Today’s highly complex F1 cars are a powerhouse of ideas. And the one that makes the most of its potential triumphs
There’s no shadow of a doubt that the period just before the opening grand prix has been the most fascinating part of the season for a few years now. Having all the teams testing their single-seater tests on the same circuit over just a few short days really does create a feeling of uncertainty about what the real performances of the cars fielded will be.
The teams have many and varied ways of masking the real abilities of their single-seaters. Aside from tyre type, the amount of fuel in the tank makes a huge difference when it comes to working out what the real grid will look like at the first grand prix. Last year, the 150th Italia initially looked very promising but the season proved that the other teams had covered more ground. This year, the brand-new, revolutionary F2012 looks as if it is struggling a little. What ever the truth of the matter, there is one hard and fast rule about racing: if a single-seater doesn’t seem great, trying to change it will only make things worse. This is the most perilous way of missing out on really making the most of its potential. Single-seaters are complicated, sensitive bits of engineering whose limitations are imposed by time and the season. It’s much more productive to look for the best in what you already have than trying to change what’s already been done. History bears this out: so many cars arrived gaspingly and then go on to have successful careers. Knowing the talent and commitment of the GES staff, I’m convinced that, with methodical, decisive work, the F2012 will surprise us all when it unleashes its hidden potential.