Pat Fry plays down reports of problems with new Ferrari F138

Pedro De La Rosa

Pedro de la Rosa had to interrupt testing when the Ferrari F138 caught fire at Jerez

Pat Fry has contradicted reports Ferrari is heading into the 2013 season with another fundamentally-flawed Formula 1 car, although the F138 did end the four days at Jerez, earlier this month, with the fastest lap there were murmurings that all was not well with Maranello’s latest creation.

Pat Fry with Steve Clark and Rob Smedley during testing at Jerez

Pat Fry with Steve Clark and Rob Smedley during testing at Jerez

Last year, the famous Italian team had a memorably bad start to the championship with the F2012’s initial configuration. We also reported from Jerez that all did not appear well with their new 2013 car here>>>

Felipe Massa, however, sounded much happier with the new F138 at Jerez recently, and he set the fastest lap of the entire test week, although some reports say his body-language gave away the real story of the car’s early potential.

Indeed, Germany’s Auto Bild Motorsport quotes a Ferrari source as suggesting “We have a problem” in the area of the car’s exhaust, adding: “It’s not something we cannot solve.”

Technical director Fry, however, is quoted by Spain’s Marca sports newspaper as insisting: “In most areas, we are where we expected to be.”

Felipe Massa Ferrari F138

Felipe Massa Ferrari F138

In terms of performance, he says Jerez was actually about “understanding” the F138, with Ferrari to begin to explore the car’s actual speed this week at Barcelona, before unveiling a big package of updates “in the third (test) week”.

Fernando Alonso has now ended his intense winter fitness training schedule and will drive the F138 on the first three days in Barcelona this week, handing over to Massa on Friday.

Fry says it’s too early to imagine the 2013 pecking-order.

“So far, nothing has drawn special attention,” he is quoted as saying. “The other cars, like ours, are a continuation of the end of last year. There will be more data for a better comparison later on,” added Fry.

And hinting that Massa’s week-best Jerez time should not be read into, he explained: “With different tyre compounds and fuel loads, it is very easy to do a good time in pre-season testing.” (GMM)