Ferrari: Montreal upgrades see another step forward 08 Jun 2011
Last months Monaco round saw Ferrari finally shake off the issues that had so far blighted their 2011 season and take a genuine step forward, with Fernando Alonso challenging the might of Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel to the finish line. Although a second safety car eventually cost Alonso any chance of sweeping past Vettel for the win, his second-place finish was a positive performance from a rejuvenated team.
And while newly-promoted chassis director Pat Fry admits that the Monte Carlo tracks very specific characteristics probably helped matters, he believes the teams success is proof that all the hard work being carried out at the factory - and by the engineers on the pit wall - is finally paying dividends. And he is optimistic they can take another step forward in Canada this weekend.
Monaco is a very unique track where you also need a lot of downforce, with the key difference being that car efficiency is not so important and also the driver does not need to attack on corner entry so much, Fry told Ferraris official website. Therefore the 150° Italia went well there, because our engineers did a good job, getting on top of car balance.
There is always a steady stream of updates coming through and this time we will have a few changes to the diffuser and rear wing (in Canada), which will bring a reasonable performance step if everything goes to plan. Hopefully we are still closing the gap to those ahead of us, allowing for the fact that others are working too.
Ferraris 2011 campaign has been afflicted by a variety of issues, but one of the most persistent has been the Italian teams difficulties on Pirellis hard-compound tyres. Both Alonso and Felipe Massa have struggled for pace on the tyre type, but Alonso particularly fell foul during Mays Spanish Grand Prix when his lead in the early stages of the Barcelona race was undone when he switched to the hard rubber.
After a thorough investigation, Fry is hopeful that the team have finally got to the bottom of why they have struggled so much on the hard compound and is confident the problems shouldnt resurface.
Barcelona is a very challenging track, where downforce and car balance are key, and you need to develop good tyre temperature especially on the hard tyre, he explained. We have worked a lot on this factor and got a good understanding of it now and are working on fixing it for other circuits where this will be necessary.
But with Pirelli bringing their softs and super-softs to Montreal this weekend, Fry will have to wait until Julys British round to see if the work carried out will make a difference. For the Canadian race, however, the team have carried out some Montreal-specific preparations including fine tuning the 150° Italias brakes.
Brake performance is heavily linked to the aerodynamics (because the smaller the cooling ducts, the better the aero efficiency of the car) and so we always try and run the brakes very hot as this means you get more performance out of the rest of the car, he said.
Montreal is an extreme track on a par with Singapore in terms of being the hardest on brakes, so in the factory we run the brakes on special dynos in order to tune the cooling levels required, to see how much margin we have and how extreme we can afford to be.
Ferrari will hit the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Friday when the weekend's opening practice sessions get underway.
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