A crucial month for the teams begins tomorrow

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A crucial month will start for Formula 1 tomorrow in Valencia. The 13 teams, participating in the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship have 15 days for test sessions over the next four weeks, where, due to the weather conditions, the teams will stay in Spain. After Valencia they’ll go to Jerez de la Frontera for a total of eight days, while the last four days of testing will be held in Barcelona from 25 to 28 February.

The rules foresee the deployment of just one car per day for a total (including the aerodynamic tests) of 15,000 kilometres until 31 December 2010: that’s why the team has to make the most out of every single lap, with the lowest possible margin of error. Getting to know the way the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro works on the track, we met Chris Dyer, Head of track engineering at the team from Maranello.

“We have less time this year before the championship starts to get ready, but the goal is to reach the same preparative levels as in the past,” Dyer said. “That’s why we used the dynamic and static test stands more than usual over the last weeks, reducing the inconveniences, which come with small reliability problems, which usually show up after the first kilometres with a new car. This is how we try to concentrate more on the performance evaluation and the analysis of the two main issues this year: how the new tyres will work and the necessity to verify how the car runs with a full petrol load.”

“Obviously these two things are connected,” the Australian explained. “We need to understand how the car runs by comparing the new data with the one from the past. That means we’re driving with fuel loads we’re used to, but we also need to see what happens with a full tank on longer stints. This will make it difficult to set up a programme for a test day. There will be occasions when the car will have 20 kg of petrol on board and others when there will be 150. Obviously these differences will make it more difficult for the media and the spectators to interpret the results: the classifications will change from day to day based on the teams’ different programmes.”

The tests are an occasion to prepare the people working on the car, Chris explained: “There will be lots of work every day to set up the car, but we have to ensure that the mechanics, who will work with the two drivers during the races, acquire the necessary knowledge for the single-seaters on the track, to be ready for Bahrain. We also have to work as far as the pit stops are concerned, because this year will be even more important, as the time of a pit stop will be determined by the ability to change the tyres, while until last year we also had to refuel and had a little more time to change the tyres.”

After three months of abstinence everybody wants to get back to the track, not only the drivers, but also the technicians, and Chris confirmed: “It’s true, I really want to get back working at the box, follow the car’s improvement and get ready for the races. I think that all my colleagues are feeling the same way. In a Formula 1 team you have a different computation of time: for many amongst us, like me, who have been in Formula 1 for a long time, the 2010 season will start tomorrow, while for the planners, who have been working on the new car for a long time, the work is coming to an end, but in several months they will start to think about 2011.”

What’s for sure is that everybody is excited about tomorrow morning, when the pitlane will be opened at 10am at Cheste’s “Ricardo Tormo” circuit for the first time-kept laps.

Source: Ferrari