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Ferrari aims to make wind tunnel 'state of the art'

ESPN Staff
October 24, 2012 « Ferrari vows to go aggressive with car development | Red Bull is still beatable - McLaren »
Ferrari wants a state of the art wind tunnel © Getty Images

Ferrari is aiming to upgrade its wind tunnel to make it "state of the art" after a series of correlation issues have hampered progress this season.

Ferrari has been using Toyota's wind tunnel to help develop the car after data from its own facility did not match the car's performance on the track. The team has decided to close the wind tunnel to improve it and when it reopens chief designer Nikolas Tombazis is confident it will be one of the best in Formula One.

"We have taken the decision to make some significant modifications to our tunnel to upgrade it and bring it to the point where it is state of the art," he said. "Compared to those of some our opponents, ours is older and therefore in some areas it is not operating at the highest level. The work will involve temporarily closing our wind tunnel here in Maranello and during this period of several months, we will use an external wind tunnel, so that our development programme can continue without interruption, until ours is suitably updated.

"In an ideal world, if one has a wind tunnel that gives you all the results you need, then having just one tunnel is much simpler than using two. However, when, as is the case with us, we have had some doubts about the data from our facility, it will be useful to see what we find out by using another tunnel, to compare the results."

Tombazis said there are a number of reasons why the wind tunnel might not be working properly.

"It can come from a problem of scale, because the model used in the tunnel is much smaller than the real car and it can come from the fact that the wind in a tunnel is different to running the car in the open air and the way the air flows over the car can also be a factor. The way aerodynamics works on a modern F1 car is hyper-complicated, based on the interaction of various components and very small details, therefore it is easy to make a mistake. Correlation cannot be seen in black and white terms and you cannot expect a wind tunnel to deliver perfect results in all areas. We have had problems in some areas, but that does not mean that all our work in the wind tunnel has been worthless."