Tombazis: “It’s a difficult period, but we can fight back”
Maranello, 3 May – “We are going through a difficult period and there is no point denying that our start to the season was a disappointing one.” Going into the Turkish Grand Prix, the fourth round of the championship, Nikolas Tombazis, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s chief designer does not pull his punches when describing the mood within the squad after the first three races, in an interview to be posted tomorrow in “Scuderia Ferrari Racing News,” the on-line magazine available at www.ferrari.com, from which we have previewed a few extracts.
“We hoped to be further forward, more competitive, but it was not the case,” said Nikolas. “The problem is linked mainly to the aerodynamics and can be divided into two parts. The first revolves around a lack of correlation between data from the wind tunnel and that seen at the track: we are reacting to correct this problem. Furthermore, we must admit that, even without this problem, we would not have been in a position to fight for the wins in the first three races. We have tried to see if our approach was too conservative and we realised that, for various reasons, we were neither reactive nor aggressive enough in the development stages. We have made some adjustments to our working practices to try and focus much more on car performance: we have changed the working practice in the wind tunnel and in terms of the development of the aerodynamic design side. Based on this, I expect that the results of these changes should be seen in the upcoming races.” There will already be some new components in Istanbul, as Tombazis confirms. “The package was drawn up prior to the Chinese Grand Prix, therefore we have not been able to make significant changes to it in these past weeks. Definitely, we will have new wings, both front and rear and new brake ducts. Last week, we ran an aero test with Jules Bianchi at the wheel at Vairano. I can’t say if this step forward will be enough, but I do expect to see the consequences of this change in approach over the next few races, because clearly, if we want to close the gap, we have to do something over and above the norm.”
Another criticism levelled at the Scuderia in ever more strident terms concerns a presumed lack of innovation. “Unfortunately, we cannot claim this accusation is entirely without foundation,” was the Scuderia Chief Designer’s honest response. “At the moment, we don’t have a winning car and, on those of our competitors we can see innovative solutions introduced in a more aggressive fashion than we have done. Maybe we were a bit too passive in our approach: we did not push hard enough in some areas of development and unfortunately, the results can be seen on track. Now we are reacting and we want to rediscover the spirit of innovation which maybe we have lost a bit over the past two years. Despite that, I am convinced that Ferrari will be competitive again. We have had a disappointing start to the season. In order to recover from it, I think it is important to understand what mistakes we made and we have analysed this with much honesty and open mindedness. I am therefore convinced that we can get back to winning again.”