Some unfinished business
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Ferrari ready to roll out updates amid bid to claw back ‘eight tenths’ gap
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Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Apr 2012   |  11:31 am GMT  |  5 comments

Ferrari technical director Pat Fry has revealed that the team has managed to accelerate some of the ongoing development work on the F2012 in time to bring five new parts to the car for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, the Englishman believing the team need to find eight tenths of a second to get on par with the fastest team on outright pace.

Although Fernando Alonso’s brilliantly opportunistic victory in Malaysia took him into a hugely unexpected early lead in the drivers’ championship after two rounds, neither driver nor team have attempted to mask the F2012’s continued underperformance in dry conditions and the team has used the three-week break to try and bring forward upgrades previously planned for the start of the European season to Shanghai.

Fry says the team’s design office has succeeded to an extent, with five unspecified updates to feature on the car this weekend – some of which he says will be more obvious than others.

“We are constantly working on improving the issues we have,” he told Ferrari’s website. “New parts are coming through and we are trying to get them to the race track as quickly as possible – We will have five updates for China, some are quite visible others less so. Then there will be a bigger upgrade package for Spain.

“It would be nice to have them earlier, but we have already brought forward some parts we were developing for Spain and we should have them in China.”

Fry admits the kind of drying track conditions seen at Sepang currently favour the F2012, the car able to generate heat into its tyres more quickly than recent predecessors, and that in normal conditions they still needed to find a best part of a second per lap.

“I think our dry qualifying performance is still around eight tenths off the best while we want to be the best ourselves,” he suggested. “Damp low grip conditions suit our car and flatter some of the issues we have with the F2012 at the moment. You could see that in Melbourne on Friday and again in the race in Malaysia.”

Reports in the Italian Autosprint publication last week suggested that Ferrari has been working on a new rear bodywork package akin to that on engine customer Sauber’s C31, with the exhaust exits brought forward, although it remains to be seen when exactly such a package will be raced.

Although Ferrari has been focused on clawing its way back to the front, Fry admits he has been surprised to have seen Red Bull trail McLaren so far given how the picture looked in pre-season. “I was slightly suprised by Red Bull’s comparative lack of pace. McLaren were relatively quick but I would have put these two teams the other way round if you’d asked me a month ago,” he said.

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5 Comments
  1. **Paul** says:

    I think 8 tenths is conservative. Afterall the McLaren is a good 1.3 seconds quicker in dry qually than the Ferrari. 8 tenths in race conditions? Perhaps, probably nearer a second though.

    I guess Pat knows they have the best driver who can make up a tenth and a half when he’s on it.

  2. goferet says:

    Credit to Fernando Alonso, he kept the faith, remained calm during the worst of the turbulent times and rallied the troops back at Maranello and now you have even the pessimistic Pat Fry begin to believe that the team are so much into the WDC title fight, so much so it’s astonishing as evidenced by Alonso top of the pops standing.

    Yes, Alonso’s postivity appears to be contagious that now even Ferrari is bringing forward upgrades because now, it’s no longer damage limitation for the number 1 car but rather, keeping it on top of the rankings —> Which by the way, that consistent beast, Alonso is very much capable of doing (normal conditions or not)

    As for Pat Fry being surprised to see Red Bull so far of the pace in qualifying, believe you, me, he isn’t the only one that had his jaw on the freaking ground.

    The fans too were (still are) in a state of hallucination so was a certain Adrian Newey + all those Red Bull brolly fellas from winter testing.

    It’s official, the games have really begun for real.

  3. Kay says:

    Too glad Red Bull ain’t up there anymore (and hopefully drop further back so Vettel can take some good lessons in developing his personality when given a mediocre car, aka Hamilton), and that Sauber is in the mix among the top three. Bring in Mercerdes AMG and Lotus or whatever they are called now and that’d be a real treat for us fans!

    1. **Paul** says:

      “Vettel can take some good lessons in developing his personality when given a mediocre car, aka Hamilton”

      Wow… just wow… Hamilton’s attitude when he’s not got the fastest car is just terrible frankly. Button (along with most of the grid) put him to shame, so he’s an exceedingly bad example to highlight.

      I think Vettel was annoyed in the last race RE: puncture, but other than that he generally comes across as one of the few drivers in F1 I’d like to have a beer with.

      It’d be great if we got to China to find McLaren didn’t have the fastest car, but that Mercedes and Red Bull had pegged it back and Ferrari had made large gains.

  4. Daniel MA says:

    Finally an article that isn’t about Bahrain… I think in Ferrari they are working hard just for Alonso’s championship and for me a winning team has to provide the car to win both titles (constructors and drivers) I know it’s too early in the season but I think they will disappoint in that respect.

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