Reports in the Italian press are indicating that Ferrari is struggling to find answers to why its 2011 season has gotten off to such a wobbly start, and that the result from this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix will determine whether the team sticks to its current development schedule for the remainder of the season.
Another race failure – to-date, the team has a best finish of fourth for Fernando Alonso at the Australian Grand Prix – could see the team switch to a ‘Plan B’ for the development of its 2011 challenger.
La Stampa and La Repubblica are reporting that the team’s major figures – team boss Stefano Domenicali, and technical heads Aldo Costa and Pat Fry – have flown back to the team’s Maranello HQ in spite of the one-week gap between last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix and the next race at Shanghai.
“We are analysing everything to find out why things have not worked as expected at this stage of development,” Domenicali is quoted, while adding that new parts will be fitted to the car, which has proven to be off-the-pace, largely in qualifying conditions, which leave Alonso and Felipe Massa too far down the order to mix it with the leading cars.
“If in China everything works as hoped and expected, good, but if we have worked on developments that bring no result, we already have in place an alternative programme that will be introduced as soon as possible,” he added.
One of the new developments targeted by Ferrari looks to be a Red Bull inspired ‘flexible’ front wing, one of the key features believed to be giving the championship leaders such an edge over their rivals in 2011.
“We are going deeper in the evaluation of front wings and we will do a flexible front wing soon,” Costa confirmed.
As for the updates, the team’s ever-optimistic president Luca do Montezemolo believes that the team will achieve a form grasp of the issues hampering the car’s performance, particularly its apparent qualifying struggles.
“I am definitely not satisfied with the way the season has begun, but I have complete faith in the people here who know how to react when the situation is tough,” he is quoted as saying.
“I am sure there will be an amazing response. I know everyone is working flat out and I have great faith in the human and technical strengths of our people. I believe the period when the most we can hope for is a podium will soon come to an end.
“I hope we see some improvement, especially in qualifying and to see us be competitive as we were in the [Malaysia] race.”
[Original image via LAT]