The Ferrari team got down to business today, ironing out some glitches in the new car. I’m told that a part fell off the car on its first exploratory lap yesterday. But the KERS system worked and in the end the car did 100kms, which is less than they had hoped for, but pretty good nevertheless from a complex new car.
Ferrari’s idea in bringing the car out so early is to have plenty of time for debugging. Reliability was not perfect last season and they are painfully aware that there is only a limited amount of testing before the season and none at all once the racing starts on March 29th, so the next few weeks are critical.
This will hurt Red Bull, for example who don’t launch until February. The winning team this year will be the one which can debug its car enough to find reliability and then develop it using only the simulation tools at the factory and the Friday test days at Grands Prix. It’s a totally different way of working for the teams, especially Ferrari who invested heavily in test facilities. It makes you realise how much they have been prepared to give up as part of their commitment to FOTA.
There is a lovely story in Gazetta dello Sport from the Ferrari launch, which indicates the human dynamics among the drivers; apparently Michael Schumacher had lunch at the Mugello test track with Felipe Massa, his manager Nicolas Todt, and test drivers Luca Badoer and Marc Gene. At the time, Kimi Raikkonen was asleep in a Lancia in the car park!