Formula 1

Ferrari’s Difficult Start to the Test Season

The F2012 was one of the slowest until it unlocked some speed on the last day of testing.

For the first three days of the new F1 test season, Ferrari designers, engineers and fans were worried. The new F2012 that carries Italy's hopes for a victorious F1 campaign was one of the slowest cars on the Jerez circuit. In the first two days it was driven by Felipe Massa and in the third day Fernando Alonso occupied the cockpit. Kimi Raikkonen in a Lotus set the fastest time on the first day; Michael Schumacher in a 2011 Mercedes Benz car was fastest on the second day and his teammate Nico Roseberg was fastest on the third day.

The McLarens and Red Bulls were somewhere in the middle, not making much of impression on the top of the leaderboard. However Ferrari's personnel were the most apprehensive of the tests results. Ferrari technical director Pat Fry told Autosport.com: "I am not happy with where we are at the moment. I think there is a lot of room for us to improve from where we are. Reliability wise it is good. Performance wise I think we are okay, but we can play around with the performance and improve [the car in] some corners and some particular parts of the corner, but I would not say I am happy yet until we get the whole thing working."

In a Ferrari official press release, Fry was more upbeat and stung the opposition. "There's no reason for us to take the fuel out and try and do a quick time to make headlines in the newspapers," said the English engineer. "However, we must try and maximize the limited twelve days of testing available to us. We have already lost some valuable time when it snowed in Fiorano. With only three tests available, the work has to be more compressed compared to last year and there is a lot of it to get through. The base line is good and we are working through everything that has to be tried to find the best balance on the car."

He continued: "Especially in the various phases of the various types of corner. The matrix of solutions we are working on is pretty extensive and one can say that, on practically every run, we are trying different configurations." So after all this, on the fourth and last day of testing, Alonso's Ferrari F2012 set the pace and by mid-day was the fastest car on the track setting a time of 1:18:877 sec., still shy of the best times of the weekend but improved performance by the red car.

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