Ask anyone who works in Formula 1 if it makes a difference racing back in Europe after the opening quartet of grands prix far from home and you will get a resounding yes.
The reasons are obvious; shorter flights, no jet lag and a shorter race week with less packing and unpacking. However, from a technical point of view, this Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix is just another race.
For Scuderia Ferrari that means bringing along some more updates for the F14 T, just as we have done since the start of the season.
There’s been more time for designers and engineers to work on that, given the three week break since China, but the principle of continuous improvement remains the same.
Chassis Technical Director James Allison asks: “Where did we see the real performance level of the car? Bahrain or China?”
“It’s a mistake to think in those terms, because it wasn’t the same car at the two tracks. Between those two races, we improved the car quite substantially, so not only did the track characteristics change, so did our car.”
“We are learning how to get performance out of this new set of regulations and hopefully to make this car more competitive,” explained the Englishman.
“The key to a successful season is to keep improving your car at every race. If we can do that, bringing a meaningful amount of performance to every one of those races, we will keep seeing steps forward. And that will define what is the true F14T, not just one single race.”
However, in motor sport, while the stopwatch provides irrefutable proof of progress, it means nothing until you measure yourself against your opponents, who will have been working just as hard.
In this respect, the 4.655 kilometre Catalunya track, on the outskirts of Barcelona is perfect for testing every aspect of a car’s performance and thus provides a good platform on which to make that comparison.
The work of the engineers has to be “interpreted” by the drivers and Allison is impressed by the commitment of the Ferrari pairing.
“With Fernando we’ve seen an extraordinary level of performance, scavenging every possible point at every possible opportunity. Kimi is working extremely well with the team, collaborating with the engineers, helping us to drive this car[‘s development] forwards. He has class written all over him and in a very short space of time, I’m sure we will also see the results of that on the track,” mused Allison. (Ferrari)
Subbed by AJN.