Ferrari technical director Pat Fry says he’s optimistic about the potential of the F138 after the first two races, but the Englishman concedes that the car is still lacking qualifying performance.
“We’ve shown reasonable race pace and on all the tyre types we have used so far we have performed well,” said Fry on the team’s website. “However we still have a way to go to be quickest in qualifying and we are working very hard on that at the moment.
“We’ve been concentrating on the longer runs, even if they are not as long as in the past, because this year we expect more pit stops during a race. However, we have not ignored our qualifying pace. I am sure there is more to come on this front, as we learn more about our car and start getting the best out of it.”
Fry stressed once more that the season will be all about the development race between the teams.
“The key will be to try and move our car development programme forward quicker than the other teams do. It’s a tough cycle that will last all year and we need to at least match our 2012 development pace if we are to perform better in qualifying. So far, we have worked well, all the way through from design to manufacture, improving on how we did things last year in terms of actually getting new bits onto the car. Also, our aero correlation is better.”
Regarding this weekend’s race in China, he said: “Shanghai is a challenging mix of different corner types and a 1.2 kilometre straight. Is it going to suit our car better than some others? It is too early to say, as there are too many unknowns. For example, it will be the first weekend this year that we will use the Pirelli soft compound, along with the medium.
“At the end of this Grand Prix, we will have a clearer picture of how all the tyres compare to one another. So to some degree, Shanghai will be another learning exercise for everyone, although we can say that our pace, relative to the other teams, has been okay on all the tyres we have tried so far.”