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Ferrari explains different approach to first test of 2012
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Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Feb 2012   |  1:16 pm GMT  |  13 comments

Ferrari’s most aggressively-designed car for a number of years made its track debut at Jerez on Tuesday, and afterwards its designer explained the approach the team is taking to the opening test of pre-season.

The F2012 features a number of wholesale technical departures compared to last year’s disappointing challenger, notably pull-rod front and rear suspensions along with fundamental changes towards the rear of the car.

Although the team’s recent cars have proved disappointing, Ferrari has nonetheless often been consistently at the sharp end of the winter testing timesheets with its cars invariably proving reliable out of the box.

On Monday at Jerez Felipe Massa, carrying out the programme for the first two days of the test, completed 69 laps in a best time that was over two seconds off the initial pace set by Kimi Raikkonen in the new Lotus. But Nikolas Tombazis, Ferrari’s chief designer, said that with the new car featuring a number of new concepts the team will be more than ever focusing on data gathering and experimenting with different set-up solutions initially to establish a way forward for development.

“This car represents a clear break with the one that preceded it and it features concepts that are very different for us and that require much more fine tuning,” he said. “That’s why today we absolutely did not have an eye on the stopwatch, preferring to concentrate on gathering as much data as possible in order to get as good an understanding as possible of the behaviour of the car. We have much to do, but all in all, there are reasons to be pleased with the three hundred kilometres that we put together with Felipe at the wheel.

“We had to experiment with different solutions and that will be the case for the next few days as well: it’s obvious that some delivered what was expected while others did not, but that’s the purpose of testing, getting to understand how a car behaves and how best to develop it.”

He also said, that whatever the ultimate performance of the F2012 once the season gets underway, Ferrari certainly couldn’t again be accused of being too conservative with the design of its new car.

“We decided that the only way to make a step forward was to be much more aggressive in our approach to the design of the car,” Tombazis added. “It’s true that the arrival of Pat [Fry] in the role of Technical Director made a significant contribution to this change, but it was a direction our group had already initiated. It is obviously too early to say if this year we will be able to win or not, but no one will be able to accuse us of having been timid in the design of this car.”

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13 Comments
  1. Godfather says:

    I am a bit confused with Tombazis has said … ” … obviously too early to say if this year we will be able to win or not, but no one will be able to accuse us …”

    I thought Montezemolo has made it clear that they have to win this year …

    1. K says:

      yer but being Ferrari and LdM being himself, he says that every single year even when Ferrari wins, no?

  2. Jon says:

    As we all know testing times mean nothing. I think that ferrari are taking the right approach, and it curren’t stands they are only 3 or 4 tenths off Mclaren, who must be doing something similar.

    We won’t know the true pace of any of the cars until Australia. In the past ferrari have seemed on the pace, only to be slow when it came to the first race weekend.

    Far better to get all the data gathering done, and understand the car now, than be setting headline lap times.

  3. hefe says:

    The 2010 Ferrari wasn’t bad at all, they almost won the WDC after all, only a horrible pit strategy denied Alonso of winning that championship.

    1. goferet says:

      @ hefe

      Agreed!

      The 2010 Ferrari wasn’t as bad at all as some think more so after Valencia when Ferrari introduced their upgrades which clearly put the team ahead of Mclaren making it the second fastest car infact Alonso would have won the title much earlier even though the Red Bull was much faster
      but unreliable.

      The thing that lost Ferrari the title wasn’t the pit stop strategy in Abu-Dhabi but rather Alonso himself – He just wasn’t on it that year e.g.

      Australia – Got spun at the start by playing chicken with Jenson

      China – Jump start & got reported to Charlie Whiting by Jenson

      Turkey – His mind was somewhere else, got out qualified & out raced by Massa

      Monaco – Crashed his car & missed qualifying

      Valencia – Couldn’t get Lewis out of his head & cried all the way to the finish line

      Canada – Couldn’t over take much slower cars that were yet to pit & got owned by Jenson for clinch second

      Silverstone – Tried to overtake Kubica without making the bend & thus got a drive through for his efforts.

      1. Rod Aguirre says:

        I agree. His performance in 2010 was not what Alonso is capable of delivering. To eager to show his talent in a new team? Maybe; now, if the car is half decent, he should be able to bag Vettel and the Mclarens. There’ll be no excuses… Vettel is OK but on equal equipment, I put Alonso, Hamilton and even Button ahead of him.

  4. goferet says:

    He also said, that whatever the ultimate performance of the F2012 once the season gets underway, Ferrari certainly couldn’t again be accused of being too conservative.
    ————————————————

    Hmm… Those aren’t the words of a confident man that has an ace up his sleeve.

    Well there’s being too conservative then their also being absolutely reckless & thinking too much out of the factory, all because you’re afraid of a little criticism from the fanbois.

    What’s the point of building a car that you yourself as a designer don’t understand & worst of all the looks of which would make Enzo Ferrari die all over again.

    Anyway am wishing Ferrari best of luck, in getting to grips with the ugly one for we definitely need them at the table, no much fun getting a jump on an old lame horse.

  5. Scotto says:

    James,

    What’s going on with the black fin? I don’t ever remember seeing anything like that before during testing. I also don’t see anything similar on the other cars.

    1. zoidy84 says:

      It’s an ‘anemometer’, used to measure wind speed. All part of the aerodynamic set-up analysis.

  6. verstappen says:

    They should’ve gone for evolution rather than revolution. Their 2011 car was good without EBD, so…

  7. Red5 says:

    Time will tell if their aggressive approach pays dividends.

    Looks like other top teams, Red Bull and McLaren for example, have hit the ground running.

    Ferrari need to understand the new car quickly to avoid being on the back foot, again.

  8. Rob Haswell says:

    James – this story didn’t appear on your front page. Was that intentional? I hope not – I won’t remember to check every section of your site for its great content and I don’t want to miss a thing. Can you please post all your articles on the homepage?

  9. rusdi says:

    ferrari oh ferrari. i was wondering during time with schumacher the engineers were very good to develope a fast car for schumacher. but when the world champion leaves, ferrari somehow lost their way to develop a fast car. i guess brawn combination schumacher works the magic. but that duo meet again at mercedes. no magic created. maybe this year. hope so. would like to see them at podiums.for ferrari they make a very good sports car. but f1 cars sucks. thats’s the thing. did they made a car only emphasis to the looks first then the setup?i dont think so. but they way they explain it only 20% mastering the car setup, it shows they are going to fail again for the 3rd time.

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