Tag Archives: Pat Fry

First impressions from 2012 Jerez testing

Ferrari have made headlines with their F2012 already

Ferrari have made headlines with their F2012 already

As the first of 4 pre-season tests draw to a close, we are beginning to form an idea of how the grid might shape out this year. Several news stories have also added interest to the speculation, as teams try to hold their cards close to their chests.

Here is the summary of news and events from testing so far:

Ferrari doubtful over pace?

Despite Fernando Alonso leading the timesheets on day 4 of testing, the Ferrari team are remaining quiet on whether their car can compete against Red Bull. Felipe Massa refused to clarify how he felt on the F2012, and technical director Pat Fry said the team still had lots of work to do:

"I am not happy with where we are at the moment. There is a lot of room for us 
to improve. Reliability-wise it is good. Performance-wise I think we are okay.

But we can play around with the performance and improve the car in some corners, 
and some particular parts of the corner. But I would not say I am happy yet until 
we get the whole thing working."

Force India feeling positive

Meanwhile, the Force India team are very happy with their progress over the winter.

Targeting 5th place in this year’s championship, their VJM05 appears to have a solid baseline for the team to build on. After missing a day of testing due to Jules Bianchi’s mishap, Nico Hulkenberg was happy with their progress:

"The long runs were useful for that and it also allowed me to start understanding 
the new tyres. There is still a massive amount to learn and lots of data to look 
at, but it feels like we have a good baseline to develop from and I’m pleased with 
how the day went."

HRT to miss testing again?

HRT’s embarrassing 3-year drought of not setting a single lap in testing looks set to continue, as the F112 (more than likely the car’s name) failed the mandatory FIA crash tests last week.

This year, a new regulation forces the teams to have passed the 17 crucial crash tests before the car can take part in testing. However, HRT’s car only passed 14 of these. Reports suggest that the car failed the roll hoop and lateral nose tests by “a minor margin”.

However, this still means that the car will not be ready for the second test in Barcelona. While the team are still aiming to turn a wheel before the first race in Melbourne, it is not an encouraging sign for the fledgling team.

Until the new car passes crash tests, Pedro de la Rosa will continue to drive last year’s F111.

McLaren and Ferrari exhausts declared legal

After the reactive ride height controversy last month, the FIA’s Charlie Whiting has approved exhaust layouts designed by Ferrari and McLaren.

A ban on exhaust blown diffusers this year forced teams to make their exhaust outlets visible from above, and have no influence on the performance of the diffuser. However, other teams in the paddock were worried that Ferrari and McLaren had found a way to manipulate exhaust gases to benefit other aero sections of the car.

While this would appear to be against technical regulations, Whiting has given the green light to both teams. According to Sky Sport’s Ted Kravitz, this will prompt more aggressive exhaust designs for other teams in the Barcelona tests:

"I understand from sources in the pit lane that FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting 
has told the teams that he considers Ferrari and McLaren exhaust designs as legal.

Even though the way those two teams have packaged their exhaust outlets, with 
channels leading exhaust gases out to specific areas of the car and therefore 
appearing to have a beneficial aero effect, which is against new exhaust regulations, 
it seems Whiting believes that they comply sufficiently with both the letter and the 
intention of the law.

This has been accepted by the other teams, who launched with less aggressive exhaust 
concepts and it means that they will now effectively green light their own, shall we 
say more exotic, exhaust designs.

We can expect to see these in time for the third test in Barcelona, if not before."

 

Ferrari reveal F2012 with “distinctive” nose design

The newly-launched Ferrari F2012 will win no awards for looks

The newly-launched Ferrari F2012 will win no awards for looks

Ferrari are the fourth team to show off their 2012 challenger, appropriately called the F2012.

The standout feature of the F2012 is undoubtedly the horrendously ugly stepped nose design. Unlike other teams, who sloped the step between the two nose sections, Ferrari’s is at a near-45 degree angle at one point.

Chief designer Nikolas Tombazis describes the nose as “aesthetically not very pleasing”, which most fans have already considered to be one of the understatements of the year.

Chassis director Pat Fry noted that most of the team’s development would be focused on aerodynamics:

"We’re working on upgrading the aero, mainly. There will be an update for the 
third test and the first race. And then, in reality, it’s just a constant aero 
development all through the year.

The biggest differentiator is aerodynamics, still. I think there’s a lot less 
you can do now with engines affecting the aerodynamics.

The engineering side of engine performance moves back to actually producing 
horsepower and making it fuel-efficient, rather than the opposite that we had 
been doing. I think it is just going to be a constant aerodynamic development 
all through the year, really."

Aside from the nose, the most interesting innovation is the pullrod front suspension, which hasn’t been seen on an F1 car since the days of Minardi. Despite the fact that it is a mechanical system, it has been incorporated onto the car for mechanical reasons.

At the launch, Tombazis did a quick walk-through of the adjustments and innovations on the F2012:

"The front wing is an evolution of the wing we introduced in the 
last races of last season [tested in Indian GP]. That was introduced 
in order to learn some initial lessons about this subject and we 
understood quite a lot and we have further developed it, and there’s 
going to be further development at the third test before the start 
of the season.

The nose has a rather ungainly shape on the top. That is the result 
of the regulation which requires us to have the nose quite low, and 
an aerodynamic desire to have the lower part of the chassis as high 
as possible. So even though it is aesthetically not very pleasing, 
we believe it is the most efficient aerodynamic solution to that area 
of the car.

Going slightly further back, we get into one of the innovations of 
this car, which is the front suspension. For mainly aerodynamic 
reasons we have selected the pull-rod solution.

It took us quite a lot of work in the structural and design office 
and vehicle dynamics departments, in order to regain all the mechanical 
characteristics that we wanted the front suspension to have. We believe 
we’ve achieved that, but we also have, I believe, an aerodynamic 
advantage out of the solution.

Moving back, we reach the area of the sidepod inlets. There we have 
reviewed completely the project and we have changed out philosophy for 
the lateral crash structures. The crash test we had to do was much more 
difficult to homologate the car. But it has left us with some aerodynamic 
advantage in the area of the main turning vanes and the vertical profiles 
that lie next to the sidepod inlet.

Going further back we have a much more narrow profile especially at the 
low part of the ‘coke panel’. That has been made possible out of the 
repackaging of the chassis and engine rear part, and also out of the 
gearbox that has been completely reviewed and made narrower.

Whereas in the upper part of the sidepods we have a fairly wide solution 
because we have to host the new exhausts which are a result of the new 
regulations regarding exhausts.

So we have had to abandon to low exhausts of the previous years because 
of the regulations. We spent quite a lot of resource and time in 
investigating the new exhaust scenarios and in fact it will be an area 
we will research during winter testing before we finalist the exact 
configuration for the first race.

Regarding the gearbox, we have obviously got the external shape which 
is new and narrower but we have two different approaches from our side.

One of them is the rear suspension we have adopted, like quite a few of 
the others in recent years, a pull-rod solution. But we’ve also hosted 
part of our radiator cooling on top of the gearbox so as to reduce the 
cooling area required at the lateral part of the car.

The rear wing is basically similar to last year’s, but we have refined 
it and pushed the sections of the aerodynamic profile small, in order 
to produce more downforce.

The F2012 has a relatively small amount of carry-over compared to 
previous cars. The very desciptions I made indicate we have reviewed
almost the whole car. So components that are either physically the same 
as last year or conceptually the same are much fewer, therefore we’ve 
had to work much harder in the technical office and in production in 
order to be able to do all this work."

Finally here is the official launch video from the event:

Changes made to Ferrari team for 2011

After huge criticism regarding their strategy fumble in Abu Dhabi which cost Fernando Alonso the 2010 world championship, Ferrari have announced several changes to the structure of the team.

The biggest switch made is that Chris Dyer, the head of race engineering, has been replaced with Pat Fry. Dyer has been described as the “master of all strategists”, having previously been the race engineer for both Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen. He was also behind the famous 4-stop strategy that Schumacher utilised to win the French Grand Prix in 2004.

However, he appears to have been blamed for the disaster at Abu Dhabi, and his “role within the company will be redefinied within the next few days”. Fry, the man who replaces Dyer, moved to Ferrari from McLaren back in June 2009.

Also, Neil Martin, who has worked at McLaren, and more recently Red Bull, has been appointed as the head of the new operations research department. He will report directly to Aldo Costa, Ferrari’s technical director.

In related news, Stefano Domenicali has revealed that he almost quit the team after Abu Dhabi. In an interview with La Repubblica, he stated:

"After Abu Dhabi I raised the issue personally. I asked whether it was right 
or not that I stayed.

But I reached the conclusion that resigning would be a mistake. I know the 
team and I know that I am the right person to capitalise on all we have sown 
in these months."

 

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