2 MARCH 7 2012 motorsport-news.co.uk
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P4 Audi reveals its diesel-electric Le Mans weapon
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Circuit chief warns against historic sanctioning
LOTUS SHOWS OFF ITS RALLYING FUTURE
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ByRob Ladbrook Ferrari’s fight back to form has been dealt a blow after team technical director Pat Fry ruled out any chance of it fighting at the front in this month’s Australian Grand Prix.
Fry said that he was disappointed with the progress of the Scuderia’s radical new F2012 challenger following the conclusion of preseason testing at Barcelona last week, adding that hewould be surprised if drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa would be capable of fighting for a podium finish in Melbourne. Despite Spaniard Alonso setting a handful of strong times, the team has been beset with reliability problems and has struggled to find the consistency to match the pace of rivals over longer distances.
Fry said: “Are we in the hunt for a podium in Melbourne? At the moment I have to say no.
“We are disappointed with the performance level we’ve seen at the three tests and I think we have a lot of work left ahead of us.”
Ferrari’s issues Ferrari has taken somemajor gambles on its car in a bid to take on rival Red Bull this year. The team develped a revised exhaust position for the final test at the Circuit de Catalunya, ditching the original concept it ran at Jerez in favour of the new system that promised an aerodynamic boost.
Fry deemed the new exhaust overly complicated and aggressive compared to the old version and has highlighted it as an area that is costing the team valuable downforce on the rear of the car. The blunder means that Ferrari must take the rear-end design of the F2012 back to basics and rework its package to suit the original, simplified exhaust concept with less than two weeks until the first race of the season.
“Clearly the decision wemade concerning the exhaust meant we took a step backwards in terms of development last week,” said Fry. “Wemust improve in terms of aerodynamic downforce. Wewill have a few updates ready for Melbourne, basically aimed at readapting the car to the original exhaust configuration that wewill run for at least the first four races.
“Having developed the car to suit the more aggressive system wemust now re-optimise everything in the few days left until Australia.
causing is it moment the At stability.
but problems of lot a us old the to back reverting obvious the is system recovering of way performance.” some
“We can claw back 25 per cent of the downforce we had last year at best, even if it costs us in fuel consumption and corner turn-in stability. At the moment it is causing us a lot of problems but reverting back to the old system is the obvious way of recovering some performance.” Development of the F2012 started badly at Jerez last month. Alonso clocked up the least mileage of anybody
Development of started F2012 the last Jerez at badly
least the up clocked anybody of mileage
Fry has pace worries
Fry has pace worries
Alonso re cognises that the ne w Fe rr ar i isn’ t ye t at 100 per cent hindrance. “We’ve had a few issues along the way and I guess you always wish for more testing days, but the rules are the rules and you have to deal with it,” said the 30-year-old.
following repeated hydraulic issues. The team did top the timesheets for one session, although the time is believed to have been set on a low fuel run. Although Ferrari has conducted the most laps of all the squads during the tests since then, it has struggled to break into the top three during any session.
“At least in the first week we got good running and I don’t think we’ve had anymajor reliability problems with the car. Wehad that one chassis issue, but that’s fixed now.
The team spent the majority of the two Barcelona tests conducting set-up work on the revised car but failed to find any improvement.
“Nobody really knows where they are compared to their rivals but our times have been very positive. In two weeks wewill get an answer as to where we stand.”
The team cancelled a news conference with Alonso at Barcelona but he did tell Spanish reporters that he was expecting to start the year on the back foot: “In the first races wewill suffer because we are not 100 per cent,” Alonso said. “We still have many things to improve. Wehave to grit our teeth and keep improving little by little.”
Kimi on top In contrast to Ferrari’s problems, testing has been encouraging for returning world champion Kimi Räikkönen and the Lotus team.
Red Bull behind The final days of testing also didn’t go well for defending champion Sebastian Vettel and the Red Bull team.
The squad’s RB8 had been heavily revised for the final test with a relocated exhaust and new sidepod ducts designed to channel air onto the rear diffuser. Although both Vettel and team-mate Mark Webber were quick
“We don’t have any
The Finn posted the fastest time during the final day at Barcelona last week, following up on the team’s flying start from being the fastest 2012-spec car at Jerez. Räikkönen’s team-mate, Romain Grosjean, topped the first two days last week before Räikkönen made it three out of four major problems”
Räikkönen for the team.
team. the for during the first two days, both slipped down the timesheets on the final two, with Vettel losing track time due to a gearbox problem and an off on the final day, leaving him at the bottom of the times with only 23 laps completed. Red Bull has only topped one of the 12 test sessions prior to the start of the year. Vettel said: “The final run at Barcelona was not so good because I would have loved to have been on the track longer but we had some issues.
pull to forced was Lotus
Lotus was forced to pull out of most of the first first the of most of out last late test Barcelona
Barcelona test late last month due to a chassis chassis a to due month the year. Vettel said: “The start of final run at Barcelona was not so good because I would have loved to have been on the track longer but we had some issues.
concerning problem the of mounting the problem concerning the mounting of the upper-front wishbone rear arm. Despite his times, Räikkönen reckons the loss of wishbone upper-front his Despite arm. rear
of loss the reckons running was a a was running
“I went off and broke the front wing and then we had a gearbox problem that took a while to fix.
and broke the front “I went off wing and then we had a gearbox problem that took a while to fix.
“It would not be fair to judge [the upgrades] because I haven’t had enough laps to tell the difference. There aren’t many years that you
“It would not be fair to judge [the upgrades] because I haven’t had enough laps to tell the difference. There aren’t many years that you can give yourself ten out of ten for testing because things break or you stop for precautionary reasons. Overall we’re somewhere between a five and a ten,” said the reigning world champion.
can give yourself testing because things break or you stop for precautionary reasons. Overall we’re somewhere between a five and a ten,” said the reigning world champion.
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motorsport-news.co.uk MARCH 7 2012 3
Ferrari admits to emergency rework of new racer ahead of Australian GP
PLANS CAR REVAMP
Day one POS DRIVER
TEAM TIME LAPS
1 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m23.252s 73 2 Jenson Button McLaren 1m23.510s 64 3 Sergio Pérez Sauber 1m23.820s 118 4 Mark Webber Red Bull 1m23.830s 102 5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m23.992s 128 6 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m24.216s 113 7 Paul di Resta Force India 1m24.305s 98 8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m24.318s 105 9 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1m24.876s 123 10 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m25.587s 58
Day three POS DRIVER
TEAM TIME LAPS
1 Sergio Pérez Sauber 1m22.094s 114 2 Jenson Button McLaren 1m22.103s 44 3 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m22.155s 131 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m22.413s 122 5 Paul di Resta Force India 1m22.446s 108 6 Bruno Senna Williams 1m22.480s 111 7 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m22.630s 64 8 Mark Webber Red Bull 1m22.662s 70 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m22,932s 129 10 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus 1m25.379s 43
Marussia and HRT did not attend the test
Day two POS DRIVER
TEAM TIME LAPS
1 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m22.614s 123 2 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m23.126s 31 3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m23.361s 85 4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m23.447s 124 5 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m23.828s 104 6 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m23.836s 76 7 Nico Hülkenberg Force India 1m23.893s 33 8 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m23.978s 78 9 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m24.111s 65 10 Bruno Senna Williams 1m25.801s 20
Day four POS DRIVER
TEAM TIME LAPS
1 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus 1m22.030s 121 2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m22.250s 115 3 Bruno Senna Williams 1m22.296s 53 4 Nico Hülkenberg Force India 1m22.312s 101 5 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m22.386s 72 6 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m22.430s 115 7 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1m22.795s 101 8 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m22.939s 100 9 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m23.347s 48 10 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m23.393s 100 11 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m23.608s 23
3100 3000 2900 2800 2700 2600 2500 2400 2300 2200 2100
SAU B E R
IF E R RAR
McLAR E N
CATE R HAM
2012 FORMULA ONE TEAMS
TO R O R O S S O
Ferrari has suffered with a reworked exhaust system laps)
I N D
FO R C E
R E D B U LL
M E R C E D E S
This graph shows the total testing mileage each team has racked up across the three official sessions at Jerez and Barcelona. Mercedes’ total excludes its running with a 2011 spec car during the first session at Jerez laps)
MAR U S S
MARUSSIA CAR BREAKS COVER AT SILVERSTONE ON PAGE 4