Over a thousand kilometres in two days. As far as reliability is concerned, the final test prior to setting off for Australia, has got off on the right foot for Scuderia Ferrari, with the F2012 going over the 100 lap mark on the opening two days.
Felipe Massa did 105 laps yesterday and Fernando Alonso added a further 125 today. The Spaniard also managed to complete a Grand Prix simulation, including pit stops.
“We ran a mix of used Softs and Mediums for the simulation and now we must analyse the data in detail to understand where we are compared to the others,” said Technical Director Pat Fry, when he met journalists at the end of today’s session. “Initial impressions suggest the difference between one stint and another can be put down to the normal difference between tyres that have done different mileages: some show significant degradation, others less.”
A few aerodynamic updates, mainly to the front wing, were evaluated over the course of the whole day, comparing them to previous versions. “There will be other new components coming on the car for the final two days and then we will try and put together the best from every configuration for the first race.”
Fry did not hide the difficult task the team faced in developing the car. “We started off with an exhaust system configuration that was particularly aggressive, but after last week’s test, it was clear this solution still required a lot of development before it could be used in a race. We opted for a more conventional configuration. Obviously, having developed the car to suit this innovative exhaust concept, now we must re-optimise everything in just the few days left before Australia. There aren’t major differences between the two systems in terms of performance, but we really need to analyse everything in detail.”
The Red’s TD did not shy away from an evaluation of the car’s performance level, with two days of testing remaining. “I think we can say we are in reasonable shape. Sure, you always try and be half a second quicker than everyone, knowing you are lapping constantly with 60 kilos of fuel on board. Clearly, we have a lot of work ahead of us, but all we can do is keep pushing on this front.”