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Shakedown cancelled again, as concerns surround new Ferrari

29 January 2010

The double cancellation of Ferrari's planned shakedown of the new F10 at Fiorano won't have major implications for the team's early-season performance, but there could still be trouble ahead if rumours in the Italian media prove to be true.

Although Ferrari is maintaining that Felipe Massa's debut in the 2010 contender was canned on both Thursday and Friday because of ice and snow at its private test facility, speculation in the press suggests that the F10 is already failing to live up to expectation, with a 'B-spec' version already being considered at Maranello as the team leaves for the first group test of the season in Valencia, which starts on Monday [1 February].

Of course, there was no such suggestion at the launch in Maranello on Thursday, with the engineering and design team revealing details of the car they hope will return the Prancing Horse to the top step of the podium on a regular basis this season. With Massa sidelined just after half-distance in last year's campaign, and Kimi Raikkonen managing just a single victory for the team, there is a lot riding on the F10 as the Brazilian and new team-mate Fernando Alonso chase the world title.

Among the first questions put to the various technical staff at the launch was an explanation of why the F10 would succeed where last year's F60 failed.

“We think that it was necessary to interrupt working on the F60's development, also because we didn't have the possibility to win the championship," Aldo Costa reasoned, "Now we're trying to forget last year and concentrate on 2010. But the decision was strategic, agreed on by the technicians and Stefano Domenicali.”

“We analysed the reasons why we weren't strong enough last year – car, organisation, approach," Nikolas Tombazis added, "The development data regarding aerodynamics, simulator and test stand makes us think that lots of development has been done. We also worked to speed up the change of tyres. In the last few years, the refuelling limited us, but this year this is different, so we worked, regarding the pit-stop, on the change of tyres.”

Tombazis was asked about the aerodynamics and the fundamental role the weight displacement played - whether it was always the best solution to have more downforce at the back of the car.

“In aerodynamics, rear downforce is harder to find" he explained, "We're always looking to improve the car's efficiency to improve the performance. As far as the car's set-up is concerned, we do have some doubts about it, due to the fact that we haven't used the new tyres yet. The KERS is gone, but the minimum weight has been raised. There's more ballast to adjust the weight in case there were problems with the distribution.

“KERS, in reality, worked very well, although it did create a certain deficit on the car's overall package. The fact that it's gone made us lose a performance delta but, by space-saving, we gained what we lost with the KERS.”

Costa, meanwhile, addressed perhaps the biggest unknown facing the teams this season, as Bridgestone prepares to unveil a new range of tyres for the top flight following mandated changes in dimensions of the front wheels.

“As far as the tyres are concerned, it hasn't happened very often that we came to the first test with a new car with tyres we've never seen before, never used and never tested," the Scuderia's technical director noted, "This year, we're racing after only four tests. We're confident that Bridgestone has done some excellent work, but with changing the compound four tests might not be enough.

“Bridgestone is very interested in the tyre tests and they will analyse their behaviour after the long runs. More weight on the tyres has changed the single-seaters structure, and it's very unusual to start in that sense.”

Meanwhile, Luca Marmorini, who debuts as head of engines and electronics this season, explained how the team hopes to recover performance with engines that can't be modified.

“Nobody ever went beyond a certain level with the engines," he pointed out, "This year, we won't have any refuelling and the motor mechanics went to use the engines in ranges they hadn't thought of before. That's an interesting challenge in terms of performance research in the light of the 2010 rules. The motor mechanic's intervention can be found in the engine's use, because the rules don't allow modifications of internal parts, so it will be really interesting to see the results.”


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