Ferrari technical director Pat Fry seems optimistic regarding the upgrades introduced on the F2012 during today’s practice sessions.
During FIA’s official Friday press conference, he told the reporters that he was hopeful the F2012 would make some progress with the help of the aerodynamic upgrades. But he was also quick to point out that he didn’t expect a complete turnaround in the formbook.
“I think our performance here is likely to mirror the first two races. We’ve got a few small upgrades here that should improve it a fair amount but then I think this track suits us less favorably than the last one really, so I expect the gaps are going to be similar. We have a lot of work to do to catch the others, particularly in qualifying.”
Fernando Alonso was running with bright yellow flow-vis paint on his rear wing in the morning session which indicated Ferrari were doing aerodynamic testing.
The team is under no illusion regarding the outright performance(or lack of performance) of the car even though Fernando is leading the championship currently. Aerodynamics has become the region where performance can be gained most, and though Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemelo has openly voiced his dissent regarding Formula 1’s too much dependence on the aerodynamic factor, everybody at Maranello knows its significance, as Fry puts it “We need to push in many areas, starting with the aerodynamics which is still the decisive factor in today’s Formula 1, while not forgetting our work methods, in order to get the results in the short term, but especially in the long term.”
Fry also said that the effect of these upgrades might not be seen very soon because the track doesn’t suit the car much. This was evident when both the Ferrari drivers had a low key Friday – Fernando and Felipe being 11th, 12th in the morning and 10th, 17th in the afternoon.
“The first evaluation that we can make after these three hours of free practice is a positive one, but clearly we have hours of work ahead of us this afternoon and tonight to complete an in-depth analysis. On the other hand, we cannot ignore the fact that the characteristics of this track seem to be less suited to our car than Malaysia. Taking these two factors into consideration, I am not expecting anything new in terms of our positions on the grid. At the moment, our realistic expectation is somewhere between seventh and 12th place, as indeed we were in Sepang. However, we have to bear in mind that it’s all very close, so it only takes the slightest thing – a mistake, a less than perfect lap – to make for a significant change of position, either upward or downward.”
Ferrari have to do what they have done for the last two races- try to gather as many points as possible before the significant upgrades come at the Mugello test and then in Barcelona. The tifosi might be getting more and more frustrated with Ferrari not being competitive enough in normal conditions, so Fry tried to give them hope by saying “To those who ask me when we will see a Ferrari fighting for pole position, I can only reply there is no magic button we can press to improve the situation in one go”. Fernando also said earlier this weekend that we might have to wait till the races in Monaco and Canada before the F2012 starts showing its true potential.
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