It was an extremely disappointing end after such a great start, but I’m pleased with how things went up to that point, and I want to thank all my mechanics and the whole team for the car they gave me this weekend. They did a fantastic job.

Eric Boullier, Team Principal
Mixed feelings after this first race of the season. Robert fell victim to a racing incident on the first lap, when he touched another car, and he drove a fantastic race to climb back through the field. It’s frustrating to finish so close to the points but, at the same time, we can be encouraged by the speed he demonstrated to get there. I’m very disappointed for Vitaly, too: he made an outstanding start and drove very well in the opening laps, looking after his tyres without overdriving, and showing strong race pace. Overall, we can say that the R30 is a good basis to work from but we’re under no illusion about the amount of work ahead of us if we want to catch the teams in front. The whole team has put in an incredible amount of effort during recent weeks, both at the factory and here at the track this weekend. The team spirit is strong and we’re all motivated to keep on pushing to improve even more.

Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer
We were disappointed not to score points today. Robert got hit from behind on the first lap and was running pretty much last at the end of lap one, before climbing back up to P11 where he ultimately finished. His pace on a long second stint on the hard tyre was very good. Vitaly made an excellent start before he experienced a problem with the front suspension that we are currently investigating. On the positive side, the car looked competitive in race trim and we had the pace to achieve a much stronger finish today. I’m confident that, with the upgrades we have planned at the coming races, our performance will only improve in the weeks ahead.

Rémi Taffin, Head of Engine Operations
The entire team had a very tough first weekend of the year but, in typical fashion, they all rose to the challenge. The two drivers did a fantastic job: Vitaly got better and better through the weekend, while Robert justified all the hopes we had for him and it was a shame to see him fall victim to a racing incident on lap one. On the engine front, we used the same engines throughout the weekend without any problems at all. We had no surprises running on the heavy fuel loads, no issues with fuel consumption and we respected every part of our planned strategy. We hope that our hard work will be rewarded with points at the next race in Australia.


ATTWilliamsF1The 2010 season opened modestly for the AT&T Williams team at the Bahrain GP, with Rubens Barrichello claiming the last point-paying position by finishing in p10.

 Team-mate Nico Hulkenberg sustained some early car damage which he had to carry for over 40 laps, hampering him on his debut and he ultimately finished in fourteenth spot.

Bahrain GP Race Sunday 14 Mar 2010

Rubens Barrichello:

It’s good to have a point, but in all honesty, we thought that we would do a little better when we arrived here. So it’s really all down to us, we can see that the competition is pretty fierce and there were no retirements among the leading cars. I think we finished around about where we deserved so it will be up to us to close up the gap. (Prime/Option)

Nico Hulkenberg:

It was a tough and difficult debut for me today. Right from the start, I had to take some evasive action to avoid a crash in turn 2, which dropped me couple of places and a few laps later, I spun at turn 6. Initially I thought there was something broken on the car, but it was not the case. I jumped the kerbs and maybe hurt the car a bit, as it was quite difficult to drive for the rest of what was a long and lonely afternoon for me. It’s been a tough weekend, but the practice and long run pace has been good and we need to build on that. (Option/Prime/Option)

Sam Michael, Technical Director:

It was good to get both cars to the finish and one car in the points. Cosworth will also be happy with engine reliability after all their hard work over the winter. We went for a different strategy with Rubens on the prime tyre at the start, but it looks like the option was quite strong. Nico had car damage after an early spin, so he spent the race learning about the tyres. We are looking forward to Melbourne and taking a step up in performance.

Points: AT&T Williams 1 (6th), Rubens Barrichello 1 (10th), Nico Hulkenberg –


LotusRacingSix months of very hard work finally came to as successful a conclusion as the team could have hoped for on Sunday afternoon in Bahrain, with both Lotus Racing cars finishing the race, Heikki in 15th and Jarno in 17th (provisional positions) in the opening round of the 2010 Formula One™ World Championship.

PRESS RELEASE Bahrain, 14th March 2010


Jarno Trulli (Lotus Racing chassis T127/3) “I made a good start and avoided the accident at the second corner but found myself in the gravel so at this stage I was nearly last, but then I started picking up pace and catching the people in front. The car was understeering quite a lot and I couldn’t really predict the balance so at the pitstop the team, who did a really good job, changed the front wing setting and I started pushing again and putting in some good laps. At the end of the race I had a hydraulic problem so I just had to get it to the end of the race. I’m really happy and proud for the team because in six months every single target we have fixed we have met so it’s really good, and, as Tony said, one day Lotus will win and I hope to be here when we do.” 

Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus Racing chassis T127/1) “It was a good race for our team – to get both cars to the finish is a great achievement. My car didn’t have a single problem, I know Jarno did and managed to nurse his car to the end, but the primary goal was to get both cars to the end and we achieved that. So far the team has reached every goal we set ourselves so that is fantastic. In terms of my race, I had a good start and was battling with a lot of guys we didn’t think we’d be fighting with. My tyres were fine, and the pitstop was good, but I lost a bit of time whilst letting cars past, and we’ll look at the strategy for Australia to work around that better. I really enjoyed driving the car, it felt really good and it was good to push. Everybody in the team should be really happy but now the honeymoon is over and we need to start working on better results.”

Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne said “I’m very very proud of the whole team. Everyone here, and back in Hingham. Firstly I have to say thank you to both drivers. They drove great races – Jarno struggling early on but when he changed to the soft tyre he was much more competitive. Apologies to Heikki because he may have suffered from the strategy, and apologies to Jarno because he had a hydraulics problem and he had to slow down to get the car to the finish, but overall a great result.”

Happiest man of all was Team Principal Tony Fernandes who said “I’m completely over the moon! I cannot describe the feeling. Six months of work and to have both cars finish is just unbelievable. We’re thrilled, we’re happy and the spirit in the team is fantastic. I’m really proud of Jarno and of Heikki  and everyone here. It’s a great start and better than I could have dreamt of. We wanted to finish the race and to do so ahead of established teams is fantastic.

“From here we keep going. Before the race Clive Chapman gave me Colin Chapman’s old Lotus cap and said ‘when you win the first race you’ll be the man to throw this up in the air like my Dad used to.’ That meant a lot to me, it was a wonderful gesture and it’s like handing over the mantle of one of motor racing’s great dynasties”

Visitors to the Lotus Racing garage before the race included FIA President Jean Todt and Michelle Yeoh, but the day began with Tony Fernandes giving the team a stirring speech to thank everyone for the hard work so far, and lay out the challenge ahead, saying “The last six months have shown that if you dream you can achieve, but now it’s not about being the best of the new teams, it’s about making a serious challenge for the very top.” With a start like this, who could blame him for pushing for something truly amazing.


MercedesGPPetronasNico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher brought their MERCEDES GP PETRONAS cars home in fifth and sixth positions respectively at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix today.


 Starting on the option tyres from fifth on the grid, Nico had a great start to overtake Lewis Hamilton into turn six to move up to fourth. Michael, starting from seventh on the grid, was running in sixth and also using the softer rubber. 

The pair made only one stop during the race, Michael on lap 15 and Nico on lap 16, to switch to the prime tyres. Nico lost a position to Hamilton at the stops and they remained in fifth and sixth positions for the remainder of the 49-lap race. Nico chased down Sebastian Vettel at the end of the race but was unable to pass in the turbulent air.

Today’s result puts MERCEDES GP PETRONAS in third position in the Constructors’ Championship with 18 points.


Drivers   Car No. Chassis No.      Race Result / Fastest Lap
Nico Rosberg   4   MGP W01 / 02     P5     2:00.236
Michael Schumacher 3   MGP W01 / 03     P6     2:00.204

Weather   Hot and sunny
Temperatures   Air: 35-36°C    Track: 33-39°C

“I had a great start today and was happy to be running in fourth position by the end of the first lap. However I lacked pace on the option tyres in the first stint and struggled for pace. Lewis beat me on strategy in the pit stop which we need to analyse later and see what happened. I couldn’t quite get Sebastian at the end as I lost grip in the dirty air when I got close. However fifth place is a good start for us and I am confident that we can develop well from here.”

“After three years away, I’m happy to say that I had fun out there today, especially at the beginning with the good start that I had. I can live very well with sixth position and it gives both me and the team a good base to make progress. I have every confidence that we will improve the car. Working with the team for our first race together was very positive and the guys did a great job so I would like to thank them for their support in my comeback race. We all know that we have some way to go but we will get there. The season is long.”

“Nico and Michael did a great job this weekend to finish in fifth and sixth positions and now we need to give them the car to improve on those placings. We were not quick enough today and our race pace was not there to finish further up the field and challenge for a podium position. We have some hard work ahead but I am confident that we can progress the car strongly in the next few races. The team performed extremely well this weekend and for our first race with our two new drivers, we achieved two strong points-scoring finishes.”

“It was a difficult race weekend for our team with these extremely hot conditions in Manama. We looked better in the practice sessions than during the race and it appears that we could not handle the tyres as well as the teams ahead of us. Fifth position for Nico and sixth place for Michael was the best possible result today. We have some work to do and we are confident that we will catch up soon.”


ScuderiaToroRossoScuderia Toro Rosso – 2010 BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX – SUNDAY 14/03/10


Jaime Alguersuari -(STR5-03) Pos. 13th

“It was positive that I managed to finish the first race of the season, also the first with the new no fuelling regulations. There is still a lot of room to improve, especially for me and also for the team as we should be in a position to challenge for points, being somewhere around seventh to eleventh in the races. We will need to work hard to achieve that. In terms of my physical condition, I feel that I am in much better shape than last year, when I had very little time to train, so that most of my races were just taxi drives. This track was not the best for us and now we must analyse all the data and see how to improve. One thing is certain, we need to qualify better.”

Sebastien Buemi – (STR5-01) Pos. 16th

“I’m not sure what happened at the start, but I got a lot of wheelspin, so I did not get away well and everyone passed me. After that, the first lap was quite hectic and I got a couple of places back. We decided to stay on a one stop strategy and for a while it was going well and I closed on De La Rosa, but those who took on new tyres before me were faster and so they got past me. By the time I pitted, I had lost too many places. After changing tyres, I got stuck behind Jaime and was unable to pass him and with three laps to go, the car just stopped. Tough love!”

Franz Tost

“This first race weekend did not go the way we expected, because, based on the result of our testing in February, we thought we would be closer to the points. Buemi suffered a hydraulic problem on Friday and hardly did any laps and was therefore unable to find the best set-up and we paid heavily for this in Qualifying. As for the race, we have to analyse why Buemi had such a poor start and now we have find out why his car stopped without warning, with what we assume was an electrical problem. At least Alguersuari finished the race, in thirteenth place, so this is another circuit he can tick off his learning book. We will now analyse the whole weekend in the hope of returning to the pace and reliability we had in winter testing and we are looking forward to fighting back in Melbourne.”


SauberMotorsportAfter a difficult qualifying the BMW Sauber F1 Team was heading for points in the opening round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, but the Bahrain Grand Prix ended in disappointment with both drivers retiring due to hydraulic failures.

 Bahrain GP – Race – Press Release- BMW Sauber F1

Weather: Sunny and dry, 35-36°C air, 36-40°C track
Pedro de la Rosa: DNF (lap 29, position 12, hydraulic problem)
BMW Sauber C29.03 / Ferrari 056
“I actually had a good start, but then lost positions when I had to go off the track to avoid colliding with other cars. On the grass I lost acceleration and some cars were able to pass, so when I arrived at turn four I had lost several positions. Then I felt we had a car that was good enough to fight for points, and there still was a chance to achieve this when I was called into the pits on lap 29 because of an hydraulic problem.“
Kamui Kobayashi: DNF (lap 12, position 13, hydraulic problem)
BMW Sauber C29.02 / Ferrari 056
“Unfortunately it was a short race for me because on lap 12 I lost the power steering and from then on I wasn’t able to shift anymore due to a hydraulic problem. I had quite a good start when I made up four positions, but then I flat-spotted a tyre and, in hindsight, I also believe it would have been better to start on the softer compound. Pedro was faster on them.”
Peter Sauber, Team Principal:
“I obviously had different hopes for how I would return to Formula One as a team principal, particularly after our promising winter testing. But even before the race our grid positions were disappointing. The race itself was okay from a performance point of view, with both drivers fighting for positions before they both stopped with a hydraulic problem. We have to analyse and to solve this problem very quickly.”
Willy Rampf, Technical Director:
“The race pace was okay. Pedro drove an intelligent race and managed his tyres really well. Kamui, who was on the harder compound, was forced to stop before his first scheduled pit stop, therefore there is not much to say. Neither car finished the race due to a hydraulic problem which we have to analyse.”


Courtesy: Lotus Racing,  AT&T Williams F1, Renault F1, Mercedes GP Petronas, BMW Sauber F1 Team, Force India F1, Scuderia Toro Rosso © RIF 


Press Release

 Bahrain GP Press Conference 4 



1. Fernando ALONSO (Ferrari), 1h39m20.396s;
2. Felipe MASSA (Ferrari), 1h39m36.495s;
3. Lewis HAMILTON (McLaren), 1h39m43.578s



  Q: Fernando, a winning start for the new relationship with Ferrari. Obviously passing Felipe at the start was key, but just tell us your emotions at the moment.
FA: A very special day for me as coming back to the top of the podium is always special but I think it is even more special with Ferrari with all the history behind the team and all the expectations a driver has when he drives for Ferrari. There is no better way to start the relationship. I am in the best team in the world. We have been working very hard all winter, the guys did a very good job in winter testing, so we arrive quite well prepared for this first grand prix. But we did nothing so far, we only won the first race but definitely to be first and second is the result that all the guys at Maranello and all the guys here at the track deserve this result as they have been working day and night to give us this fantastic car, so this first victory is dedicated to all the people in Italy, all the mechanics here, to President Montezemolo, to everybody who did a huge effort to have this car at the first race and this result is something very positive and very optimistic for the rest of the season.

Q: Felipe, a podium on return from injury for you. But tell us about that turn one battle with Fernando from your point of view.
Felipe MASSA:
Well, first of all it is just fantastic to be here, so thanks God that everything is great, being here, competitive, with a good car and being right through the whole race with normal and very good pace. It is really thanks to God that I am fine. I am very happy and thanks to everybody who was supporting me in a difficult time at home, every country, I received incredible letters and nice message which gave me even more motivation. The race was really good and fantastic for us. It was a bit strange for me. I did not have a good start and I lost a position, an important position, to Fernando at the first corner. The race was just great for me, the car was perfect. I could manage to follow him for the whole time on the soft tyres and then we put the hard tyres on, I was so quick straight away and I caught him in a very good way. Then I started to have a problem, definitely the whole race in terms of temperature in the car. That made a lot of fuel consumption, so I started to save fuel maybe in the last 25 laps, even 30 laps to go. I was saving fuel and there was nothing to do anymore. I was also lucky with the problem with Sebastian Vettel to pass him and gain some more points and I was lucky that Lewis was not so quick at the end, so I could manage to save a lot of fuel and also hold the position. It was not an easy race but just a fantastic result for the team who did a great job, for Montezemolo who was pushing very hard since last year. I was speaking a lot to him, so it is very nice this position. I am very happy. It was also my best start of the season, finishing on the podium, second, in the first race. That is something I never did so it is just a fantastic start.

Q: Lewis, you lost ground at the start to Nico Rosberg but got him back in the pit stops, but how do you feel overall today about pace in the race?
First of all congratulations to Fernando and Felipe. It is great to see Felipe back but of course to also see Fernando up there. For us, I think we had quite a good race. Unfortunately I lost a bit of ground, broke a little bit late into turn four with a lock up and went a bit wide and then I was in a very bad position and Rosberg got past me and unfortunately I was held up behind Rosberg for the first half of the race. I was much faster but it is very difficult to follow here while trying to look after your tyres. Unfortunately, perhaps if I was ahead of him I could have carried on and followed the train these guys were creating. I am very happy getting past him and a strong result for myself and the team. It is more than we expected this weekend but a great job from them as always but we need to continue to push to keep up with these guys.

Q: Fernando, what were you thinking in the middle part of the race when Vettel was controlling the pace? Were you being patient or could you have caught up with him?
I did not know exactly. I had some pace in the pocket at that time of the race but I was concentrating on managing the tyres. We knew that we had to do 35 or 36 laps with the tyres. I was waiting the time to attack Vettel, maybe waiting for the last 10 or 12 laps. But suddenly he had a car problem and he was dropping and we had the chance to overtake him a little bit earlier than expected. I think he was very quick, especially with soft tyres at the beginning as I could not follow him at all, but with the hard tyre maybe we had a little bit more pace but difficult to know.

Q: Felipe, towards the end there we saw your engineer Rob Smedley inspect the car. Was there a problem?
Well, I said I had a problem. He was speaking to me the last 30 laps almost every corner to save fuel and to drop the speed. It was very similar to Barcelona when I had to save a lot of fuel last year but Barcelona was just a  few laps and here it was maybe 25, 30 laps, so it was just this problem.

Q: Lewis, tell us what it was like this new style Formula One for you starting the car on heavy tanks and soft tyres. How does it feel from a driver’s point of view?
It is a different challenge. It definitely didn’t make racing more exciting in terms of being able to overtake. I wasn’t able to follow. Through the first half of the circuit I was close to Nico but as soon as we go to the fast sectors it was impossible to stay behind. With the tyes there just wasn’t enough grip to be able to hold with him, but I think it is an interesting season ahead of us. Bit by bit everybody is learning how to use the tyres. I think that is probably the most interesting part, trying to understand the tyres, trying to conserve your fuel load and know when to attack and not to attack, I think this is a real challenge, so I hope the BBC are doing a good job to show the fans exactly what we are doing and how we are doing it.

Q: Fernando, how important was today to throw down a marker not just to your rivals but also to your team-mate?
I think it is not very important and I always repeat the same thing. The first three or four races of the championship are not, in my opinion crucial for anything. You just need to take some solid points for the team, to get used to the new regulations, to understand a little bit better the tyres, the races itself, so at the end it depends on how competitive your car is to you get more or less points. But from a driver point of view it is not a crucial part. It is nice to be here, first position, but to be honest this is thanks to a fantastic car we had. We have been a little bit better than the others in the first race, so we managed to finish first and second. But I think the key to being World Champion will be the development during the season. We have a very good base but we need to keep working. This is only the start. Happy. Again dedicated to the team but now it is time to push.


Q: Fernando, what does it mean for a driver to win on his debut with a new team? How important is that?
FM: It means a lot. Obviously any victory means a lot. There is a lot of work for any victory coming from the team, coming from everybody also the drivers. We have been preparing ourselves physically, mentally for a lot of months, testing a lot in the winter. You arrive first grand prix on a Thursday, a lot of stress, media attention etc. and then come to Sunday and it is time to deliver, so winning means a lot and especially with Ferrari the first victory. It will be very special and difficult to forget today.

Q: Tell us about the strategy. Was it fairly simple to work out what to do?

Q: When you came to the different specifications of tyre was that fairly simple as well? Did you have any problems when you were on the soft tyre at the start of the race?
No, we knew that we had to do qualifying with the soft as they were quicker. I did a lap so-so in Q3, so I started third and it was not a perfect position but anyway it was good enough to be in the fight. Then we have been really open in terms of our strategy. Now there is not a clear lap to stop. You have fuel enough to finish the race, so the engineers and the strategy tells you when to stop. Then after that we switched to the prime but also to unknown territory as well. We did not know how many laps the prime will do in good shape but the car was so good that it managed the tyre very well and we finished the race with the perfect conditions with the tyre.

Q: Tell us about the start as that was also important for you?
The start was good. I think on the clean here there is a difference. There is a bit of sun close to the walls, so the start was more or less okay and the first corner was also good and I was lucky to overtake Felipe and then with the problem for Vettel, overtake Vettel as well and finish first. Obviously the qualifying and the starts are maybe the two key points this year. Unfortunately with no refuelling in terms of strategy or in terms of overtaking it will be very difficult to see any. After the first corner more or less the positions will be settled.

Q: Felipe, also your start. Where did you feel you lost out?
Well, I just had a very bad start with no grip, so I couldn’t go forward and also in the first braking I just lost the opportunity to be there fighting. I did the first corner inside but then Fernando was in a good position outside and at the corner it was to his side, so there was nothing to do. But apart from this I was really happy with the balance of the car, so it was okay to follow in the good direction whatever tyres I used, so the car was just fantastic. Unfortunately I had to save fuel for about 30 laps which lost me completely the chance to do even a small fight.

Q: Do you know why you had to save that fuel as they were pointing at something on the car?
No, I know it is regarding the temperature in the car. But we need to see, so I cannot say.

Q: You have been at Ferrari for quite some time. Just tell us about the fact that they put in two brand new engines and then you go out and finish first and second.
Yes, so it is good. Okay. It is part of the direction that we need to follow that we saw a small issue yesterday and we took the decision to change the engine. It does not mean we cannot use that engine. We can use it for practice, for next races on the Friday or whatever but it was a good decision.

Q: Lewis, you were saying this result was more than you expected. Where do you feel you are missing out? Is it something you know?
We had a good day. I think our race pace was a lot stronger obviously than our qualifying pace. As I said, I got held up behind Nico for quite a long time. I was quicker than him in the first and last sector but it was too tough to keep up with him in the middle sector. I think we’re lacking in a little bit of downforce compared to the Ferraris and especially the Red Bulls, but we’re not in a bad position. I think we just need to try to make a step closer to them which will enable us to compete for the win. Today, I think if I wasn’t behind Nico for that first half of the race, I think I perhaps would have been a lot closer to the guys and perhaps I would have a chance to compete with Felipe at the end. But things happened and I’m very happy with third.

Q: When Felipe was conserving fuel you weren’t that much closer, you were pretty much matching times.
Yeah. I think there was a point where the gap was so big I thought I would look after the tyres and then I realised I was quite a bit faster than him. I think I was half a second faster then, so then I began pushing and I think it got to 0.8s some laps, 0.3s on some other laps, so I was generally quicker but there wasn’t enough laps to catch up, with that kind of gap. There were five laps with perhaps seven seconds to catch up and once I caught him, it would take a couple of laps to get past at least, so I thought I would just look after the car.

Q: You were talking about tyre management. Is that a lot plainer now, or is that something you’ve been working on all the way through anyway?
I think it’s just something you learn throughout the weekend and in the race, again, when you start, it’s really dictated by the guys’ pace in front of you and then you try and control from there. The race is quite straightforward. You start on heavy fuel, you do one stop and then you… it’s pretty much a train the whole way. I thought it would be harder to manage the tyres but it wasn’t, it was quite easy.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR No. I was thinking of winning the race at that time. I knew that it was a very difficult thing to do: overtaking Vettel. I think that it was a very difficult thing to do but I was waiting for the opportunity. I knew that our car maybe manages the tyres in very good way, we saw that in the winter, so I was getting some relaxed laps behind and then maybe waiting for the last ten laps to attack, but then we were lucky with Vettel’s problem to overtake a little bit earlier and winning the race. We’ve been lucky; in all the victories you need some luck and this one was lucky as well.

Q: (Alberto Antonini – Autosprint) Fernando, you have always been known as someone who never gives up easily, but today, would you have settled for second place if it had not been for Vettel’s problem?
FA: No. I was thinking of winning the race at that time. I knew that it was a very difficult thing to do: overtaking Vettel. I think that it was a very difficult thing to do but I was waiting for the opportunity. I knew that our car maybe manages the tyres in very good way, we saw that in the winter, so I was getting some relaxed laps behind and then maybe waiting for the last ten laps to attack, but then we were lucky with Vettel’s problem to overtake a little bit earlier and winning the race. We’ve been lucky; in all the victories you need some luck and this one was lucky as well.

Q: (Jaime Rodriguez – El Mundo) Fernando, what were you thinking on the last lap, what did you shout, what did you say inside the car?
Many things. The last lap was very long, not only for the two minute lap but also because you try to bring the car home safely and you want to avoid all the kerbs, all the strange noises, everything, so it was a very long lap but nothing; I was thinking about the great job that the team have done so far. I was thinking about the mechanics this morning, everybody running in the garage to change the engine at the last moment. So all that stress and all those difficulties that the team had this morning are paid off now and I was thinking just to celebrate with them. There was also some good chat on the radio in Italian.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Moto und Sport) Fernando, it seemed that the Red Bull was a bit better on the soft tyre on the long run pace, whereas once you had the harder tyre on you were catching up even before Vettel experienced his problem. How do you explain that?
We need to see many things from the race, we need to analyse. It’s true that with the soft tyre it was difficult to follow Vettel. I was doing my maximum and it was impossible. And then it was a little bit easier to follow him with the prime. Yeah, we need to see the reasons for that. And maybe he already started to have some problems with the prime, so maybe it was not tyre-related, maybe it was something with his car that he already had a problem with from the beginning of the second stint.

Q: (Tomasz Richter – TV Nova) Felipe, do you expect that the next races could follow in a similar pattern, meaning an early first stop and that’s it?
Well, I expect that the next race will be very difficult, competitive. We saw today that we maybe have some other very strong teams. We had really, really strong Red Bull with two cars, so we maybe have a good car to fight, we have McLaren which can be there and can improve the car, maybe Mercedes, so maybe some surprises. We know that it will be difficult. We also need to understand the strategy that we did in this race, and also in what direction the tyres will be and also try to understand the strategy, where you can gain, where it’s more difficult. I think it’s difficult to expect how the next track is going to be. It’s a very different circuit and layout to here, but we need to gain experience from this race and try to understand many things for the future.

Q: (Alvaro Faes – La Nueva Espana) Fernando, before the race, did you plan to try and overtake Felipe, or just sort it out in one moment?
No, no plan. Obviously you want to overtake as many cars as possible at the start but you also need to defend yourself from the guys behind, so this is the decision that you take at the last moment, depending on how it goes in the first hundred meters at the start. You look in the mirror, you look where the other people are behind, where the people in front are and then you take the decision. I made a slight better start because I was on the clean side, so I was not… the first corner is always a new situation and you go there and you try to exit – especially the first race – you have to finish the race, you need to take some good points back home, so we try to be aggressive but controlling the situation at the same time.

Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) Lewis, straight after the first stop, you were able to match the pace of the three guys in front of you. What’s going on at that point in the race? Is that a true reflection of the comparative pace of the three cars or are you all taking it a little bit easy at that point, because of the tyre wear?
I think that was the true pace of our car at the time. Whether or not it would have been the same on the option tyre I don’t know, but as I say, I was right up on Nico’s tail for the whole of the stint and unfortunately I wasn’t able to pull out the time that I needed. These guys were just pulling away. I would come onto the back straight and they were already around the next corner, so the gap just increased, there was nothing I could do at that time, but as soon as I got in some clean air and there were some new tyres on, the car felt great and I think the pace that I had was quite good, so it’s good to know that were able to match or do similar times to the guys at the front. It shows that we’re not as far away as we thought we may have been.

Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) Fernando, could you answer the same question; was that a true reflection of the comparative pace of the three cars or were you conserving  tyres, for the 10 or 12 laps after the pit stop before Vettel had his problem?
No, I think we were pushing, maybe not 100 percent but 99.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Fernando, in which area does this car have to improve, and for both drivers, was there some extra pressure in this first race to at least be in front of Michael?
There are things to improve in the car, for sure. There’s not a perfect car in the world. I think we have a good enough car to start the season, a very competitive car in all conditions: low fuel, heavy fuel. We are working in two or three areas in which we know we need to improve
FM: I think we can improve everywhere. There’s always improvement in every part which improves the car.
And the second question is that we want to be in front of everybody: Michael, Sebastian, Lewis, everybody who is racing is racing for position, for the best, so you really don’t think that because it’s Michael, because it’s another driver. It doesn’t change, you want to be in front of everybody.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Was there any extra pressure, extra feeling?
No, no.

Q: Heikki Kulta (Turun Sanomat) Fernando, how much pressure, if any, does it take off your shoulders, winning this first race with Ferrari?
Not much, to be honest. There is always pressure at every race we go to, even every test we go to in Spain, there are 20,000 people who expect us to be P1 at the end of the day, so we live with pressure on our shoulders, so after this first win it’s good to enjoy time now with the mechanics, with the guys and then fly to Australia. But then I start from zero again in Australia. We can have a bad race at any time, if we make some little mistakes or we are not fully concentrated, so we need to take each Grand Prix like a new one, like the last one, so we need to do solid races now at the beginning of the championship and come back to Europe with some good points.

Q: (Carlos Miquel – Diario AS) Fernando, do you believe Felipe Massa is your biggest enemy for the championship, because the form of the Ferrari is so good?
Well, first of all, he’s not an enemy, maybe a rival but not an enemy. Again, the eight drivers in the top four teams are contenders for the championship. Maybe this is only the first race, but we saw the potential of the Mercedes in free practice and Q1 as well. We saw the potential of the McLaren today, being on the podium. We saw the potential of Red Bull, that they were quicker than us in qualifying, and maybe a little bit quicker than us in the race as well. And of course, Felipe, with the same car – there will be races that one of us will win and some races that the other will win. The important thing is to score many more points for the team and hopefully both Ferrari drivers will be on the podium. But I think this will depend track to track well. Here in Bahrain, for whatever reason was a little bit better for us, maybe we go to Australia for the next race and Mercedes or McLaren or whoever are a little bit ahead of everybody, so we need to understand this and we need to prepare our car perfectly for each Grand Prix, in terms of set-up, in terms of developing a programme in the wind tunnel, engine-wise etc, so there is a package, that is a combination of many things that we need to get ready.

Courtesy FIA Press Release © RIF


Bahrain GP – Qualifying Session – March 13, 2010

15Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing
27Felipe MassaScuderia Ferrari Marlboro
38Fernando AlonsoScuderia Ferrari Marlboro
42Lewis HamiltonVodafone McLaren Mercedes
54Nico RosbergMercedes GP Petronas
66Mark WebberRed Bull Racing
73Michael SchumacherMercedes GP Petronas
81Jenson ButtonVodafone McLaren Mercedes
911Robert KubicaRenault F1 Team
1014Adrian SutilForce India F1 Team
119Rubens BarrichelloAT&T Williams
1215Vitantonio LiuzziForce India F1 Team
1310Nico HulkenbergAT&T Williams
1422Pedro De la RosaBMW Sauber F1 Team
1516Sébastien BuemiScuderia Toro Rosso
1623Kamui KobayashiBMW Sauber F1 Team
1712Vitaly PetrovRenault F1 Team
1817Jaime AlguersuariScuderia Toro Rosso
1924Timo GlockVirgin Racing
2018Jarno TrulliLotus Racing
2119Heikki KovalainenLotus Racing
2225Lucas di GrassiVirgin Racing
2321Bruno SennaHRT F1 Team
2420Karun ChandhokHRT F1 Team

Bahrain GP – Qualifying Session – March 13, 2010


 ScuderiaToroRossoScuderia Toro Rosso – 2010 BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX – SATURDAY 13/03/10

Sebastien Buemi (STR5-01)
“It’s pretty much what we expected and we appear to be fighting with Petrov, the Saubers and the Williams. As always I felt I could have done better, but not by much, maybe two tenths. Tomorrow for the first race, I would hope to finish in the points, which this year means getting to tenth. That would involve moving up five places, which is not an impossible task, given that it will be a long race and anything could happen.”
Third Practice Session: Best lap 1.56.295, pos. 15th, 17 laps
Qualifying Session: Best lap 1.56.265, pos. 15th
Jaime Alguersuari (STR5-03)
“We hoped to be in Q2 but I made a mistake on my fastest lap on the soft tyres. The grip level was quite low, I was pushing hard and it caught me out, going too fast into a turn. There is room for improvement of course and I hope I can have a good race tomorrow and move up the order a bit, but it looks like it will be tough to score points. We will have to do better next time.”
Third Practice Session: Best lap 1.56.504, pos. 16th, 16 laps
Qualifying Session: Best lap 1.57.071, pos. 18th
Giorgio Ascanelli: “I am disappointed with the fact we were not able to give Sebastien any running yesterday, but today, I am actually quite happy that we did better than seventeenth and eighteenth, which is what I had expected. Jaime had traffic and made a mistake, which can happen, so he is capable of better. With only limited running in free practice, Seb didn’t get the best out of himself and the car, but I am happy with what both drivers did. There is no reason to expect a better race pace, but it will be a tough afternoon during which I hope we will be sustained by our reliability.”


ForceIndiaForce India F1 – 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying and Final Free Practice Report

Adrian Sutil (car 14, VJM03/03):
FP3: 11th  1:55.521  (13 laps)
Q1: 3rd 1:55.213  (7 laps)
Q2: 8th 1:54.996  (6 laps)
Q3: 10th 1:56.309  (3 laps)

Tonio Liuzzi (car 15, VJM03/01):
FP3: 9th 1:55.432  (11 laps)
Q1: 10th 1:55.628  (7 laps)
Q2: 12th 1:55.653  (6 laps)

13 March 2010 – The Force India F1 Team will start tomorrow’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix with both cars in the top 12. Tonio Liuzzi will start from 12th position, his best starting slot since the Italian GP 2009, while Adrian Sutil will line up in tenth after entering into Q3. With a view to the race strategy tomorrow, in which drivers starting in the top ten must start the race on the tyres on which they qualified, Adrian made his final run of the last session on the harder tyre compound, the only driver in Q3 to do so.

Adrian Sutil (car 14)
I’m very happy. I think it was a great achievement to go into Q3 at the first race: our best start to the season for a long time. The team should be very proud of it, I am very proud of this, so let’s see how it goes tomorrow. Our goal is now to finish in the points. At the moment I’m in tenth and hopefully we can make one or two positions up as I’m the only car on the hard tyre so it may be an advantage. I’m surprised that the others were on the soft tyres so our decision could pay off tomorrow. We are strong under heavy fuel loads but we were very fast in Q1 and Q2 when everyone was on soft tyres so there are a few more positions we could gain. We worked very hard over the winter and over the last four years and it’s nice to see it giving dividends now.

Tonio Liuzzi (car 15)
I am a bit disappointed as we didn’t know what had happened to the car since free practice. In the morning it seemed to have a pretty good balance and we didn’t change very much but then we went into qualifying and we had a problem with the traction. That was the main reason we couldn’t go through to Q3. Now we have to work on this and understand what happened but we believe in the race that we should be really strong as yesterday we were quick on the longer runs.

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal
I think the whole team can be very proud of this result; it’s a great start to the season and a mark of how much progress we have made over the winter. Last season we didn’t get through to Q2 in this race and this year we’ve got both cars in the top 12. Of course that’s not a precursor to getting points, which is what really matters, but it does give us a much better chance. Particularly positive is that Adrian is starting the race on the harder tyre, unlike the rest of the top ten, so should be well-placed to capitalise as the softer tyre degrades in the warm conditions. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s race now!


SauberMotorsportBMW Sauber F1 – Bahrain GP – Qualifying
Both BMW Sauber F1 Team drivers made it into the second qualifying session, but neither of them moved up into the top ten qualifying. Still struggling with the car on the winding and bumpy new part of the circuit, Pedro de la Rosa qualified 14th for the first race of the season in Bahrain and Kamui Kobayashi qualified 16th.

Weather: Sunny and dry, 31-36°C air, 41-47°C track

Both BMW Sauber F1 Team drivers made it into the second qualifying session, but neither of them moved up into the top ten qualifying. Still struggling with the car on the winding and bumpy new part of the circuit, Pedro de la Rosa qualified 14th for the first race of the season in Bahrain and Kamui Kobayashi qualified 16th.

Pedro de la Rosa:
BMW Sauber C29.03 / Ferrari 056
Qualifying: 14th / 1.56.237 min (in Q2) / 3rd Practice: 13th / 1:56.063 min (14 laps)
“I can’t say I’m satisfied because before we came here we expected to be a bit higher up. But we already knew yesterday this is a bad track for us with the new infield. I have to blame myself for losing a couple of tenths, because I made mistakes on my very last lap when I just pushed too hard because at this time there wasn’t much to lose. So this was not good and it will be a tough race tomorrow for the drivers and teams, especially in terms of tyre management. I’m afraid they will overheat from lap one. Well, despite not being happy with the result, in a way I have to say I still enjoyed my first qualifying after three years.”

Kamui Kobayashi:
BMW Sauber C29.02 / Ferrari 056
Qualifying: 16th / 1.56.270 min (in Q2) / 2nd Practice: 17th / 1:56.530 min (14 laps)
“After winter testing we thought we would be quicker, but we are really struggling with the bumpy new part of the track. Of course the temperatures are much higher here, which is also something new as we now see what the effect is between the car and the tyres. We have to work really hard for improvements. Tomorrow’s race will be hard but I still hope our car will not be hard on the tyres and we can move up a bit. There is always a chance for points.”

Peter Sauber, Team Principal:
“After our promising testing I expected more from the first qualifying of the season. The problems with this track, which we had already seen yesterday, could not be solved for qualifying.”

Willy Rampf, Technical Director:
“Based on the results in winter testing our goal was to get one car into Q3. However, we missed that by a big margin. We will now try to make up positions in the race using the right strategic options which are now allowed by the new rules. Before the next races we have to improve the car significantly.”



Qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix got underway at 14:00 this afternoon to begin the competitive track action for the nineteen-race 2010 Formula One season.

The MERCEDES GP PETRONAS pairing of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher progressed through the first two sessions of qualifying before taking to the track again for a highly-competitive final session.

Nico and Michael completed just one run in Q3, using the softer compound option tyre, and qualified in fifth and seventh positions respectively for tomorrow’s 49-lap race.


Drivers          Car No. Chassis No.     Free Practice   Qualifying 1   Qualifying 2    Qualifying 3
Nico Rosberg    4   MGP W01 / 02    P2     P7   1:55.463   P5     1:54.682    P5     1:55.241
Michael Schumacher   3   MGP W01 / 03    P4     P9   1:55.593   P9     1:55.105    P7     1:55.524

Weather      Hot and sunny
Temperatures    Air: 34-36°C    Air: 35-47°C       

“To be honest, we were hoping for a bit more today although we were lacking the pace to challenge right at the front so I guess we should not be too disappointed. It was so difficult out there with the tyres overheating. If you made a small mistake and got oversteer, then you lost a lot of grip for the next few corners. It’s going to be very important to look after the tyres tomorrow in the race. Overall it’s a good start for me and with a bit of luck, we should be able to challenge for a podium place tomorrow.”

“I am satisfied with seventh place today having been away from Formula One for such a long time. By coincidence, it’s the same grid position that I had when I started my career at Spa in 1991. It was fun to work with my new team and I appreciate all their efforts to support me as I get back into the swing of things. The boys are really good and I feel that we’ve improved step-by-step over the weekend. I’m looking forward to the race and I expect even more to come.”

“It was a reasonable qualifying session today although we hoped for more after this morning’s practice. The balance of the car suffered between practice and qualifying, possibly due to the increasing track temperatures, and we lost some pace as a result. Nico drove very well today in all sessions and Michael, taking part in his first qualifying session since 2006, is getting back into the rhythm as he gets more miles in the car.”

“Not a bad start to the first race weekend for MERCEDES GP PETRONAS in achieving fifth and seventh position in our first qualifying session. I think we looked stronger this morning – and it is our target to be better again during tomorrow’s race. Nico has done a great job since lap one of the weekend and Michael, who is starting his first Formula One race after three and a half years, is one place ahead of reigning World Champion Jenson Button. The race tomorrow will be extremely tough for the drivers, the cars and their engines and we hope to be well prepared for the battle.”


RenaultF1TeamRenault F1 Team – 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix Saturday – 13 Mar 2010


Robert Kubica, R30-03, P8, 15 laps, 1:55.331

Vitaly Petrov, R30-02, P18, 16 laps, 1:56.811


Robert Kubica, R30-03, P9, 1:55.885

Robert: ”The first target for today was to get into Q3, so we can pleased with that part of the qualifying session, but I am actually a bit disappointed to be only ninth on the grid. I did two good laps in Q1 and Q2, but on my lap in the final part of the session I had a big snap oversteer in the hairpin at turn 16 that cost me about four tenths. On the positive side, we have a clearer picture of where we stand now, and it looks pretty positive when you see the cars around us on the grid: the R30 clearly has good potential. It will be a long, tough race tomorrow but our target has to be to move up the field.”

Vitaly Petrov, R30-02, P17, 1:56.619

Vitaly: “For my first ever qualifying session, this is a normal result, but I really enjoyed today. Our first target was to make Q2 so we achieved this, but we were not very lucky in Q2 and could not continue. Tomorrow is race day and it will be very interesting to see how we do – we will certainly try our best.”

Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer
“Vitaly had a solid qualifying session for his first Grand Prix weekend. He went comfortably through Q1, which was good. In Q2, he went into turn 9 a little bit too quick on his final timed lap, so he will start P17 tomorrow. As for Robert, he had a solid, untroubled Q1 and Q2 and then went comfortably into Q3, which was what we had hoped for. On his Q3 lap he had a bit of oversteer in turn 16, which cost him quite a bit of time. Overall, we are pleased with the performance of the R30 today and we know that the car works well with high fuel loads and has good straight-line speed. We look forward to a strong race tomorrow.”


ATTWilliamsF1AT&T Williams F1 – Bahrain GP Qualifying Saturday 13 Mar 2010

It was a solid if unspectacular start to the AT&T Williams team 2010 season today, with both Rubens and Nico progressing into the second qualifying session, but failing to meet their ambitions to finish the day inside the top ten. Both drivers remain confident of a strong performance tomorrow in a race to be run to new and significantly different regulations.

Rubens Barrichello: I think Williams did well today, not as well as any of us would wish, but we have had some minor problems and we lost some running time yesterday. This meant we were playing catch up this morning. But our general direction is good, we have a good understanding in the garage and we have real belief in the team. So we almost made it to final qualifying – I was just a little bit behind Jenson, so it was not so bad and of course I have some new tyres for tomorrow, which will be helpful.
Nico Hulkenberg:
I had hoped to achieve more in my first qualifying session, but we didn’t get the car quite perfect and I didn’t manage to put the good lap together. This combination is very costly as you would expect in Formula One and we didn’t therefore make it into Q3. It is probably not worth speculating too much on the race tomorrow, the only thing I can say with certainty is that it will be tough for everyone and I believe the key thing will be managing our tyres well.
Sam Michael, Technical Director:
We thought we should be able to get through to Q3, but it wasn’t to happen today. Rubens did well to make up some ground after practice and it was Nico’s first Formula One qualifying session. Our focus is now on the race, using our normally competitive starts to make position on the first lap and then race hard for points. Thank you also to our mechanics who’ve put in some really hard hours trackside over the last three days.



Bahrain, 13th March 2010

Saturday in Bahrain saw Lotus Racing compete for the first time in qualifying with a host of famous faces dropping by and watching the action from the team’s pit and hospitality suite, among them former Lotus stars Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti and Nigel Mansell. Qualifying itself was much as the team had anticipated, with Jarno Trulli finishing 20th on 1.59.852 and Heikki Kovalainen 21st on 2.00.313.

Both drivers gave their thoughts after the session, with Jarno saying: “All in all not too bad considering the amount of running we had this morning. We had some bad luck this weekend but the team has operated very well, in a very professional way, and we just need a bit more time to make the step forward we need in terms of performance. Tomorrow we need to try and finish the race, collect some useful data to find out more about what is right and wrong with the way the car behaves, and make that our main aim – finishing.”

Heikki Kovalainen added “Pretty much what we expected. The car was very reliable, which is good, and the performance was roughly where we knew we’d be. I’m reasonably happy – it probably isn’t the best qualifying lap I’ve ever done, and maybe I didn’t get everything out of it I should have done, but we have a good base to work from tomorrow. In practice yesterday the car felt like it would be good over long runs, and with the good reliability we have had we’ll see what happens tomorrow. The most important thing is to finish the race, and then we’ll see where we are.”

Mike Gascoyne, Lotus Racing Chief Technical Officer commented: “It’s a little bit mixed emotions today – we wanted to be the best of the new teams, and we just missed out on that by a fraction, but as the last of the new teams to have been given an entry, only six months ago, it’s a fantastic effort by the whole team to have finished our first qualifying session. We now look forward to the race and with the strength of our reliability, and two very experienced race drivers, now it’s all about finishing.”

Having arrived yesterday, Team Principal Tony Fernandes was at the track and was very proud to see the incredible efforts of everyone in the team over the last six months finally taking shape, saying “I’m happy, very very happy. It was fantastic to see Lotus back on the grid after a 16 year absence, and with the potential for so many things to have gone wrong, it’s just great to have finished our first qualifying session. Jarno broke the two minute mark and that’s a great achievement in itself.”

Giving his thoughts on the motor racing giants that came by the Lotus Racing garage, he added “It was great to see Emerson, Mario and Nigel today. It shows we have credibility and it’s a great endorsement from these legends that they see what we’re doing and, in whatever way, want to be a part of it. The dream continues and long may it last!”


Courtesy: Lotus Racing,  AT&T Williams F1, Renault F1, Mercedes GP Petronas, BMW Sauber F1 Team, Force India F1, Scuderia Toro Rosso © RIF


Press Release

 Bahrain GP Press Conference 3 



1. Sebastian VETTEL (Red Bull), 1m54.101s
2. Felipe MASSA (Ferrari), 1m54.242s
3. Fernando ALONSO (Ferrari), 1m54.242s


Q: Sebastian, the testing did not tell us very much. You have picked up where you left off but how big a surprise is pole position to you?
Sebastian VETTEL: A big surprise. I mean in winter testing no-one really knew where we were. Of course it was clear that there were four teams pretty strong, but close to each other. To be honest yesterday it was a very tough day for us and we had not as much running as we were hoping for. Another long night especially for the mechanics, not a lot of sleep, some tired faces, but everyone was still keen this morning to push. I knew we had a great car but first of all you have to get it together. I have to say practice this morning and qualifying went pretty smoothly. Obviously I am very, very happy to be on pole, so thanks to the team. As I said the boys didn’t get much sleep in the last month with a lot of testing in a short amount of time. To come here first time everyone really shows how strong they are and to be on top is definitely a very, very nice feeling.

Q: Felipe, what comeback for you from injury. Tell us about how you feel today about your journey back here and your performance today.
Felipe MASSA:
Well, first of all congratulations to Sebastian he did a great job for the first race of the season. I think it is very nice to be back here racing competitively and in a good direction. I feel very happy to be back after such a difficult time. I was watching the races on television and was pretty excited but it is much better to be sat in the car. I prepared myself in a good direction, testing, driving go-karts, everything was great to be back in the car for racing and if you look at what happened last season with us I think it is a good start to the season for us. After a difficult season where we finished in the last race and where we are starting the season in the first race is always great for the team, great for the guys who did a very tough job inside the factory since a long time, so I feel really positive to start on the first race second. We are second and third and for the team that is really great and we will see how we doing in the race. Red Bull and also some other teams are really strong, so the race will be very difficult but I am very happy to be here fighting for the top.

Q: Fernando, the margins at the end of qualifying were quite a bit bigger than they were at the beginning. What do you put that down to and how do you feel about where you have ended up?
Fernando ALONSO:
Well, I think the difference is difficult to read. With such a long lap like this one and with the conditions we were facing, with this very warm temperature, I think it is very difficult to complete that long lap with no mistakes and not any problems. I think the times are related to how the gap was as well and about the competitiveness of the car. I think in different parts of the weekend we saw times that were very tight and times that were split like they are now but I think it is okay. From our point of view we are obviously extremely happy with the result of this weekend so far. The race is tomorrow. We cannot forget this but so far everything has been great and we will keep going as we did all winter testing with a very strong car and  I think competitive in all conditions, qualifying and race, and to be second and third as Felipe said is a great achievement for everybody in the factory at Maranello and the job they did from November last year until now was flat out every day and every night and the first result of the season is very, very positive, so this is a big boost for the team to carry on.

Q: Sebastian, you start the race on the same tyres you qualified on. Just give us a bit of inkling into your thinking on that?
I think we all don‘t know really what will happen tomorrow. It could be exciting. It could be very boring. That is what I hope for. That is what all of us like to be more or less where we start. I think it is a very difficult situation to be in. The first part of the race will be crucial but on the other hand it is not a big secret that you need to take care of your tyres and the question mark is what you do with your strategy. A lot of things unknown I have to say, so all of us we don’t know what to expect tomorrow.

Q: Felipe, how do you feel about the race performance of the Ferrari compared to what you can do over a  single lap in qualifying? Are you stronger in the race, do you think?
I think we did a good job yesterday to prepare the long distance in both tyres. We also swapped. I was on one tyre and Fernando was on the different tyres to do the long run. I think we are in the right direction, so let’s see how the first race is going to be. It is the first race of the season and we need to understand so many things which will happen in the race, on the strategies, let’s wait and see but I am really optimistic.

Q: Fernando, it’s a long season but is this how you expect it to start?
Well, you never know how a new championship will start with a big change in the regulations. For me, also changing teams, you never know, but obviously at the moment everything has been perfect and this is a very good start and I think now in equal conditions, let’s say as quali with low fuel these days show the potential of the cars, so for both Ferraris to be in the top three means we have a nice car. But it is a very long championship, 10 months of developing the car, but it is very important to start scoring points from the first race. If not you are always behind and you need to close the gap and this is not ideal if you want to fight for the world championship and we are here to fight for the World Championship and this is the first step, so let’s see what happens tomorrow.


FM: Oh, no.
SV: It is very, very difficult, well, I don’t know, you can ask him, but from the outside big respect for what he has achieved. First race he is back and he is bang, bang bang. It is good to have him back.

Q: Sebastian, how exciting was that for you?
SV: Very exciting. Yesterday I have to admit we were not very happy, especially myself. We knew there was potential in the car but we were just not putting it together. On top of that we had some problems, so we did not do a lot of running. But this morning straight away it has been quite a lot better. In qualifying a very smooth session as per plan but it is never easy especially as I saw in the last lap where I saw myself going around one-and-a-half or two-tenths slower around the lap. I was already thinking I have to push push push and it was really close. At the end of qualifying the circuit got a bit more difficult with the conditions changing all the time. The heat here is different to what we had in testing, so you could see people having quite big jumps in lap time either up or down. But concerning ourselves I think it was a good result and a good position to start from, but tomorrow is going to be a long, long race. It is the first race out of 19. It is not going to be a sprint, it is going to be an endurance event, so you have to take care of your car, tyres and so on. But for sure there is no better position to start from than pole position and finally, and I think I am speaking more or less on behalf of all the drivers, give some great respect to Felipe.

Q: Did you do a lot of changes to the car overnight or did the track to some extent come to you?
Well, I think the track was not very good to start with yesterday morning but then rubbered in quickly. There was a lot of rubber. I think it was more transforming your car and making it work in the conditions. We did change a lot overnight. Yesterday we could not show our full performance, we would have wished to do more runs, but I had a braking failure and Mark had a problem with the drive-shaft, so overall we did not do a lot of laps, but nevertheless we could feel the potential. We changed some things, I won’t tell you what, but nothing special, small things, but they had  a big effect in the end. We were trying to read the conditions and what will happen throughout qualifying and it seemed to work quite well. I think we were one of the most consistent.

Q: Felipe, it is a great comeback to be second. How satisfying is it for you and how emotional?
It is just fantastic to hear that definitely. First of all congratulations for the pole. I want to be in your place but I am glad for you. It is just fantastic to hear that. We are here to compete and race each other but there is relationship and respect which go over everything. All drivers have great respect and it is nice to hear that after such difficult times and such difficult accident. Now I am  here 100 per cent ready to fight again and most of the people are happy, so that is fantastic to hear. We always want to do the best possible. I think it was very positive the first qualifying of the season and looking how difficult it was last year and how tough it was to improve the car race by race and to understand the regulations. I think we did a good job at home to prepare the car, to make the car in a good direction,  and that is a very important point to start the season. Fernando and I are second and third and that is great for the team to have a good direction for this very long championship which won’t be easy. It will be very difficult.

Q: What were you expecting for qualifying? Did you have any ideas as the Mercedes seemed to be very competitive but they are not on the first three.
I expected to be, looking at what happened yesterday and this morning, fighting with Mercedes and Red Bull. I think Sebastian made a little step forward if you look this morning and yesterday and did a great lap which you would expect him. I think he did a good job.

Q: Fernando, how satisfying is it for you to be in the top three in the first drive with a new team especially in such a competitive season?
I am very happy. It is the first race and there are many things to answer after a long winter with so big differences in fuel loads in all the tests and yesterday in practice as you never know what the competitors are running. We were really excited about the first qualifying of the season to really know how competitive we were, so now to have both drivers in the top three means we have a very competitive car. We thought so but you never know, you need to confirm it. It has been great. A great day and I think some kind of nice feeling to realise that we are in the fight as you never know until qualifying.

Q: You talked about the rear tyres degrading yesterday – probably everybody did – but how bad is that and is it a worry for the race itself?
I think that is a worry for everybody, and not only here. I think it will be one of the characteristics of this year’s racing. With heavy cars, I think the tyres are stressed a lot more and you just need to take care and also different cars will treat their tyres differently. So hopefully, fingers crossed, we can have a consistent race tomorrow and this thing will come to us.


Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Sera) Felipe, was what you achieved today exactly what you had imagined for several months or much more?
FM: For sure, when I did all the first tests, I expected a good car to drive. For sure for the car the most important thing to think about was how the championship was going to be, and I was quite comfortable driving the car in the first test and the second test and also in Barcelona, so for sure I expected to be competitive. I expected to come here and fight for a good position: first, second, fifth, whatever. I expected to be competitive and I think it’s pretty much been in that direction.

Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) To all of you: what will be the main difficulty in the race tomorrow: saving the tyres, saving fuel in the engine?
Well, in Formula One I think people like to talk about packages; I think it will be the package. As I said, in the past it was probably more a sprint event. You started the race on whatever fuel load – 50, 60, 70, 40 kilos. Of course you had to take care at the beginning and then you could push, more or less which I think everyone of us enjoyed a lot. This year, the challenge is not attacking every lap and pushing and trying to go as fast as you can. It has changed. The challenge is now obviously controlling the package, as I said, trying to listen to your car, listen to your tyres, listen to your brakes, everything. Try to read and understand the race inside the car. There will be a lot of things to learn and also for the pit wall. No one really knows what to expect, I think that’s exciting so far. Hopefully we will have a good race tomorrow. As Felipe and Fernando said already, it will be a long season, so the most important thing is to finish, for sure, but I think everyone is looking forward to tomorrow’s race, so we will see. I think it is a good mix of everything; you have to keep in control to be the best.
FM: I don’t think there’s much more to say, actually. Sebastian said everything. The race is very long, at the beginning we need to understand how the tyres behave, like the package as he said. Then we need to also understand what will be the right moment to stop which no one knows 100 percent at the moment, so we wait and see.
FA: Yes, I think we are in a learning process with the new regulations. Today we learned some things about qualifying and qualifying performance etc but tomorrow can be completely different. Maybe one car which has qualified seventh or eighth or ninth has a very strong pace in the race and he’s taking care of the tyres or he makes a completely different strategy and can make up a lot of positions. We are in completely unknown territory, so we need to discover many things in the first three or four races of the championship.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) Considering the degradation of the tyres, especially the super soft which you are using, do you expect the first stint to be very short tomorrow and Alonso, did you have a problem in sector two on your last lap?
I don’t know what the strategy will be tomorrow. I think it will be very flexible. I think we will need to be clever enough to understand the race situation and to make the pit stops whenever is necessary. I don’t think this will be determined or strictly planned before the race any more. I think it will be very flexible.
Second sector, yes, it was not perfect but it was the maximum I could do. I probably lost a couple of tenths but some others did better. This is Formula One.

Q: (Juha Paatalo – Financial Times Deutschland) For everybody: I think nine out of ten cars in Q3 had the soft tyres on. Was it a clear solution to take them or was there any thinking that you should take the hard ones and have a longer first stint?
Well, I think we saw yesterday – I can’t speak on my behalf really, I did one longish run – but especially these two, they did quite a few laps yesterday and if we are speaking about tyre degradation on the super soft it’s not given that the medium tyre or the harder compound around here has zero degradation. It’s also dropping. I think reading the lap times yesterday and assuming what people ran in terms of fuel load we could see that and I think in the end what made the difference is the fact that – I think you saw that throughout qualifying that the soft tyre was quite a bit stronger for initial performance which you need in qualifying. You need only one lap. Whatever happens after usually doesn’t matter; in this case it does. We will see tomorrow. As Fernando said, there are so many things to learn.
It’s quite funny, I think last year the top three drivers sat here on Saturday afternoon and they didn’t want to say when they were going to stop. Now they can’t tell you because we don’t know, so nobody knows. You can work out an optimum for the race, but an optimum is when you’re racing on your own which, as it looks now, is very unlikely to happen. Of course there’s a chance that 23 cars will not reach the grid but I think this chance is quite small.
FM: I think the difference between the super soft and the soft was that the super soft was quite a bit quicker over one lap, so I think nine out of ten cars chose to go for the best strategy in qualifying and I think tomorrow is new for everybody, so it’s slightly difficult to say ‘we definitely need to go on the hard.’ I think in this first race everybody went for the best in qualifying and we’re going to know what happens tomorrow.
FA: I didn’t know that, who was on the hard? (Sutil) Which position is he in? (Tenth) OK.
FM: Maybe it’s a good choice; nobody can say that he’s wrong.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Fernando, you mentioned the taste of champagne earlier. How are you now that you’ve finally come back after two difficult struggling seasons?
Yeah, the taste of champagne or the taste of the podium is important to a racing driver. I had no possibilities for two years. I had a strong final part of 2008 and only one podium in 2009 in Singapore, so obviously I missed the podium and I missed the competition and the stress of fighting for a World Championship, so after a long winter, with some good signs of a very competitive car that we were in the fight, it was clear that we needed the confirmation in the first Grand Prix that we were quick enough to be in the fight. After winning or losing a World Championship it’s about the small details but at least we are in a strong position it seems. I think it’s a very positive sign, a very nice feeling to be back in the fight, at least at this first race and I will enjoy tomorrow’s race as much as I can because you are fighting for important positions and not in the middle of the grid.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Felipe, everybody knows that the first challenge is the team-mate and so how important has it been to come back and beat the team-mate, even if it is just on Saturday?
As I said, it’s just fantastic to be back in the race. I never had any doubt that I was different than before. Everything I was doing since the accident was really normal. I remember the first time I went to drive the go-karts I even had the doctor there and everybody was watching and waiting to see if I was OK, and on the first lap I was already sideways, pushing hard on the first lap. I don’t really feel any difference to how I was before the accident. It’s always positive when you come back and you are competitive. It’s definitely what I expected. I think we have a good team, me and Fernando working very well with the team and we always want to beat everybody, it doesn’t matter who the driver is, whether he’s a team-mate or Sebastian or whatever. We all want to be first, that’s what we’re aiming for. I think this is just the first qualifying, I’m happy, but we need to prepare ourselves for the race and for the next races as well, which is always very tough. I really feel that we’re going in a good direction.

Q: (Carlos Miquel – Diario AS) Fernando, are you thinking about the possibility to attack Felipe Massa in the first corner, because normally the strategy of the team could be the same in the race?
No, it’s better not to.
FA: It’s the first race, maybe not. We don’t know, we need to see how we start. Maybe I do a very bad start and maybe I need to defend my position from the fourth and the fifth guy. You never know what’s going to happen at the start.
SV: I think you should attack him.
FA: We both overtake Sebastian and we have a relaxed race after that, I hope. (To Sebastian) Third is OK.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Moto und Sport) In the past few years the picture was that on certain circuits a certain car was better than another and on other types of circuit it was the other way around. Do you think, from your experience in testing and now here in Bahrain, it will be the same this year, that it’s track specific who is in front  and who not?
Yes, I really think so. I think it will be track to track performance. Obviously at this track we know that it was maybe one of the good ones for us. I think Red Bull at the moment maybe has some little steps ahead of us in some tracks. We expect Mercedes and McLaren to be very strong also in the coming races, so we need to keep pushing. This is only the start, we have repeated many times but this is a ten months championship. The development  in one month of testing from the first of February to the end of February was huge, so imagine (what it can be) in ten months. We are sitting here now, we are very happy with this top three position but in three or four races you don’t know because the teams are progressing so quickly and developing the car so quickly that you can find yourself seventh or eighth very quickly. We need to keep pushing, we need to keep working. I’m very relaxed, I’m in one of the best teams, so we should be competitive.

 Courtesy FIA Press Release © RIF