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Ferrari: We can get the job done 20 Jun 2012

Nicholas Tombazis, Ferrari Chief Designer.
Malaysian Grand Prix, Rd 2, Practice Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 21 March 2008 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix Practice, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, 20 April 2012 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Race, Montreal, Canada, Sunday, 10 June 2012 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Race, Montreal, Canada, Sunday, 10 June 2012 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 9 June 2012 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Montreal, Canada, Friday, 8 June 2012 Ferrari mechanics with Ferrari F2012 front wing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Montreal, Canada, Friday, 8 June 2012

Even the staunchest Ferrari fans have been tested to their limits over recent months, watching on as the Italian team endured one of the toughest starts to a campaign in their long history. But after much soul searching and a lot of hard work, the Scuderia (and their fans) have been buoyed by recent results and their belief in championship success has been revived.

“Rightly or wrongly there is an expectation that, as Ferrari, we must be winning every race and always be competitive,” explained chief designer Nikolas Tombazis. “At the start of the season we were in an uncompetitive situation, which was a big shock for me personally and for my colleagues.

“It has been a hard few months, but we put our heads down and tackled the problem calmly and I think the last few races have been a morale boost for all of us: it has made us believe we can get the job done.”

Lumbered with an unwieldy car from the onset, Ferrari were initially well off the pace of their front-running rivals. But, gradually, the hard work back at their Maranello factory has paid off and the F2012 has bit-by-bit nuzzled its way into the leading pack, winning in Malaysia and helping Fernando Alonso to within two points of the lead of the drivers’ standings.

“It’s all down to a huge amount of work, from a large number of people, with particular emphasis on aerodynamics, design and production,” continued Tombazis. “It’s been intense over the past few months resulting in a big improvement in car performance. We have worked with determination to deal with all the negative points we picked up right from the first test in the winter.”

One area where Ferrari have laboured particularly hard is at the rear of the F2012. Unhappy with their exhaust layout during winter testing, the team opted to change it at the last-minute but then paid the price for making such a late alteration. At the recent Canadian round, however, they decided to reintroduce a heavily-revised version of the original layout and were pleased enough with the components to race with them on the Sunday.

“The exhaust layout in Montreal was a cousin of the one we tested in Jerez at the launch,” explained Tombazis. “The former one was more complicated and created various problems for us, which meant it did not contribute much in terms of lap time or making the driver feel it was a benefit. We therefore abandoned it, while addressing other weaknesses on the car, until we reached the first major change which came in time for the Spanish Grand Prix.

“That had a different, central exhaust configuration, at a point when we had effectively reviewed the entire car, from its front wing, the diffuser, the rear wing and turning vanes and brake ducts, producing what was in aero terms effectively a new car. However, we kept working on the exhausts to develop a more robust and simple system, but it still related to the original one and that is what we introduced in Canada.”

Tombazis plans to introduce more updates to the car at this weekend’s European round, as the team seek to maintain their position amongst the frontrunners.

“At the moment, we are reasonably satisfied with the point we are at now, given where we started from, however, we cannot be totally happy, as we are not in a position to dominate races, or indeed to win all of them, which is always one’s objective,” he concluded. “We have very strong competitors who are also continuing to develop their cars and we feel this technology race will continue to the end of the season.

“Our work is continuing at the same intensity and, our plan is to introduce developments at every race, starting with Valencia. This weekend we will be experimenting with the front wing and the floor, while having further evolutions of the exhausts. We already have other updates in the pipeline for subsequent races and I believe this will continue right through to the very last race.”

The revised F2012 will hit the track on Friday morning when the 2012 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe gets underway in Valencia.

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