Ferrari technical director Pat Fry downplayed the engine issue that ended Fernando Alonso’s FP2, even though it was one of two Ferraris that had issues during the session (Esteban Gutierrez parked his Sauber at nearly the identical spot exiting Turn 3 later in the session).
Fry was still pleased at day’s end, as Alonso’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen had one of his best Fridays in a while, ending third behind the two Mercedes.
“The fire, it’s a high-mileage Friday engine to be honest,” Fry said during the Friday FIA press conference. “I’m sure every team’s in a similar boat so it doesn’t really affect the strategy that we run on a Saturday and a Sunday, so that side of things, it looks more spectacular and it’s hard work for us to clean it all up but it’s not that big a deal.
“We’ve been trying different setup options with Kimi and he seems happier,” he added. “We’ve been reviewing… it’s been a constant battle for us to try and work out and give him the front end he wants in the car. We’re a little bit closer and it shows that, if we can give him the car that gives him the right feedback, he’s right there and right on the pace.”
Fry noted graining was still an issue for both cars, and wasn’t sure where they stacked up on long-run pace. That may not be much of an issue if rain hits the Interlagos circuit for the remainder of the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend.
In terms of a longer-form look, Fry is happy with the progress the team has made to open the weekend as it seeks to end the year on a high, and hold off McLaren for fourth in the Constructor’s Championship. To catch Williams for third, it will take a bit of luck.
“Some of the changes that have been emplaced are already paying huge dividends in the way we’re developing next year’s car,” Fry explained. “Only time will tell really. There’s a huge amount of catching-up we need to do but at least there’s the drive to improve the technical process, invest where we need to. It’s a long-term process but the right path is there to get us back to the top.”