Ferrari says only small improvements needed to fight for 2012 F1 title

Ferrari has no doubt that it will take only a small improvement in pace with next year's car to get itself back into world championship contention, following its strong performance at the Japanese Grand Prix

Ferrari says only small improvements needed to fight for 2012 F1 title

The Italian outfit halted development of its 2011 car several months ago, after failing to get on terms with Red Bull, and instead focused its efforts on what it promises to be a more aggressive concept for next year.

But with Fernando Alonso having been able to fight both McLaren and Red Bull for victory at Suzuka last Sunday, team principal Stefano Domenicali thinks there is evidence that getting the most out of its tyres is just as vital as out-and-out downforce - which has lifted hopes that a small amount of progress will be enough to transform its form next season.

"I am convinced about it," Domenicali said. "If you look at the way of what happened in Japan, there was not such a huge gap to overcome, I must say.

"So we need to be spot on in the preparation of the car without getting too anxious of being so far behind. That means we are maybe closer than what we were thinking and we need to, on the other side, make sure everything is under control in terms of development and in terms of the baseline of the car.

"One element that is crucial is to understand the tyre performance, and [we need to] make sure we really use that as a performance factor because I think there is a lot to learn after this season on that."

Ferrari reverted to an older specification of design at the Japanese Grand Prix, after planned upgrades that had arrived at the car since that race had failed to deliver the steps forward the team had expected.

And that is what makes Domenicali even more positive that his team is not in such bad shape as it plots a fight back.

"I think that I was impressed by our performance because it was close to be first, we were second, and to be honest with you we were not expecting to be so competitive," he said.

"It means that there must now be two elements under investigation so we can understand everything to be of benefit for next year. It is really the combination of the effect of the tyres, which is new in all different track conditions and surfaces, plus the effect of the blowing exhaust, which is the main element on the aerodynamic side.

"The combination of these two has to be really understood in order to be ready for next year's car, because we haven't touched this car since Hungary.

"Unfortunately, as you know and as we already said, we brought new updates in Belgium and Italy that we were hoping to be an upgrade but it was a downgrade unfortunately! So we went back. This is the car we had in Hungary and we were very close to the car that won.

"As far as we understood both McLaren and Red Bull brought some new pieces, new parts in the last couple of races, so there is something that is not clear about how this is possible. On that respect it is a good base and means we are not that far away."

Domenicali says that the Japanese GP performance, which featured Alonso closing right in on winner Jenson Button during the closing stages of the race, means the outfit can target victories in the final four races of the campaign.

"This weekend shows that the most important element that comes out is that the equilibrium of being very strong and not so strong is on the edge. So this has to motivate everyone at home to make sure that we keep pushing, because in the last four races of the season we have to make sure that we maximise the points and we can achieve a win.

"That is within our possibilities. Plus we are still fighting for second position with Fernando."

shares
comments
McLaren believes it now has a car that can win the last four races of 2011
Previous article

McLaren believes it now has a car that can win the last four races of 2011

Next article

Lauda says Vettel can surpass Schumacher's success in Formula 1

Lauda says Vettel can surpass Schumacher's success in Formula 1
Load comments
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Plus

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021