The lack of FRIC...
Scuderia Ferrari’s Technical Director James Allison met the press this afternoon and the Englishman was quizzed by journalists on a wide range of topics, starting with today’s hot topic – apart from the heat itself – the lack of FRIC, the suspension system no longer being used by any teams in case it is deemed illegal.
“I think not having it probably tends to make everyone understeer a bit more because everyone’s front ride height will be a bit higher than it otherwise might have been,” began the Englishman. “It is too early to say whether it shakes things up or not – but if it does, it will only be fairly short lived because people because people will get used it and figure out a way how to get their car set-up without FRIC.”
So in an absolute sense, the changes that need to be made are quite small, but there are lots of them.
With the same job title often meaning different things in different F1 teams, Allison was asked to spell out exactly what his responsibilities are within the Scuderia. “I am the technical director of the chassis and I have an additional overall responsibility for the project of the vehicle, the whole thing, trying to make sure we have the right balance of risk and trying to make sure that we are ambitious enough with it. In terms of design changes, I sincerely hope that we will be able to make a decisive step forward with the car next year.”
When it comes to the engine side, Allison admitted this was not his area of expertise and he simply had to ensure there was a correlation between the engine and chassis sides. “I have to ensure that chassis and engine sides are taking the same sort of approach to the deadlines we are setting and the objectives that we have. It is especially important in a company where everything is under one roof and the opportunity for having that well coordinated is substantial.”
Since the arrival of Marco Mattiacci there’s been a great deal of interest in how the team structure is and will change as Ferrari tries to get back to the front of the grid. Allison tried to put it in some perspective: “you need to make big changes and small changes at the same time, because for any F1 team it is much easier to make a team worse than it is to make it better. So in an absolute sense, the changes that need to be made are quite small, but there are lots of them. They’ve been happening for some months and Marco’s (Mattiaci) arrival has helped galvanise more of them. Across the board in Ferrari there have been changes that are extremely helpful to moving us in the right direction. The totality of the small changes adds up to something significant.”
Finally, it’s the summer, so the driver market had to be a topic. “Both our drivers were in Maranello recently, both of them discussing plans for next year, both of them having our programme set out in front of them and having their opportunity to give us feedback about the weaknesses and strengths of our current car,” explained Allison. “It’s a great thing when a driver buys in to what we are doing. We are making a great effort to ensure they can see the plans we have in place. Kimi is quite new to our team, Fernando has had some years with Ferrari but has not yet achieved the goals he wanted. I hope the presentation I put his way impressed him, but you should ask him that!”