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Ferrari hope to be competitive right from the start of the season

By Berthold Bouman

Ferrari hope to be competitive right from the start of the season - Photo: FerrariFerrari President Luca Cordera di Montezemolo defined the new F138 Formula One car as ‘hopeful’. “Yesterday afternoon, I saw it and I defined it as ‘hopeful’, because I noted plenty of attention to detail, especially in areas where aerodynamics are key,” said the flamboyant Italian.

Why does he have the hope the car will be competitive right from the first race of the season? “The answer is threefold,” said Montezemolo, “Firstly, because of the obsessively detailed review of the past season, secondly, the major changes to the organisation and work methodology and thirdly, the concentration on just one wind tunnel, which will be important, especially throughout this season.”

He again made it clear he wants more testing in Formula One, “Track testing is not available to us, something many would like to see reintroduced, so we have concentrated more on simulation tools. Bringing an experienced driver like De la Rosa to Maranello is part of this strategy and attention to detail.”

He also explained why Fernando Alonso didn’t take part in testing at Jerez next week. “The decision not to run Fernando in the first week at Jerez was dictated by the wish to allow him to stick to a very precise physical training programme. However, for the Barcelona test, attention will switch to performance, which is why Fernando will start then, rather than the first few days,” he said.

Stefano Domenical and the new Ferrari F138 - Photo: Ferrari

Stefano Domenical and the new Ferrari F138 – Photo: Ferrari

Also Team Principal Stefano Domenicali made it clear Ferrari wants to be competitive right from the start, “There are areas of development on the car which will be very important, from now until the end of the year. We have a clear goal, which is to give Fernando and Felipe [Massa] a competitive car, at the highest level.”

And there’s no time for mistakes he said, “Our approach from the first race on must be the right one and we must be mentally ready to deal with very tense moments. We definitely don’t want to find ourselves having to fight like last year to close down a 1.6 second gap to the fastest [team].”

Domenicali is adamant his team will be able to solve problems if they should arise during the start of the season, “If we come up against surprises in the early part of the season, we will try and stay focused, prioritising the reasons why things have not gone as expected.”

Nikolas Tombazis, Ferrari’s Chief Designer, is also certain his team will have a ‘strong package’ at the start of the season, as a result of the recent changes within the Ferrari organisation, “The recent reorganisation of the team after a couple of disappointing seasons had an impact on my position when it became clear that there were too many demands on my time overseeing both the mechanical and aerodynamic aspects,” Tombazis said.

And he explained, “Over the last few years, Formula One has become ever more sophisticated so one person can no longer do every single thing.” Ferrari is this year using the Toyota wind tunnel in Cologne, Germany, as Ferrari’s own wind tunnel will get a major upgrade after almost 12 years of service.

Tombazis explained the dilemma Ferrari faced, “The ideal situation would be to have the wind tunnel right here and I cannot say that using a wind tunnel in Cologne is the perfect solution, but weighing up the medium and long-term advantages of having an upgrade on our wind tunnel or carrying on as it was, we concluded that our current strategy was the best.”

Although he is confident Ferrari is ready for the 2013 season, he refused to make any predictions. “Recent years have taught me not to say too much too early, so let’s wait and see what answer we get from the track. I think we have done a reasonable job and we certainly had to make a step up from where we had been in the past few years,” he said.

The Ferrari designer wants to see the results of the first tests of the season before he gives the F138 the final verdict, but he said, “I believe we will have a strong package for the third test and first race.”

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