U at 10:48 am Fernando Alonso jumped with a time of 1:23, 640 minutes into second place on the second day of testing in Barcelona. A small ray of hope that has to be put into perspective. Sebastian Vettel was almost six tenths faster at the same time. The world champion drove his time of 1.23.056 minutes on hard tires. Alonso was walking with the soft soles.
Ferrari doesn't understand cars yet
Ferrari is still looking for the key to the F2012 to make a Red Bull scare. The new car is so new that the engineers first had to learn to understand it. Part one of this process is complete. It consisted of collecting data. The four days in Jerez required countless series of measurements and answering the question of whether the wind tunnel was delivering the correct data.
But on the first day of testing in Barcelona, measuring started again. Fernando Alonso drove down the home straight at moderate speed a few times to collect aero data. Not a good sign. At the same time, Red Bull was already in the middle of a setup program.
Stage two of the race to catch up is ignited in Barcelona. Ferrari will compare different aerodynamic configurations for four days. The problem is clearly in the aerodynamics, you can hear from the red camp. Mechanically, the F2012 is healthy. So also the much-cited Pullrod front suspension.
The problem with the new Ferrari is in the rear. At the front, the car does what it should. But there is no downforce in the rear. And he wavers. This makes the car difficult to predict for the driver.
Ferrari struggles for downforce
Therefore Ferrari is experimenting with different ones Engine covers, exhaust solutions, diffuser variants and baffles. One problem area is the exhaust. First the exhaust gases were blown onto the outside of the brake ventilation wing and the diffuser. Then the tailpipes moved further and further inwards and now aim at the lower rear wing element.
Our draftsman Giorgio Piola has marked the old tailpipe position in yellow on the photo. There is leeway with the exhaust. From a bird's eye view, it must be between 20 and 50 centimeters from the imaginary center line of the car.
Ferrari only works in a small window
The first experience with thenew cars have shown that the Ferrari F2012 can deliver decent lap times if the aerodynamic puzzle pieces are put together correctly. But the window is small. Here is another weak point. If the window cannot be widened, the Ferrari technicians have to look for each new route. That means hard work in Friday training with no guarantee of a direct hit.
Next week in Barcelona, Ferrari will ignite stage three in the development plan. As soon as you know which aerodynamic configuration is the best, the tuning work on the car begins. Then the competition will already have completed their racing simulations. So Ferrari is damn late. As long as you don't know where the aerodynamics are going, it doesn't make sense to screw new parts onto the car. That would only cause additional confusion.