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As Ferrari's 2012 contender took to the track yesterday, chief designer Nikolas Tombazis admits to still getting that special feeling.
"It's true that you always experience a special feeling when the car goes out on track for the first time, you cannot deny it," said the Greek designer who started his career at Benetton in 1992, moved to Ferrari in 1997, McLaren in 2004 and then rejoined Ferrari in 2006. "And today was no different to many others I have been through just like it.
"This car represents a clear break with the one that preceded it and it features concepts that are very different for us and that require much more fine tuning," admitted the Greek, revealing the thinking behind the F2012, a car of which much is demanded following the disappointment of 2011.
"That's why today we did not have an eye on the stopwatch, preferring to concentrate on gathering as much data as possible in order to get as good an understanding as possible of the behaviour of the car. We have much to do, but all in all, there are reasons to be pleased with the three hundred kilometres that we put together with Felipe at the wheel. We had to experiment with different solutions and that will be the case for the next few days as well: it's obvious that some delivered what was expected while others did not, but that's the purpose of testing, getting to understand how a car behaves and how best to develop it.
"We decided that the only way to make a step forward was to be much more aggressive in our approach to the design of the car. It's true that the arrival of Pat (Fry) in the role of Technical Director made a significant contribution to this change, but it was a direction our group had already initiated. It is obviously too early to say if this year we will be able to win or not, but no one will be able to accuse us of having been timid in the design of this car."
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