With three wins in the first four races and a resounding one-two victory for Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello with the new 2002 cars at the last race, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro are, not surprisingly, upbeat about their chances of more ...
With three wins in the first four races and a resounding one-two victory for Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello with the new 2002 cars at the last race, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro are, not surprisingly, upbeat about their chances of more success in the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix, on April 28th.
The fifth round of this year's FIA Formula One World Championship sees the first of the year's 'big handling' tracks of the season and the first major test of the car's aerodynamic efficiency. "It is a good technical track, particularly from the aerodynamic point of view through the long fast corners," says Ross Brawn.
"In addition traction is very important out of the several slow corners to keep speed onto the straights. Traction control is also important in the fast corners," he says. Brake wear is not a problem around the Catalunya circuit, but tyre wear is critical, for the circuit is quite hard on the tyres, particularly the rears."
"We had a good test at the circuit several weeks ago and found one development tyre which worked very well which we shall use for the race. There is a possibility that we will have another new Bridgestone compound for the alternative tyre choice. We are hoping that we will need only minor set-up changes to the car after what we learned at the test."
However, another characteristic of the Catalunya track is that there can be a great variation in grip and performance levels from on day to the next. You can leave the circuit after a three day test with the car set up perfectly and come back two weeks later and have to start almost from square one again," explains Ross.
The track is also one of the hardest of the season on the transmission system of the car. "The long high-speed corners at high revs puts a lot of demands on the transmission. We are on our third revision of the gearbox at present. We have completed a race distance at Barcelona on the current box, so I am quite optimistic that it will be reliable for the race."
Testing has shown that the current tyres being used with the new car have been far more consistent than they were with the 2001 car. "I think the Michelin tyres may still have a small advantage at the end of the race, but the difference is not as pronounced as it was in the first two races."
While the rain in Imola showed the Ferrari to be competitive in both wet and dry conditions, there are other factors about the Barcelona weekend that could make it a difficult race from a set-up point of view. "The wind can blow pretty hard at Barcelona and can give a driver quite a problem with his car's handling in the high speed corners, especially if it is a gusty wind."