Ferrari’s chassis technical director Pat Fry says that the team has no easy way out of its current problems – and admits that the Italian outfit is reviewing the way it does things as it seeks to get back on course.
“I think we have a reasonable understanding of them and the areas we need to be working on,” said the Briton today. “It’s like all these things, there’s never a golden bullet, it’s not a light switch you can turn on. You might have the idea of, ‘OK, that’s the problem’ but it’s hard work to try and fix it. And you’re not going to change it around in a week. Everyone is working very hard to fix all those issues and then get back on a sensible development curve.
“I think there’s a number of different issues that we’ve had, the most obvious one from the early testing was the exhaust system where we were struggling with what that was doing to the rear tyres. I think we now understand that and are on top of that – though we haven’t run that style exhaust system since the first Barcelona test.
“The other areas have come to light where we knew we had the problems [but] we didn’t know where and we were really learning that through the last Barcelona test. And then to fix problems it’s not the work of a minute. Here there are quite a few new parts on the car. There will be another set of updates, bigger updates, coming through for Barcelona. It’s a race of upgrading.”
Fry didn’t want to elaborate too much on the problems: “As I said, the exhaust is one of the more obvious changes that we’ve made, but that’s quite a small part of the problem that we’ve got. I don’t really want to go into where all the problems are – it’s not just a case of us trying to build a quicker car, we need to fundamentally be changing the methodologies that we use to select, design and manufacture so that we are competitive long term.
“There’s work on all fronts, not just work going into what we’re taking to Barcelona, there’s also a huge amount of work in just trying to change the fundamentals of what we do so we can actually take a step forward and be competing with everyone else.”
Asked about where Ferrari was losing out Fry made it clear that as ever, aerodynamics was at the heart of the matter.
“The biggest performance differentiator is aerodynamics. We’ve got some issues there that we’re trying to resolve. The areas you need to be working on is everything from the way you run the wind tunnel, the accuracy of your wind tunnel, the simulation that you use to decide what components to take forward, so we’re not leaving any stone unturned.
“We’re actually trying to review and revise our methodologies through the whole process and that carries on into the design office for trying to get weight out of various parts, make other bits more durable, so there’s work going on absolutely everywhere within the company, on the basic fundamental methodology as well as just trying to upgrade the car.”