Ferrari’s chief designer Nikolas Tombazis believes that changes made by the Italian team to their technical department and facilities have contributed to the Scuderia making a more competitive start to the season than in recent years.
A troublesome Bahrain Grand Prix resulted in Ferrari slipping back to third in the constructors’ championship standings behind Red Bull and Lotus, but recent reliability issues aside, this year’s F138 has been one of the quickest cars on the grid in all conditions, confirming the feeling within the team that behind-the-scenes changes are paying off.
“We have made a series of changes to our approach in terms of our working practices and also from an organisational point of view,” said Tombazis, ahead of this weekend’s Formula 1 Gran Premio de España 2013 at Barcelona. “At the same time, we are improving our facilities and I believe we now also have a better understanding about how certain aspects of the car work.
“Putting all that together has enabled us to make a better start to the season than in previous years. However, the process is not complete and we feel we are only halfway through these fundamental changes and we continue to work on improving all these parameters, which, in the case of our facilities, includes the work we are doing on our wind tunnel.
“I think the new working methods we have adopted and the new structure put in place has allowed us to be more creative and this was one of the objectives we established along with (technical director) Pat Fry, to reorganise the place and to give people more time to think.
“We identified areas where, in the past few years, we were a bit understaffed, which meant people were under pressure and did not have time to think about what could make the car go faster. It is working, but there is room to improve still further, even though this aspect has definitely contributed to the improvement in performance that we have seen so far this year.”
However, whilst Tombazis recognises the progress the Scuderia have made, looking at the first four races he can see plenty of room for improvement:
“I think in general, the first results mean we can be reasonably optimistic about the rest of the season, with a sense that we can fight for wins and the championship,” he said.
“However, if I was to score our overall performance, I would only give it a 6 out of 10 and that’s for two main reasons: one is that we are not yet quite where we want to be. In the first four Grands Prix, we were not really able to fight for pole position and that is one of our main objectives at the moment.
“Secondly, if you look at the actual results, even if it’s true we’ve had a win (in China with Fernando Alonso), which naturally we can be very pleased about, we have also had two very bad results where we scored very few points.”
Like most teams, Ferrari will bring numerous upgrades to Barcelona. Tombazis was reluctant to go into specifics but said that the Scuderia’s upgrades extend to the bodywork, floor and wings.
“With any new component, the difficulty lies not so much in its development but in deciding whether or not it is working on track as well as we had hoped,” he said.
“Therefore, by Friday evening in Barcelona, our objective is to have a clear view on what we will take forward to use in the race, in the hope of seeing measurements taken from the wind tunnel confirmed on track.”
- Ferrari ‘not quite where they want to be’ (gogogof1.com)
- James Allison believes Lotus will be competitive at 2013 Spanish Grand Prix – Formula 1 news (blogs.bettor.com)
- Market Cross Jewellers Offer Latest Ferrari Watches Collection (prweb.com)
- 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix preview (motorsportstalk.nbcsports.com)