Malaysian GP - Costa: “We must change our approach to development”
Sepang, 9 April – “We are not where we thought we were this winter: we lack performance.” Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s Technical Director, Aldo Costa did not mince his words and admitted that, at the moment the 150° Italia is not a match for the two best cars in the pack, the Red Bull and the McLaren.
Costa provided a precise analysis: At the last Barcelona test, we introduced a big package of updates on the car. Some of them worked as we had expected, while others, to do with the front end, were less effective and so we found ourselves with an unexpected performance deficit in Melbourne. But let’s make this clear, this version of the car is quicker than the one that made its debut in Valencia, but we have not improved to the extent we would have liked. How do we get out of this situation? If it was easy, we would have done it already, but we are not yet clear as to where the problem lies.
“We are working on it, but it’s a case of a complete evaluation we are currently undertaking, not just here at the track but also in the factory. When we have understood the situation, that will mean we have already made a good step forward and then we will need to be even more aggressive in terms of development of the car, because there are two teams that have set the bar very high. At Maranello, we have a lot of talented people and they are very peed off with this situation and I know that everyone is very keen to fight back.”
Costa also outlined how this reaction will take place. “We are working on different areas. There will be something new in China, and something more significant in Turkey and for the rest of the season. Will it be enough? I don’t know the answer to that now. Clearly we have to push harder than the others because we have to make up the ground we have lost, which today is greater than was the case last year. We have to change our approach in order to succeed.”
Working on two fronts; preparing for a race weekend and carrying out an in-depth analysis of the car, comes with a price to pay. “The time we spent yesterday on aerodynamic testing came out of the time available to work out the right set-up on the car and on studying the behaviour of the tyres,” explained Aldo. “However, between yesterday and today, we have made progress and I think that showed in qualifying and I hope that will also be the case tomorrow in the race. Clearly, I don’t expect us to be as quick as the top four, but I am sure we will do our best.”
Costa was asked his opinion of the Red Bull front wing, given what Ross Brawn had to say on the subject in the FIA press conference. “Our opinion regarding the approach adopted this winter in the design office is similar to that of Mercedes. Maybe we were a bit naïve, but now we are working on various ideas for the front wing and we will come out with a flexible one soon, which we hope will work well.”