Ferrari’s Chief Designer Nikolas Tombazis says the team has found “a big improvement in car performance” following intensive work on the F2012 and it goes into the European Grand Prix this weekend with confidence.
Valencia’s street track plays host to F1 for the fifth time this weekend. It is a track similar in some characteristics to the two previous races in Monaco and Montreal; low speed traction being pivotal to performance there. This was a weakness of the Ferrari at the start of the season, with the first round at Melbourne being a race in which neither car managed to reach Q3. But following a strong showing in Monaco and Montreal for both drivers the Maranello squad feel they are now on the right track.
“It’s all down to a huge amount of work, from a large number of people, with particular emphasis on aerodynamics, design and production,” said Tombazis. “It’s been intense over the past few months resulting in a big improvement in car performance. We have worked with determination to deal with all the negative points we picked up right from the first test in the winter.”
The Monaco Grand Prix was a race that Ferrari could have won, had it been for a slightly braver strategy for Alonso with a longer first stint. Along with this Felipe Massa had his strongest showing of the year, proving the car was ready to win more races. Then in Montreal Alonso took third on the grid and although it failed to win him the race he was able to lead the majority of the GP, making just one stop and proving that the car’s traction and sensitivity for the new Pirelli tyres has vastly improved.
“At the moment, we are reasonably satisfied with the point we are at now, given where we started from, however, we cannot be totally happy, as we are not in a position to dominate races,” added Tombazis.
The most recent cause for this increased performance came from reverting back to a variant of the team’s earlier exhaust configuration for the Montreal Grand Prix. “The exhaust layout in Montreal was a cousin of the one we tested in Jerez at the launch,” said Tombazis. “The former one was more complicated and created various problems for us which meant it did not contribute much in terms of lap time or making the driver feel it was a benefit. We therefore abandoned it.”
Barring Alonso’s victory in the mixed conditions of the Malaysian Grand Prix, the Italian squad were still unsettled and unable to compete with the race winners until the Spanish GP. However since then Ferrari have always been in the mix to add to that sole victory and this weekend should see further upgrades aid in giving Alonso a home win, or awarding Massa with his second win in Valencia.
“Our work is continuing at the same intensity and, our plan is to introduce developments at every race, starting with Valencia: this weekend we will be experimenting with the front wing and the floor, while having further evolutions of the exhausts,” added Tombazis.
Meanwhile Ferrari’s online auction to raise money for true earthquake victims of Emilia Romana ends today, June 20. Top item is a FERRARI 599XX evo , personalised with a plaque signed by Montezemolo, Alonso and Massa. The car will be handed over by the Ferrari drivers.
There are also many items of memorabilia from both drivers, F1 car bodywork and even an F1 engine.
To view the items click HERE