A thought about testing

Because Ferrari is not winning races this year, there has not been much of a stink about the amount of testing that Ferrari continues to do. But let us put this into perspective by saying that at the last count Ferrari has done 13,180 miles since the start of the F1 season while the nearest challenger is BAR-Honda which has racked up 9,625 miles. This means that Ferrari has done 27% more testing than anyone else and has completed 40 days of running compared to the 15 days used so far by BMW-Williams, McLaren and Renault.

Given that the Ferrari is still off the pace, it is worth considering where the team would be if it had not been able to do as much running as it has done. How far from the pace would the Italian team be if that had been the case?

Somebody, somewhere at Maranello, must recognise that the World Championship-winning team has gone well and truly off the rails this year. The Bridgestone tyres must be apportioned some of the blame for this but, as we saw in Monte Carlo, the tyres do not explain everything about Ferrari's lack of performance. When the car is running with a heavy fuel load, it can produce some startlingly fast results. Given the fact that, after all this time and all this testing, there is still no obvious answer to the problem, it is safe to assume that there must be a problem which cannot easily be fixed because F1 tyres these days can be made in very short periods of time and, if the new Minardi can get to within 2.5secs of the Ferrari at Monaco, one does have to ask whether the real problem for the team lies not in the tyres, as we have all believed up to now, but rather in the fact that the Ferrari chassis is not doing the job that it is supposed to do to get heat into the tyres. One can blame the results on tyre choice but no great team can get it wrong this many times in a row.

So, might we assume that we will see a much-modified car at some point this year? Or is the team fated to continue to look for a tyre compound which will do all that the car needs? Our spies tell us that there may be some changes in the design team down Ferrari way before too long.

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