Six races ago, there was serious concerns over the pace and form of the Ferrari F2012. Team boss Stefano Domenicali was not speaking in glowing terms of their challenger and said there was a lot of work to do. Fernando Alonso said that driving the car was difficult and that it was a complex machine. Technical boss Pat Fry was even more transparent saying the car had a long way to go and that the team were really behind the eight ball on the design. That was six races ago…now they lead the Driver’s Championship and things may have changed.
Heading into the Canadian Grand Prix, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton has set the pace in free practice sessions but his eye is squarely on Ferrari saying:
“I think qualifying looks like it’s going to be very close and you’ve got the Ferraris that look like they’re going to be very quick,” Hamilton said. “Their tyre degradation seems to be better, at least it was at the last race, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for them. It looks again like it could be another one-stop race like it was at the last race; my tyres I think did well over 30 laps so it will be interesting.”
Ferrari are said to be running a new exhaust system that looks familiar to the McLaren system and perhaps that’s just a form of flattery but it may help that the technical boss, Pat Fry, is a former McLaren man and the approach to Formula One may be starting to manifest itself at Ferrari.
McLaren is presumed to be the cream of the crop in this 2012 season but the Pirelli tires compounds, DRS and aerodynamic regulation changes have the series ultra-competitive with six different winners in as many races. Many consider the MErcedes AMG Petronas a threat for this weekend’s grand prix but in the end, Ferrari may have found the troubles that plagued them early on and now they look to be amongst the top teams in performance. They’ll need it if they have any chance of defending the lead in the driver’s championship.
At the beginning of the year, Alonso said the car was complicated and he was not encouraged. The results proved him right and yet he placed the car in positions it had little right to achieve on merit such is his skill. Now he says the car is coming around and he’s pleased with its pace…that could spell doom for other teams flirting with equivalent pace as Alonso has a penchant for producing magic in a car that’s close to the top.