Formula One: Ferrari still evolving

Formula One: Ferrari still evolving

There is still much work to be done on the big red machine.

Despite being the only team to have both cars complete in the Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Australia, two weeks ago, Ferrari are set to tweak a few things to the car ahead of this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang.

Fernando Alonso finished fourth and Kimi Raikkonen seventh, in a race won by Nico Rosberg of Mercedes.

This season's Formula 1 has seen some significant changes to race regulations, with cars moving from the 2.4-litre V8 engines to the 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged ones that are coupled with energy recovery systems.

Speaking to The New Paper in Putrajaya on thursday, Ferrari's test driver Marc Gene said a lot of improvement must be made if Ferrari are to stay competitive this season.

"We are pleased with the reliability of the car, but there is still a lot of work to be done," Gene said.

"Sepang will be a more realistic examination than Australia. Melbourne was on a semi-permanent (race) track, whereas Sepang has a more demanding track, with more aggressive asphalt, even.

"I think everyone will know where he stands after this race."

Gene, who has been a test driver in Maranello - Ferrari's headquarters - since 2004, said he could not reveal what some of the tweaks are, but much of it has to do with the car's fuel efficiency.

For this season, each car will be limited to 100kg of fuel for each race, around 30 per cent less than last year.

The objective is to maximise the energy content of the fuel to provide optimum performance.

In a media session conducted by Shell, Ferrari's partner and provider of fuel and oil, Ian Albiston, Shell's trackside and logistics manager, explained that efficiency gains from fuel "become extra horsepower for the car".

IMPORTANCE OF FUEL

Said Albiston: "If you were listening to the commentary during the Melbourne Grand Prix, you would've heard the word 'fuel' mentioned several times.

"It is now a more important component of the race than ever before.

"During the Melbourne race, everyone was telling his drivers to 'back off', to avoid using too much fuel. Well, if we create the best energy-conserving fuel, then (Ferrari) won't need to back off as much."

Albiston added that Shell has been working very closely with Ferrari on designing the most optimum fuel, ever since the new regulations were announced in 2011.

Ahead of the Sepang race, a newer, upgraded version of fuel will be tested once again.

"Before Melbourne, we had 55 fuel (grades). Since then, we have created another six," said the Englishman, who has been working trackside with Ferrari for 14 years.

"We're not just thinking about Sepang, but also ahead to the races in Spain, Silverstone and Singapore."

Malaysia's biggest annual sporting event has scaled back its usual celebrations, calling off a concert by Christina Aguilera and Rain and toning down its advertising as the nation mourns over the MH370 tragedy.

This year sees Sepang host its 16th Formula 1 race, having made its debut on the calendar in 1999.


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