Ferrari blowing hot after practice
Latest exhaust layout gets the thumbs up
By Mike Wise in Montreal. Last Updated: 09/06/12 8:20am
There were further signs of a Ferrari resurgence on Friday, although Fernando Alonso nevertheless did his best to play down the times they set in practice for the Canadian Grand Prix.
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Alonso and team-mate Felipe Massa ended the day respectively second and third quickest behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton as Ferrari introduced another variation of their much-changed F2012 car.
The latest update, a revised version of the exhaust system that first appeared on the car at its launch, was given the thumbs up by both drivers - Alonso albeit adopting a cautious tone given that some rivals appeared not to be looking for outright pace.
"This morning, we concentrated mainly on evaluating some new updates, while in the afternoon, we worked principally on a comparison of the two types of tyre, looking for performance over a single lap and also to check the behaviour of the car with a lot of fuel on board," said the double World Champion, who currently leads the drivers' standings.
"The first indications seem to be positive, but it is much too soon to draw any conclusions as Friday times should never be taken at face value."
However, Massa, who has struggled woefully in his team-mate's shadow at times this season, was far more positive, the Brazilian going so far as to call it "the best Friday of 2012".
"I think we can be happy with the fact that the updates we have brought here worked, even if it's hard to give an instant assessment of how much of an improvement they have produced," said Massa, who scored his season's best result, a sixth place, last time out in Monaco. "In any case, the intention is to keep the car in this new configuration.
"The car seems to be well balanced and it seemed to me to be pretty consistent in terms of performance, even if, obviously, the track is not yet providing much grip, this being the first day of the race weekend."
Ferrari technical boss Pat Fry was also happy with the updated exhaust, which again attempts to create extra downforce by blowing out towards the wheels, but stopped short of saying whether or not it would be raced.
"We brought two different exhaust configurations here: one was the one used in the last two races, the other represents our latest interpretation of the concept that was part of the car when it made its debut in Jerez," he said.
"From what we could see today, the latter configuration seems to be positive in terms of performance even if, obviously, we need to analyse the data very carefully to make the right choices for the race."