By Berthold Bouman
Ferrari 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
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.”
By Berthold Bouman
During a press meeting in Madonna di Campiglio Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali said winning the 2013 title is the ultimate goal of the Maranello-based team.
Earlier this month it was announced that Ferrari had split the design teams, one team will be working on the 2013 car, and the other team will work on the 2014 car, while Nicolas Tombazis continues as Chief Designer.
“The 2013 season will be a complex one from many points of view,” said Domenicali. “We face a few changes on the technical front which will have a significant impact on all areas of the company, not just in terms of design, but also when it comes to the investment and infrastructure required to develop the new engine,” the Italian team boss explained.
The 2013 car is currently being tested in the Cologne-based wind tunnel originally build for the Toyota Formula One team, as Ferrari is rebuilding their wind tunnel in Maranello. “Our aim is clear, to win and the priority is still that of giving our drivers a car that will be competitive right from the very start. The development of the 2013 car began in the Cologne wind tunnel and is ongoing,” said Domenicali.
Earlier this month Domenicali said Ferrari will not suffer a repeat of their 2012 testing troubles. “What happened to us last year in the first winter test in Jerez, will not happen to us this year, because we are now sure that the wind tunnel gives us no more surprises,” he said. Ferrari experienced problems with their wind tunnel last year, as the results in the wind tunnel could not be replicated on track, the reason Ferrari will use the Toyota wind tunnel until their own wind tunnel has been completely rebuilt.
Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa
Domenicali is confident Felipe Massa will be at the front of the field this season and help Ferrari to clinch the title, “Personally, there was a lot of pressure on me regarding possible changes, but in the interests of the team, I preferred to wait and today, I’m convinced that keeping Felipe in the Ferrari family was the right decision.”
“His performance in the second half of the season contributed significantly to our second place in the Constructors’ classification: for the team that is a strong point and for Fernando, it provides further impetus to try even harder.”
About Ferrari’s star driver Fernando Alonso he said, “His strength as a champion and his great fighting spirit is a guarantee for himself and for the team: our responsibility is to give him a car with which he can make the most of his abilities and his killer instinct.”
Domenicali also dismissed the usual rumours about Sebastian Vettel joining the Reds in the future, “I think our President has already commented on this subject several times: a dream team is fantastic if it is correctly managed, but at the moment we are not looking at that, because we want to ensure the team is as well-balanced as possible.”
About the criticism aimed at Alonso he remarked, “As usual, there are people who try and stir up the politics, believing they will provoke a reaction, but I am deaf to these things and I believe Fernando is totally focused on his performance, while I can assure you that the team will give its answer on the track, with deeds, not words!”
Pedro de la Rosa joins Ferrari
Certainly good news for Alonso’s compatriot Pedro de la Rosa, who was left without a drive after the demise of the Spanish HRT team. The Spaniard will join Ferrari as a development driver, and will spend a lot of time in the simulator. He will also be involved in technical, racing and commercial activities.
“We decided to add de La Rosa to our group of drivers mainly to strengthen one area, namely work in the simulator, which with the current regulations regarding testing, is becoming ever more important,” Domenicali said today in Madonna di Campiglio.
De la Rosa said about his new job, “It is amazingly motivating to be working for a team like Ferrari, not just because of what it represents in the history of Formula One and motoring in general, but also because it will be a completely new and very stimulating experience for me.” And he added, “I really hope I can get to work as soon as possible and to help in the development of the car.”
Video: Wrooom 2013 – Relaxing in the snow