October 24th, 2012 (F1plus / Ernie Black).- Why have Ferrari been talking up their chances? What do the people in the stable of the prancing horse in the hills of Modena know that we don't? It has been quite clear to me in the last few races, that Ferrari simply lacked the pace to keep up, let alone challenge Red Bull.
Where is this new optimism coming from then? Why are Alonso and Ferrari publicly stating that will challenge Red Bull and Vettel to the final race?
The last race I watched, Fernando Alonso finished 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.
I did however notice that Felipe Massa seemed to have a bit more pace than his team-mate. This is a bit of a phenomenon. Not to say that Massa is slow, but just implying that it is rare that he would be faster than Alonso in the same equipment if Alonso's car was healthy. 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.
While this is great news for the Italian outfit, It may not be enough to bring the fight to Red Bull. Where things get interesting however, is that there are confirmed 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. They have been at it for a while, in fact I mentioned this in one of my posts before the season started. 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.
I can say with confidence that Ferrari should, for all intents and purposes, have improved pace in India this weekend. It is impossible to quantify the performance gain however.
I struggle to understand though how Ferrari have allowed someone to drop the ball in terms of quality control again. 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.