Fry: We still have a way to go


Though pleased with his team's performance in the opening races, Ferrari Technical Director, Pat Fry admits that there is still work to be done.

"We've shown reasonable race pace and on all the tyre types we have used so far we have performed well," he told the team's website, "however we still have a way to go to be quickest in qualifying and we are working very hard on that at the moment.

"We've been concentrating on the longer runs," he continued, "even if they are not as long as in the past, because this year we expect more pit stops during a race. However, we have not ignored our qualifying pace. I am sure there is more to come on this front, as we learn more about our car and start getting the best out of it.

"The key will be to try and move our car development programme forward quicker than the other teams do. It's a tough cycle that will last all year and we need to at least match our 2012 development pace if we are to perform better in qualifying. So far, we have worked well, all the way through from design to manufacture, improving on how we did things last year in terms of actually getting new bits onto the car. Also, our aero correlation is better."

Looking ahead to this weekend, he said: "Shanghai is a challenging mix of different corner types and a 1.2 kilometre straight. Is it going to suit our car better than some others? It is too early to say, as there are too many unknowns. For example, it will be the first weekend this year that we will use the Pirelli Soft compound, along with the Medium. At the end of this Grand Prix, we will have a clearer picture of how all the tyres compare to one another. So to some degree, Shanghai will be another learning exercise for everyone, although we can say that our pace, relative to the other teams, has been okay on all the tyres we have tried so far."

The Englishman's optimism is echoed by Felipe Massa, who has out-qualified teammate Fernando Alonso for both races thus far and also heads the illustrious Spaniard in the standings.

"I know we have only done two races, but I have a good feeling so far this season," said the Brazilian. "The work we did with the F138 over the winter has taken us in the right direction and the car has much more potential.

"Of course, I always want to be fighting for the win," he continued, "although that did not work out in the first two races, but the signs were good with an excellent race pace and now we have to keep moving forward race by race.

"There are definitely more than two teams that are capable of fighting for the wins and the championship," he admitted. "Our team is one of them, with the car moving forward in the right way and it is delivering results on track that we expected when looking at data in the wind tunnel and the factory. In Melbourne we had a car that was capable of winning and in Malaysia the car was again competitive, even if conditions made the race something of a lottery.

"We are well prepared for China," he added, looking ahead to this weekend, "and we will have all the updates we hoped to bring with us in Shanghai, after work in the factory and the simulator last week. I hope this translates into a further performance improvement on track. Shanghai is a very nice track with a variety of corner types and fast straights, so you definitely need a car that works well in the fast sections, but you also need it to have plenty of downforce to deal with the tighter turns. We can expect to see quite high tyre degradation, especially on the fronts.

"The aim is to fight for a lot more points, for a podium, for a win even, because you have to set yourself high targets."

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Published: 09/04/2013
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