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Ferrari finds fix for flexing front wing
Ferrari has made modifications to its latest front wing design in order to prevent the extreme flexing seen on Felipe Massa's car at the Indian Grand Prix.
Massa's Ferrari drew attention in India as the front wing oscillated violently at high speeds, with the end plates sparking against the track surface along the back straight. Ferrari said it would investigate the behaviour of Massa's wing after the race as Fernando Alonso's version had not suffered the same problem.
Technical director Pat Fry said the new wing, which is part of a development package for 2012, had already boosted the performance of this year's car, but revealed a few tweaks have been made ahead of its next outing at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend.
"I think the biggest addition we've made in performance terms in recent races is the new front wing which we first tried in Korea," he said. "We then ran it again on both cars in India. It is a very interesting development for us, as it does change the characteristics of the car and getting to understand how to get the most out of it is certainly an interesting challenge and in the short term it has helped our performance.
"We had some quality issues on one of the wings used in India but this solution will be in Abu Dhabi again, although after watching its behaviour at the last race, much work has been done to modify certain aspects of it before both drivers will try it this coming weekend."
Fry said work on the next year's car is now quite advanced as the team looks to bounce back from a difficult year with just one victory.
"The design office is now concentrating solely on next year's car and that work is at a reasonably advanced stage in terms of mechanical components and the car's bodywork," Fry added. "As for what we are doing at these last two races, we will continue to work on developing new concepts for next year's car. Some of the work takes as its starting point the very final development of this year's car and some of it comes from the new design. This is valuable in terms of getting an understanding of different work methodologies and also gives us an early understanding, particularly in terms of the car's aerodynamics and how to set up the car."
Despite all the hard work, Fry is remaining realistic about his team's chances this weekend.
"We will keep on pushing as hard as we can," he said. "In terms of what we can expect for this weekend, it will be similar to the last few races, which means that if we put everything together perfectly, as we did in India with Fernando we should have a reasonable chance of getting onto the podium."