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Alonso sees early signs of Ferrari tyre warm-up breakthrough
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Posted By: James Allen  |  12 Feb 2012   |  10:40 pm GMT  |  20 comments

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.”

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can you give me your opinion on how ferrari are dealing with their new car and also on any of their updates for the barcelona test???


Don’t know what the updates will be, aside from the exhausts which were troublesome in Jerez. I think it’s uphill work, but they’d rather have taken risks than been too conservative and slow


But that’s due, at least in part, to the new 2012 tyres.


Personally I wouldn’t go by what a driver says let alone write an article on that. These days drivers are well groomed on what they have to say and this chap is no exception. I wouldn’t mind if that information comes from someone on the technical team.


I do hope Ferrari gets the car up to speed. Still hoping for a three / four team battle.


Isn’t it because Pirelli uses softer compounds this year?


I’m cautiously optimistic.

Could be a much closer fight at the front this season. Exactly what we all want to see.


Alonso does say some strange things from time to time.

Now here he is again, talking in the wind about Ferrari having found a breakthrough with their tyre warming issue thanks to the Brigdestone mercenary brought in to get on top of that.

But any true F1 fan knows this is far from the truth for Ferrari have only the other Italian company – Pirelli (and the former employee Jean Todt) to thank for this breakthrough because the Pirelli got rid of the hard tyre from last season & have now brought in lots of softer tyres that have better grip.

And if you may recall last season, the Ferrari on the soft tyres & full tanks was definitely not the 3rd fastest car on the grid, more like the 2nd fastest (in my view) plus thanks to these characteristics, it enabled those red cars have electrifing starts off e.g. Spa 2011.

Alright fair enough, Fred says they weren’t prepared for the Jerez test and the Barcelona tests will reveal the true potential of the car – Deal! Hopefully he won’t move the goal posts again if this isn’t so.

Forza Ferrari, allez allez!


I am sorry but I believe ink the implication that Jean Tobt has assisted Ferrari in this instance are very wide of the mark.

It has been said that there is no other figure in the pit lane that can hold a grudge like Tobt. Given that there was a divisive power struggle between Jean and Luca di Montezemol at Ferrari, I think it more likely that Jean would rather stick a knife in Ferrari’s back, rather than give them a leg up.

It interested me greatly that reactive ride height was declared illegal so far down the line.




Yes, that’s all very well but the Ferrari had strong points last year – it was quite dominant in the British GP in the hands of Alonso for the one race where the blown diffuser was banned.

Surely that was a good base without risking throwing the baby out with the bathwater with a totally new design philosophy?

Anyway, I hope it all works out and that the aggressive approach proves fruitful in the long run.


Heard it all before

here is last years test notes

Felipe Massa set the fastest time today on a qualifying simulation, the Brazilian showing that these new Pirelli tyres suit his style more than last year’s Bridgestones. I think he will be more competitive in qualifying this year than he was last year.

The Ferrari is a good car, there’s no doubt about that, close to the pace of the Red Bull, but we haven’t really seen what the Red Bull can do fully extended on a qualifying run. It seems as though the two cars are reasonably close on race pace in long runs, but the feeling from engineers I’ve spoken to is that the Red Bull is probably around 4/10ths faster than the Ferrari at this stage, which is quite a bit.


Pretty accurate, eh?


Ferrari was nowhere near dominant last year – including at the Brittish GP. Even though effect of BD were “reduced” they qualifyed on 2nd row of grid. At the race itself they were barely as fast as the Red Bulls I would say. Do not forget that FA overtook SV in the pits due to a RB misstake, and that SV got hold behind LH for many many laps after that, allowing FA to build a healthy gap. Had not SV gotten behind the Mclaren, we could have had a different winner in spite of “lack of” BD. Ferrari, dominant? No way – I would rather say RB lost race due to a pit misstake, spite of its most valuable asset (the BD) was taken away!

How can you call that car a good base? Based on its’ achievments from last year – constant 3rd – it was a failure – a disgrace for a team like Ferrari and driver like Alonso thats for sure.

You cannot become best by saying no to risk, especially when it is proven that you are on the wrong path, competing againt the best in the world. No pain, no gain!


Let’s hope it is ALL GAIN and NO PAIN once the season starts. If not I think there is just one option for Alonso – think long and hard about how to break that optimitic contract!


Good point. They had a good car aside from the blown diffuser/hot blow maps difficulties last year, hence the Silverstone win. I think this radical departure is too much of a reaction. They could have evolved the old car, especially with the ban on blown diffusers that is now in force.


I know that Ferrari (and all teams) simulate every racetrack, but if these set up issues are too complex Ferrari will have big trouble in mounting a consistent challenge this year. They may be great at some tracks and nowhere near the podium in other. Let’s wait till the Barcelona though.

But even if they may have overcome set up issues at the tests, I reckon as the season progresses the complexity of the car could come to the fore again. As you’ve all said Ferrari perhaps did not need such a radical machine. But let’s wait and see.


Hopefully they’ll get to know the new car setup much better at the next test.


Too true, the last few cars have struggled to heat the tyres.


You forget, that the British gp 2011 started as a wet race, which resulted in Ferrari not having to use the primes, and that particulary Red Bull and Mclaren suffered without the blown diffs and throttlemaps (and botched Vettels 2. stop).

Point: At least the two latest iterarions of the Ferrari have had huge problems with “turning on” the tires. It have cost them dearly on numerous occasions (Spain and brazil the most clear examples on my mind). I think a new baseline to work from is warranted.

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