Ferrari too slow: what's wrong with Ferrari?

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Ferrari too slow
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A t Thursday Fernando Alonso stood at the edge of the track. The 2005 and 2006 world champion filmed all the cars with his cell phone. As if he wanted to create a document for himself and his engineers on which the deficits of the red car can be seen. You can't make sense of Ferrari. Sometimes the lap times are quite decent, sometimes they lag behind the competition by miles. One team member sums up: 'We are not as bad as we look, but also not as good as we should be.'

Ferrari has to decide on a configuration

It is still difficult for the drivers and engineers to find the right window in which the car is fast. The window for the optimal aerodynamic configuration, the window for the vehicle setup. Before the last week of testing in Barcelona, ​​Head of Technology Pat Fry gave the motto to concentrate on the most promising of the aerodynamic configurations. In this case, the exhaust is aimed inwards.

'For the first race we have to find a basis on which we can develop the car. The difference between the individual exhaust solutions is not great, but now it's time to To optimize one of them. Now it's a matter of finding a constant balance with the car and reeling off our program, which we haven't gotten to yet, 'explained the British engineer.

Ferrari is lagging behind its own schedule far behind. It took eight days of testing to decide on a direction. Now the actual test work begins. Nevertheless, Fernando Alonso still drove around with paint on his wings on the tenth day, and every now and then he slowly rolled down the home straight to collect aero data.

Ferrari does not look confident

Pat Fry reassures us: 'We tried development parts today. We had to collect data for that.' One of the development components was a new front wing. It was sprayed with yellow paint to document the course of the flow. That doesn't seem particularly confident.

On Saturday, Felipe Massa completed a qualifying simulation in the morning. With the supersoft tires a 1: 22.413 min jumped out. Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi was a tenth faster in the same exercise the previous week.

Alonso's racing simulation on Friday did not impress the competition either. The Spaniard completed the 66 laps with four pit stops. The order of the tires was:medium-soft-soft-medium-medium. Sometimes the lap times collapsed in a terrifying way. By up to 3.5 seconds within twelve laps.

Pat Fry is still not black: 'We have not yet superimposed the lap times with the endurance runs of other teams,' the Englishman evades. 'Regarding us, I can say that we used a mix of new and used tires. Some results were good, others pretty bad.' Nevertheless, his conclusion is: 'We are in reasonable shape.'

Does Ferrari need a new car?

The competition thinks this is whitewashing. Based on time analyzes, it puts the red cars behind the lead at over a second. Even teams like Force India or Sauber are currently ahead of the traditional Maranello brand. Anyone who has observed the Ferrari on the track still reports extremely nervous driving behavior. There seems to be a dramatic lack of downforce in the rear. Or the contact pressure fluctuates and causes one or two nasty surprises in the cockpit. That would also explain the high rate of tire degradation. Sometimes the tires collapsed after just five laps.

The experts are puzzling as to what brakes this Ferrari. According to the Ferrari engineers and drivers, the front suspension based on the pullrod principle is not. 'Mechanically everything is healthy,' said Alonso last week. But the alternative concept on the front axle means that the entire geometry of the front end of the F2012 is different. And with it the flow towards the stern.

Former engineer Gary Anderson suspects that the tubular bulges at the end of the side pods could also play a negative role. 'That could adversely affect the flow in the rear because the bottle neck shape no longer comes into its own. Even if you get a small gain from the exhaust, you would lose more from the aerodynamic concept. Last year you could afford it for that To sacrifice something elsewhere for the exhaust. But the exhaust itself is no longer as powerful an element as it was in 2011. '

The question is whether and when Ferrari will get the difficulties under control. Pessimists fear that if necessary a new car will have to be found. By the way, that would be possible. The chassis was not homologated for a whole season last year. Not from the FIA. The teams had agreed on this.

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