Fernando Alonso says he has already seen positive signs from the new F2012 that it is able to generate heat into its tyres more quickly than was the case with its predecessor – a key aim for the team this year.
Ferrari has struggled with tyre warm-up – particularly on the hardest compounds, where general performance issues have also been a perennial problem – over recent years and over the winter hired Bridgestone’s former F1 chief Hirohide Hamashima to focus on improving the interaction between car and Pirelli tyres.
Alonso certainly thinks progress has been made judging by what he saw at Jerez, even if other areas of the car still need plenty of attention: “I think we’ve managed to get more out of the tyres right from the first lap, which is something we weren’t able to do last year. What definitely needs improving is the aerodynamics and the reliability,” Gazzetta dello Sport quoted him as saying.
The performance of Ferrari’s latest challenger was one of the big talking points across the opening four-day test: the team initially not getting within 1.5s of the fastest time during the first three days before Alonso jumped to the top of the order on Friday morning with some short runs on the soft tyre.
Ferrari had stressed that the week was all about learning about the new car, rather than testing its outright performance, and Alonso says that policy meant that extensive set-up work has had to wait for the next test at Barcelona. The Spaniard nonetheless says that the F2012 responded well to the changes they did make, even if the set-up tweaks were taking longer to complete than normal given so many of the concepts on the car are completely new.
“These past few days we have done a great deal of laps, just to gather data, without being able to do much work in any depth on the set-up, therefore I think that, when we will be able to do that, we will also improve the performance,” Alonso said on Friday night.
“Already, here at Jerez, the moment we did make some changes, we got the response we were expecting, even if it’s true that the fact the car is more complex from a mechanical and aerodynamic point of view definitely makes the tasks more complex.
“Today we saw a good example of that: we have only done around forty laps partly because it took so much time to carry out the changes we needed to make on the car to complete our programme. I think that in Barcelona, when we will be back on track, the situation will be different and we will be much better prepared compared to this test, where above all we had to learn how to get to grips with this car.”