Ferrari places its Valencia bet on the back end of its car

Ferrari, which today announced that it is adding former McLaren engineer Pat Fry as the team’s assistant technical director, also has announced the big upgrades it is bringing to the European Grand Prix — also known as Fernando Alonso’s second home race.

And you’ll be wanting to look to the back of the car to see the changes:

As has been widely reported in the weeks leading up to this race, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro will this weekend introduce several modifications and updates to the F10, although not quite as far reaching or extensive as these same reports have suggested! The most significant feature is a new configuration for the exhaust system, aimed at improving the aerodynamic efficiency of the car. There will also be additional aero updates to the rear end of the car. However, these changes are just the first in a series of improvements to the F10 which will roll out over what is a very busy part of the season, with four races coming in the space of the next five weeks preceding the summer break.

There’s a little of that snarky Ferrari. Good to see it back.

Also back, at least from my reading of this release, is a bit of the Ferrari fight. I’m sure the team will be trying to tamp down expectations, but I get a pretty optimistic tone from this latest Maranello pronouncement:

The intensive development programme will run throughout this period. Part of this phase of development included an aero test, when Scuderia test driver Marc Gene was at the wheel for one day last week at Vairano. Also last week, the two race drivers were in Maranello for sessions on the simulator, in preparation for the 57 laps of the 5.419 km track around the Valencia harbour. It is not just the fact that the circuit is near water that gives it something in common with the Montreal circuit, because although Valencia requires slightly higher downforce levels than the Canadian venue, it is similar in having some high speed sections mixed in with stop-start corners, yet again making good traction and braking two priorities on the car set-up sheet. Therefore there is every chance that the F10 could display the same degree of competitiveness that it showed a fortnight ago across the Atlantic. The fact the team was disappointed with Alonso “only” managing to finish third in Canada, after the run of play with backmarkers went against him, shows that within Ferrari the feeling is that the championship is still very open. By the way, after the race in Valencia there will be still ten races to go ….

We’ll see in a few days whether these new pieces to the car make a big difference. It looks like I was right that Ferrari used a recent “promotional” event to begin testing the new exhaust system, by the way. From what I understand, the new exhaust system is relatively similar to what Red Bull has been running this year, if that gives you any sense of whether Ferrari will make a step forward.

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