Ferrari promise aggressive development for final four races 24 Oct 2012
With Fernando Alonso having lost his championship lead to Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel at the last round, Ferrari go into this weekends 2012 Formula 1 Airtel Indian Grand Prix on the back foot after recent updates to the F2012 failed to bring the expected performance gains.
However, the Italian team - second in the constructor standings - are confident they can recover from their related wind tunnel problems and have promised Alonso car improvements at each of 2012s remaining four races.
As we are still in the fight for the championship, we therefore have to continue with the development of the car, confirmed Ferraris chief designer Nick Tombazis. And because we dont currently enjoy an advantage, either in terms of performance or as far as the points situation is concerned, we cannot defend.
We must attack and adopt an aggressive approach to car development for these four races, bringing updates to every one of them to close the gap and fight for the wins and hopefully bring home the titles.
Despite the Ferrari rarely displaying the ultimate pace of its Red Bull and McLaren rivals, until Korea Alonso had led the title race since round eight, at one point enjoying a lead of 40 points. However, with an improved Red Bull, Vettel has won the last three rounds to move six points ahead of the Spaniard.
Id say I have mixed feelings about how development has gone over the course of the year, admitted Tombazis, but as a whole, we can be pleased, as we are still in the fight for the championship. There was a period when our development was better than that of our rivals, which allowed us to make up for a very poor start to the season and we can take satisfaction from that too.
However, in the last few races, our progress has not matched our expectations and various components which we expected would make our car more competitive did not do so. As a result, we are lagging behind our competitors. This doesnt mean we did not move forward on development, but we had been expecting something more.
Ferrari recently admitted that progress had not been helped by wind-tunnel correlation issues, with data produced by the tunnel failing to match up with the results the team were then experiencing on-track. The tunnel will be closed and updated over the winter, but in the meantime Tombazis believes they have got on top of the immediate problem.
We had some unpleasant surprises from some of the updates we brought to the last couple of races, so immediately, we wanted to fix that and understand where it had gone wrong, he said. Therefore we have had an aero test prior to heading off to India, where we ran control tests on these updates to really understand what the problem was.
We got some very interesting answers which we believe will allow us to recover from those problems and so, our aim in this forthcoming Indian GP, will be to make up the ground we have lost.
Tombazis also denied that having to focus so much effort on a late-season title fight was frustrating, at a time when the team would normally be diverting more resources into next years car.
We have the good fortune that the rules remain basically stable for next year, which means we can carry on developing this years car without compromising the 2013 one, he noted. The work we do aerodynamically for this years car can be beneficial for both. We can work on improving the weak points on the current car which will help for next year, although the main structural elements of the 2013 car are already fixed: chassis, gearbox, mechanical layout, suspension and crash structures, with the car already in production.
However, when it comes to its aero package, there is still plenty of work to do and as soon as we have completely wrapped up 2012 and these last four races, then we will be concentrating 100 percent on the next one.
Ferrari head to New Delhi trailing leaders Red Bull by 77 points in the constructors championship, with third-placed McLaren just six points behind the Scuderia.
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