Ferrari restructure 'paying off' as team targets fightback in 2012

Ferrari is confident that the technical restructuring and staff changes it undertook during a disappointing 2011 campaign are now paying off as it strives to get back on terms with chief rivals Red Bull and McLaren this year

Ferrari restructure 'paying off' as team targets fightback in 2012

The Scuderia finished a distant third in the constructors' championship and scored just one win - Fernando Alonso's at Silverstone in July. From early on in 2011 it was clear that Ferrari's 150 Italia had been too conservative a design, struggled to warm up the harder compound Pirelli tyres and its development suffered from poor correlation with the team's wind tunnel data.

But Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali says internal restructuring that included the hiring of Pat Fry, who replaced Aldo Costa as technical director last June, resolved a lot of these issues and is now beginning to show results as the team ramps up its assault on 2012.

"When we see the stopwatch at the first qualifying for the first race, then we will know the answer," said Domenicali, "but I see some things that give us optimism that we are doing a reasonable job.

"We try to look ahead and change the organisation in order to make sure in terms of ideas and teamwork in the technical office, the work of the windtunnel and simulation, we are more prepared. I'm optimistic because of this.

"Then, as always, we know that the first result where we compare our job with our main competitors is the first qualifying for the first race. But we are working in the right direction."

In an interview AUTOSPORT conducted with Fry in December, the Englishman himself said that the correlation of data with the windtunnel was improving.

"You are never going to get perfect correlation," said Fry. "It's a constantly evolving thing. But we've learned a lot and we are improving. We are getting better. Even with track testing, you'd want that correlation, but once you can use mathematical modelling to analyse the car and work out what's quicker, that also allows you to make better decisions."

Fry also promised that the design team largely responsible for last year's car had been encouraged to be more adventurous with the 2012 machine.

"The group of engineers will be more creative," said Fry. "They are working a lot better.

"The aero department in particular has been a lot more creative and that's good to see.

Domenicali reckons that regulation stability between 2011 and 2012, should also help Ferrari's recovery. One of the few changes in the rules - the banning of hot-blown diffusers - might play to the team's advantage since it was an area where it struggled both aerodynamically and engine mapping - it's British GP win came when the technology was temporarily banned - compared to Red Bull and McLaren.

"In terms of regulations, what is the difference from last year and the year before? This year, the rules have changed so that the exhaust effect was an area where we were less strong."

Ferrari's president Luca di Montezemolo also thinks the team is now back on the right track.

"We want a competitive car," he said. "I think that Domenicali made some good improvements in the organisation without a revolution. Now we have people in charge of the team answering to Domenicali: Luca Marmorini for the engine, he was born in Ferrari, he went to Toyota for eight years for experience and then he came back. Then we have Pat Fry who is working very well. He is improving the areas in which Ferrari has less experience.

"I don't want a revolution, but I want step by step improvements season after season."

shares
comments
The top 20 F1 stories of 2011
Previous article

The top 20 F1 stories of 2011

Next article

Nico Rosberg: A future F1 champion?

Nico Rosberg: A future F1 champion?
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats Plus

How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats

The 2022 Formula 1 season will be remembered as a record book rewriting Max Verstappen masterclass, a completely different challenge to his maiden world championship last year, and a clear sign he is still raising his own level. But where does it stack up against the all-time great F1 campaigns?

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022