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F1 : This May Explain Alonso’s Optimism

by on October 18, 2012

Alonso and Ferrari have been somewhat bullish lately, and for me, it has been difficult to understand why. It was clear in the last few races that Ferrari simply lacked the pace to keep up, let alone challenge Red Bull.

Why then, I kept asking myself, does Ferrari seem to be so optimistic? Why has Alonso stated that he will be in contention and will give Vettel a run for his money?

Have I miss something? It wouldn’t be the first time… Was I watching a different race from one which saw Fernando Alonso finish 13.9 seconds behind the leader in Korea? A leader, I might add, that had probably been taking it somewhat easy to preserve his tyres to ensure he finished the race.

Most of us might have noticed in the Korean GP, that Felipe Massa seemed to have a bit more pace than his team-mate. After speaking with a few friends in Pit Lane, I now know why. It is all clearer to me why there seems to be a sense of hope emanating from the prancing horse’s stable.

Felipe’s pace can be attributed to the fact that Ferrari were running a Red Bull style exhaust on his car. The team conducted this test in Korea and essentially used Massa as the proverbial guinea pig. Results were along expectations so they will be fitting the solution to Alonso’s F2012 in India.

This alone may not be enough for optimism. We don’t know exactly how many “fractions of a second” the new exhaust may be worth, or whether it is enough to challenge the charging Bulls. However, there have been reports that Ferrari has been using Toyota’s wind tunnel in Cologne (in place of Ferrari’s own). The rumor is that tests being conducted there, are on Ferrari’s own version of DDRS.

It should come to us as no surprise that the Maranello team is developing this double drag reduction system. Although a little late in the game, the Italian outfit had been working on a similar solution since before the start of the season. I’m wondering however, if the reason they never really adopted it, was because of the problems and inaccurate readings they were getting from the data recorded in their own wind tunnel.

Yet again, somehow, someone has dropped the ball in terms of quality control at Ferrari. How a team that competes at this level can have an ill-configured wind tunnel, for the second time (arguably 2008-2009) is beyond my comprehension.

Be that as it may, I am really hoping that these changes give Alonso the tools to challenge Vettel and Red Bull. I have no favorites in the title race, but I am a fan of racing. I don’t want to watch Vettel just walk away with it. I want to see a fight for the crown.

Author: Ernie Black
Twitter: Goggs_on_F1

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