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Ferrari rules out podium fight

ESPNF1 Staff
March 4, 2012 « No margin for error in midfield - Toro Rosso | New HRT to debut on Monday »
Pat Fry: "I am disappointed by our performance level at the moment; I think we've got a lot of work to do" © Sutton Images
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Ferrari's technical director Pat Fry has ruled out the team fighting for a podium position during the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

While the team's lap times have not appeared a match for Red Bull and McLaren over a long run, the most telling sign that Ferrari is in trouble came yesterday when the drivers were prevented from speaking to the press. A revised exhaust position during the second test appears to have halted any progress the team was making, and when asked if he would exclude a battle for the podium in Melbourne Fry replied: "At the moment I'd say yes.

"I am disappointed by our performance level at the moment; I think we've got a lot of work to do. So we've just got to kick on. The change we made last week to the exhaust position has put us a little bit on the back foot we're just trying to optimise for that, we've still got obviously a lot of work going on at the factory and we'll have new bits to test in Melbourne."

When asked by ESPNF1 how far the team still has to go to reach the point it hoped to be at by the end of testing, Fry admitted that a substantial amount of progress needed to be made.

"A reasonable way I think really. Testing is always hard to see exactly where you are. We know historically what fuel levels people have run so we've got an idea where they are but if they've changed what they've done for the last two or three years I could either be depressed, more disappointed or less disappointed, I don't know. I think we've got a reasonable amount of work to do still."

With Red Bull appearing to direct its exhausts towards the floor to blow the diffuser again, Fry admitted that if it was legal in the regulations then it was the best solution but that Ferrari had failed when trying to do something similar.

"I think it's the obvious direction to go in. We gave it a shot and we didn't quite get it right and the issues we had we weren't going to solve at least for the first four races so that's why we had to back up and change course. Ultimately I think it is the way to get the most downforce out of the current rules - obviously depending on Charlie's (Whiting) interpretations - so we are continuing to look in that area, obviously, as I'm sure the whole pit lane is."

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