When Ferrari unveiled the new F14 T, it was met with no shortage of criticism for its interpretation of the new aerodynamic regulations—a drastically-sloping front end that bears resemblance to a vacuum cleaner.
And once the new car hit the circuit for the first time, things didn’t get much better with Kimi Raikkonen immediately grinding to a halt on the back straight to bring out the first red flag of the session.
But as has always been the case in pre-season testing for as long as one can remember, mileage is king.
And with the radical new engine regulations in place for the 2014 season, racking up miles on the clock in testing is more important than ever before with reliability set to be the defining factor for the new season.
How will Ferrari fare in 2014?
Ferrari immediately went to work on fixing the problem and by the end of the opening day, Raikkonen had clocked up the most laps of any driver and backed it up with 47 more trouble-free laps of running on day 2.
Local hero Fernando Alonso took over duties for the remaining two days and was on the pace immediately, setting the fastest time before parking up on the back section of the circuit and bringing out the red flags. Problem fixed, Ferrari again racked up substantial mileage with Alonso only four laps shy of Lewis Hamilton’s 62 at close of play.
And the Spaniard brought to an end a highly-encouraging four days of testing by completing more mileage than any other driver on the final day with 115 trouble-free laps of running and second only to Nico Rosberg over the entire test.
Miles on the clock means more data gathered and Ferrari is confident that they are already in better shape at the same point in time than recent seasons.
Much of this has been put down to a new upgrade in the team’s Maranello windtunnel that was closed for improvements at the end of 2012. As reported by Autosport, the new windtunnel has been up and running since October and team boss Stefano Domenicali told Ferrari’s official website that the data gathered at the facility is now correlating to the performance shown on the track.
These were four very demanding and important days to give us something to work on over the coming days in Maranello. The technical parameters of the F14 T, as well as the aerodynamic validation we saw on track, match our expectations and provide a solid starting point, which we must now exploit as much as possible. In Jerez, we concentrated our efforts on fine tuning the new systems to ensure that all the components that make up the new power unit were working as well as possible and the team was focused on its tasks.
I was also very pleased to see, even if was hardly a surprise, how our drivers worked in harmony and that they have already provided excellent feedback relating to the development of the car. We can't evaluate performance levels at the moment, neither that of the F14 T, nor those of our rivals. The important thing is to do as many laps as possible to give our engineers the data they need to continue with the development of the car.