On the weekend after I got back from China, I celebrated my twenty ninth birthday here in Monaco. I’m a family man now, so no wild parties, just a very enjoyable evening that my wife organised in a restaurant here with my son of course, and some friends. I’ve had some time to relax with this slightly longer break and I also spent a day in the Ferrari simulator at Maranello at the start of the week. The next race is in Barcelona, a track that all F1 drivers know very well, so the main point of the simulator session was to get a feel for the F10, which will have various updates for this next round of the championship.
The most obvious change to the car, apart from the mirrors being moved to comply with the regulation change regarding these parts, was the fact we will be trying a new rear wing, known as a “blown” wing, which involves the ability to affect its use from the cockpit. It was tried out for real, at Vairano, with Giancarlo Fisichella driving, so from my point of view it was interesting to see how and where we will be able to use it at the Catalunya track. Apart from this, we have some other improvements to the car, mainly on the aerodynamic side and this is all part of our programme to keep improving the car race by race. Of course, the other teams will have done the same, so it will be interesting to see who has done the best job and to find out if it changes anything in terms of which are the most competitive teams. Clearly, everyone will have been working very hard because, in a championship as tight as this one is proving to be, then if you can do a better job in the factory, it can give you an advantage on the track.
Barcelona will be the first and the only track we visit where we have tested the F10 already this year. We had a few days there, at what was the last winter test, which will be useful in that we will have some sort of baseline to start our work on Friday in free practice. But you have to consider that the cars have evolved since those days back in February and also, it is likely the track conditions will be different, as it will most probably be a bit warmer and there is also the fact that wind can play a key role at this track. All the same, it should be interesting to see how much our car and the other teams’ cars have improved since then.
We have said already this season that one key area where we need to improve is in qualifying and I hope the updates we are bringing to this race will help in that respect, because in simple terms if you improve the car’s performance, then qualifying should go better. Also, apart from performance, anything you do to the car to make it easier to drive can also be a help when you are trying to get the very most out of it on just one quick lap. We will have to wait and see, because at both of the next two races, Spain and Monaco, overtaking is very difficult, so qualifying can really shape your Sunday afternoon performance.
After four races on the other side of the world, I am looking forward to spending less time in airplanes, although having said that, my trip to Barcelona is not so straightforward, because on Wednesday I am flying to Prague in the Czech Republic for the opening ceremony of the new Ferrari showroom and then going from there to Spain. At least there will be no travelling involved for me for the next round in Monaco!