Ferrari has conceded that there may be a problem with its wind tunnel after the F150 Italia failed to live up to expectation as a challenger to Red Bull in the opening two races of the 2011 F1 season.
Technical director Aldo Costa has confirmed that the team suspects the accuracy of the correlation between date coming from the wind tunnel and that being generated at the track, and will conduct a series of checks on the tunnel at the earliest opportunity. Despite some encouraging testing performances over the winter, neither Fernando Alonso or Felipe Massa made the podium in Australia or Malaysia, and the pair sit fifth and sixth respectively in the championship table, more than 30 points adrift of leader Sebastian Vettel after two rounds.
“In the winter development, in the last test, we tested a lot of new components and, as I already said, some of them are not delivering the performance expected,” Costa told speedtv.com
, “So we started an investigation, so we are doing correlation job between the track and the wind tunnel, trying to understand why that should be.
“An F1 car, these days, is a very, very complex aerodynamic machine, so there are a lot of vortices that can interfere one with the other. It's not only happened to us, [but] it's happened from time to time that developments are not bringing the expected performance. So we are doing this investigation and we think that, by Turkey, we should be able to answer all our questions.”
Costa was among the senior Ferrari personnel to make the trip back to team headquarters in Maranello between the Malaysian and Chinese grands prix, and insists that work is continuing apace behind the scenes to bring further developments to the car in time for the return to Europe next month.
“It was not an emergency going back to Maranello, it was already programmed," he claimed, "Of course, we have to catch up. We are quite behind, as we have seen in the first two races, so, at home, people are really motivated to progress and we were discussing, as usual, development programmes and which bits we can bring to the races, how many parts we can anticipate at what race and all this usual stuff.
“But being with a good awareness where we are at this moment in terms of performance so people are really, really pushing to catch up and really motivated to come back to the performance we would like to have.”