Ferrari technical director Pat Fry admits that getting to grips with the 2013 Pirelli tyres will be key when the new F1 season starts in Australia, with pre-season testing drawing to a close in Barcelona yesterday [Sunday].
Tyre degradation has been an issue for teams throughout the three tests in Spain, with a number of drivers having made comment on how quickly tyres had been losing their performance.
That degradation, combined with low temperatures that will be nothing like teams will encounter in Melbourne, means there are still questions to be answered when free practice starts at Albert Park, with Fry admitting that gaining knowledge of the tyres quickly would be vital.
“All the teams, ourselves included, will still have a lot to learn about the tyres in Melbourne,” he said. “The performance and the degradation of the tyres will be the determining factor in establishing how competitive everyone is. Albert Park is a partial street circuit – it is only used for racing a few times during the year – so it will be interesting to see how the tyres behave in higher temperatures.”
Ferrari goes into the new season on the back of a solid pre-season with the new F138, in stark contrast to twelve months when the F2012 endured a troubled birth.
Having focused on the job at hand throughout pre-season, Fry said Ferrari was pleased with the progress made with the new car with the team encouraged about its chances for the season opener.
“During these days of testing we have just concentrated on our own work programme,” he said. “There are some quick cars but frankly our attention has been very much on the work linked to the F138's development, collecting data on the new parts that we have brought, especially in this final test.
“The positive thing is that our aerodynamic simulations – both from the wind tunnel and CFD – have given us the results we had been hoping to see on the track. You can never have a 100 per cent correlation but this is an encouraging sign for the new parts that we aim to bring to the first races, starting in Melbourne.”