Formula 1: Ferrari Analysis and Reaction
Maranello –The past weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix definitely did not live up to expectations for Scuderia Ferrari. A fourth and eighth place in Saturday’s qualifying and the same result in the race on Sunday, with the drivers switching places, cannot be seen as a good result, but as Team Principal Stefano Domenicali commented at the time, one should not react in an emotional manner, but rather analyse the problems and put in place remedial action to fix them.
With this in mind, the engineers concentrated on two areas in particular at the usual Monday debrief: an evaluation of the true effect on the handling of the 150º Italia of all the updates brought to Spa and an investigation into the reasons that led to a higher performance drop than expected, once the Medium tyres were fitted. Clearly the changeable weather on Friday made the job of evaluating new technical components harder than usual, given that the track was only dry for two brief periods and that, even when slicks could be used, the track conditions changed very quickly.
In truth, the real test was carried out yesterday afternoon in the race and now all the data gathered will be studied very carefully in order to decide on the best choices to be made for the rest of the season. As for the performance of the car in the second part of the race, engineers will look at why the switch to the tyres marked with the white stripe failed to deliver a good enough pace. It’s true that previously, in the first part of the season, similar situations arose and the temperature yesterday definitely did not do any favours to the car that celebrates the anniversary of the Unification of Italy. It is now down to the engineers to find the best way of widening the useage window of the harder tyre. Otherwise, there is a high risk of struggling, with the car not delivering its true potential, as could be seen in qualifying and the race this weekend.
However, the last part of the race should not obscure some positive aspects which emerged yesterday, particularly the fact that, on the Soft tyre, the car is very competitive and was again able to run longer stints than our rivals without any noticeable drop in performance. It is unfortunate that the race was neutralised at a crucial moment, even after analysing how the race panned out in the cold light of day: if the Safety Car had not come out on track, second place was definitely within Fernando Alonso’s grasp, as the Spaniard delivered a magisterial performance yesterday, full of grit, determination and the will to win. Also regrettable is the fact that Felipe was robbed of an important fifth place, because of a puncture on lap 32.
Now there are ten days to prepare in the minutest detail for the round that is possibly closest to the hearts of all fans of the Prancing Horse, especially the Italian ones: the Italian Grand Prix takes place on 11 September at Monza. On the fastest track on the Championship calendar, there will naturally be a specific package designed to suit the characteristics of the famous circuit. Over the coming days, Fernando Alonso, who returned to Maranello last night with the team and Felipe Massa, will be working on the simulator to fine tune the set-up for the race that will bring the curtain down on the European part of the Formula 1 season. It would be fantastic to reprise last year’s Italian weekend, but one has to be realistic: doing so is possible, but it involves beating some very strong opposition.
After that, there will be a further six Grands Prix to run and therefore still time to achieve the results that the team and the fans would want. No one at Maranello is ignoring the true situation in the championship standings and they don’t have any intention of throwing in the towel, aware that any good that comes out of this year will above all be useful for the next one.
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