Having stepped down from his position as technical director just under two months ago, Aldo Costa has now left Ferrari altogether, the team has confirmed, as Pat Fry asserts that on the eve of this weekend's German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, the Scuderia
has 'understood its problems' and is at last 'working in the right direction'.
Off the back of a crushingly disappointing start to the F1 2011 World Championship campaign that all-but torpedoed Fernando Alonso's title chances in his second season at Maranello, it was announced back in May that Costa – a stalwart there since 1995 – would relinquish his role with immediate effect to 'take on new responsibilities within the company'. The team has now confirmed that by mutual consent, the Italian's contract has been terminated and he is henceforth no longer employed by Ferrari at all.
Ironically, Costa's departure comes just as the Prancing Horse looks finally to be getting on top of its troubles this year, with Alonso's unexpected but thoroughly well-deserved Silverstone triumph last time out in the British Grand Prix the catalyst for a much-needed dose of momentum.
Chassis director Fry is hopeful of being able to now build further upon that, with the Englishman encouraged by recent progress and buoyed by the fact that many more developments remain in the pipeline for the fast-improving F150° Italia – meaning there is plenty more potential still to be extracted from it.
“The main satisfaction was that it was great to get a victory at Silverstone after all the hard work of the past four months trying to close the gap,” confessed the former McLaren man. “It was gratifying to see that it had paid off – [but] it does not change our approach for the next few races.
“What that win does is show that we have understood our problems and that we are working in the right direction. We will continue to develop the car as quickly as we can, and each step we make improves our understanding, which is important as it also impacts on work for next year's car. We have a few more updates coming for the Nürburgring, and then one further update for Hungary the following week. We are keeping the pressure on to develop as much as we can before the summer break.
“In a way, [the Nürburgring] can be compared to Silverstone, in that it has long-duration corners, even if they are more medium-speed than high-speed. Trying to find a balance through those corners is a little bit more difficult, as it suits our car less than the brake-turn-accelerate type of circuit like Canada and Valencia.
“In terms of tyres, we will have the medium and soft again – a sensible choice for this track, and one that suits our car well. However, the last race showed that we are making progress in adapting the car to all tyre types. Earlier in the year – in Barcelona, for example – we struggled on the hard tyre, but we have made improvements and our qualifying pace on hard tyres at Silverstone was a match for others.
“We cannot be certain until we have run the cars on-track, but at the Nürburgring, the DRS zone involves following someone closely through the high-speed corner onto the back straight, which will be a little bit of a challenge for drivers to get within the regulatory one second-gap to the car ahead before they are allowed to activate the system. This means the degree of difficulty should be similar to Silverstone, rather than somewhere like Canada or Valencia.”