This was the third last day of testing for Scuderia Ferrari ahead of the start of the season. After the morning’s work, which had focused on aerodynamics, set-up and tyres, the afternoon programme for the F14 T included a race distance.
In the cockpit for his first 310 km ‘in one go’ was Fernando Alonso, who told journalists about this fundamental moment of the test, “The race simulation went rather well, even if not perfectly: we had a few small problems but we managed to complete the 55-60 laps that we had set ourselves as a race distance without ever coming back to the garage.”
“I’m happy with the large number of laps that we got through, also taking into account the 45 laps in the morning. We worked on set-up as well as aerodynamics and we continued to learn important things about the F14 T.”
Fernando looked back on the work that has been completed so far, “It’s important to have been able to get through so many laps this winter. We have important data both on the level of potential performance and on the set-up and how the new components are working. Still the work is not yet finished: for the team there are still two days left, one of them for me, which will be crucial to arrive in Melbourne in the best shape.”
“The important thing is that these two days should be free of problems because we have to be able to maximise the hours that are still available. One thing’s for sure: Ferrari has really done a great job and I’m sure that we will be competitive. I can’t say if we will be at the front or behind someone else but we will definitely be up there at the top among the best.”
Regarding the race simulation, Alonso had clear feelings, “I’d say that there are not huge differences in how you manage a race distance: without going into too much detail I can say that many things have stayed the same. Last year we had to manage tyres from the first lap and this year it’s the same, with the extra point that the car seems slower thanks to the increased weight and the reduction of the available aerodynamic downforce. You also have to manage fuel consumption and the batteries.”
“There are therefore few big changes even if the time to complete the race distance will inevitably go up. The biggest differences this year will probably be seen between the race and qualifying because you will really be able to push hard on Saturdays.”
Then there were his thoughts about the new powertrain, which was sent to the FIA for homologation yesterday, “When it comes to drivability, the new engine requires a few changes in driving style, both in the corners and on the straights. The main difference is in the distribution of the power, which is more immediate and less progressive.”
“We must learn to understand the car’s behaviour given that, and it will be necessary to almost anticipate it with our reactions, because you get an intuition about how it will behave at certain points: overall it’s a bit harder to drive in a clean and precise way. On the straights too the sensations are different. Last year we had a KERS that gave us 80 bhp more, this year we have 160 bhp extra and you really can feel the push,” concluded Alonso.
Subbed by AJN.