The Spaniard, winner in Shanghai last weekend, was fourth quickest in the second practice session for the Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix at the Sakhir Circuit, with a time of 1:34.301s.
Earlier in the morning, the Ferraris had dominated with Felipe Massa bringing up a one-two. Massa had topped with 1:34.487s followed by Alonso in 1:34.564s.
“It was a positive day and we are reasonably pleased with how the car behaved. We had no major problems and more importantly, we didn’t have to make any radical changes to the F138 to adapt it to this track and its long straights and slow corners, characteristics which I like a lot and usually produce a great show in the race. Unfortunately, the wind and sand make everything a bit more complicated here, because the track surface never gets completely clean,” Alonso said on Friday.
“However, the initial feelings are good and I think we can be up in the leading group tomorrow, a group that is all within the same two, maximum three-tenths,” he added.
Ferrari brought a few aerodynamic updates for Bahrain and used it in the morning session. But Alonso said that the decision to use it in qualifying and the race was still up in the air.
“We have not yet decided if we will use the aero updates we tried in the morning. It is not yet completely clear how they worked and in the afternoon, we concentrated on comparing the two tyre compounds we have for this race. Ahead of us is another long evening of studying data to choose the best strategy and set-up for qualifying and the race,” said Alonso.
Meanwhile, Massa too echoed his teammate. Massa finished sixth in the second session with a time of 1:34.552s. “Everything went well today, even if it’s not easy to say at the moment where we will be on Sunday. Car balance was good and it behaved well in all conditions, even if we suffered a bit with tyre wear, especially at the rear. It’s pretty normal to have significant degradation in such high temperatures and on this front, we have a lot of work to do to prepare for the race. On the medium tyres, the F138 worked really well, even over a long run, but the key on Sunday will be managing the degradation of both compounds, as well as deciding on whether or not to use the updates we tried here this morning,” said Massa.
Ferrari’s chassis director Pat Fry said that they didn’t have enough time to test their aero updates.
“Of the aerodynamic updates we tried this morning, some worked well, while with others we have yet to decide if we will use them this weekend, because it is still too early to say what real advantage they bring. There was not enough time to test them fully, but I’m still pleased at how we managed to get through the work programme planned for both cars,” Fry said.
The announcement at COP28 in Dubai puts Turkey in the race against Australia