- Chinese Grand Prix
Five updates for Ferrari in China
Ferrari will bring five updates to the Chinese Grand Prix to try to narrow the gap to the front of the field, which technical director Pat Fry estimates is around 0.8s in dry conditions.
Ferrari won the last race in Malaysia after Fernando Alonso and the team's pit wall made the most of changing conditions, but in qualifying the car has yet to lap within a second of the front row. Fry admits the team still has issues to solve and says it is working flat out to make changes to the car as soon as possible.
"I certainly wasn't expecting to have one driver leading the championship," he told Ferrari's website. "From quite early on in testing, we realised we had quite a few issues we needed to sort out. Everyone at the factory has been working hard at that, as we still have a long way to go. I think our dry qualifying performance is still around 8 tenths off the best while we want to be the best ourselves. Damp low grip conditions suit our car and flatter some of the issues we have with the F2012 at the moment. You could see that in Melbourne on Friday and again in the race in Malaysia."
Fry revealed that the team has brought forward some of its updates in order to boost the performance in Shanghai this weekend, but said a major upgrade was still due for the Spanish Grand Prix in May.
"We are constantly working on improving the issues we have," said Fry. "New parts are coming through and we are trying to get them to the race track as quickly as possible - We will have five updates for China, some are quite visible others less so. Then there will be a bigger upgrade package for Spain. It would be nice to have them earlier, but we have already brought forward some parts we were developing for Spain and we should have them in China."
But while Alonso leads the championship heading to China, team-mate Felipe Massa has yet to score a point. Fry said the F2012 was proving difficult to drive and that the team has not been able to find a balance to suit the Brazilian.
"The car is quite difficult to drive and Fernando has managed to get the most out of it, while with Felipe, we have struggled to find the right balance to keep him happy," Fry said. "In addition, in Malaysia, we had Felipe on intermediates after the red flag but we had a lot of understeer and so we took the gamble of an additional pit stop which did not work out. The fact the tyres were only graining and not worn out was about the only call we got wrong from the pit wall at the last race. It was a set-back for Felipe, one of a few unfortunate circumstances for him."