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November 8th, 2011
Ferrari will bring a modified version of its Red Bull Racing-style front wing to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, on the back of the bizarre problems that Felipe Massa encountered in India recently.
Massa’s front wing experienced extreme flapping at the end of the long straight at the Buddh International Circuit throughout the Indian GP weekend – prompting talk that Ferrari’s experiment to get the wing legally flexing at high-speed had not been successful.
However, technical director Pat Fry revealed on Tuesday that Massa’s wing problems had more to do with quality control issues than any design concept – which is why an updated version of the wing will be used by the Brazilian driver and team-mate Fernando Alonso at the Yas Marina circuit this weekend.
Ferrari has openly admitted that, with some of Red Bull Racing’s form being attributed to its front wing concept, it too is focusing current efforts on perfecting this area of its car design.
Fry told the official Ferrari website: “I think the biggest addition we’ve made in performance terms in recent races is the new front wing which we first tried in Korea. We then ran it again on both cars in India.
“It is a very interesting development for us, as it does change the characteristics of the car and getting to understand how to get the most out of it is certainly an interesting challenge and in the short term it has helped our performance.
“We had some quality issue on one of the wings used in India but this solution will be in Abu Dhabi again, although after watching its behaviour at the last race, much work has been done to modify certain aspects of it before both drivers will try it this coming weekend.”
Ferrari is returning to Abu Dhabi this weekend for the first time since it lost the world championship there last year.
Fry believes that the overtaking problems that cost Alonso his shot at the title in 2010 will not be an issue this time around, because of the use of two DRS zones.
“Last year, as we found to our cost, overtaking was very difficult at this circuit,” he explained. “However, we have seen a big change this year thanks to several factors including the DRS.
“In some cases, it was found that the DRS zones were not long enough and this will no doubt be adjusted for next year, while at other tracks, it was relatively simple to overtake another car. So I’m sure that, with two DRS zone available, it will be easier this weekend than in 2010, but until we get to the track it is hard to say exactly how straightforward it will be.
“We will keep on pushing as hard as we can. In terms of what we can expect for this weekend, it will be similar to the last few races, which means that if we put everything together perfectly, as we did in India with Fernando we should have a reasonable chance of getting onto the podium.”