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There is no doubt that Spa-Francorchamps and Monza are two of the most demanding circuits in terms of powerplants however, Ferrari engine guru Luca Marmorini remains confident.
"These two historic circuits are ones where the engine plays an important role and is put very much to the test," he told the team's website. "Monza, for example, is the circuit where drivers use full throttle for a greater percentage of the lap than at any other track. Of course, with the freeze imposed on engine development in the regulations, there is not much room for manoeuvre, but we have looked at areas where we are still allowed to make changes.
"For example, we are always trying to reduce the inevitable performance drop that can affect engines as they are used, because some engines having to complete two or three races, therefore it's important to try and maintain the same performance level throughout. If you consider that an engine can lose 5 horsepower per race, then by the third race it can have lost a total of15 horsepower, which is a significant figure. Then, with our partner Shell, we work on development on new fuels and oils that can aid performance. Spa-Francorchamps also throws up some specific problems, such as the fact the circuit is at quite high altitude, the weather is very changeable and often wet, but these are elements that affect the whole car package, not just the engine management."
Even with the engine development freeze, there is plenty to keep Marmorini and his team occupied. "The engine is the same, but each year we have to install it in a new design of chassis. We always try and simplify it, while doing a lot of work on the exhaust system, an area where you are always making a compromise between outright performance and the needs of our friends in the aerodynamics department. We also have a small margin to work on within the framework of the rules when it comes to the actual mapping of the engine, even if the performance gains from this are quite small."
Reflecting on the season thus far, the Italian said: "Even if we can say that so far, in terms of performance and reliability of the engine, electronics and KERS, we are on target, we still want to do even better in the second half of the season when the championship will be decided, as well as meeting our major objective of getting through right to the end without the car ever breaking down on track."
KERS and electronics are free of development restriction, however, this is something that the team has not fully exploited. "We have not revolutionised our work in this area," he admitted. "Instead, we have concentrated on making the components better suited to the new car, lighter and less bulky, while improving efficiency. But we have been conscious of keeping the cost down on KERS to enable us to provide a competitive and economic package to our customer teams."
Spa-Francorchamps remains one of the circuits where Fernando Alonso has yet to score a victory, though teammate Felipe Massa won here in 2008, after finishing second the previous year. The Spaniard's best results here re a second place in 2005 and a third in 2007. The Maranello outfit has been victorious here on sixteen occasions, the last win back in 2009, when Kimi Raikkonen led home Giancarlo Fisichella and Sebastian Vettel.
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