Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pay back Ferrari at France GP

After enduring a disappointing North American leg of the season, Ferrari are hoping that planned changes to the F2007 will help reap greater rewards as the paddock returns to Europe ahead of July’s French Grand Prix. The Italian squad are currently lying second in the constructors’ championship, 35 points behind leaders McLaren.

Although Ferrari fared better in Indianapolis than they had in Canada, where Felipe Massa was black-flagged and Kimi Raikkonen crossed the line in fifth, the United States race was far from perfect. Indeed, winner Lewis Hamilton and second-placed McLaren team mate Fernando Alonso took the lion’s share of the points, while Massa and Raikkonen were forced to make do with crossing the line in third and fourth places respectively.

“No doubt that we are not happy about the result,” explained Ferrari’s sporting director Stefano Domenicali on the team's official website. “Third and fourth is not our standard, because we wanted to come here to North America to try to reduce the gap and we did the opposite because we lost 15 points.

”For Luca Baldisserri, Ferrari’s head of track operations, the team’s recent problems have for the most part stemmed from poor qualifying performances. A trend, which Baldisserri believes has then worked against the car’s pace during Sunday’s action.

“The problem is that being behind in qualifying means that we will have a difficult race,” he explained. “To be honest, this is our pace in qualifying. It would seem that when McLaren put on new tyres, they are much more consistently quick than we are. There's a slight correlation with the new soft compound tyre, so we have tried to investigate more in that direction what we are missing and that's the main point of development.

”Two positives that Ferrari can take from Indianapolis, however, are the fact that Raikkonen scored the fastest lap of the race, a 1m 13.117s, and that the team’s traditionally high standard of reliability seems to have returned. Nevertheless, the Italian squad are looking to make up even more ground and are planning to kick start their fight back at this week’s British test.

“We have a completely different aerodynamic package to try at Silverstone,” added Baldisserri. “so hopefully we can have another step aerodynamically. If we can find, with the set-up, the two or three tenths that at the moment we are missing, they will be welcome and it would be a straightforward solution. We have to understand, investigate all the areas: aerodynamically, mechanically but on the engine as well.”Ferrari will be in action at the Silverstone test from Tuesday.

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