and aspiring Italian Prime Minister Luca di Montezemolo has held top-level talks with team principal Stefano Domenicali and the outfit’s leading engineers to address ongoing concerns over the competitiveness of the team’s radical challenger, the F2012.
The championship-winning team has endured a torrid time in pre-season testing, with the F2012 seeming to suffer from a lack of aerodynamic grip and straight-line speed. Much of its time in the two tests at the Circuit de Catalunya was spent performing straight-line runs along the track’s long front straight, a clear sign that the chassis has significant problems.
The boxy-looking car is designed with pull-rod suspension on the front and rear of the car. That front suspension configuration hasn’t been used in over ten years, and there are suggestions that the F2012 could rival Ferrari’s 1992 twin-floor F92A challenger as one of the worst models the team has produced.
While several senior figures in the team have stated that the team is unlikely to challenge for podium spots in the opening races, others – including di Montezemolo – have sought to hose down this speculation.
“I found a team that is very concentrated and determined,” he said. “I saw in Domenicali and our engineers a great desire to show what they’re worth and to react to a winter programme that didn’t live up to our targets.
“I must underline these are our words because we will only discover the truth about where we stand compared to the others after Saturday qualifying in Melbourne: today we can only make assumptions.
“No matter how it goes in Melbourne, I would like to remind everyone that this will be the longest championship in the history of Formula 1,” he concluded. “We certainly won’t be able to draw conclusions after just one race.”
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