Ferrari eyes big step forward for Spanish GP

Ferrari is looking ahead to Barcelona next month, as the famous Italian team plans to begin putting a difficult start to the 2012 season behind it. Test driver Marc Gene, who is travelling to the grands prix this year, said the F2012 was “born well” but fell behind the other leading teams as the winter pre-season progressed.

“From here it will take time to improve it,” he told the Spanish newspaper Diario Sport. “The next big developments will arrive in Barcelona, although at every race the team is making improvements and we know already that the main problem is aerodynamics. It’s a car that also has its virtues, as it adapts well to the wet and also warms up the tyres well, but it is a car with a lot of ‘drag’; we need better top speed and traction.”

He said, however, that with at least an eight-tenth per lap dry circuit deficit to the ultimate pace, the F2012 is not likely to step to the front of the grid even with a big raft of developments for the Spanish grand prix.

“I have to admit that it (eliminating the entire gap) would be the most dramatic improvement I’ve seen in the 13 years I have been in Formula One. (Improvement) throughout the season is much more feasible. I know that we are working on a very big package and even more positive is that we have the test at Mugello beforehand.”

Gene said the best car in the field at present is the McLaren.

“That is the car that works best if you take together all the different elements. Maybe not the fastest in qualifying, nor in the wet, but today it’s the best car on the grid,” he said.

Fernando Alonso said he is hoping the F2012 becomes “3 or 4 tenths” better at Barcelona.

“All the teams will bring updates,” he is quoted by Finland’s Turun Sanomat, “so if we could improve 5 or 6 tenths, while the others get only a couple of tenths, it will be better for us.”

And Spain’s Marca quotes Felipe Massa as saying: “I do expect a much better car in Spain; faster, better balanced and better traction.”