Scuderia Ferrari’s third day of testing, the first with Fernando Alonso at the wheel of the F2012, was very similar to the previous two: a lot of work on data acquisition relating to the behaviour of the car, while not taking much notice of the times. It’s the route the team has to follow as it works on polishing up as quickly as possible a car that is radically different to last year’s, both in terms of its overall philosophy and in some specific components. Therefore there is no reason to create any drama around a time sheet on which the Prancing Horse drivers seem a long way off the pace of the top runners – today the gap hovered around the 3” mark. Fastest in fact was Rosberg (1.17.613 in the 2011 Mercedes,) while Fernando was seventh in a time of 1.20.413.
This approach was underlined by Technical Director Pat Fry when he met the press immediately after the end of the session. “There’s no reason for us to take the fuel out and try and do a quick time to make headlines in the newspapers,” said the English engineer. “However, we must try and maximise the limited twelve days of testing available to us. We have already lost some valuable time when it snowed in Fiorano: on the first day here, Felipe had to do all the work that we could have got through last week, making the most of the opportunity of the promotional filming. With only three tests available, the work has to be more compressed compared to last year and there is a lot of it to get through. The base line is good and we are working through everything that has to be tried to find the best balance on the car, especially in the various phases of the various types of corner. The matrix of solutions we are working on is pretty extensive and one can say that, on practically every run, we are trying different configurations. Here and in Maranello, we are working very hard on data analysis and also using the simulator so as to be sure that we can put together the best possible package.”
Up until the end of yesterday there had not been any reliability problems, but today a failure of an hydraulic nature meant Fernando had to put up with an unexpected stop that lasted around ninety minutes. “Parts are arriving here from the factory which should prevent this type of problem from reoccurring. From a reliability point of view, the car seems good, as it was in the past. As for performance, I can only say that it is going to take a lot of analysis to put all the pieces of the jigsaw together.”
Asked to send out a message to all the Ferrari fans, Fry replied with the sort of answer that those who know him a bit might well have expected. With his usual pragmatic approach he said: “all of us are working very hard…”