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Ferrari has admitted it was too conservative with its initial designs for the F150 Italia and has promised to change tack in order to close the gap to Red Bull and McLaren over the coming races.
The Italian team has yet to finish on the podium or qualify on the front two rows of the grid this season, leading president Luca di Montezemolo to demand better results. The problems appear to stem from the car's final upgrade package ahead of the season opener in Australia, which, according to technical director Aldo Costa, looked good in the wind tunnel but did not provide a significant performance boost on track.
However, chief designer Nikolas Tomabazis has admitted that, even with the wind tunnel problems, the car is not aggressive enough.
"We hoped to be further forward, more competitive, but it was not the case," he told Scuderia Ferrari Racing News. "The problem is linked mainly to the aerodynamics and can be divided into two parts. The first revolves around a lack of correlation between data from the wind tunnel and that seen at the track: we are reacting to correct this problem. Furthermore, we must admit that, even without this problem, we would not have been in a position to fight for the wins in the first three races. We have tried to see if our approach was too conservative and we realised that, for various reasons, we were neither reactive nor aggressive enough in the development stages.
"We have made some adjustments to our working practices to try and focus much more on car performance: we have changed the working practice in the wind tunnel and in terms of the development of the aerodynamic design side. Based on this, I expect that the results of these changes should be seen in the upcoming races."
However, Tombazis revealed that the upgrades for this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix were conceived prior to the team's change of approach and might not bring the performance gain Ferrari had hoped.
"The package was drawn up prior to the Chinese Grand Prix, therefore we have not been able to make significant changes to it in these past weeks," he added. "Definitely, we will have new wings, both front and rear and new brake ducts. Last week, we ran an aero test with Jules Bianchi at the wheel at Vairano. I can't say if this step forward will be enough, but I do expect to see the consequences of this change in approach over the next few races, because clearly, if we want to close the gap, we have to do something over and above the norm."
There has been criticism in the press that Ferrari has not been innovative enough with the F150 Italia, while its rivals have pushed the boundaries of car design.
"Unfortunately, we cannot claim this accusation is entirely without foundation," Tombazis conceded. "At the moment, we don't have a winning car and, on those of our competitors we can see innovative solutions introduced in a more aggressive fashion than we have done. Maybe we were a bit too passive in our approach: we did not push hard enough in some areas of development and unfortunately, the results can be seen on track. Now we are reacting and we want to rediscover the spirit of innovation which maybe we have lost a bit over the past two years.
"Despite that, I am convinced that Ferrari will be competitive again. We have had a disappointing start to the season. In order to recover from it, I think it is important to understand what mistakes we made and we have analysed this with much honesty and open mindedness. I am therefore convinced that we can get back to winning again."