Ferrari’s Engineering Director Pat Fry has explained how he expects a drastic change to Formula 1 race weekend preparations throughout the 2014 season, due largely to the monumental alterations to the technical regulations for the new season. With the F1 fraternity gearing up for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, many expect the traditional pecking order to receive a shake-up with many teams still suffering from headaches due to the new regulations.
Whilst many see Mercedes powered teams’ as favourites heading into the season-opening race weekend, Ferrari are still largely perceived as a dark horse after a relatively quiet winter testing programme at Jerez and Bahrain. However, with race weekend limitations set to be placed upon the paddock, the practicalities of a frenetic race weekend is finally upon the field and the emphasis has naturally switched from reliability to racing as the Scuderia understandably aim for a competitive start to their 2014 campaign with Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.
However, Pat Fry is under the belief that the traditional approach to a race weekend by the various teams up and down the paddock will change drastically throughout the new season as the new cars place new challenges upon the mechanics. With the amount of work carried out on the car restricted at race weekends, any issues that arise could prove detrimental and extremely tricky to rectify. With traditional hurdles for the teams and drivers such as tyre wear yet to be added to the mix, there is no question that the 2014 season will be a monumental challenge for the team personnel to provide their drivers’ with a car capable of not only completing the expected race distance but also qualifying for the race in question.
“On the mechanical side, there’s a huge increase in complexity, so just working out the best way to build the car, change parts, rebuild it and how to be best prepared in Melbourne is a major task,” explained Ferrari’s Engineering Director, Pat Fry. “Through the tests we worked 24 hours a day, running shifts to ensure the car was ready, but once we get to Melbourne we are more restricted by the rules regarding what we can actually do and how many hours we are allowed to work. In the past, the reliability of Formula 1 cars has been incredible, but this year, their sheer complexity means it will be challenged, particularly in qualifying and the race. In some races, we will be fuel limited and we will have to work out the best way to save fuel. Effectively we will be balancing electrical energy against fuel consumption and it’s our job to work out what the best combination is for the race.”
There is no question that Ferrari have an exciting new combination for the 2014 season, with former World Champions’ Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen partnering each other at the Scuderia. Although many believe such a partnership could create more issues than solutions for the Italian outfit, overhauling the many technical hurdles in their way will be the main priority as a new, and wide-open, season dawns.
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