A good 36% of the fun of following Formula 1 is trying to decipher and decode what the teams mean based on what they are saying. Of that 36%, a whopping 77% is entirely about figuring out Ferrari.
“Compared to a year ago, the situation is very clear,” said Chief Designer Nick Tombazis in an official Ferrari post. “It’s not hard to make a comparison, because back then we were in a really difficult situation, so making a better start this year was pretty much a given. We know that for various reasons, our development over the latter part of last season stalled and, because our rivals continued their development to a certain extent, the gap between us grew, especially after the summer break. A gap which we had closed down to three tenths, thus became around eight in Brazil. This year, we have a well defined development plan and we are reasonably sure that the new components tested on track have produced positive results. The Melbourne package worked as we had hoped, with no particular unexpected problems, but it’s still difficult to say where we are compared to our competitors, so it’s better not to speculate. It’s hardly surprising, but I think that apart from ourselves, the most competitive would appear to be Red Bull, McLaren, Lotus and Mercedes, even if how the hierarchy stands between us is still uncertain. We hope to be able to fight at the front, but no one can be excluded: there are 19 races in the championship with half of them coming after the summer and, as we saw last year, even if a team does not start the season being on the pace, it can fight back and win. Everyone goes through a cycle and stages and therefore it will be a case of constant development throughout the year.”
So, Ferrari shouldn’t be a day behind Red Bull come Melbourne. I think. Perhaps there’s more clarity in a more recent post:
Anticipation is growing ahead of the start of the 2013 World Championship – and expectations about Scuderia Ferrari’s performance are growing too. That is only natural after a month of encouraging tests and the calmness displayed by the two big players, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, who will return to action in the F138 at Melbourne’s Albert Park in little over a week. We will have to wait until March 16, the day of qualifying, to be able to make the first real evaluations of the performances of the cars. Given the stability of the technical regulations this year, predictions have rarely been such a futile and casual exercise.
But if you apply a certain logic, which goes beyond the excitement and the hopes generated by the start of every new season, it’s hard to imagine that the teams who were competitive last year won’t be up there this year too.
A nice reminder why Ferrari gets that 77%. We go from “encouraging tests” to “a certain logic.” Ferrari doesn’t want to give away too much.
But Stefano Domencali does have this to say:
I expect that the teams who finished in the top positions in Sao Paulo will repeat that in Melbourne, probably with a reduced advantage – that’s what we are all hoping for, anyway. What are the factors that have convinced me that Ferrari has made a step forward? The new business structure, the working methods, the modifications to the equipment that we have used to work on this car, the consistency of the results compared with our targets and what we saw in the recent tests – these all seem to tell us that we are on the right path at last compared to the past. So, to make an analysis that is purely centred on ourselves, unless someone else has done an exceptional job I’m convinced that Ferrari will be in the battle to the end.
All eyes on Adrian Newey. But, really, there isn’t that much change to take advantage of this season, right? As I think I said on the podcast, it could be a Maranello season.