Concerned by a lack of slow corner grip and straight-line speed, Stefano Domenicali is en route to Maranello to address fundamental flaws in the F2012.
As Mark Hughes illustrated in his detailed Sky Sports article, Ferrari’s pull-rod suspension is chiefly responsible for this; forcing an extreme negative camber set-up (that whilst perfect for high-load, fast corners, it renders the tyres useless under heavy braking and low gear acceleration. The European circuits may be better suited to this geometry, but waiting to find out is to wave the white flag.
Not a quick fix it seems, and the pressure will be on Fernando Alonso (and some quick pit-stop work) to limit the damage until a new (possibly pushrod) system can be devised. A frustrating situation for Massa then, whose confidence must be taking a battering.
With Luca Montezemolo’s demands of a “special performance” from Massa hanging like aging bruschetta, signs are that Ferrari will be looking at a replacement for the Brazilian sooner rather than later.
Ferrari protege Jules Bianchi may be considered “too green” for a replacement slot after his testing shunt in Jerez with Sahara Force India this year, but one couldn’t wish for a better F1 schooling alongside double world champ Fernando Alonso.
The mid-year test maybe what Ferrari is waiting for in the hope that Robert Kubica is fit enough for a proper evaluation, although Torro-Rosso refuge Jaime Alguersuari believes this is a long shot. Speaking to UK radio, Jamie stated that: “At the moment the latest information I have about him (Robert) is not very good… He can not drink… cannot take a glass and drink, so it doesn’t look too good.”
Alguesuari was on media duties in Melbourne and must have known his comments would find their way back to Ferrari – with a curriculum vitae attached. Ironically, the Maranello squad are probably more interested in Alguesuari’s replacements at Torro-Rosso. If either Daniel Ricciardo or Jean-Eric Vergne show signs of threatening Mark Webber’s position at Red Bull, the Aussie veteran’s scheduled mid-year contract negotiations could take a rufescent detour