James Allison: “We do look as if our pace is reasonably good…”

Ferrari technical director James Allison says it’s too early to judge Ferrari’s true form in Malaysia following a promising first day for the team in Sepang.

Kimi Raikkonen was second fastest in FP2 and some 0.373s off Lewis Hamilton, although admittedly the Briton did not have an easy day. The red car looked particularly good on the medium option tyre, although Sebastian Vettel didn’t get a clean run on it and was thus down in seventh.

“I don’t know, we’ll find out on Sunday!,” Allison said when asked about prospects for the race. “But we do look as if our tyre deg is quite good, and we do look as if our pace is reasonably good. But everyone uses the Fridays differently, so you never know what the others were doing. But we feel it’s been a good day.”

Regarding Raikkonen’s pace he said: “The car’s going well, he’s going well, and so is Sebastian, to be honest. If you look at where Sebastian was in FP2, his best time was set on the prime tyre, and Kimi’s on the option, albeit a scrubbed option. So I think both of them are going well and I expect Kimi will have a good race on Sunday, as should Sebastian, based on the pace we saw today.

Asked by this writer about closing the gap to Mercedes he said: “It would be nice if they could feel us breathing down their collars, or even in the course of time get ourselves in front of them. I think the delta we saw in Melbourne probably was a little unkind to us. I think we probably should have been a little bit ahead of the Williams in qualifying, and then driven up the road 15 or 20 seconds more than we did. It would be nice to have a clean qualifying here and see what we can do.”

Meanwhile Allison made some interesting observations about the improvements seen in this year’s Ferrari package.

“In pure lap times the gains are almost equal, chassis and power unit wise. I guess on the chassis as normal the lion’s share of the gains are aerodynamic, because that’s the thing that has the most authority to put lap time on the car. So on the chassis side its 80/20 aero versus some quite useful gains that have been made in the cooling efficiency of the car, which then translate into aero by allowing you to run the car tighter at the back.”

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