Pat Fry pinpoints tyre understanding as key

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F1 Test, Barcelona, Circuit de Catalunyaes

After 12 days of testing, teams are still somewhat in the dark about the eventual tyre behaviour in normal racing temperatures. There were differing conditions, but never did the temperatures reach what is expected at the season opener at Melbourne.

For Ferrari, Alonso, Massa and De La Rosa completed a total of 1069 laps of the two Spanish tracks: 3682km from the last two sessions at the Catalunya circuit plus a further 1231km in Jerez making up a total of 4913km. These are the figures that count for the data analysis that the Scuderia’s engineers have been carrying out to understand the behaviour of the F138 – with particular attention paid to the tyres, which have been designed to provide a better show and, as a result, the “thrill” of unpredictability.

It was this very point that Pat Fry, Scuderia Ferrari’s Technical Director, emphasised in his evaluation at the end of winter testing: “All the teams, ourselves included, will still have a lot to learn about the tyres in Melbourne. The performance and the degradation of the tyres will be the determining factor in establishing how competitive everyone is. Albert Park is a partial street circuit – it is only used for racing a few times during the year – so it will be interesting to see how the tyres behave in higher temperatures.”

Asked about the comparative performance of the teams, Fry added: “During these days of testing we have just concentrated on our own work programme. There are some quick cars but frankly our attention has been very much on the work linked to the F138’s development, collecting data on the new parts that we have brought, especially in this final test. The positive thing is that our aerodynamic simulations – both from the wind tunnel and CFD – have given us the results we had been hoping to see on the track. You can never have a 100% correlation but this is an encouraging sign for the new parts that we aim to bring to the first races, starting in Melbourne.”